In 1972, the controversial state visit to Ottawa to negotiate America's release from the hated Dieffenbaker Plan began with an assassination attempt that left the life of the thirty-seventh President of the United States Richard M. Nixon hanging in the balance.
Victim of his own successNixon had come to power in the 1964 election with large tracts of the country devastated by nuclear war. And his weak predecessors had agreed a recovery plan under which the Canadian Government had claimed territory possessed by the United States to rehabilitate that land "back to a standard of civilization". Now running for a third term of office, the prospects for national recovery were very much brighter. A victim of his own success, he had created the opportunity for his opponent George Wallace to set out a radically different vision under which the United States would simply abrogate the Dieffenbaker Plan restoring the 1818 borders as set down by the Rush-Bagot Treaty. With this popular measure, Wallace was hoping to become the first Democrat elected to office since Kennedy in 1960.
The would-be assassin Arthur Herman Bremer had travelled up from Wisconsin with a self-made promise to "to do SOMETHING BOLD AND DRAMATIC, FORCEFUL & DYNAMIC, A STATEMENT of my manhood for the world to see". But Canadian security had prevented him taking a shot on target, that was until Nixon unwisely decided to leave the window of the Presidential limonsine open as he was departing from a set-piece speech.
Events now took their own course. It was widely expected that negotiations would be suspended and Nixon would, at best, serve out the remaining months of his second term. However, this decision would hang upon more than medical opinion. Because the GOP wanted Nelson Rockefeller to take over the helm rather than Vice President Agnew.
This post is an installation of Raymond Speer's Dieffenbaker Plan thread.