Foreign Policy: Red China and Russia

Published: 1971
Play Audio Archive Story - UPI

Announcer: Actually, a U.S. attitude and policy change toward Red China had become apparent early in the year, when the President announced some travel and trade restrictions had been lifted. And in August, the U.S. officially endorsed a two-China policy for the UN. But it was an event back in April that had the China watchers running to their crystals balls for an interpretation of the very unusual happening. The Chinese invited a group of Americans to visit the mainland; the Americans all happened to be ping-pong players. Naturally, they went to play ping-pong, and when they returned one of the players told what he saw.

Unknown Speaker: "People are just like us. They are real, they're genuine, they got feeling. I made friends, I made genuine friends, you see. The country is similar to America, but still very different. It's beautiful. They got the Great Wall, they got plains over there. They got an ancient palace, the parks, there's streams, and they got ghosts that haunt; there's all kinds of, you know, animals. The country changes from the south to the north. The people, they have a, a unity. They really believe in their Maoism."

Announcer: After this ping-pong diplomacy any doubts about a thaw in the U.S.-China Cold War were put aside in July, when Nixon read this announcement at the same time it was being read in China.

Unknown Speaker: "Premier Zhou Enlai and Dr. Henry Kissinger, President Nixon's Assistant for National Security Affairs, held talks in Peking from July 9 to 11, 1971. Knowing of President Nixon's express desire to visit the People's Republic of China, Premier Zhou Enlai, on behalf of the Government of the People's Republic of China, has extended an invitation to President Nixon to visit China at an appropriate date before May 1972. President Nixon has accepted the invitation with pleasure."

Announcer: Three months after this announcement, the President announced he was making another trip in 1972. This time, it was Russia.

President Richard M. Nixon: "Neither trip is being taken for the purpose of exploiting what differences may exist between the two nations. Neither is being taken at the expense of any other nation. The trips are being taken for the purpose of better relations between the United States and the Soviet Union and better relations between the United States and the People's Republic of China."

Announcer: For the Russian leaders, the trips came this year. During October, the three top Kremlin leaders were globe-hopping, jet-set politicians on an intense diplomatic offensive; but it was Premier Alexei Kosygin's nine-day trip to Canada that brought excitement. Protest marches staged by Ukrainians, Latvians, Czechs and Jews were one thing; but in Ottawa, a young Hungarian freedom fighter was something else.

Unknown Speaker: "Mr. Kosygin had just completed a meeting with Prime Minister Trudeau and the Centre Block at the Parliament buildings, and instead of riding to the Chateau Laurier in his limousine, he decided to walk with Prime Minister Trudeau. Just as the two men were approaching the East Block, a young man, appearing to be in his mid to late 20s wearing a black-leather jacket, leaped through the security guards and reporters and grabbed the Premier around his neck. The man, yelling, 'Freedom for Hungary,' was immediately thrown to the ground, then a haul to the RCMP office on Parliament Hill. The Premier appeared to be visibly shaken, but not injured. He walked the remaining few yards into the East Block."

Announcer: In another diplomatic move, Russia signed a 20-year friendship pact with India. That agreement came in the middle of a hot dispute India was having with Pakistan. Strained relations between East and West Pakistan led to rioting and strikes in the east. Finally, an army from the west moved to crush Bangladesh rebels, who wanted the eastern part of the nation for themselves. India took sides with the rebels, and soon it was apparent that trouble was inevitable. Pakistani President Yahya Khan said his country was ready.

President Yahya Khan: "'I can't just tell my armies to stop fighting and take it who don't come from a 14:02 that believes in somebody slaps your one cheek and you turn the other cheek. I'm afraid for the defense of my country I will not turn another cheek, I'll hit back!'"

Announcer: And Indian President Indira Gandhi was willing.

President Indira Gandhi: "India has always stood out against war, no matter where it took place. But they are things which are more important, and today we feel that not only for the sake of the Indian people, but for the peace in Asia and I would say world peace, stability, integrity and the security of India is of first importance."

Announcer: Skirmishes began, and by the year's end all-out war.