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President Nixon Confers with His Foreign Policy Team onboard Air Force One en route to China

President Nixon Confers with His Foreign Policy Team onboard Air Force One en route to China

 
 
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Caption: President Nixon confers with foreign policy team, on board Air Force One, enroute to China. L-R: Henry Kissinger, President Nixon, Secretary of State William P. Rogers, Marshall Green
Nixon White House Photographs

Détente (French pronunciation: ​[detɑ̃t], meaning "relaxation") is the easing of strained relations, especially in a political situation. The term is often used in reference to the general easing of the tensions between the Soviet Union and the United States which began in 1969, as a foreign policy of U.S. presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford called détente; a "thawing out" or "un-freezing" at a period roughly in the middle of the Cold War. Détente was known in Russian as разрядка ("razryadka", loosely meaning "relaxation of tension"). After the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, the two superpowers agreed to install a direct hotline between Washington D.C. and Moscow (the so-called red telephone), enabling leaders of both countries to quickly interact with each other in a time of urgency, and reduce the chances that future crises could escalate into an all-out war. The U.S./U.S.S.R. détente was presented as an applied extension of that thinking. The SALT II pact of the late 1970s continued the work of the SALT I talks, ensuring further reduction in arms by the Soviets and by the US. The Helsinki Accords, in which the Soviets promised to grant free elections in Europe, has been called a major concession to ensure peace by the Soviets. The period was characterized by the signing of treaties such as SALT I and the Helsinki Accords. Another treaty, START II, was discussed but never ratified by the United States. There is still ongoing debate amongst historians as to how successful the détente period was in achieving peace. Détente ended after the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan and US boycott of the 1980 Olympics in Moscow. Ronald Reagan's election as president in 1980, based in large part on an anti-détente campaign, marked the close of détente and a return to Cold War tensions. In his first press conference, president Reagan said "Détente's been a one-way street that the Soviet Union has used to pursue its aims.

Richard Nixon was elected the 37th President of the United States (1969-1974) after previously serving as a U.S. Representative and a U.S. Senator from California. After successfully ending American fighting in Vietnam and improving international relations with the U.S.S.R. and China, he became the only President to ever resign the office, as a result of the Watergate scandal. "People have got to know whether or not their president is a crook. Well, I'm not a crook. I earned everything I've got."

China - Royalty Free Stock Photo

Technically, Air Force One is used to describe any Air Force aircraft carrying the President — but since the middle of the 20th century, it has been standard practice to refer to specific planes that are equipped to transport the Commander-in-Chief. Today, this name refers to one of two highly customized Boeing 747-200B series aircraft, which carry the tail codes 28000 and 29000. The Air Force designation for the aircraft is VC-25A. Franklin D. Roosevelt was the first president to fly in an aircraft while in office. President Harry S. Truman replaced VC-54C in 1947 with a modified C-118 Liftmaster, calling it the Independence after his Missouri hometown. President Eisenhower introduced four propeller-driven aircraft to presidential service. This group included two Lockheed C-121 Constellations, aircraft Columbine II (VC-121A 48-610) and Columbine III (VC-121E 53-7885). They were named by First Lady Mamie Eisenhower for the columbine, official state flower of her adopted home state of Colorado. In 1959, the Air Force added the first of Boeing 707-120 jet aircraft—VC-137s, designated SAM (Special Air Missions) 970, 971 and 972. In 1962, the U.S. Air Force purchased a Boeing C-137 Stratoliner, a modified long-range Boeing 707—Special Air Mission (SAM) 26000. SAM 26000 was in service from 1962 to 1998, serving Presidents John Kennedy to Bill Clinton. During the Johnson Administration, the United States Air Force acquired a Beechcraft King Air B90 which was designated VC-6A. The aircraft was used to transport President Johnson between Bergstrom Air Force Base and his family ranch near Johnson City, Texas, and was used at least once to transport the President to Princeton, New Jersey. It was referred to as Lady Bird's airplane and later in its service life featured a basic color scheme similar to civilian aircraft. When the President was aboard, the aircraft used the call sign Air Force One. In December 1972 VC-137, Special Air Mission 27000 was added to the fleet while SAM 26000 was kept as a backup until it was finally retired. Richard Nixon was the first president to use SAM 27000; the newer aircraft served every president until it was replaced by two VC-25A aircraft (SAM 28000 and 29000) in 1990 when Reagan Administration ordered two identical 747s to replace the aging 707s he used. as of 2019, the VC-25As are to be replaced.

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Date

20/02/1972
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Source

The U.S. National Archives
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