February 26, 1972 – Hangzhou
The morning of February 26 was spent making final preparations for travel from Peking to the next stop on the President’s trip, Hangzhou, the capital city of Zhejiang Province. President Nixon and Premier Chou En-lai left for Peking’s Capitol Airport at 8:30 a.m. and had a brief meeting in an airport conference room before the arrival of the rest of the American delegation at 10:15 a.m. The President and the First Lady then said farewell to People’s Republic of China officials before boarding Premier Chou’s plane, PRC-1, and the Honor Guard of the People’s Liberation Army gave the Presidential party a dignified sendoff.
PRC-1 landed at Hangzhou Airport just before 1 o’clock that afternoon. Members of the Provincial Revolutionary Committee of Chekiang greeted the Presidential party and escorted the President to his residence, the West Lake Guest House in Hang-Chou. After enjoying tea and lunch, the President and First Lady set off on a tour of Hua Kong Park and the West Lake with Premier Chou and Nan Ping, Chairman of the Provincial Revolutionary Committee of Chekiang. The West Lake is the perhaps the best-known attraction in the city of Hang-chou, which is known for its breathtaking scenery. While touring the lake by boat, the party stopped briefly at San-t’an Yin-yueh, or the Island of Three Towers Reflecting the Moon.
The President returned to the West Lake Guest House at 4:27 p.m. and spent the early evening hours in meetings with his aides and meeting with the American press corps. Then at 7:30 p.m., the President and the First Lady drove to the Hang-chou Hotel where they attended a banquet hosted by the Provincial Revolutionary Committee of Chekiang. They returned to the West Lake Guest House shortly after 10 o’clock and the President met with his Chief-of-Staff H.R. Haldeman before retiring.
Harmony Barker is a Research Assistant at the Richard Nixon Foundation.