United States President Nixon and Premier Chou En-lai of the People Republic of China on Sunday (27 February) publicly exchanged views on women's role in society, demonstrating the apparently relaxed atmosphere that had developed between them.
SV Nixon at factory floor at exhibition (2 shots)
SV Nixon & Chou talking
Inside one of the eight exhibition halls the President was shown a variety of machinery. Shanghai, with eleven million people -- the most heavily populated city in China -- is the nation's biggest industrial centre and a source of pride. In the 1930's, Shanghai was a city of bright lights, vice, high intellectualism, of enormous wealth and millions living in poverty. As he was about to leave the exhibition, the President spoke to Premier Chou about the role of women.
NIXON: "Let me ask the Prime Minister a very delicate question(Interpreter translates) Are women more intelligent than men?"
CHOU'S REPLY: "I believe that in the majority of work now, what men can do women can also do including some very delicate fields of science."
NIXON: Mmmm, science, mathematics, but in the home the woman is always than the husband huh?"
CHOU'S REPLY: "Not necessarily(laughter) For instance there, there was an interpreter that was interpreting for Mr Rogers and in her family, her husband takes more of the share of the domestic work than his wife And that's the same in her house (pointing to nearby woman) Her husband does more of the home chores than she does. Because she has more work now because she is Party Secretary. She works outside of the home more and she does more political work and therefore her husband takes charge of the home. That's something that's not quite the same in the situation of our families, our generation. That's something different from our generation."
NIXON: "Just be sure your husband doesn't stay home and just look at television" (Laughter)
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: United States President Nixon and Premier Chou En-lai of the People Republic of China on Sunday (27 February) publicly exchanged views on women's role in society, demonstrating the apparently relaxed atmosphere that had developed between them.
The exchanges took place at Sahnghai's industrial exhibition short after President Nixon, on the last full day of his eight-day tour of China, had arrived in the country's largest and most Westernised city from the resort town of Hangchow.
President Nixon and Premier Chou, who had held more than 30 hours of intensive talks on differences between their two nations, strolled informally around the exhibition hall, inspecting electronic machinery and printing presses.
The exchange on the role of women in society came after President Nixon asked the official interpreter accompanying the party if he could ask Premier Chou "a very delicate question". In the ensuing repartee Premier Chou and President Nixon laughed aloud at each other's remarks as a crowd of newsmen recorded the scene.