Nixon in China
The airfield outside Peking. It is a very cold, clear, dry morning;
Monday, February 21, 1972; the air is full of static electricity. No
airplanes are arriving; there is the odd note of birdsong. Finally,
from behind some buildings, come the sounds of troops marching. Contingents
of army, navy, and air force - 120 men of each service - circle the field
and begin to sing
The Three Main Rules of Discipline and the
A jet is heard approaching, touching down, and taxiing across the runway.
As The Spirit of '76 comes into view, slowing to a stop, Premier Chou En-lai
and a small group of officials stroll out to meet it, casting long shadows
in the pale yellow light. A ramp is drawn up to the hatchway.
After a pause the door opens and President Nixon stands in the opening for
an instant, then begins to descend the ramp, closely followed by the First
Lady in her scarlet coat. When the President reaches the middle of
the ramp, Premier Chou begins to clap and the President stops short and returns
the gesture, according to the Chinese custom. He reaches the bottom
step and extends his right hand as he walks towards the Premier. They
|Soldiers of heaven hold the sky
The morning breaks and shadows fly
Follow the orders of the poor
Your master is the laborer
Who rules the world with truth and grace
Deal with him justly, face to face
Pay a fair price for all you buy
Pay to replace what you destroy
Divide the landlord's property
Take nothing from the tenantry
Do not mistreat the captive foe
Respect women, it is their due
Replace doors when you leave a house
Roll up straw matting after use
The people are the heroes now
Behemoth pulls the peasant's plow
When we look up, the fields are white
With harvest in the morning light
And mountain ranges one by one
Rise red beneath the harvest moon
As the rest of the American party disembarks, the band strikes up.
The Premier introduces the President to the Chinese official entourage, and
together they review the massed ranks of the honor guard. All heads
turn as they pass. While the introductions are beginning, the President
begins to sing, and , as he sings, the joy of anticipated triumph becomes
the terrible expectation of failure. The Chinese and American
official parties in due course leave the stage. The brilliant sunshine
dwindles to the light of incandescent lamps. a telephone rings twice
offstage, is picked up offstage. In a moment Henry Kissinger interrupts
the President to tell him that Chairman Mao wishes to meet with him.
|Your flight was smooth, I hope?
Smoother than usual I guess.
Yes, it was very pleasant. We
Stopped in Hawaii for a day
And Guam, to catch up on the time.
It's easier that way. The Prime
Minister knows about that. He
Is such a traveller
|No, not I;
But as a traveller come home
For good to China, one for whom
All travel is a penance now
I am most proud to welcome you.
|News has a kind of mystery:
When I shook hands with Chou En-lai
On this bare field outside Peking
Just now, the world was listening.
| May I --
|Though we spoke quietly
The eyes and ears of history
Caught every gesture --
| -- introduce --
| And every word, transforming us
As we, transfixed, --
| -- the Deputy
Minister of Security.
| Made history. [Our shaking of hands
Were shaping time. Each moment stands
Out sharp and clear.
| -- Army.] May I --
| On our flight over from Shanghai
|The Minister --
| -- the countryside
Looked drab and grey. "Brueghel," Pat said.
"We came in peace for all mankind"
I said, and I was put in mind
of our Apollo astronauts
| -- of the United States
|NIXON|| Achieving a great human dream.
We live in an unsettled time.
Who are out enemies? Who are
Our friends? The Eastern Hemisphere
Beckoned to us, and we have flown
East of the sun, west of the moon
Across an ocean of distrust
Filled with the bodies of our lost;
The earth's Sea of Tranquility.
It's prime time in the U. S. A.
Yesterday night. They watch us now;
The three main network's colors glow
Livid through drapes onto the lawn.
Dishes are washed and homework done,
The dog and grandma fall asleep,
A car roars past playing loud pop,
Is gone. As I look down the road
I know America is good
At heart. An old cold warrior
Piloting towards an unknown shore
Through shoals. The rats begin to chew
The sheets. There's murmuring below.
Now there's ingratitude! My hand
Is steady as a rock. A sound
Like mourning doves reaches my ears,
Nobody is a friend of ours.
[Let's face it. If we don't succeed
on this summit, our name is mud.
We're not out of the woods, not yet.]
The nation's heartland skips a beat
As our hands shield the spinning globe
From the flame-throwers of the mob.
We must press on. We know we want --
WHAT? -- OH YES --
| Mr. President --