NIXON ON ACQUIRING PANDA BEARS FOR THE SAN DIEGO ZOO SHORTLY AFTER HIS HISTORIC 1972 TRIP TO CHINA: "THE CHINESE MAY BE RELUCTANT TO PROVIDE US ANOTHER PAIR"
NIXON, Richard. Typed Letter Signed. Washington: May 1, 1973. One page, 7 by 10-1/2 inches, on pale green White House stationery. With original "The White House" envelope. $3000.
Typed letter signed ("RN") by President Nixon, to San Diego Union-Tribune publisher James S. Copley, written shortly after his historic 1972 trip to China had begun to thaw relations between the two superpowers, regarding Copley's "proposal for furthering our relations with the People's Republic of China": "I can certainly understand your interest in acquiring a pair of giant panda bears for the San Diego Zoo… however, the Chinese may be reluctant to provide us another pair."
This letter is addressed to James S. Copley, Chairman-Publisher, Copley Newspapers, La Jolla, and reads, in full, "Dear Jim: Before any more time passes, I want to thank you for your letter of March 23, and your proposal for furthering our relations with the People's Republic of China. I can certainly understand your interest in acquiring a pair of giant panda bears for the San Diego Zoo. The pair which are now at the National Zoo in Washington have been a tremendously popular attraction. Because of the rarity of these animals, however, the Chinese may be reluctant to provide us another pair. To assure that your suggestion gets careful consideration, I am forwarding a copy of your letter to Assistant Secretary of State John Richardson. His office coordinates Sino-American cultural exchanges—to the degree that the government is involved at all in what is largely a people-to-people affair. I know he will give your suggestion thoughtful study. Pat joins me in extending our best wishes to you and to Helen. Sincerely, [signed] RN." A conservative Republican, James S. Copley (1916-73) was publisher of the San Diego Union, the San Diego Union-Tribune, and the San Diego Evening Tribune from 1947 until his death in 1973. He was Chairman of the Board of The Copley Press, a newspaper chain comprising 15 daily and 32 weekly publications. With original White House envelope.