“The Bridge That’s Needed”


“The Bridge That’s Needed” (July 1971)
by Charles Phillip Bissell (1926 – )
14 x 12 in., ink and wash on board
Coppola Collection

In 1960, Boston Globe cartoonist Phil Bissell, working for $25 a day, was handed an assignment that would change his life—and the lives of fans of the brand-new AFL football team coming to Boston. “Sports editor Jerry Nason came to me and he said, ‘They’ve decided to call the team the Boston Patriots. You better have a cartoon ready for tomorrow’s edition.’” Bissel’s “Pat Patriot” cartoon was the Patriot’s logo from 1961-1992.

Before his election as president in 1968, former Vice President Richard Nixon hinted at establishing a new relationship with the PRC. Early in his first term, Nixon, through his National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger, sent overtures hinting at warmer relations to the PRC government.

After a series of these overtures by both countries, Kissinger flew on secret diplomatic missions to Beijing in 1971, where he met with Premier Zhou Enlai.

On July 15, 1971, the President shocked the world by announcing on live television that he would visit the PRC the following year. The weeklong visit, from February 21 to 28, 1972, allowed the American public to view images of China for the first time in over two decades.

Upon being introduced to Nixon for the first time, Mao, speaking through his translator, said to Nixon: “I believe our old friend Chiang Kai-shek would not approve of this.”

“Only a Republican, perhaps only a Nixon, could have made this break and gotten away with it.” – Senator Mike Mansfield (D), repeating a phrase he heard before.

“Only a Nixon could go to China” (section heading, US News & World Report, December 1971 interview with Mike Mansfield)

“Only Nixon could go to China.” (an old Vulcan proverb)
– Spock to Kirk, Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country(1991)

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