On Thursday at Wofford College in Spartanburg, South Carolina, President Nixon’s younger brother Edward spoke in the second of the Hipp Lecture Series on International Affairs and National Security. (The first event in this series was a debate among the Republican presidential candidates last fall.)
The audience heard Ed Nixon talk about various topics concerning RN’s presidency, with particular emphasis given to the world-changing re-establishment of relations with the People’s Republic of China and the historic 1972 visit to that country. It would be another decade before the younger Nixon had the chance to visit China himself, but starting in 1983, Ed went there on the first of about 40 trips.
An article about the lecture in the Spartanburg Herald-Journal describes a remarkable event during Ed’s most recent journey:
He visited the country in February to retrace his brother’s steps, taking him to six cities now modernized and where capitalists outnumber communists, he said.
A banquet was held in his honor where Nixon sat beside Mao Tse-tung’s daughter, Li Min, who toasted him and said it was the first time in 40 years that a member of the Mao family had met with a member of the Nixon family.
“Let’s drink to families,” he recalled her saying.
In an interview before his speech, Nixon said he responded, “It’s taken a long time to come ‘round this circle, but we realize now that we are leaving our children a legacy of many problems. We still have our central theme of getting together, agreeing on common goals.”
He said coming together will be a slow and gradual process and one in which radical ideas from both sides will have to be neutralized.
“Let’s drink to the children. It’s now their problem. That was my answer,” he said in response to the toast.
Ed’s career has been in the field of geology and mineral resources, and he told the audience in Spartanburg:
“Policy is extremely important in every country. We need friends everywhere. We certainly don’t need any enemies in countries where they have resources that we will all depend globally for the future of energy.”
Robert Nedelkoff is a writer for the Richard Nixon Foundation.