Much is known about Nixon's actual visit to China, but the story of how it all came together has never been told until China Calls. The advance team conquered a monumental task, allowing this historic event to take place. Get a rare glimpse of the guarded intricacies and exacting details of White House travel. This 40th Anniversary Edition has an updated epilogue and additional photos.
When President Richard Nixon announced that he would visit the People's Republic of China, he sent 34-year-old Ron Walker, chief of the White House advance office, to prepare the way. Accompanied by a large staff, Walker arrived in Peking on February 1, 1972, and set to work checking out motorcade routes, reserving banquet halls, planning the President's tour of the Great Wall and coordinating security arrangements. Every evening Walker reported to the White House via radio satellite. Transcripts of these conversations--mostly between Walker and presidential staffer Dwight Chapin--form the core of this book written by Walker's wife. The conversations capture the growing excitement as plans were laid for the historic presidential visit, and include many interesting examples of communication difficulties between the Americans and the Chinese. Advance man Walker was stunned to learn that his Chinese counterparts assumed he was a CIA agent whose satellite equipment was intended for espionage. By the time President Nixon arrived on February 21, the hosts had become less suspicious and more cooperative.