National Newswatch
National Opinion Centre

Canada’s 15th Prime Minister, the Right Honourable Pierre Trudeau, was in Washington on this date in 1971 for talks with President Richard Nixon at the White House.

Besides bilateral issues and irritants, Trudeau and Nixon also discussed the President’s unprecedented upcoming trip to China.

“The President then gave an account of the Peking trip, emphasizing the point that it would not be at the expense of other countries,” an American report on the conversations between the two leaders reported. “The opening to the People’s Republic of China has helped with the Soviets, he pointed out. The Prime Minister remarked that when the President met the Soviets he would find an almost pathological fear of the Chinese. ‘Fear or hatred?’ the President asked. ‘Hatred,’ the Prime Minister replied.”

“The President explained that we had no illusions with respect to the China visit. A significant change in our own interests was unlikely. But because we both needed each other in certain areas this may be a masterstroke. Prime Minister Trudeau pointed out that the U.S. had to reassure its friends in Southeast Asia. The President replied that we knew the arithmetic.”

You can read more details about the Nixon-Trudeau meeting at the following link.

Prime Minister Trudeau and President Nixon

Arthur Milnes is an accomplished public historian and award-winning journalist.  He was research assistant on The Rt. Hon. Brian Mulroney’s best-selling Memoirs and also served as a speechwriter to then-Prime Minister Stephen Harper and as a Fellow of the Queen’s Centre for the Study of Democracy under the leadership of Tom Axworthy.  A resident of Kingston, Ontario, Milnes serves as the in-house historian at the 175 year-old Frontenac Club Hotel.
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