7.14.70-President Nixon’s Meeting with Governors of the Appalachian States

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    President Nixon attends the Appalachian Regional Governors Conference in Louisville, Kentucky on July 14 1970.

    “We are trying to bring the government to the people,” President Nixon said to a group of 11 Governors from the Appalachian Regional Commission of States.

    This was the goal of the Nixon administration, to affect real change in the Federal government’s ability to cater programs directly to the people, when for too long federal funds became lost in layers of bureaucracy. New Federalism was the term President Nixon used to promulgate this shift in federal awareness, and it was a topic that he and governors of the Appalachian states discussed in a meeting in Louisville, Kentucky.

    A meeting with the Appalachian Regional Commission was not unusual for a President of the United States. However, holding this particular governors meeting in one of the Appalachian states was a rarity. In fact, in opening the meeting, President Nixon told the Governors that he wanted to get out of the “isolation booth” of Washington to have discussions in a freer atmosphere, where the representatives would not be afraid to voice their concerns.

    Below, view the memorandum of conversation for this meeting:

    During the conference, the Governors reiterated their support of President Nixon’s revenue sharing program proposal, but generally remained cautious in supporting his proposed Family Assistance Program, fearing that it would increase States’ Medicaid/Medicare rolls. However, according to the expertise of Daniel Patrick Moynihan, President Nixon’s chief urban affairs counsel, the Family Assistance Program would not force any state to increase its Medicare/Medicaid rolls.

    The Governors also commented on the effectiveness of the Appalachian Regional Commission, sharing all-around positive reviews. They felt that the ARC was consistent with President Nixon’s New Federalism program, and that aside from ARC receiving more federal funds, that the program effectively coordinated federal, state, and local efforts. Additionally, President Nixon reminded the governors that each state’s access to the ARC fund was more flexible and available owing to its exclusivity from state legislative appropriations processes. It was even more accessible than the President’s revenue sharing proposals, as funds from these still would require passage through the state legislature.

    President Nixon ended the conference by praising the Appalachian people, recognizing that although this part of American had been particularly hit hard in light of a weakening economy, the spirit of these people remained the most spirited. After all, more than any other group in America, the people of the Appalachian states resisted welfare in favor of work and volunteered in greater numbers for military service.

      7.10.74-President Nixon Receives French Gift for the American Bicentennial Celebration

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        President Nixon, with French Ambassador Jacques Kosciusko-Horizet, receives a letter written by President Valery Giscard d’Estaing of France, July 10 1974.

        On July 10 1974, President Nixon met with the French Ambassador to the United States Jacques Kosciusko-Horizet in the Oval Office. Among representatives of the American Bicentennial Commission, the President and Ambassador exchanged remarks about France’s gift for the United State’s 200th anniversary celebration.

        Ambassador Kosciusko-Horizet acknowledged that though this was a special American commemoration, it was “also an anniversary for France, the anniversary of our relations between our two countries, the anniversary of our participation in the Independence War, and the celebration of a friendship, devoted, which has never failed for all of history and has been filled with comments and advice and mutual achievements.”

        And, with letter in hand, he presented President Nixon with the French President’s letter.

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        In the photo from left to right: Ambassador Jacques Kosciusko-Morizet, Mrs. Thomas T. Cooke of the Regent of the Mount Vernon Ladies Association, Counselor to the President Anne Armstrong , and John W. Warner of the American Revolution  Bicentennial Administration, 

        My dear President,

        The forthcoming celebration of the Bicentennial of the United States stirs in France a popular and loud echo.

        We treasure the memory of the historical events which associated closely our nation to the birth and the independence of the United States of America. The friendship which links our two peoples and which has been sustained and strengthened by so many ordeals we have been through side by side originated on the land and sea battlefields of the War of Independence.

        As a token of this friendship, I am pleased to let you know that we have decided to offer to the American people a “sound and light” spectacle which would take place from the year 1976 onwards, in Mount Vernon, on the site of the historical mansion of George Washington, which numerous French people, including myself, have visited.

        Please accept, my dear President, the assurances of my very high consideration.

        VALERY GISCARD D’ESTAING

        Here is President Nixon’s reply:

        Dear Mr. President:

        I was greatly pleased to receive your letter of June 20 informing me that the people of France will present the people of the United States with a Sound and Light Spectacle for Mount Vernon in commemoration of the Bicentennial of the United States. It is especially fitting that this particular art form, which has been perfected in France for the purpose of dramatizing your country’s great historical treasures, be utilized to dramatize one of America’s most cherished symbols of its struggle for independence.

        In acknowledging this generous gift on behalf of the American people, I join you, Mr. President, in a tribute to the bonds of friendship which have joined our two nations since the 18th Century, and which will continue to link them as we act together to. forge a structure of peace in the years to come.

        Sincerely,

        RICHARD NIXON

          President Nixon On Establishing the EPA and NOAA

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            President Nixon and others boating on Jackson Lake at the Grand Tetons National Park near Moran, Wyoming.

            On this day in 1970, President Nixon relayed a comprehensive message to the Congress of the United States regarding the proposed reorganization plans to establish an Environmental Protection Agency and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

            Click here to read President Nixon’s entire message to Congress.

            As part of President Nixon’s overarching efforts to reorganize the Executive Office of the Presidency, Reorganization Plan #3 sought to consolidate the federal government’s environmental resources so as to create an organization capable of concisely combating the nation’s environmental issues. Additionally, Reorganization Plan #4 sought to consolidate the federal government’s research efforts in the field of oceanic resource management–to create a singular agency with the task of developing the most intelligent use of marine resources.

            As noted by RN, “Our national government today is not structured to make a coordinated attack on the pollutants which debase the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the land that grows our food. Indeed, the present governmental structure for dealing with environmental pollution often defies effective and concerted action.”

            With the public’s awareness for the environment at a never before seen pinnacle and air and water pollution at deplorable levels, change needed to be instituted to make possible a coordinated attack.

            In the message, President Nixon laid out the components of the proposed EPA and NOAA and reasoned the advantages of both organizations. The actions instituted by the proposed EPA were as follows:

            Under the terms of Reorganization Plan No. 3, the following would be moved to the new Environmental Protection Agency:
            –The functions carried out by the Federal Water Quality Administration (from the Department of the Interior).
            –Functions with respect to pesticides studies now vested in the Department of the Interior.
            –The functions carried out by the National Air Pollution Control Administration (from the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare).

            –The functions carried out by the Bureau of Solid Waste Management and the Bureau of Water Hygiene, and portions of the reactions carried out by the Bureau of Radiological Health of the Environmental Control Administration (from the Department of Health, Education and Welfare).
            –Certain functions with respect to pesticides carried out by the Food and Drug Administration (from the Department of Health, Education and Welfare).
            –Authority to perform studies relating to ecological systems now vested in the Council on Environmental Quality.

            –Certain functions respecting radiation criteria and standards now vested in the Atomic Energy Commission and the Federal Radiation Council.
            –Functions respecting pesticides registration and related activities now carried out by the Agricultural Research Service (from the Department of Agriculture).

            The components of the NOAA were proposed as follows:

            Under terms of Reorganization Plan No. 4, the programs of the following organizations would be moved into NOAA:
            –The Environmental Science Services Administration (from within the Department of Commerce).

            –Elements of the Bureau of Commercial Fisheries (from the Department of the Interior).
            –The marine sport fish program of the Bureau of Sport Fisheries and Wildlife (from the Department of the Interior).
            –The Marine Minerals Technology Center of the Bureau of Mines (from the Department of the Interior).
            –The Office of Sea Grant Programs (from the National Science Foundation).
            –Elements of the United States Lake Survey (from the Department of the Army).

            In addition, by executive action, the programs of the following organizations would be transferred to NOAA:
            –The National Oceanographic Data Center (from the Department of the Navy).
            –The National Oceanographic Instrumentation Center (from the Department of the Navy).
            –The National Data Buoy Project (from the Department of Transportation).

            In brief, these are the principal functions of the programs and agencies to be combined:

            The Environmental Science Services Administration (ESSA) comprises the following components:
            –The Weather Bureau (weather, marine, river and flood forecasting and warning).
            –The Coast and Geodetic Survey (earth and marine description, mapping and charting).
            –The Environmental Data Service (storage and retrieval of environmental data).
            –The National Environmental Satellite Center (observation of the global environment from earth-orbiting satellites).
            –The ESSA Research Laboratories (research on physical environmental problems).

              “Eureka”

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                Henry Kissinger meeting Chou Enlai for the first time, July 9 1971.

                After two years of backchannel exchanges and subtle signals of interest, Premier Chou Enlai of the People’s Republic of China on June 2 1971 delivered, in the words of National Security Council head Henry Kissinger, the “most important communication that has come to an American President since the end of World War II:”

                Premier Chou Enlai welcomes Dr. Kissinger to China as the U.S. representative who will come in advance for a preliminary secret meeting with high level Chinese officials to prepare and make necessary arrangements for President Nixon’s visit to Peking.

                One month later, on July 1 1971, Kissinger embarked on an undisclosed diplomatic mission to the Far East code-named POLO I. On this trip, Kissinger was to make precursory visits to Saigon, Bangkok, and New Delhi before journeying to Islamabad in Pakistan, from there springboarding to his real destination: Beijing, China. Under the cover of a published schedule that would have Kissinger in Pakistan for 48 hours from July 8 to July 10, he would feign a stomachache upon his arrival in Islamabad.

                “The Embassy dispensary would be asked for medication. My discomfort would get progressively worse until [President] Yahya [Khan] would invite me over dinner to use the Presidential rest house in Nathiagali in the mountains to recover,” Kissinger recalled of the strategy of illness in his White House memoirs, White House Years. 

                Under this pretext, Kissinger would be able to plead an additional day to stay in Pakistan, allowing for the opportune time to disappear to Beijing for two days. On the morning of July 9, Kissinger and his party, composed of three NSC staff members and a detail of two Secret Service agents, secretly flew out of Chaklala Airport and departed for Beijing, knowing that they would become the first U.S. officials to visit the People’s Republic of China.

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                The three men who knew of Kissinger’s real destination upon his arrival in Pakistan and assisted in his secret dispatch: From L-R Ambassador Joseph Farland, Foreign Secretary Sultan Khan, and Agha Hilaly, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the U.S.

                Upon their arrival, Kissinger’s party was escorted to a guest house for state visitors. Chou Enlai arrived at 4:30 in the afternoon, and the first round of an historic first step in discussions commenced. Below, read the memorandum of conversation for their first day of discussions. During their opening meeting, they covered topics relating to scheduling President Nixon’s future trip to China, the general philosophy between the Chinese and Americans and the sensitive subject of Taiwan:

                Kissinger recognized that diplomatic overtures with China carried much more impact with China than it did the United States. The domestic political implications of opening relations with the United States “had to be a personal, intellectual, and emotional crisis. They had started as a splinter group, with no hope for victory, endured the Long March, fought Japan and a civil war, opposed us in Korea and then took on the Soviets, and imposed the Cultural Revolution on themselves.” Such a turn in international relations faced several prospects of failure.

                Back in Washington, President Nixon also recognized the tenderness with which they must treat their preliminary discussion with the Chinese:

                Although I was confident that the Chinese were as ready for my trip as we were, I did not underestimate the tremendous problems that Taiwan and Vietnam posed for both sides, and I tried to discipline myself not to expect anything lest I begin to expect too much. RN, The Memoirs of Richard Nixon

                But Kissinger ultimately won his short time spent in Beijing. After engaging in two additional days of talks, he and Chou Enlai crafted a joint statement confirming a scheduled visit to China for President Nixon sometime before May of 1972.

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                Kissinger and his party are given a tour of the Forbidden City.

                Even when Kissinger arrived back in Pakistan on July 11, it was still important to maintain secrecy. Before Kissinger left for Polo I, he and President Nixon agreed on the single codeword “Eureka” as an indicator for a successful trip and a scheduled presidential visit.

                When Kissinger arrived back in Pakistan on July 11,  he cabled a single response to Washington. Al Haig, military assistant to Kissinger, received the message and immediately phoned the President.

                “What’s the message?” President Nixon asked.

                “Eureka,” he replied.

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                Kissnger arrives in San Clemente on July 13 1971 bearing good news for the President.

                  Nixon On the Record: End China’s Isolation

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                    President Nixon addresses Midwestern media executives in Kansas City on July 6 1971.

                    43 years ago, President Nixon acknowledged the harsh reality of America’s standing in the world: that it could no longer claim global hegemony in an increasingly multi-polar and competitive world.

                    In an address to Midwestern media executives in Kansas City on July 6 1971, largely prepared by himself on yellowpad notes, the 37th President said: “But now when we see the world in which we are about to move, the United States no longer is in the position of complete preeminence or predominance. That is not a bad thing. As a matter of fact, it can be a constructive thing.”

                    In 1971, the United States was still the richest and most powerful nation in the world. But other power centers capable of challenging the U.S. on every front existed, and it was a reality, Nixon believed, that the country needed to face.

                    He specified the five “great power centers:” the United States, Western Europe, Japan, the U.S.S.R., and finally China.

                    His inclusion of China came perhaps as a surprise, but sparked no intense recreation at the time. Though China’s economy was sluggish–producing less than Japan, a country one-eighth its size–he noted prophetically that the Chinese “are one of the most capable people in the world.”

                    He continued: “That is the reason why I felt that it was essential that this Administration take the first steps toward ending the isolation of Mainland China from the world community…Mainland China, outside the world community, completely isolated, with its leaders not in communication with world leaders, would be a danger to the whole world that would be unacceptable.”

                    What nobody knew was that President Nixon made these allusions to the United States’ changing attitude toward China just as head NSC Adviser Henry Kissinger was embarking on a ten-day secret mission to the Far East code-named Polo I–setting the stage for President Nixon’s visit to China the following year. His remarks in Kansas City carried far greater significance than an observer at the media conference would have suspected.

                    President Nixon’s reflection on his Kansas City remarks in his memoirs shows his strategy at the time:

                    On July 6 I flew to Kansas City to address a large group of Midwestern news media executives…Kissinger was in the middle of a ten-day mission to the Far East and just days away from his secret trip to Peking. Before he got there I wanted to place on the record an outline of the reasons for approaching China. I told the gathering that the potential for China, though obscured to most American observers by its isolation, was such that no foreign policy could ignore or exclude it…Despite the recent flurry of activity (the ping-pong matches, termination of travel restrictions, and a May 31 invitation from Mao Tse-Tung) I said that I did not hold out any great hopes of rapid advances in our relations…My speech received relatively little attention in Kansas City. As we were to learn later, however, it received a great deal of attention in Peking.

                    American reporters were oblivious to the significance of the speech. Chinese Premier Chou Enlai, on the other hand, was not. President Nixon recalls in his memoirs:

                    At one point Chou asked about my Kansas City speech, and Kissinger had to admit that he had read only the press reports. The next morning at breakfast Kissinger found a copy of my speech, with Chou’s underlinings and marginal notations in Chinese, lying on the table with a note requesting that he return it because it was Chou’s only copy.

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