Nixon Meets Mao

Date taken: February 21, 1972
Location: Beijing, China

Photographer: US Government
Source: U.S. National Archives and Records Administration

Historical Context

In 1972 US President Richard Nixon made an unprecedented and groundbreaking visit to China, becoming the first US President to ever set foot in the country.

Opening up China had been one of Nixon's long-held goals. In 1967, a year before his election, he wrote "there is no place on this small planet for a billion of its potentially most able people to live in angry isolation."

Though Mao had been ill just prior to Nixon's visit, the Red Emperor insisted on meeting his guest. Upon being introduced to Nixon, Mao exclaimed "our old friend Chiang Kai-shek would not approve of this".

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