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National Archives Highlights 'Ping Pong Diplomacy' in August

Featured Document Display: Ping Pong Diplomacy

August 1-28, East Rotunda Gallery

The display highlights a State Department "Intelligence Brief" noting
remarks made by Chinese Premier Chou En-lai to the U.S. table tennis team
during their visit to China. The Premier emphasized the "new page" in the
relationship between the United States and China with the adoption of a
"people's diplomacy." The display also includes a picture of the U.S. table
tennis team at the Great Wall of China in April 1971.

History Declassified: Nixon in China

Wednesday, August 6, at noon, William G. McGowan Theater

In conjunction with the featured document display, The Charles
Guggenheim Center for the Documentary Film at the National Archives
presents this 2004 ABC News Productions documentary that tells the unknown
story behind one of the greatest diplomatic coups in history--President
Richard Nixon's historic trip to China in February of 1972. History
Declassified: Nixon in China combines previously secret U.S. documents
gathered by the National Security Archive with available evidence from
Chinese files to reveal details of the dramatic diplomacy that remained
hidden for 30 years. The 45-minute program won the 2005 Emmy Award for
Outstanding Achievement in News & Documentary Research.

Dr. Michael Kurtz, Assistant Archivist for Records Services, will
provide welcoming remarks. Special guests from the National Security
Archive, Director Thomas Blanton and Senior Analyst William Burr, will
introduce the film and take questions.

Background on "Ping Pong Diplomacy"

In April, 1971, an informal and friendly exchange between athletes from
the United States and the People's Republic of China table tennis teams
signaled a warming of relations between the two countries and made
diplomatic history. On April 6, 1971, officials from the People's Republic
of China (PRC) unexpectedly invited the American table tennis, or
Ping-Pong, team to join players from other nations in a tour of their
country. When the U.S. team accepted the invitation and invited the PRC
team to tour the United States at a later date, journalists began to use
the term, "Ping-Pong Diplomacy."

Although official relations did not exist between the United States and
the PRC at the time of the American athletes' visit, the U.S. Department of
State created and distributed this "Intelligence Brief" summarizing the
implications of the PRC's invitation. After the visit, further diplomatic
approaches and negotiations paved the way for the first visit of a U.S.
President, Richard M. Nixon, to China in February 1972. Diplomatic
relations were established between the two countries by 1979.

The National Archives is fully accessible. To request an accommodation
(e.g., sign language interpreter) for a public program please email
[email protected] or call 202-357-5000 two weeks prior to the event.
For information on National Archives Public Programs, call 202-357-5000, or
view the Calendar of Events online at:

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