Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS
Montage of images and link description. Nixons China Game Imagemap: linked to kids and home
The Film and More
Imagemap(text links below) of menu items
The American Experience
The Film & More
Interview Transcripts | Further Reading

William Buckley, Editor, The National Review, on:
the trip and Taiwan

William Buckley Q: I suspect from reading notes that you went off and talked to Pat Buchanan right away and spoke very strongly to him because there was a lot of worry expressed on the plane going home.

William Buckley: Pat Buchanan was of course an aide to President Nixon and also a very staunch and highly profiled anti-communist, and our paths crossed -- everybody's paths crossed -- every day. There were only about a hundred Americans there. So, as a matter of fact, I had lunch with him at one point to discuss our joint concerns. He was very much concerned that National Review, my magazine, should not back Mr. Ashbrook after New Hampshire. And of course I was concerned about the fate of Taiwan and the international impression that Mr. Nixon might give as a result of this trip. We discussed those matters and he was of course a comrade in arms but he was always very confident that Mr. Nixon would do the right thing. And he was justified up to a point in that confidence.

Mr. Nixon was very much concerned about the strategic reaction of the American right wing and that he would go to extraordinary lengths to reinforce his image. However, we felt that there had been a dissipation and that dissipation was not something that was recoverable. And on this Henry Kissinger agreed in his memoirs.

I made it plain to Pat Buchanan when I met with him -- as a matter fact I made it plain to everybody that American conservatives were gonna raise holy hell if indeed this evolved into a dismissal of Taiwan. Now there was sort of a universal knowledge of what everybody was saying and thinking because of the press. As I say, I was writing every day and my columns came back and the piece I wrote for Playboy I wrote on the airplane, and I sort of showed it around to a few buddies. So all of this seeped back to Buchanan and to the president, and indeed to the president. And he was terribly distressed. So there is a sense in which the reaction of a few people in that entourage to what he had done might have had some role in arresting the strategic logic that might have followed to wit turning our backs on Taiwan.

back to Interview Transcripts

Program Description | Enhanced Transcript | Reference

The Film & More | Special Features | Timeline | Maps | People & Events | Teacher's Guide

©  New content 1999 PBS Online / WGBH