University of Virginia Library

Nixon Visit To China
Becomes Landmark Event


(Mr. Hussain is an S.J.D. candidate in
the Law School. He is a citizen of the
new state of Bangladesh and has
maintained a keen interest in China.


February 17, 1972, may go down in
American history and world history as a
date which is as momentous as the ones
on which the United States decided to
join the First World War and the Second
World War.

That date when President Nixon
helicoptered to Andrews Air Force Base
to board the presidential jet that took
him eventually to the mainland of China
Guam he, perhaps, unwittingly, started a
process the end product of which may be
no less revolutionary than the revolution
that turned China red. Of course, no red
star accompanied the presidential plan on
its journey back home, and the
Americans need not put the passengers in
quarantine, they do when the astronauts
return from the moon to ascertain
whether they are carrying some red

When the President announced his
decision to visit the forbidden land, red
alarm lights flashed in many capitals in
both the East and the West. As the
presidential plane flew eastward, the red
lights in these capitals blazed with
demoniac ferocity. The Kremlin, no
longer able to contain the eerie feelings it
has been experiencing since the
announcement of the visit, has warned
that normalizing relations is all right, but
that making a deal at the expense of
other countries is not all right.

Japan, perhaps, articulated the
misgivings of the World War II and
post-World War II allies of the U. S. A.
when the Japanese ambassador to the U.S.
indicated that Washington does not
consult Tokyo as much as the latter
wishes and suggested, citing to
Washington's changed posture with regard
to Taiwan, that the U. S. is letting down
its old friends to make new friends.

The summit conferences President
Nixon had, prior to his departure for
China, with the chief executives of
Washington's European and Pacific allies
do not seem to have done much to allay
the fears and misgivings of these nations.

Mr. Nixon does not seem to have
consulted the allies before he started the
China ball rolling. The vital and
potentially radical decision to change U.S.
stance toward Communist China to
lead to a Mao-Nixon summit meeting in
Peking appears to have been made,
initially, without discussion with the
British, French, Canadian and Japanese

By the time the United Nations
General Assembly took up again the
question of Communist China's admission
to the U. N. in its 1971 session, the
decision regarding Nixon's visit had been

U. S. Policy, which no longer opposed
Peking's entry into the U. N. but insisted
on retaining a seat for Chiang Kai-chek's
government, appeared to most of the
countries which had supported the U. S.
stand on China in earlier years to be
contradictory to Washington's changed
attitude toward Peking.