Archive for November, 2011|Monthly archive page

1971 – Ping Pong Diplomacy

In General Mish-Mash, Quick Mish-Mash, Uncategorized on November 23, 2011 at 6:09 pm

In 1971 the term Ping Pong Diplomacy (or Table Tennis Diplomacy) was coined. At the centre of one of the key events that led to this term was a US Table Tennis player by the name of Glenn Cowan – evidence has emerged that this could in fact be a hybrid name taken from 2 influential Australian table tennis players from Penrith NSW.

The evidence is in a film recently excavated from official archives. The film is from 1971 and was taken at the Cowan residence in Penrith. To be precise: 138 Station Street, Penrith – unfortunately this heritage location has been destroyed and is now the carpark for a shopping centre called Nepean Square.

In this film you’ll see some of the key Penrith-based personnel involved in the diplomatic effort … late in the film a curious interloper drops in to disrupt proceedings.

The film features Glen (one “n” only) Davidson and  Max Cowan (the curious interloper is Phil Cowan) – and so the legend of Glenn (extra “n” added by the CIA) Cowan. There is also Mick Talve (I think he prefers Michael these days) and Noel Coughlan both of whose contribution to this this pivotal event in Sino-American relations are clearly of such importance it remains a closely guarded secret to this day.

(It is left to the viewer to determine the order appearance.)

Now, 1971 was year full of events – a list too long and important for legitimate truncation. But this rare and historical footage is of one of the most seminal events of that year.

Less than a year after this game Mao Zedong and Richard Nixon were shaking hands in Beijing.

What more can I say …