From the moment of the announcement of his deportation to September 17, 1955, the day Tsien and his family gathered at the Los Angeles harbor armed with third-class tickets, waiting to board the President Cleveland, the atmosphere had been solemn at Caltech's Jet Propulsion Center.
The dock was so crowded with reporters that some friends of Tsien could not even get close to him for a final farewell. To the newspapermen he said: "I do not plan to come back. I have no reason to come back. I have thought about it for a long time. I plan to do my best to help the Chinese people build up their nation to where they can live with dignity and happiness. I have been artificially delayed in this country from returning to my country. I suggest you ask your State Department why. Of your State Department and myself, I am the least embarrassed in this situation. I have no bitterness against the American people. My objective is the pursuit of peace and happiness."
On board the ship, Tsien and his family posed for numerous news photographs. There was Tsien, faintly smiling in suit and tie, with a tiny curl of hair sticking up from the top of his head. Standing to his right was his wife, wearing a dark dress with a corsage over a floral print blouse. In front were his two