Following a week of diplomatic discussions and debates with Chinese officials, President Nixon, together with the leadership of the People’s Republic of China, released the historic Shanghai Communiqué early in the morning on February 28.  After very few hours of rest, President Nixon and his party rose to prepare for their departure from the People’s Republic of China.  The President had one last meeting with Premier Chou En-lai before leaving for Hung Chiao Airport at 9:40 a.m.  Once there, President and Mrs. Nixon said their goodbyes to Premier Chou and the official People’s Republic of China delegation before boarding the Spirit of ’76.  At 10:10 a.m., the American delegation departed from Shanghai and began the journey home.
The President finally returned to American soil at Alaska’s Elmendorf Air Force Base at 12:05 a.m., Alaska Time, on February 28. Nine hours later the Presidential party flew to Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland, where the President and First Lady were greeted by their daughters, as well as members of Congress, the Cabinet, and the press.  President Nixon then gave a nationally televised address on the success of his trip to the People’s Republic of China before returning to the White House at almost 10 o’clock, Eastern Standard Time.

Harmony Barker is a Research Assistant at the Richard Nixon Foundation.