In 1973, on this day President Hubert Humphrey awarded the Medal of Freedom with Distinction to former Vice President and Special Envoy to China Richard Milhous Nixon.
Humphrey sends Nixon to China By Ed & Stan BrinAlthough Humphrey was the man that narrowly defeated Nixon on his second bid for the White House, the two were close colleagues and firm friends. More than that, they both viewed it as their patriotic duty to maintain sound relations across the party divide.
A year before, with his re-election by no means certain, Humphrey had taken a bold step. He committed the United States to the objective of normalizing relations with the People's Republic of China, who at that time considered the U.S. one of its staunchest foes. A breakthrough was finally achieved after a several intense rounds of diplomacy brokered by his Special Envoy. Because of his impeccable anti-communist credentials and dazzling smile, only Nixon could have achieved such an incredible feat.