President Nixon’s last full day in the People’s Republic of China was by far the busiest. The day began with an early flight from Hang-chou to Shanghai. The President and First Lady said goodbye to their hosts on the Hang-chou Provincial and Municipal Revolutionary Committees, boarded PRC-1 with Premier Chou En-lai, and landed at Hung Chiao Airport in Shanghai all before 10:30 a.m. President Nixon even managed to fit in a meeting with his aides and with Chinese officials during the flight.
Upon arrival in Shanghai, the Presidential party was greeted by Chang Chun-chaio, Chairman of the Shanghai Municipal Revolutionary Committee, who then escorted the President directly to the Shanghai Industrial Exhibition. After a tour of the exhibition with Mr. Chang and Premier Chou, President and Mrs. Nixon were taken to Ching Kiang, the Shanghai guest house, arriving just before noon. The President briefly sat down to tea with members of the American and Chinese official parties before using the rest of the afternoon to meet with aides and advisors.
At 7 o’clock, the President and First Lady returned to the Exhibition Hall as the guests of honor at a banquet hosted by Mr. Chang. The banquet lasted until 9 o’clock, at which time the Presidential party walked to the nearby Cultural Theater to see an acrobatic performance. President and Mrs. Nixon returned to Ching Kiang just before 11 o’clock, but although the evening’s entertainment had come to an end, the night had only just begun. In order to put the finishing touches on the joint statement that would be released by the governments of the United States and the People’s Republic of China at the end of the trip, President Nixon and his staff stayed awake into the wee hours of the next morning. The hours of meetings and phone calls finally ended at 4 a.m. on February 28.
Harmony Barker is a Research Assistant at the Richard Nixon Foundation.