Seize The Hour - When Nixon Met Mao

By Margaret Macmillan, read by Clare Higgins.



When Richard Nixon became President of the United States, he was determined to open up relations with China.

Together with his National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger, he set about 'giving history a nudge'.


When Nixon decided that he wanted Henry Kissinger to get him into China, both men decided that the exploratory talks should be kept secret, not just from the American public but even from their own State Department.


Kissinger was delighted to be invited to China to arrange the details of the first visit of an American President.

Unwilling to share the information with the State Department, he arranged a fact-finding tour of Asia and had himself smuggled to China from Pakistan under the very noses of the American officials accompanying him on the trip.


In Beijing, an ageing and sick Chairman Mao Tse-tung wakes early and has his first shave in months in preparation for his historic meeting with the President of the United States.

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When Nixon met Mao Tse-tung, the Chairman's doctor hovered outside the room, anxious that his patient might be taken ill.

But though the meeting was only scheduled for 15 minutes, the two world leaders talked for an hour.

The famous photograph of their historic handshake made headline news around the world.