A Consequential Toast

President Nixon and Premier Chou En-lai toast at the Great Hall of the People.

In his toast at the Welcome Banquet on February 21st, 1972 in the Great Hall of the People, President Nixon laid out the potential that trip held for the future of the US-Chinese relationship.

“What we say here will not be long remembered. What we do here can change the world… What legacy shall we leave our children? Are they destined to die for the hatreds which have plagued the old world, or are they destined to live because we had the vision to build a new world?”

President Nixon’s words were bold, candid, and consequential. Looking back at those words now, we can see that the President was addressing both the Chinese and the world. With Soviet relations moving out of their deep-freeze, the ramifications of this journey would have an effect beyond US-Chinese relations, and truly restructure global relations. Beginning this important relationship could not wait.

“This is the day, this is the hour for our two peoples to rise to the heights of greatness which can build a new and better world.”