July 28, 1967. Rostow sends this memo to President Johnson regarding growing violence in China related to the Cultural Revolution. In a memo that Rostow received from Alfred Jenkins on July 21st, Jenkins reported:
“The pace of social disintegration in China at present is even greater than it was in January and February. Evidence from many sources gives a picture of turbulence and confusion, in varying degree, but in each of the 26 provinces of China!”
—memo, Jenkins to Rostow, 7/21/67, #49, “CHICOM - Cultural Revolution, July - December 1967,” Files of Alfred Jenkins, National Security File, Box 2, LBJ Presidential Library.
—scanned document memo, Rostow to LBJ, 7/28/67, #47, “CHICOM - Cultural Revolution, July - December 1967, Files of Alfred Jenkins, National Security File, Box 2, LBJ Presidential Library.
On July 15, 1971, Richard Nixon announced to the nation that he had accepted the PRC’s invitation for him visit China.
President Nixon’s trip to China in 1972 ended twenty-five years of isolation between the United States and the People’s Republic of China (PRC). He viewed his trip as the first step in a long process of contact between the United States and the PRC. Further, he believed it would reduce tension between the United States, the PRC, and the Soviet Union.
The President’s trip to China required a tremendous amount of planning. Part of this effort involved matters of protocol and etiquette, such as the use of chopsticks.
Image: Transcript of Speech President Nixon Gave Announcing Upcoming Trip to China. 7/15/1971.
More on Ping Pong Diplomacy: Nixon’s Trip to China on the Presidential Timeline.
A Scrap of Silk Tells an Airman’s Story:
On June 29, 1944, 16 American planes were flying a mission against the Japanese along the Laodoho River in the Hunan Province in China. After several followed a road away from the river, one of the planes crashed into a building and then skidded across the rice fields, breaking apart and burning.
Over a year later, the Changsha Search Team reported finding the grave of an unidentified pilot. The team recovered the engine numbers and serial plates of the carburetor and radio compass and noted that “A Chinese Flage [sic] Identification which was worn on this fliers [sic] jacket, number 12331, has been found.”
Foreign pilots were issued a rescue patch called a hu chao after they become advisers to the Chinese Air Force in 1937. The hu chao depicted the Chinese National Flag, the chop (stamp) of the Chinese Air Force Headquarters, and text in Mandarin or Cantonese that read: “This foreign person has come to China to help in the war effort. Soldiers and civilians, one and all, should rescue, protect, and provide him medical care.”
Lt. James Vurgaropulos carried just such a chit. James was born on February 22, 1919, in Lowell, MA, to Greek immigrant parents. He was a pilot in the 75th Fighter Squadron, 23rd Fighter Group of the United States Army Air Force when his plane went down on June 29, 1944, apparently killing him instantly. He was 25 years old.
The Day After the Doolittle Raid
Generalissimo and Madame Chiang Kai Shek and Lieutenant General Joseph W. Stilwell pose together the day after the Doolittle Raid on Japan. This raid also known as the Tokyo Raid was the first time American forces attacked Japan at home.
Generalissimo and Madame Chiang Kai Shek and Lieutenant General Joseph W. Stilwell, Commanding General, China Expeditionary Forces, on the day following Japanese bombing attack [Doolittle Raid]. Maymyo, Burma., 04/19/1942
Looking up from Taiping River as cables are attached to suspension clamps of stiffening girder section from west bank, in order to raise or lower it to level of section from opposite bank. Bailey bridge. 209th Engr. Combat Battalion China, February 4, 1945.
Happy Year of the Horse!
Two terra cotta tomb sculptures of men on horses, 05/09/1967
From the series: Artifacts Relating to the Life and Presidency of Lyndon B. Johnson.
From the Scope & Content description:
Each figure is made of glazed and unglazed terra cotta. They were excavated near Sian, capital of Shensi Province and given to President and Mrs. Lyndon B. Johnson from President and Madame Chiang Kai-Shek of the Republic of China. The artist is unknown.
(From the holdings of the lbjlibrary.)
Deng Xiaoping in America
Jimmy Carter, Deng Xiaoping, Rosalynn Carter and Madame Zhuo Lin stop for a formal pose on their way to the state dinner for the Vice Premier of China., 01/29/1979
In 1949, the Communist Party seized power in China, and in response, the United States severed diplomatic relations. Thirty years later, the United States resumed diplomatic relations with China, and this 1979 photograph shows President Jimmy Carter in a formal, public ceremony greeting Vice Premier Deng Xiaoping. It was the first time a Communist Chinese leader had visited the United States.
If you are excited about the newest panda at the National Zoo, you should thank Richard Nixon.
President Nixon’s historic trip to China in February 1972 opened diplomatic and trade relations between the two countries and was one of the most successful achievements of his administration. The result that sticks most keenly in the popular memory, though, is the arrival of two chubby black and white furry goodwill ambassadors—Ling-Ling (shown here) and Hsing-Hsing.
Mrs. Nixon had been captivated by the pandas at the zoo in Beijing and was delighted to head up the delegation to welcome the pandas to the National Zoo.
On April 16, 1972, she officially accepted the gift of the People’s Republic of China and declared, “I think ‘panda-monium’ is going to break out at the zoo.”
She was right. Ling-Ling and Hsing-Hsing were the top attractions at the zoo until their deaths in in the 1990s.
Watch Mrs. Nixon’s speech from 1972 on the Prologue blog.
Image: Ling-Ling munches on her snack on her first day in the new Panda House at the National Zoo in Washington, DC, April 16, 1972. (Nixon Presidential Library)
September 21, 1949 - Mao Zedong announces that The Communist Party of China will lead the new Chinese government.
Twenty-six years later, Mao Zedong would shake hands with U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger during President Ford’s visit to China. This photo was taken on a visit to Chairman Mao’s residence in Peking by the Gerald R. Ford, daughter Susan Ford, and Kissinger. December 2, 1975.
Another Amelia Earhart Mystery?
On August 24, 1945 a telegram was sent via U.S. Naval Radio that relayed personal messages from civilian internees liberated from Weihsien Internment Camp located in present-day Weifang, Shangdong, China.
These very brief messages usually gave a few words of reassurance “…family all well…,” “Advise Mother all concentration camp liberated…,” “Health perfect spirits high,” and then signed by the internee.
However, one is very unusual. Found on page 10 it was written to G. P. Putnam, Amelia Earhart’s widower – it reads: G P PUTNAM 10042 VALLEY SPRING LANE NORTH HOLLYWOOD CALIFORNIA CAMP LIBERATED ALL WELL VOLUMES TO TELL LOVE TO MOTHER
Unsigned and rather mysterious – the message to Putnam was sent anonymously and it has never been determined who actually sent it. According to conspiracy theorists, “Love to Mother” was a phrase Amelia Earhart used to say. The fact of its anonymity is what makes the telegram so interesting, and (along with never finding Earhart’s plane or remains) has led to a few theorists saying that this was proof that Earhart survived on an island in the Pacific for years during the war and ended up in a Japanese camp, and after it was liberated, decided to live out the rest of her life in quiet anonymity instead of coming back the States as a rescued celebrity.
Here at Today’s Document, we’re not coming to any conclusions about Earhart, but we thought you might enjoy a little mystery for your Friday.
Left: Page 1 of the 12 page document
Right: Page 10 with text of Telegram to G. P. Putnam
Lou Henry Hoover’s Report on the Boxer Rebellion
In this letter, Lou Henry Hoover chides college friend Evelyn Wight Allen for her failure to come to China in time for the Boxer Rebellion in June, 1900. The Hoovers — along with 800 European and American citizens — had suffered through a 45 day siege by 30,000 Boxers who had surrounded Tientsin. After an international relief force drove off the Boxers, Mrs. Hoover found time to write an extraordinary letter in which she proudly compared their ordeal with the experiences of Kimberly and Mafeking, two English settlements that had been surrounded for several months during the recent Boer War in South Africa.
Boxer Rebellion observations by future First Lady, Lou Henry Hoover, 08/08/1900
Can you translate Chinese? Would you like to try your hand with a few items from the holdings of the National Archives at Philadelphia?
This album contains miscellaneous documents from our Chinese Case files, part of Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, Record Group 85.
You can send your translations to email@example.com and selected entries will be featured on our Facebook page throughout the summer.