Mrs. Patricia Nixon will accompany the President of the United States on his visit to?
Mrs. Patricia Nixon will accompany the President of the United States on his visit to the People's Republic of China -- scheduled to begin on 21 February. A special invitation from the Chinese Government was extended to Mrs. Nixon, and a White House communique last December confirmed the First Lady's acceptance.
Mrs. Nixon is no new-comer to official visits of this kind. She has accompanied her husband on almost all of his overseas trips, and earlier this year travelled alone to West Africa to represent the United States at the inauguration of Liberian President William Tolbert.
Newsmen and social journalists have already begun speculating on Mrs. Nixon's activities during the seven-day visit. She will have the unique chance, for an American woman, of mixing with a small group of women who move in China's highest circles, and plenty of time to meet the women behind China's leaders, while President Nixon is involved in talks.
Two of the women Mrs. Nixon is expected to meet are Madame Mao and Madame Sun. Madame Mao, who is known as Chiang Ching in the country where women do not take their husband's surnames, is a former Shanghai actress who married Chairman Mao Tse-tung in 1939, and has become one of China's leaders in her own right. Madame Sun, who has been suggested as Mrs. Nixon's possible hostess during the visit, is the widow of Sun Yat-sen, the founder of modern China. The 81-year-old widow, however, has not appeared in public for some time. She speaks perfect English and observers think she and Mrs. Nixon may have common interests.