Purchased a FORA.tv video on another website? Login here with the temporary account credentials included in your receipt.
Sign up today to receive our weekly newsletter and special announcements.
Let me now please introduce our speaker. Richard Nixon, the 37th president of the United States, was not famous for introspection but in 1993 he reflected. I will be known historically for two things, Watergate and the Opening to China. Watergate has slowly faded from our collective memory but the relationship between China and the US is still very much big news. Given today's trade and diplomatic relations between these two giants, the US and China it is worth recalling that it was just a short 35 years ago that American policy on China was really just about Taiwan and not the mainland. The only thing, the idea that only a conservative credentialed Republican President could normalize relations with this closed Communist state as China was back then 35 years ago, gave way to a reference that we often hear quoted and used today like Nixon in China. How this momentous event came about is the subject of Margaret MacMillan's new book "Nixon and Mao: The Week That Changed the World." We are delighted to have Dr. MacMillan with us today to discuss this remarkable historic occurrence. Margaret MacMillan was educated at the University of Toronto and at Oxford where she obtained a Bachelor of Philosophy in Politics and a Doctor of Philosophy for a thesis on the British in India between 1880 and 1920. She is the editor of Canada and NATO and the author of "Paris 1919: Six Months That Changed the World". A book which won the 2003 Governor General's Award, the Samuel Johnson prize, the PEN Hessell Tiltman Prize, The Duff Cooper Prize and was a New York Times Editor's Choice for 2002. Now that's a very good book. Dr. MacMillan lives in Toronto and is Provost of Trinity College and a Professor of History at the University of Toronto. This year she will become the warden of St. Antony's College at Oxford University. Please join me in a warm welcome to Dr. MacMillan Well, thank you very much it's a great pleasure to be here in San Francisco particularly when I phoned Toronto and find out that its snowing a lot. So I think I would rather be here with a gentle rain that is falling and it's a great pleasure to be speaking at the World Council. I gather that normally you have talks on contemporary affairs and not so often talks on history. And so let me perhaps put in a plug for history and explain why I think history can sometimes be helpful even in contemporary affairs. I am not sure that history offers us very clear lessons that we can draw on when we make decisions about the future but what I think history can do is give us some understanding. It can help us to understand how we got to where we are now and equally importantly can help us to understand how other countries and other peoples got to where they are and I think when we are dealing with other peoples in the world and other nations who have their own very strong historical memories we need to be aware of those because the histories of us all and that's true, I think, of individuals as much as it is of nations and people's are shaped by our past. We draw in our past for validation, to explain who we are, to make claims sometimes against our neighbors or claims for ourselves. We also approach the world in certain ways because of what has happened to us in the past and so historical memory, I think, is a very important part of what makes both the individual and the nation what they are. And I don't think we have much hope of understanding other nations and thus may understand what it is that they have been through and how it is that they have come to see the world and I don't think we have much hope of understanding or guessing how they are likely to respond to something we do, or how they are likely to behave in the future. I mean, we can think I think of lots of examples but think of trying to understand the various crisis in the Middle East, particularly for example, the one in Iraq today and the tension between the United States and Iran, the tensions between Jews and Palestinians in Israel and in the occupied territories without understanding the history because history, in fact, is a very important part of what goes to make up the present situations. And people grow on history in a number of ways. Often the history is not correct history, or it's a very one sided history but that doesn't mean that history is not important. And, I think, to understand the relationship between the United States and China it really is helpful to go back and understand something about how that relationship has evolved. We know what the relationship is like today. It's a very complicated relationship, it's a relationship between two governing, two governing administrations, it's a relationship between two states. It's a full diplomatic relationship. There are treaties, agreements of various sorts that have been signed but it's also a relationship between economies, a very intertwined relationship today between the economy of the United States and the People's Republic of China. But it's a relationship too between peoples. It's a relationship between all those American tourists who have gone to China and seen something about [0:05:51] (enormous) country, it s a relationship between all the Chinese who have come to the United States and seen something of the United States. It's a relationship which involves the academics who have lived in and studied each others countries. The artists and the business people who have gone to and worked in and try to understand each others countries. It's a relationship which certainly has its tensions, a relationship which is made complicated by the fact, I think, that you have two countries, both of which have a very strong sense of themselves and both of which have a tendency to see themselves as a model for other countries, both of which have a tendency to see themselves as embodying certain very important values. And it is perhaps inevitable that when you have two such countries and two such peoples which have a strong sense of who they are and have a strong sense of their own worth that you will get tension. There are tensions over economic issues today. The trade imbalance which is, of course, enormously in China's favor. The fact the Chinese Government holds the majority of American treasury debt, I mean, these have caused tensions and will continue to cause tensions. There are tensions over differing values given to such things as human rights. The Chinese, I think, fail to understand the stress that comes from the United States and from countries such as my own country Canada on human rights issues. They see this as interference in their internal affairs and they tend to resent it. There are tensions over areas of the world where the interests of what are two very large and important countries clash. There are tensions over sources of raw materials. But there are also many examples of where the United States and China work together and have worked together. They have cooperated, on the whole, fairly successfully. In fact I would say very successfully to maintain order and stability in the Pacific. They seemed to have been cooperating recently and I hope that cooperation will pay off in dealing with North Korea and that, I think, is a very encouraging sign. And so this is, clearly, an important relationship on many levels and a relationship which is going to be a very important relationship in the rest of the 21st century. And so, as an historian, but I think perhaps we all may want to think as historians for a moment, we want to look back and say well how did we get here and what goes into making up this relationship and what memories are there on both sides and how has the past shaped the attitudes of the present. I think it's important to remember that the relationship between the United States and China goes back a long way and has had many episodes, many ups and downs and has many facets. That relationship goes back easily to the end of the 18th century when American traders first began to make their way to China and when China first began to become aware of something called the West. And it was, I think, unfortunate in a way that just as western powers, including the United States, were beginning to make their way to China at the end of the 18th century, beginning to try and push into China to ask for trade, beginning to demand that their missionaries and their diplomats be allowed to live in China. The Chinese dynasty and the Chinese civilization was beginning to go through one of its downward cycles. The Chinese had seen several of these in their very long history and they believe that that was in fact the cycle in their affairs you would get in Chinese history a strong figure, founding a dynasty and he would set up an efficient government often coming from a very humble background, someone who had tremendous talent, who would rise like the founder of the Ming Dynasty, for example, to great heights, would set up an efficient administration, would provide for the Chinese people the stability that they needed, would keep the dykes maintained so that the rivers didn't flood, would kept the Great Wall maintained so that the barbarians remained more or less at bay. And the founding of the dynasty would usually bring a time of peace and prosperity to China and that would endure perhaps for several generations. But gradually and this is the cycle the Chinese had seen repeatedly through their civilization, the dynasty would become less effective, the successors to the founder of the dynasty would have less of the qualities of the founder, the administration would become increasingly top heavy, the demands of the government become increasingly onerous and the government would increasingly spend money on its own palaces, its own magnificence and begin to neglect things like the dykes and things like the great wall and things like the defenses of China and gradually the dynasty would begin to collapse under its own weight and what you would get is sometimes barbarian incursions from outside or peasant rebellion within and often a combination of the two and the dynasty declining, as it was, would in turn be swept away and a new dynasty would be established. And it was China's great misfortune, I think, and coincidence can be very important in history, that just at a time at the beginning of the 19th century when China needed strong leadership because what it was confronting was not just the ordinary sorts of foreigners coming in but what it was increasingly confronting and that was true as the 19th century wore on, was the dynamic civilization of the west and civilization which more over possessed the technology and the capacity to brush aside whatever defenses China was capable of putting up. Just when China needed strong leadership to deal with that challenge its dynasty of the time, the Ching Dynasty was beginning its inevitable downward trajectory and so while China needed very strong political leadership in the 19th century it did not get it. And that 19th century for China was a century of catastrophe. The Chinese fought a series of wars starting with the First Opium War in 1839 and lost every single one of them. And the more it lost the wars the more it conceded to outsiders. It gave away concessions, it gave away areas, it gave away the rights to mine, it gave away control over its own finances. The Chinese themselves refer it to a century of humiliation which lasted from 1839, the start of the First Opium War, to 1949 when the communists finally united China again and gave it strong and initially at least, effective government. And the United States was part of what made that century the century of humiliation and that is in the memory of the Chinese. It cannot be taken away and it is something that they remember. Quite often you will hear the story; if you go to China and you will see it in the Chinese literature of the foreign concession department, foreign concessionary in Shanghai which had a sign at the gate saying "No dogs, no Chinese". Now, in fact, there is no evidence that that sign ever existed. I have read a very learned article on this which went through all the literature and said in fact there is no evidence the sign was there, that doesn't actually matter. What really matters is the Chinese still believe firmly that such a sign did exist and whether or not it existed it was a symbol of what the Chinese felt, was the humiliation that was inflicted on them by outside powers. And so it's very important to remember that that is part of what the United States represents in the minds of Chinese. Now there is another aspect of the United States, several other aspects, there is also the missionary aspect. A great many American missionaries went to China in the course of the 19th and 20th centuries. The greatest number in fact of foreign missionaries in China were American and they came, yes in an entrepreneurial sort of spirit to save Chinese souls and of course China had a great many souls from the missionary point of view that needed to be said. Just as American businessmen came in an entrepreneurial spirit to sell goods to the Chinese and there were great many Chinese who think, to whom, things could be sold. But American missionaries, like other missionaries of course ended doing much more. They ended up founding schools, they ended up founding medical colleges, they ended up founding what turned into some of China's great universities. They founded presses, they translated western works, not just the Bible but things like science, scientific and technological works into Chinese and some missionaries became part of the conduit through which ideas from outside float into China and began to give the Chinese new concepts, new ways of looking at things. A number of Chinese owed and they felt it a lot to the education they received from the American missionaries in China and a number of Chinese came to absorb ideas that were coming in from outside, many of them American ideas and a number of Chinese came to look on the United States as a sort of model, as a country which exemplified virtues which they felt would do perhaps something to help China in the travails that it was going through. The young student in Hunan province in South-Central China before the First World War had two foreign heroes, he had a lot of Chinese heroes but he had two foreign heroes and one of them was George Washington and the other one was Abraham Lincoln. And that was Mao Zedong, as a young man. Those were two of his heroes. And he was not alone, I mean, there were increasingly among the young and increasingly nationalistic Chinese attempts to find models to help China out of what seemed an increasingly perilous situation. Because the real fear by the end of the 19th century for many Chinese was not just that the West was going to go on acting in this predatory way and causing China misery but that, in fact, the west was going to carve up China. That China would be carved up as the expression had it, like a melon and the bits of melon that were China would be divided up and handed out to one foreign power or another and China came very close to being divided up into a set of colonies. It was saved, partly I think, because there was a stand off among the outside powers. No one really wanted to start the process of dividing up China partly because the United States tried to insist on open door policy which would keep China whole while leaving it accessible for businessmen and missionaries from all different powers and partly because the First World War came along and the European powers who were busy making misery in China suddenly found themselves making misery for each other in Europe. And so that is another side of the Chinese attitude towards the United States. The United States as a place which, has sometimes proved itself to be benevolent to China, which did talk about the open door, which did hand back some of the moneys that was squeezed out, in fact, handed back all its share of the money squeezed out of China after the Box rebellion and handed them back to China for the education of Chinese which did try and help China in the 1920s and 1930s and so the Chinese attitude to the United States, I think, is made up of various strands. One, that the United States was part of the west, that the United States was to be feared, that the United States helped to bring misery to China and has done so at various intervals throughout Chinese history. The other side, the admiration for a society which seemed to many Chinese to offer them ways out of the impasse that China found itself in the 19th century. And I think the American attitude to China is similarly made up of different strands. The American attitude to China is partly made up of the strand which says lets exploit it. There is a great deal of labor there, there are resources there, there are markets there, they are places to invest money there and that's certainly one side and then there is the other side, another side which is made up of a sort of fear that there are too many Chinese, who knows what they are thinking, who knows what they are up to. Perhaps they are going to be a challenge to us, do we want them in this country and certainly in California, that was a very strong feeling before the First World War. What will immigration from Asia and that included Chinese, Indian and Japanese immigration, what will that do to American society, what will that do to our way of life; do we want those people here? Who knows, what sort of values they will bring with them, you see that sort of fear exemplified and some of you may remember in the Dr. Fu Manchu movies, old Hollywood movies and novels before that, in which, you have the mysterious Dr. Fu Manchu who is meant to possess ancient wisdom, never specified but generally the feeling is that ancient wisdom he possesses not good for anyone except him and he has a beautiful daughter who he has trained in the ancient wisdom and educated and educated beautiful women who know ancient wisdom are probably not a good thing either and Dr. Fu Manchu and his daughter plot to dominate the world. And so it's that side, you know, what is going on over there? What threat is there being carried to the United States? And then there is the side which, I think, has also been there in American history towards the China, the attitudes towards China, that China needs our help. That China is going through a dreadful time and that we have helped to create part of that dreadful time and maybe we also have a responsibility. And so, I think, to understand the ways in which China and the Chinese of today and America and the Americans of today look at each other, it is important to remember that history because in fact it's a long history. Now it's over two centuries long and it's a very tangled history and you can find memories of cooperation but you can also find memories of fear and antipathy and that has helped, I think, to make the relationship of today. More recently, of course, the relationship got very, very bad indeed. The United States and it's a long history and some of all of you will know it but the United States got increasingly involved in China's internal affairs in the 1930s as Japan grew in power and began to move into China, the United States understandably became increasingly concerned about that. And when in 1937 Japan moved down from Manchuria which it had already seized and seized most of the coast of China, the United States increasingly gave support to the Chinese force that they felt was most capable of defeating Japan. And that force was the nationalists under Chiang Kai-shek, the Guo Min Dang which, in fact, was the official and elected government of China and the United States gave support to the Guo Min Dang both during the Japanese invasion and after the Japanese invasion of 1937 and then, of course, after Pearl Harbor because they saw the Guo Min Dang, the Nationalists as the most likely to defeat Japan. They also gave some support to the Communists, the Chinese Communists, who were very much smaller, who were a challenge to the Nationalists but who didn't seem, certainly until 1945, as though they had a chance of taking the Nationalist's on. United States gave some support to the communists because during the Second World War I think they would have supported virtually any force that were capable of fighting or showed any willingness to fight against the Japanese. But that support was always limited, I think, partly for ideological reasons. United States was not particularly enthusiastic about supporting Communists and partly also because the Communists were really not a very large force. It did not seem to be nearly the force with nearly the capability of the Nationalists. American support for the Nationalists which was there in the Second World War in order to defeat Japan faced, I suppose, a sort of dilemma in 1945 when the war ended and that was would the Americans now withdraw support from the Nationalist, go home, go back to the situation before the Japanese invasion had started or would they continue to support the Nationalists in what looked like a coming civil war between them and the Communists. And, I think, once committed once committed to supporting the Nationalists during the Second World War it was rather difficult to stop supporting them when it looked like a civil war was going to come and I think United States without perhaps thoroughly intending to slid from supporting the Nationalists because they were a suitable foe of the Japanese and a likely foe to defeat to help defeat the Japanese to supporting them against the communists. And so in the civil war that raged from 1946 to 1949 United States support came firmly down on the side of the Nationalists and as it turned out they were supporting the losing side. In 1949 the communist won, what was left of the Nationalists, made their way to the off shore island of at Taiwan where they formed the government which claimed to be the Government of China. Possibly in 1949 the United States might have decided to withdraw it's support from Chiang Kai-shek's government in Taiwan, there were certainly those in Washington and indeed on the ground in Asia who weren't all that keen on Chiang Kai-shek, who felt that he had contributed considerably to his own defeat and had not taken American advice and that, of course, is always irritating, when someone doesn't take your advice. Possibly the United States, at that point, could have recognized the government that was in fact the de-facto government of China and that was the Communist government. I think it's very unlikely that there could have been any recognition and I don't think it is entirely on the American side, although I think by 1949 it would have been difficult for the Truman government to recognize the Communists. This was now the Cold War and there was considerable concern in the United States, both among public opinion and among the political leadership about the spread of communism but, I think, also the Chinese Communists didn't want to recognize the United States, didn't want to talk to the United States. I think both sides in 1949 had very little political will to talk to each other. Mao Tse-tung made a very famous speech in the fall of 1949 in which he said China will lean to one side and he was referring to the cold war and he was referring to China leaning towards the Soviet Union. And the first visit he paid, in fact, the first foreign visit he had ever paid in his life was to the Soviet Union. He went to Moscow, spent two months there, negotiated treaty with the Soviet Union. He was very clear about what he and China were going to place their allegiance and it was towards the Soviet Union. And so from 1949 to the end of the 1960s there was non-recognition between China and the United States and there was virtually no relationship at all. If there had ever been a faint hope that there might be a relationship, of course, the Korean war really put an end to that and plunged the relationship between the United States and People's Republic of China very firmly into the deep freeze. Once American and Chinese troops had fought and killed each other in Korea it was very difficult to imagine that there would immediately be any sort of rapprochement. And so you had a period and this is also part of the history between the United States and China where the two had virtually no relationship at all. No Americans were allowed to go to China, if they did they would lose their passports. No Chinese came to the United States, not even to organizations like the United Nations because the seat at the United Nations was, of course, held by the Government in Taiwan which the United States insisted was the legitimate government of China. There were no cultural exchanges, American and Chinese teams did not play against each other, there was no trade. It seems now, when we look back at it, in an extraordinary period, that two very large powers which both had interest in Asia should have had so little contact. But that was the way it existed. When the two sides talked about each other they tended to do so in vituperative terms. When the Americans talked about China they would not refer to the People's Republic of China, they'd talk about Red China. They would not call Beijing, Beijing they called it (Beibing) which is what the Nationalists insisted on calling it. And they said worse and the Chinese did the same. When the Chinese communists talked about the United States, when they talked about the American Presidents, they tended to precede the name of the President with things words like blood sucking and vampires. When Chinese school children, I have actually seen films of this, little Chinese children would play in the school play grounds, they play a little game with, you know, children play this with bean bags and they throw it through a hole and the hole would be the mouth of Uncle Sam with great fangs dripping with blood. I mean, this was both sides had these images of each other and both sides, of course, knew virtually nothing about each other because they had almost no ways of finding out and so if they knew anything about each other it was through a very, very distorted medium indeed. In Hong Kong, which was a British colony, which did have contacts with the People's Republic because Britain had recognized the new government in Beijing early on, there was a huge American consular establishment part of whose responsibilities were to try and peer over what increasingly people called the bamboo curtain, to look into China and try and figure out what on earth was going on. And to interview the refugees who came in waves out of China and to try and find out from them what political and social and economic developments were going on in China. Part of the responsibility was also to make sure that goods being exported from China into Hong Kong were not then re exported to the United States. It was perfectly legal for Hong Kong to receive Chinese goods but not legal for those goods then to move on to the United States and occasionally there would be a scare that somehow things were slipping through Hong Kong and being re-exported to the United States. There was the great wig scare of the 1950s. It turned out that Hong Kong had very cheap wigs and American women were snapping them up and there was a real concern and I remember reading there were articles and things like Reader's Digest that sort of, you know, what's the word, the Reader's Digest tended to reflect public concerns at the time and Reader's Digest had alarmist articles about what is are American women wearing putting communist hair on their heads and what will that do to the contents of those heads? And one of my favorites, some you will forgive me because I have already mentioned this to some of you, one of my favorites was the great chicken issue. Live chickens would be brought into Hong Kong from the People's Republic of China and of course, those were communists chickens and so when they were killed their feathers could not be put into pillows which could not be sent of to the United States and their meat could not be put into tins which could not be sent off to the United States and they couldn't be made into chicken soup and sent off to the United States, that was clear. But quite often the live chickens would come across the borders and then lay an egg and so was the egg a communist egg or a free world egg and this had to be referred back to Washington. It got even more complicated but I I, at this point, I thought I can't follow this trail very long, because sometimes the eggs would hatch chickens. But then, I think, they were they were okay, they were born on Hong Kong soil and that that sort of counted. But you know we laugh at it now and it does seem absolutely absurd that relations had reached that level or the lack of relations had reached that level. But it is, I think, indicative of what was a very great gulf. Occasionally one side or the other would try and make some sort of overture. The Chinese, for example, in the mid 1950s and it's a very famous moment at the Geneva conference of 1954 which was called partly to end the Korean war and also to deal with the collapse of the French empire in Indo-China and Zhou Enlai, who was at that point foreign minister, later to be Prime Minister was there and John Foster Dulles the US Secretary of State arrived and there were a number of diplomats in a large room because there were a number of countries represented there and John Foster Dulles walked in and Zhou Enlai went towards him with his hand outstretched and John Foster Dulles walked by and he would not shake his hand. And well, he said he couldn't afford to do it because if it got into the right wing press at home it would just cause endless sorts of trouble but it was a handshake or the lack of a handshake the Chinese remembered and it was one of the big issues of the Nixon visit. It was one of the things the Chinese talked about in the preparations for the trip. Will the President shake our Prime Minister's hand, Zhou En-Lai's hand? And they had to be reassured that yes indeed, there would be a handshake. And so if you ever see pictures of Nixon getting of his aero plane in Beijing you may wonder why he comes down with his hands stretched out like this and that is because he wanted to make sure that everyone got the handshake and he shakes Zhou En-Lai hand, it's caught on the cameras and he makes sure and they all make sure that it is caught on the cameras. The Americans at that point were not ready to talk to the Chinese and so what might have been an easing of tensions simply didn't occur. Later on at the beginning of the Kennedy administration there was a moment when in the early days of the Kennedy administration people said, maybe the time has come to try and put the past behind us and talk to China. Particularly since the Sino-Soviet split, the split between those two great communist countries was beginning to come out into the open and there was some talk of that, but the Chinese were not ready at that point to talk and in any case Kennedy was assassinated and the Johnson administration then got itself involved even more deeply in Vietnam and that meant it was impossible really to talk to China once the United States began to get more and more involved in Vietnam and so it was only at the end of the 1960s that you began to get a very fortunate, in my view, coincidence, of interest and attitudes in both countries. On parallel paths without the other realizing it, the two countries began to to move together towards or their leaders began to move towards the conclusion that the time had come to put an end to what was increasingly a really awkward and, I think, difficult situation and doing neither country all that much good. In the United States Richard Nixon came into office, elected in 1968 and, I think, he had already, I mean, the evidence is that he had already begun to reach the conclusion that the United States should try an opening to China and he had been talking about this before he became President both to his inner circle and also had said something about this in an article that he wrote for foreign affairs in 1967 and I think, he decided that this was necessary for the United States and he had, I think, very good reason for making this decision. To begin with he felt that an opening to China would put pressure on the Soviet Union. The split between China and the Soviet Union was now clear to everyone. I mean, initially when the Chinese and Soviets began hurling insults at each other it was in very arcane communist language. You know, they called each other revisionists and back sliders and some people didn't really pick up the fact that this was extremely rude terminology in the communist world and there were even conspiracy theories in Washington and elsewhere who said this is a very clever plot on the part of the communist, convinces of their falling out but they haven't really fallen out. But I think even the most obdurate were now convinced by the end of the 1960s and Nixon felt that using the split and establishing a relationship with China would put pressure on the Soviet Union and it was necessary. The Soviets were, of course, thoroughly enjoying the spectacle of United States coming to grief in Vietnam and were proving to be rather slow to want to have a summit, to want to negotiate the arms deals and other parts of dÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â©tente that Nixon felt were necessary. And so Nixon felt that an opening to China would benefit the United States. He also felt that it would help the United States with Vietnam and Nixon was, like many Americans at the time, very concerned with what was going on in Vietnam, the ways in which it was damaging United States causing internal dissension and trouble abroad. As he campaigned Nixon said, I have a plan to get out of Vietnam and I am not sure he really had a very full plan but what he hoped was that by going to Beijing, by opening to China he would manage to establish a new relationship which would help him to put pressure on the North Vietnamese. He assumed, I think, wrongly that the communist world behaved rather like an army. China was one of the big Communists. China was giving a lot of support to North Vietnam. If he could establish a relationship with China and perhaps offer the Chinese something in return, he could persuade the Chinese communists to say to the North Vietnamese you must negotiate, well seriously then you have been with the United States and you must be prepared to ease the way out of the war for the United States. That was a hope which didn't, in fact, materialize but that was very much part of his thinking as he began to consider at what was a very dramatic shift in American foreign policy. As it happened, on his own parallel past, Mao Tse-tung in China was reaching the same conclusion. And it really did matter that it was these two men. I think, Nixon in the United States had the authority to carry this off and without Nixon's being prepared to push it, politically I don't think the United States would have moved in the direction of an opening to China and the same thing was true in China, even more so because China was so much more an authoritarian society than the United States. And Mao Tse-tung, although he was old and increasingly ailing still decided all the important strategy questions and indeed some of the less important issues as well. And Mao was beginning to reach the conclusion by 1969 the China was, in fact, in a rather dangerous situation. Now a lot of that was his doing. He had managed to alienate most of his neighbors. He had fought a war with India. China was on very bad terms with South Korea. It was on no terms at all with Taiwan, in fact, it was always on the edge of a war with Taiwan. It was on no terms with Japan. It had very few friends. Indeed, its main friend, - he had also during the cultural revolution which had turned China upside down closed most of China's embassies abroad and brought China's diplomats back so their thoughts and attitudes could be purified of whatever dangerous foreign ideas they had picked up when they were away And so some of China's most experienced and distinguished diplomats were out in the country working on farms in order to learn from the farmers and so really the main friend that China had in the world by 1969 was Albania and Albania was a very fervent supporter. Now you shouldn't laugh like that because Albania will be very hurt but Albania was not a major world power and although Albania was steadfast and fervent in its support for China it really did not make up for all the other enemies China had, particularly, of course, China was worried about the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union had been moving troops out to the common border in the Far East increasingly, several million of them. It was also stationing bombers in places like Outer Mongolia which was a Soviet satellite which were capable of carrying nuclear warheads and in the spring and summer of 1969 there were armed clashes along the common border in which the Chinese and Soviet soldiers were killed. Very alarmingly for the Chinese in the fall of 1969 they began to get reports that Soviet diplomats were going around and asking rather curious questions at cocktail parties. Soviet diplomats would sidle up apparently to American diplomats and say, you know, after the usual chit-chat, "I have a hypothetical question for you, purely hypothetical, I should stress. What would your government say", meaning the American government, "Say and this is purely hypothetical, if the Soviet Union were to drop, in a purely hypothetical way, a few nuclear bombs on China" and the American government or the American officials would say, quiet rightly, "Our government would look on that and its very dangerous indeed and then likely to lead to a Third World War and so, we would rather you didn't think of doing it." And word of this got back to the Chinese. I mean, they began to hear these rumors and there was a real panic in Beijing in the fall of 1969. A number of the top leaders went out of town and huge civil defense preparations were made because they really were afraid of a sneak Soviet nuclear attack. Now Mao talked a lot of bravado, don't worry, he said I will go up to the hills again and fight just like I did. Well Mao would have to have been carried up to the hills and probably would not have survived. I mean, his health was very bad indeed and I think even Mao living in his rather imperial isolation in Beijing was beginning to realize that China was in a very dangerous situation indeed and that the revolution and all that he had worked for was at risk of being lost. And so by the end of 1969 the key leaders and I think this really a case where you have to look at the key leaders in both the United States and the Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China had decided the time had come to talk to each other. The trouble was, how do they let the other side know? If you have only hurled insults across the gulf for 20 years you can't suddenly raise your hand and say, "Look, I didn't mean it" and "Why don't we talk and we have a lot in common" because you had no way of knowing how the other side would respond. And you had every expectation the other side would publicly humiliate you and say we don't want to talk to you anyway. And so Nixon began and it was Nixon's, I think, initiative really on this one, began to send messages, and he would talk to people like Charles De Gaulle, for example, the French President who had good relations with China and say look, could you let them know we really are serious, we want to talk, we want to try and establish a relationship and he talked to Nicolae Ceausescu the dictator of Romania and said something similar. The channel which finally seems to have worked and produced results is the one through Pakistan and Pakistan had very good relations with both China and the United States and so a very, very delicate, secret negotiation started. So delicate that pieces of paper with Chinese handwriting never got to Washington and pieces of paper with American handwriting never got to China. The Pakistani government, usually Ayub Khan himself, the dictator of Pakistan or his foreign minister would get the text of the message would then relay it on their own words to the other capital and then answers would come back in the same way. So it was always deniable. What also began to happen is both sides began to send signals that a thought ____ was in the end. In January 1970 Nixon for the first time referred to the People's Republic of China and that signal was picked up in Beijing. Mao, in the fall of 1970, invited Edgar Snow who was an old friend, a radical, a left wing American journalist who had got to know most of the communists in the 1930s. Invited him to Beijing, had him sit on the big reviewing stand with him on China's National Day and said to him in a long interview, "By the way if Nixon felt like dropping in on China I would be delighted to see him" and unfortunately some of those signals didn't get through. Edgar Snow was not well. He went of to Switzerland to recuperate and no one from Washington came to see him and the interview was not in fact published till six months later. And so it was a very laborious process through many fits and turns and there were moments when it could have been derailed. But finally in 1971 an invitation came from China to the United States through the Pakistan medium to invite President Nixon to send a high ranking emissary to Beijing to talk about matters of common interest and possibly to arrange for a visit by the American President himself. And there is a wonderful conversation which luckily was recorded on the Nixon tapes where Nixon talks to Henry Kissinger, his National Security Advisor about who should go. And you can see that Nixon doesn't want to send Kissinger and you can see that Kissinger is the obvious person for him to send because Kissinger has worked very closely with him on this. Nixon doesn't want to send Kissinger because he is afraid Kissinger will take away the glory of being the first American to go there and he is already becoming slightly jealous of the prestige and stature that Kissinger is gaining in the presses as the architect of American foreign policy. And so this is wonderful conversation where Nixon says, well, "Henry, who shall we send?" "Well, Mr. President, you know, who do you think?" "Well", says Nixon, sort of playing with Kissinger, "what about Nelson Rockefeller?" "Well, Mr. President, you know, great choice, but I don't know if he knows enough about China. Does he have the background?" "Well, you are probably right, Henry. What about George Bush?" And that of course is George Bush Sr. "Well, I don't know Henry", - "I don't know Mr. President, would he be tough enough with the Communists. Nice man, but I am not sure", you know, and so on. And Nixon says, "Well, you are probably right", and then you see Nixon grasping at possibly a straw and says, "I have got it Averell Harriman", who has negotiated with Communists before, is well informed, is tough. "Great choice, Mr. President", says Henry Kissinger, "but he has been dead for four months. And so at that point you can see Nixon reaching the inevitable and saying, "Henry, I think you better go." And Kissinger says, "Well, yes, Mr. President, I will do my best." And so Henry Kissinger goes off, its highly secret and I think the secrecy was necessary, because if it would become public and there had been the usual sort of press furor in the United States, the Chinese might well have got spooked. I mean, I think, they really didn't understand how a free society worked and they would have thought this was sort of the Americans not being sincere and there might well have been complaints from American allies and the Japanese, the Taiwanese and in particular but others as well. And so Kissinger goes off and this is very dramatic. Well, not very dramatic, it goes on a very sort of mundane trip to Asia, goes from one capital to the other, stops in Delhi and then flies on to Pakistan to Rawalpindi and arrives in Pakistan and it said that he has picked up a bug in Delhi and has got to cancel all his appointments for the weekend. This incidentally infuriates the Indians, relations between India and Pakistan are very bad and the Indians and there is about to be a war in fact and the Indians conclude that this shows yet again the United States is tilting towards Pakistan. And it's contempt for Indian cooking and so on. At any rate Kissinger disappears from the public eye in Pakistan and it said all appointments are cancelled and that night at the airport there is this flurry, a number of cars come. Its about two in the morning and a rather rotund figure wearing a floppy hat. And according to one account dark glasses at 2:00 am, I don't know if that bit is true, dashes out of one of the cars and then rushes up the steps onto the Pakistan International Airliner. As it happens, there is a Reuter's correspondent there. Stringer for Reuter's and notices this and he is seeing his mother off, I think, and calls over one of the policemen whose - quite a few policemen and says, "What's going on?" And the policemen obligingly always helpful pause himself up and says, "Oh, that's Mr. Kissinger sir, off in a secret trip to China." And, of course and the correspondent that you could imagine, I mean, that because it is a diplomatic revolution. Suddenly the prospect of these two former enemies talking to each other is going to really transform international relations and so the Reuter's correspondent dashes to the telephone, calls London where head office is, and said I got a story and the story is that Henry Kissinger is going to China on a secret mission. And the Reuter's reaction at headquarters is, "Oh lord, he has being drinking again." And so the great scoop never gets revealed. It's one of the great missed opportunities in journalistic history and so Kissinger goes off. There is a very important series of meetings in Beijing. He doesn't meet Mao, but he meets Zhou Enlai who is acting for Mao and they begin what are very, very difficult negotiations. Difficult, because they not only have to talk about the big issues, Taiwan is a huge one, Vietnam is a huge one, Soviet Union is huge. But they also have to talk about the details of the trip and these are important, because these are both very sensitive, very prickly countries who are very conscious of their own national dignity and pride and so there are very difficult discussions over such issues of what car will the President ride in. Will he as usual ride in an armored presidential Limousine flown out from the United States driven by an American driver or will he ride in a Chinese car. And the Chinese say our cars our Limousines are good enough for anyone including an American President that has to be referred back to Washington. And so it's not easy to organize this trip either at the grand strategic level or just in the mundane details and it takes a further visit by Kissinger in October 1971 and then a visit by Alexander Haig in January 1972 who is meant to finish up the details and very nearly throws the whole thing off the rails again because he says something, as he says himself, I speak like a blunt soldier and says something, I am tactless and the Chinese get - he says something in one conversation with Zhou Enlai. He says we want to make sure that China is a viable country. And Zhou Enlai actually knows English but always uses interpreters and I talked to his interpreter afterwards and she is when I was in China and she said Zhou Enlai, sort of let it go but then after the meaning, he said to her what does viable mean and they rushed and got the English dictionary. He said, "Is that what Haig said?" He said, "This is outrageous. He means we aren't a country that works." And so given the sensitivities and the gulf between them it could have gone very badly wrong at anytime, but it didn't. And Nixon came to China in February 1972, I think a very Statesman-like act, I think actually quite a brave act. He got on the aero plane among other things, in Washington, without knowing whether he'd get a meeting with Mao. And, I think, that was taking a considerable political risk. He did get his meeting with Mao. It, in itself, was not a very interesting meeting and I think very inconclusive, but the fact that it happened was the important thing and the pictures from Beijing and some of you will remember, they were extraordinary. We all knew so little about China and suddenly we are able to see Tiananmen Square, the Great Hall of the People, people on the streets of Beijing. We saw Nixon standing in the Forbidden City. We saw Nixon on the Great Wall. And some of you may remember the great line that he uttered on the Great Wall, a journalists was planted. The Press Secretary, Ron Ziegler, I think, it was said, I am going to give you a chance, I am going to let you ask the President what he thinks of the Great Wall and the journalist was terribly excited. So he said, "Mr. President, Mr. President, what do you think of the Great Wall?" And with great pause, and Nixon had been prime for this question he said, "It certainly is a great wall." But then he did go on and say built by great people, and of course then made more, you know, flattering references to the greatness of Chinese Civilization. But that trip, I think really did change something very dramatically in the relationship between China and the United States. And, I think, it's worth remembering it because it is a very important incident and a very important part of that relationship which is there today. It marked the end of that period of coldness. But it's a period which both sides still remember. It opened the door not very wide at first, but it opened the door to what became the very complex and very multifarious and very multi-level relationship that we see today. And so forgive me for talking history to you when you are interested more in the contemporary scene. But I think this is a very important part of the memories of both sides and it's very important, I think to look back at it and to remind ourselves of how long that relationship is, how complicated it's been, what memories are on both sides and what sensitivities there are on both sides? I mean, those haven't gone away, they are still there today. But the relationship has moved on a lot and I think both countries have learned a great deal from each other in the past few years and I think what we have to hope and I speak, as a Canadian, but also I think, I express the hope on anyone who is interested in the stability of the world that the relationship will continue to be one which works because if those two great powers don't get on then, I think, we are all going to feel a chill. Thanks very much