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Nixon's Trip to China

President Nixon's trip to China in 1972 ended twenty-five years of isolation between the United States and the People's Republic of China (PRC) and resulted in establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries in 1979.

Listen to Nixon discuss his rationale for the trip, the arrival of the pandas at the National Zoo, and his reasoning for the importance of restoring communications with the People's Republic of China.

These excerpts are drawn from the Third Chronological Conversation Tape Release, which was released on February 28, 2002.

For additional audio, as well as documents and photographs about Nixon's trip to China, visit the Presidential Timeline.

  • Conversation Number:   656-10 (excerpt 1) | Listen | Adobe Acrobat PDFTranscript 
    Date:   January 26, 1972 
    Abstract:   In this excerpt, President Nixon explains his rationale for making the trip to China in an Oval Office meeting with Barend Biesheuvel, Alexander Haig, and J. William Middendorf.
     
  • Conversation Number:   656-10 (excerpt 2) | Listen | Adobe Acrobat PDFTranscript 
    Date:   January 26, 1972 
    Abstract:   In this excerpt, President Nixon explains his rationale for making the trip to China in an Oval Office meeting with Barend Biesheuvel, Alexander Haig, and J. William Middendorf.
     
  • Conversation Number:   92-1 (excerpt 1) | Listen | Adobe Acrobat PDFTranscript
    Date:   February 29, 1972 
    Abstract:   After returning from China, President Nixon explains to a group of Congressional leaders, in the Cabinet Room of the White House, the importance of restoring communication with China as a way of mitigating suspicion and miscalculation, which could lead to war. 
     
  • Conversation Number:   92-1 (excerpt 2) | Listen | Adobe Acrobat PDFTranscript
    Date:   February 29, 1972 
    Abstract:   After returning from China, President Nixon explains to a group of Congressional leaders, in the Cabinet Room of the White House, the importance of restoring communication with China as a way of mitigating suspicion and miscalculation, which could lead to war. 
     
  • Conversation Number:   21-56 | Listen | Adobe Acrobat PDFTranscript 
    Date:   March 13, 1972 
    Abstract:   As a result of President Nixon's trip, China gave the United States two pandas. In this conversation, President and Mrs. Nixon discuss the arrival of the pandas at the National Zoo.