Nixon didn't like personal confrontation, but delivering a message from the President was very different. Nixon loved politics, the exercise of power, and finding ways to get things done. Nixon was absolutely thrilled to be acting on such an exalted and global stage, and the trip to Asia not only put him on the world stage with major actors, but also established him as an expert on foreign policy.
Nixon was Eisenhower's main "hit man" against Senator Joseph McCarthy. Nixon dealt with McCarthy face-to-face, but Ike also wanted Nixon to go on television and "ding" McCarthy without alienating anti-Communist conservatives . . . and to smile while doing so. Nixon often compared hunting Communists with rat hunting: one better shoot straight and play fair, because if one doesn't, the rats will escape, and innocent people may be hurt. Nixon was the straight shooter, while McCarthy was shooting indiscriminately, ruining reputations and lives of innocent Americans.
While Ike was vacationing during the Congressional Elections of 1954, Nixon campaigned hard for Republicans, traveling 26,000 miles in 6 weeks, visiting 95 cities in 30 states and speaking on behalf of 186 Republican candidates while Ike mostly took it easy and golfed, which galled Nixon (but he wisely kept quiet). What also galled Nixon was that he knew the Georgetown Set derided Nixon during their social gatherings, much like JFK's "Camelot Set" did with Vice-President Lyndon Johnson in the early-1960s.
As a result of the Congressional Elections of 1954, the Republicans lost control of both the House of Representatives and the Senate, and Nixon was despondent. Nixon had long had a nasty habit of wallowing in self-pity, and he believed that Ike may think his Vice-President didn't come through when it counted. But Nixon also had the habit of looking forward to future challenges, which would come in very handy soon enough.
Nixon had spent time with Dulles on numerous social occasions, and both were socially awkward. During their discussions, Nixon learned more about foreign policy while Dulles learned more about politics. As Ike was recovering, Nixon and Dulles kept the U.S. Gov't on course with minimal disruption, and thankfully the Cold War was at an ebb. Relatively speaking, Nixon was able to advance his political standing while Ike was recovering, showing that he indeed was made of Presidential timbre.
These discussion were deeply demoralizing for Nixon. Ike believed that a post such as Secretary of Defense would help the younger Nixon gain political seasoning, but Nixon saw options such as SecDef as a significant public demotion. Ike told the media that the decision was Nixon's, and Nixon's health started to suffer (both real and imagined). Nixon prepared a media release which stated, in essence, that he would not be Ike's running mate in 1956. But Pat, despite being tired of being a politician's wife, urged him to fight for his rightful place on the ticket, knowing that private life would be a de facto "living death" for her husband.
Again Nixon went to the only Establishment Elite in Washington, D.C. that he trusted, "Princess Alice" Roosevelt Longworth (TR's daughter). "Princess Alice" told Nixon that in the New Hampshire primary, he was receiving many write-in votes for Vice-President (which had been orchestrated by pro-Nixon Republicans in New Hampshire). What President Nixon would call the Silent Majority in the early-1970s sent a message to Ike, and Ike got the message, and he kept Nixon as his running mate. Soon afterwards, in a private meeting, Ike wanted to know why Nixon took so long to decide whether-or-not he wanted to remain as Vice-President . . . yikes!!!
Eisenhower and Nixon were re-elected in a landslide in 1956, and Ike continued to use Nixon as a "forward observer", sending his Vice-President abroad to scout out trouble spots and to report back. Nixon was very frustrated that he wasn't able to campaign for fellow Republicans during the Congressional Elections of 1958, in that Ike wanted Nixon to tour South America. Nixon faced dangerous crowds in Argentina and Venezuela, never backing down (he was in very serious danger in Venezuela with a hostile crowd that surrounded his car).
When Nixon returned to the U.S., he was seen as a heroic figure, a popular hero to most Americans. In July 1959, Nixon made his first trip to the USSR, with the memory of Sputnik still fresh in the minds of Americans. During his lengthy preparation for the trip, Nixon was introduced to Henry Kissinger, a prodigy of international security, and a "Harvard Man" . . . their future political marriage would be very significant in the late-1960s / early-1970s.
The the "Mobile Debate" moved to a different set in the trade fair, an ultra-modern American kitchen. Nixon rallied and hit Khrushchev back in measure fashion, standing up to the Soviet leader with the world's media watching . . . Khrushchev figured out that he couldn't bully America's Vice-President. Nixon was granted the unprecedented opportunity of addressing the citizens of the USSR on state television. By standing up to Khrushchev in what became known as the "Kitchen Debate", Nixon showed his global mettle; Nixon kept his cool while Khrushchev blustered and ranted, and he didn't allow himself to be bullied.
The trip to the USSR in 1959 was a tremendous confidence-builder for Nixon, and he showed that he was ready for the "Big Time" . . . Nixon had found his confident political identity. The "Kitchen Debate" was widely reported back in the U.S., and it was a turning point for Nixon, and he started to focus on getting ready for the Republican nomination for President in 1960 . . .