Richard Nixon created "panda-monim" after his outreach to China, when Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai gave the United States two pandas in 1972. According to Time.com, Nixon loved the pandas. In fact, he loved Ling Ling and Hsing Hsing so much that he wanted to make sure they would know how to mate.
The Washington Post provided an excerpt of a conversation that the former Commander-in-Chief had with Washington Star foreign editor Crosby Noyes, where he asked the reporter to watch the pandas have sex.
Check out a portion of the conversation below:
Nixon: The problem, however, with pandas is that they don’t know how to mate. The only way they learn how is to watch other pandas mate. You see?
Nixon: And, so they’re keeping them there a little while—these are younger ones—
Noyes: I see.
Nixon: —to sort of learn, you know, how it’s done.
Noyes: Sure, learn the ropes—
Nixon: Now, if they don’t learn it, they’ll get over here and nothing will happen, so I just thought you should just have your best reporter out there to see whether these pandas have learned.
So how did the U.S. acquire two pandas? The nation traded two musk oxen. It seems the U.S. got the better end of the deal.
Follow me on Twitter @mariamzzarella