Nixon surprised the whole world when he made the trip to the China Wall to play the "China Card". On February 21, 1972, at 10:30 P.M., EST, Richard M. Nixon stepped down from Air Force One and offered his hand to Premier Chou En-lai to conclude one of the most historic handshakes in diplomatic history. Later that day he met the aging Chairman, Mao Tse-tung.
This mission had secretly planned in 1971 by National Security Advisor, Henry Kissinger, as "Triangular Diplomacy." with the adversarial regimes in both Moscow and Beijing in an effort simultaneously to achieve dŽtente with the Soviets and hospitality with the Chinese. His real purpose was the containment of the Soviet Union.
For the average American the TV coverage was a portrait of a lost "dynasty" and offered a peek under the veil of the "Kingdom of Heaven." in the twilight of the Mao Revolution.
At Cheston, Joe Lona and Bill Marino were unloading "Miss Kim" a flatbed truck that Jim Metcalf drove from Philadelphia with a Pelton Water Wheel controller and a Bergmaster numerically controlled drilling machine.
Nixon was able to use his trip China to enter into a better relation with the Soviets. Nixon made a trip to the Soviet Union where he completed an arms control agreement involving significant limitations on future deployments of nuclear missiles. On the 28th of May 28 he made a televised address to the Russian people with the hope of assuring them of America's peaceful intentions. For Americans it was the first time to see the sites of Moscow.
While not signed until later the new trade agreements were designed to triple U.S.-Soviet trade. The agreement reduced the World War II Lend-Lease debt to $722 million from $11 billion they owed including interest. The United States agreed to open up 40 American ports to Soviet ships. On July 8, 1972 the California White House announced a $750 million credit to the USSR to finance the purchase of American grain.
"Watergate" describes a series of events that began with a botched burglary and ended with the resignation of President Nixon. Watergate is a building in Washington, D.C., where, on the night of the 17th of June 1972, five burglars were arrested in the Democratic National Committee offices. Nixon's paranoia about protestors of the Vietnam War and the taped record in the White House brought him down.
In July 1972 based on a series of tips from a British journalist the Milling & Baking News learned that there were severe setbacks in the Russian crop. The Soviet authorities were anxious to avoid any publicity for market reasons because of the steadily advancing wheat market. This journalist was predicting $2 per bushel in the futures market for wheat. On August 8 the press reported that the Soviets were buying 14 million metric tons of wheat and 10 million tons of corn. In a year of a presidential election the increase in the price of bread would not be good for Nixon, but the press did not dwell on this subject.
Rockefeller's Chase Manhattan Bank led the way in financing the famous wheat deal. Another agreement allowed Chase to finance the ZMAZ truck factory and some of the equipment was purchased in America by the newly formed Kama River Purchasing Commission. They opened their offices in New York and Pittsburgh in August 1972.
Another botched event took place on September 11,1972 in Munich, West Germany. A group of Olympic basketball officials caused one of the great upsets in Olympic history. With three seconds remaining, the United States pulled ahead to 50-49. The Soviets failed to score, but of the officials had whistled play to stop with one second left, and the clock was set back to three seconds. A Soviet player then threw the ball down the court but it fell short and again the horn sounded. The timekeeper was not ready, and again the clock was set back to three seconds. On their third try, the Soviets managed to get the ball to Alexander Belov, who made a lay up that gave the USSR a 51-50 lead. On one of the Pan American flights to Moscow that stopped over in London I was seated next to Alex Belov who lived in the Kramatorsk area.
On the 7th of November 1972 Richard Milhous Nixon won re-election as President of the United States in a landslide victory rivaling the greatest of American political history. He was victorious in 47 states but faced continued Democratic domination of both the House and Senate. The electoral vote was Nixon 520, McGovern 17.
On the 26th of January 1973 the treasurer of Inductotherm wrote me a letter demanding payment of $34, 456.44.
The Senate approved a resolution on the 7th of February 1973, to impanel the Senate Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities to investigate Watergate. I was with Bob Klingerman in Moscow when this vote was cast. Known as the Ervin Committee for its Chairperson, Senator Sam Ervin, the Committee began public hearings on the 17th of May 1973. Television cameras covered the Watergate hearings gavel-to-gavel until 7 August. The Public Broadcasting Service aired the videotaped Watergate hearing testimony during the evening. I had to buy a second TV because my kids protested when the only channel they could see in the evenings was PBS. All three commercial television networks devoted an average of five hours per day covering the Watergate hearings for the first five days. They then set up a rotation agreement but all three networks elected to carry the nearly 30 hours of testimony by key witness and former White House counsel John Dean.
During this period I flew to Moscow two times to clear up details on the pending contract with Metallurgimport.
On the 14th of September 1973 I traveled with Henry Rowan, Inductotherm CEO, and Richard Hill, Cheston President, to the Kama River Purchasing Commission in New York to sign a contract for a 30-ton vacuum melting furnace to be installed in Kramatorsk, Ukraine.
Watergate hearings continued from September 1973 to February 1974 but with only scant television coverage. My favorite person was Senator Baker who kept asking the question: "What did he know and when did he know it."
On October 10, 1973, following months of pressure and scandal, Vice President Spiro Agnew turned in his letter of resignation to President Nixon becoming only the second vice president to resign. Michigan representative Gerald R. Ford took his place as vice president on December 6, 1973.
During this period Klingerman and I were very busy with a Russian speaking design team making plans for the 30-ton furnace for Kramatorsk.
In February 1974 there was time for me to attempt to sell to the Soviet market.
On 6th of February 1974, a new phase of Watergate began when the U.S. House of Representatives voted 410-to-4 to authorize the House Judiciary Committee to investigate whether sufficient grounds existed to impeach President Nixon. The Judiciary Committee spent four months examining information obtained from the Senate's Watergate hearings.
In early July Hank Raufer, Cheston VP, told me that he was going to head up Inductotherm's Brazilian operation. On the 14th of July 1974 a paid him $20,600.53 for his stock. He traded his founders stock for Inductotherm stock.
After five days of televised hearings that ended on 30 July three articles of impeachment were approved with the recommendation that the House begin formal impeachment proceedings against President Richard Nixon.
On August 9th, 1974, Richard Nixon became the first U.S. President to resign his office rather than become the first to be removed via impeachment. I was glued to the TV set when he had made one of the most dramatic appearances in television history by announcing his intention to resign.
Gerald Ford became president and named, Nelson Rockefeller, the former governor of New York State to be his Vice President.
In September 1974 John Hooper, Cheston's new salesman, drove his car up to Watervliet Arsenal to join me for a meeting with the commanding officer who was buying induction heating equipment for a new process.
Cheston was almost ready for the inspectors from Metallurgimport to inspect and release the 30-ton vacuum melting furnace for shipment in October 1974. We were in a peck of trouble because the State Department would not issue the required visas because Rancocas, New Jersey was a restricted area for official Soviet visitors. My visits to the American Embassy in Moscow and to the State Department in Washington did not offer hope that this issue could be resolved.
The only thing worth hiding near Rancocas was the RCA ball near the New Jersey turnpike that supposedly housed secret radar controls. Fort Dix and McGuire Air Force base were also located some distance away.
The American government was not attempting to hide secrets but were playing a game of tit for tat with the Soviets who had many areas off limits to Westerners. The American government set aside restricted areas equal to the Soviets on a percentage calculation based on American territory to Soviet territory. On the 19th of September 1959 Soviet leader Nikita Kruschev was told that, for security reasons, he wouldn't be allowed to visit Disneyland.
In October 1974 the American Embassy in Moscow told me that they could issue the visas if the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Gromeko, requested the visit. It was America selling and America would have to bend.
In November 1974, Ford flew to Vladivostok to confer with Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev. The two men reached tentative agreement on limiting the number of both countries' strategic nuclear delivery systems. Negotiations on a Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (known as SALT II) that began in 1972 continued between the two powers until 1979. Soon after President Ford returned to the states on the 25th of November 1974 I sent him a long telegram congratulating him for his efforts and spelling out our little trade problem. The same day a long telegram was sent to Peter Lynn at the Department of State defining a smaller area around Rancocas where the inspectors would live and work. Additional communications were with Kissinger, Senator Clifford Case and Congressman Edwin B. Forsythe. Finally the Department of Commerce assigned Charles van der Burg from their Bureau of East-West Trade and we got some satisfaction.
The Soviet inspectors for the Kramatorsk project arrived in New York in February 1975 and resided in a five bedroom next door to my house. They departed the US just after Easter.
On the 30th of April 1975 a defeated military fled from Saigon, Vietnam. A British newspaper, The Daily Telegraph, reported the end of the war the next day.
"A long and dreadful chapter of Asian history has ended ... another, unknown chapter is about to begin. And suddenly there is nothing left to say. The tears have been shed. A Million words have described the agony and the horror and the bloodshed. It's over. Thank God".
"Now we only pray that the people of Vietnam will be shown the mercy they have, for so long, been denied".
A crisis began on the 12thof May 1975 when Khmer Rouge naval forces operating in the territorial waters ofCambodia seized the U.S. merchant ship Mayaguez and removed its crew for questioning. President Ford was determined to end the crisis decisively, believing that the recent withdrawal of the United States from theVietnam War had severely damaged the country's reputation. The rescue mission cost 38 U.S. lives and 50 wounded.
On the 15th of July 1975 an Apollo was launched to hook up with a Soviet Soyuz.
On August I, 1975, Ford, Brezhnev and the leaders of 33 other Eastern and Western nations signed the final act of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe. This was known as the Helsinki Accords. The main thing this agreement did was to fix the borders in Eastern Europe that the Soviets changed after WWII.
In the summer of 1976 I made a sales call in Michigan who wanted to heat pressed scrap and extrude it into wire for clothing hangers.
During his administration, Ford was faced with the weakest economy of the post-World War II period. Rising inflation, energy use, and unemployment were the biggest problems. Conservatives were upset when he began negotiations to return the Panama Canal back to Panama. He was defeated in the following election by Jimmy Carter. Joe Lona noted this fact in the day journal kept in Kramatorsk. We had already been there for fifteen months. Finishing this task would take another 15-months. We could buy Soviet bottled Pepsi and a cigarette that was almost American named Apollo-Soyuz produced by Phillip Morris.
During 1976 orders were issued in Moscow that required every factory to make a consumer product for the masses. This was to offset the increasing complaints of people who were meeting and understanding just how for they were behind in living standards. The steel factory where we were working was assigned the task of producing roll up window shades and did not know where to start and no sales were made.
By the winter of 1976 they had a product that people would buy with their champion weight lifter as the spokesman.
At the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal Vasily Alexeyev proved again that his 344-pounds made him the world's strongest man. He had a 48-inch waist and 21 -inch biceps at the time. He snatched an Olympic record 407 pounds and then followed that with his world record 561 pound clean and jerk for a total of 968 pounds.
"I am pleased to be the strongest man in the world for my two children, my two boys." "I think my wife will pay more attention to me now."
©2004-2017 James Metcalf