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 You are in: Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs: Office of the Historian > Foreign Relations of the United States > Nixon-Ford Administrations > Volume I
Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume I, Foundations of Foreign Policy
Released by the Office of the Historian
Documents 39-53

39. Memorandum From the President's Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon/1/

Washington, undated.

/1/Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 397, Subject Files, A Strategic Overview. Confidential. An attached memorandum to Kissinger from Kenneth Cole, Executive Director of the Domestic Council, is dated October 14. Cole stated that the President was returning Kissinger's memorandum and its attachment and wanted them sent to Secretaries Rogers and Laird and Attorney General Mitchell for their comments. (Ibid.)

A Strategic Overview

Attached is a memorandum written by an acquaintance of mine which provides a rather comprehensive assessment of the United States' position in the world. Although I do not agree with its every last word, it does define the problem we face--the generally deteriorating strategic position of the United States during the past decade.

Many analysts have written about the problems faced by the Communists. But I do not believe that the world situation, as viewed from Moscow, provides great cause for Communist pessimism.

Andrei Zhdanov's "two-camp" speech in September 1947 referred only to Bulgaria, Poland and Romania as relatively secure Communist states and allies. He saw no real possibility in the Middle East and no hope in Latin America. He considered China to be imperialist. But Zhdanov's pessimistic outlook has not been justified by subsequent events--certainly during the last decade.

--In the Middle East, Russian influence is spreading and moderate Arab governments are under increasing pressure.

--In Latin America, the potential for guerrilla warfare grows, and the outlook for future Nasser-type (if not Communist), anti-American governments improves.

--In Europe, NATO is in a state of malaise, accentuated by our shifting policies over the last 10 years. Europeans are increasingly concerned about isolationist currents within the U.S. (particularly within the liberal community).

--In Asia, as you saw on your trip, leaders are concerned about the future U.S. role there.

You inherited this legacy of the past decade. The lesson one can draw from it is not that we can fight this trend on every issue. But foreign policy depends on an accumulation of nuances, and no opponent of ours can have much reason to believe that we will stick to our position on the issues which divide us. When Hanoi compares our negotiating position on Vietnam now with that of 18 months ago, it must conclude that it can achieve its goals simply by waiting. Moscow must reach the same conclusion.

These are dangerous conclusions for an enemy to draw, and I believe that we therefore face the prospect of major confrontations.

Hence, my concern about the gravity of the situation, of which I thought I should let you know.



Washington, September 29, 1969.


Section A

1. It is one of the truisms of our time that because of the sensational development of communications and transportation, the globe has shrunk with distances between formerly far-away countries having been reduced to mere hours of flight time. We all pay continuous lip service to the axiom that the hallmark, today, of relations among States, even among continents, is interdependence rather than independence. But while every political writer and speaker belabors this point ad nauseum, we actually deal with the Mideast, Latin America, the Atlantic Region, Eastern Europe, NE Asia, and SE Asia as if we were still living in the WW-II era when it was realistic and feasible to speak of a European, an India-Burma-China, a Pacific "Strategic Theater" as essentially separate and autonomous.

2. In theory, people may understand the phenomenon of interdependence rather well and be quite aware of the fact that the whole globe, by now, has become a single strategic theater. In practice, however, near-unavoidable bureaucratic compartmentalization has led to specialization among experts and decision-makers: Those who are knowledgeable regarding the strategically more and more important Trucial Oman, know little or nothing about Canada, and those who are experts on Berlin have no eyes for, or interest in, the issue of Okinawa. The man who daily struggles with the agonizing problem of Vietnam can hardly be expected to pay special attention to the latest coup in Libya, and the person concerned with US aid to Latin America has little time or inclination to consider recent political developments in Czechoslovakia.

3. Since, by chance, it has become my specialty to be a generalist, let me draw for you a sketch of how seemingly isolated developments in specific areas are deeply interconnected in fact, how the single stones of the mosaic actually form a clearly recognizable overall tableau.

Section B


1. It might be helpful to start out with a remarkable, largely unnoticed, passage in Senator Mansfield's Report to the President, on his recent Pacific tour. Having stated that the leaders of the Asian countries visited by him "agree" that the role of the US in Asian affairs should shrink, the Senator remarked that there was also "some uneasiness" among those leaders "that the pendulum will swing too far from [US]/2/ over-involvement to non-involvement." Mansfield is not a "pessimist," because--as you may remember--he had on the very eve of the invasion of Czechoslovakia reported to President Johnson that, on the basis of his analysis of the situation in East Europe, he considered a reduction of US forces in Germany not only appropriate but even desirable. Actually, the Senator's wording--"some uneasiness" in non-Communist Asia about the US moving toward a stance of non-involvement--constitutes a "diplomatic" understatement which barely hints at, but does not really reflect at all, the overwhelming fear of such countries as S. Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore--and even Indonesia, the Philippines and Australia--to have to face potential future aggressors essentially with their own military forces.

/2/All brackets in the source text.

2. Your country specialists will tell you, if you ask them, that the Indonesian leaders--despite the size and relative geographic protectedness of their island nation--have informed us of a need for the US to "stay" for at least 3 more years in Vietnam, so that they might peacefully consolidate their country without fear of Communist direct or indirect aggression.

3. It also deserves to be noted that Gen Romulo--unwaveringly pro-US and anti-Communist--nevertheless remarked in a public speech, some time ago, when he took over the position of Foreign Minister at Manila, that in view of the impossibility to rely henceforth on US protection it would be necessary to "adjust" Philippine Foreign Policy. He remarked, in this connection, that, as of that day, Philippine Foreign Office references to China would no longer be to the "Chinese Mainland" but to the People's Republic of China, the country's official designation adopted by the Mao regime. In an interview given by Romulo at the UN in N.Y. he expressed a wish (see NY Times of September 22, 1969) "that the UN, in its peace-keeping efforts would consider [General] MacArthur's suggestion that borders threatened by guerrilla infiltration or possible enemy invasion be sealed off with a belt of radioactive materials." The suggestion of so strong, and innately unpopular, a measure by a SE Asian Foreign Minister does reveal more than mere "uneasiness" in the face of coming dangers.

4. The Prime Minister of Singapore, Mr. Lee, who proudly calls himself an Asian Socialist, shocked the anti-Vietnam War Swedish Social Democrats last year, when he declared in an address to that party's annual Congress, that the US was fighting in Vietnam for the independence of Singapore and that this independence was predicated on US willingness to continue the fight.

5. You also remember that Sihanouk of Cambodia--certainly not a friend and even less a tool of the US--has explained again and again over many years that he had no choice but to accommodate to China the powerful, because one day, regardless of US protestations to the contrary, Washington would move its forces out of SE Asia and he, as a convinced Cambodian nationalist, deemed it his task to establish such relations with the Communist victors of tomorrow that, at least, the Communist takeover would be "peaceful."/3/ In a very dramatic, typically Sihanoukian letter to the editors of the NYT the Cambodian Chief of State asked his US readers not to consider him naive regarding Communist intentions. I know very well, he wrote, that, although they [Communists] are friendly to me now, "they will say 'Sihanouk down on your knees,' once they are victorious and oust me without ceremony." I do not have to point out to you that, by now, the Cambodians are actually trying to cooperate, tacitly and secretly, with the hated S. Vietnamese in a not very successful attempt to prevent expansion of de facto Communist control over still further areas of their small country.

/3/Nixon underscored this sentence, beginning at "he had no choice."

6. You are also, I believe, fully aware of what Souvanna Phouma of Laos, the leaders of Thailand and those of Malaysia--to say nothing of Chiang Kai-shek in Taiwan--tell us in confidence as regards their true feelings; i.e., naked fear, concerning a US military withdrawal from SE Asia.


1. The preceding paragraphs have been devoted to SE Asia not only because--by chance, or due to some inherent geopolitical necessity--that region of the world happens to be at the moment our most obviously active area of preoccupation, but also because, for that very reason, it must be these days the center of your own attention and deepest worries. The world, too, focuses its attention on Vietnam, as an indicator of the direction in which US policy and strategy in general are likely to move. You know more, of course, about US future plans and intentions than anyone else, except the President of the US and his Secretary of State, but I venture the assertion that any objective analyst--be he in Peking or Bonn, Moscow or Paris, Ottawa or Cairo--simply cannot help reaching the conclusion that, so far, all the indicators point in one direction only: an ultimate pull-out, a radical reduction of military commitments, a withdrawal of US military power not simply in hotly contested Vietnam but on a worldwide scale.

2. It can hardly be questioned by now that we are on the verge of restoring the Ryukyus, our great stronghold in the NE Asia region, to Japan. And even such bases as we may retain on those islands will be, more likely than not, under the same restrictive regime now applying to our troops and military installations in the Japanese homeland (in accordance with the US/Japan Status of Forces Agreement). That South Korea--already shaken and frightened by the meek US reaction to the capture of the "Pueblo" and to the shooting down of our EC-121--is deeply worried by this development is well known and more than natural, especially since Seoul is afraid, not entirely without justification, that in the "post-Vietnam" period we might thin out, or even reduce greatly, the US forces now stationed in that country. Less well known is the fact that the Japanese themselves--although Tokyo, for obvious reasons, cannot publicly admit it--feel less well protected with the US military strength on Okinawa diminished or newly restricted. It is generally, and somewhat superficially, assumed that this heightened sense of insecurity may have the salutary effect of spurring Japan into making a greater defense effort of its own. But one must ask, whether it would really be in the US interest, if the Japanese followed this line of thought to its logical conclusion; i.e., to the establishment of a purely Japanese nuclear weapons arsenal. Moreover, the leftist opposition, and pacifism in general, are sufficiently powerful within Japan to create such internal upheaval, if the government were actually to embark on any large-scale rearmament, that there would be a lengthy period of instability and weakness in the country, before it could actually become militarily more self-reliant. In the meantime Japan could hardly fail to seek an accommodation with Red China or the USSR or, "ideally," both. In any event: The simultaneous US trend to reduce its power position in North as well as in South East Asia, is bound to have a profound effect on the political and strategic thinking and planning of any Asian country which in the ultimate analysis--willingly or reluctantly--has to rely on the US as a protective shield against the potential super power: China. New Delhi, for example, cannot very well assume that the US is prepared to come to its rescue, when it observes Washington's eagerness to move out and away in regard to Pacific areas (such as Indochina and Okinawa/Japan) in which the US has long had an infinitely more pronounced and direct interest than in India. The Indian leaders, in addition, would have to be influenced by the stark military fact that, in the event of a Communist takeover in SE Asia, their country would be outflanked in the East, with a pro-Chinese Pakistan constituting at the same time a (real or imagined) threat in the West.


1. As regards the Mid East, it is customary to think, to the exclusion of almost any other consideration, of the Arab/Israeli conflict. No doubt, the present Administration is engaged in a superhuman effort to make the two sides see reason and prevent a "fourth round," but in view of earlier US performances, it must be decidedly difficult for Arabs or Israelis to rely on anything but their own brute strength. A US role as an effective guarantor of any future compromise solution is simply not credible, because of our obvious past and present reluctance (with the one exception of Lebanon in 1958) to back up diplomatic agreements or political friendships with a US military presence.

2. Cynics used to believe that, because of the Jewish vote in the US, Washington would necessarily have to intervene in Israel's favor in any "real emergency." Actually, the historical record proves otherwise. In 1956, we turned against our French and British allies and our Israeli protégés and impelled the latter to evacuate the Sinai peninsula; while in 1967, when Nasser threatened war with remarkable frankness, we tried in every way to dissuade Tel Aviv from reacting to the Egyptian blockade of the Straits of Tiran by non-peaceful means. Israel then started military action on her own, strictly against our wish and will, and won so quickly and overwhelmingly that our readiness to come to its rescue no longer had to be tested. I do not, as you know, consider it an a priori US task and mission to protect Israel, but it so happens that in the eyes of the world that small Western enclave in a non-Western environment is considered our "client," and conclusions must be drawn, of needs, everywhere (not only in Moscow and Tel Aviv but in other capitals as well) from the fact that the US is obviously disinclined to support even its own client, if that would mean military involvement.

3. Those Arab regimes, on the other hand, which have struggled to stay relatively pro-West can be even less trustful as regards our active help than the Israelis, since there is no Arab constituency in this country.

4. We have in the past been unable to protect the pro-US royal regime in Iraq. We did not help Saudi Arabia against the Nasser-supported Republican Yemen. We tolerated the establishment of a radically leftist, pro-Peking rather than pro-Moscow, Republic of South Yemen, when the British withdrew from Aden and the Aden Protectorates. We showed no interest, when the moderate government in the Sudan was overthrown by revolutionary radicals; and we obviously will do nothing, if after complete withdrawal of the British from the Persian Gulf area, the present rulers of the various Sheikdoms there should be thrown out by wild-eyed Arab nationalists with Marxist leanings. From the point of view of the moderate Arab leaders it must appear that friendship with the US does not offer protection and does not pay./4/ Only a few weeks ago, King Idris of Libya was ousted by a group of officers leaning toward the Iraqi type of Baathism, one of the most fanatic and anti-Western forms of Arab radicalism. We seemed grateful that, for the time being, the new rulers declared their willingness to tolerate our base at Wheelus and promised not to nationalize the US and other Western oil companies. For King Idris, however, we were either unwilling or unable to do anything. One of the results of the Libyan coup--apart from the fact that roughly one billion $ in annual oil revenues has now passed into the hands of avowed Revolutionaries--is the ominous deterioration of Tunisia's position. Long one of the "most reasonable" and most enlightened among Arab countries, Tunisia, still led by the distinctly pro-Western Bourguiba, suddenly finds herself surrounded by two hostile neighbors: Libya and Algeria. Bourguiba can hardly help feeling that with his moderation he has betted on the wrong horse. Small moderate Lebanon, too--which in 1958 was still able to call on US military help--is currently being forced to abandon its traditional policy of neutrality and to tolerate, despite surprisingly courageous counter-efforts by its President Helou, the takeover of its southernmost border areas by Arab Commando groups composed almost exclusively of non-Lebanese. Considering the lack of any physical outside support for Helou, it seems only a question of time, when he, too, will be replaced by regimes of the kind now governing neighboring Syria and Iraq.

/4/Nixon highlighted the first five sentences of paragraph 4 and added the following note in the margin: "K--a deadly accurate analysis."

5. Under the circumstances, even those Arabs who used to maintain a degree of friendship with the US cannot possibly place great trust in Washington's declarations of amity. It may be a paradox, but must nevertheless be understood, that, precisely because we have shown ourselves so peaceful and patient, so obviously unwilling to intervene with force anywhere or against anyone, it will now be virtually impossible for either Arab or Jew to see in the United States the great power that would actually protect one side against the other and maintain any agreed upon peaceful order by forceful means, should that prove necessary. If a country is so clearly shying away from physical involvement, it is difficult to believe that it will ever permit itself to become so involved.

6. It has widely been assumed that the USSR would restrain the Arabs, as we might restrain the Israelis, out of a fear of a direct US/USSR confrontation. It should be observed, however, that the Soviet interest to exercise such restraining influence is bound to decrease to more or less the same degree to which Moscow's fear of a direct confrontation of the two super powers diminishes. The more the Soviets--looking at US actions and inactions around the world--become convinced that the US remains unbendingly resolved to negotiate rather than to confront, the smaller their incentive to restrain their clients; i.e., in the Mid East case, the Arabs.


1. In Latin America, too, the US has demonstrated such extreme unwillingness recently to use "power" that we actually seem to have placed a premium on hotheaded and undesirable ventures by extremists. We have let Ecuador, Peru, and others, arrogate to themselves exclusive fishing rights in a zone of 200 miles from their coastlines, and we have permitted US fishing boats found in those zones to be shelled or brought to port by foreign naval vessels, whence they have been released only against payment of arbitrary "fines." We leaned over backwards not to apply the Hickenlooper Amendment/5/ as a sanction against Peru for uncompensated expropriation, by a revolutionary Officers Junta, of hundreds of millions worth of US property. The example was quickly followed by Bolivia where a few days ago, another revolutionary group likewise led by a general, enacted certain measures, on the very first day of its existence, foreshadowing expropriation of US oil companies in that country./6/

/5/The Hickenlooper Amendment to the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, proposed by Senator Bourke Hickenlooper (R.-Iowa), was adopted by the Congress on August 1, 1962, as one of the amendments that constituted the Foreign Assistance Act of 1962. The Hickenlooper Amendment provided for the suspension of foreign aid to any country that expropriated U.S. property without prompt and adequate compensation. (P.L. 87-565, 76 Stat. 260-261)

/6/Nixon highlighted the final sentence of this paragraph and added the following comment in the margin: "K--note--what does State advise on this?"

2. The Latin temperament is rather volatile by nature and the colossus to the North is not necessarily popular among Latinos. It is dangerous, therefore, and does not promote peaceful developments, if the impression is created that irresponsible--or even normally quite responsible--elements, can act wildly and illegally without having to fear any serious reaction on our part. We certainly could not hold the Brazilian government responsible for the recent unprecedented kidnapping of the US Ambassador in full daylight. But it is doubtful whether our concern for a single diplomat's life, our clearly manifested "hope" that all the kidnappers' demands be fulfilled speedily to save one man, was as humane as it seemed: Since it has become all too clear now that the host country of a US representative can be blackmailed with such surprising ease, it must be feared that there will be further kidnappings of US diplomats in the foreseeable future./7/

/7/Nixon underscored the second sentence of this paragraph, highlighted the final sentence, and wrote the following marginal comment: "K--I agree--We dropped this one."

3. It is no longer seriously doubted today that the Balaguer regime in the Dominican Republic with all its deficiencies, is, nevertheless, the best administration that country has ever had since 1865 (when Santo Domingo gained its final independence from Spain). The regime was established after order had been restored in the Republic by US military intervention, which at the time was bitterly criticized by many, even well-meaning people as an act of US "imperialism." No US President, of course, would like to repeat a similar venture. Yet, it is not desirable, in the very interest of peace, to let everybody assume, as appears to be the case today, that the US will no longer intervene anywhere in Latin America at any time./8/

/8/Nixon underscored and highlighted the final sentence of this paragraph and added the following marginal comment: "K--I agree--Be sure our Latin speech makes this clear." The reference is apparently to the speech Nixon delivered to the annual meeting of the Inter-American Press Association on October 31. For text, see Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Richard Nixon, 1969, pp. 893-901.


1. When Czechoslovakia was invaded in August 1968, the experts, and large segments of public opinion, found one consolation in the mournful event: It would re-awaken the Western World to the danger from the East and revive the somewhat lethargic NATO. The prediction (which, as you may recall, I contradicted at the time) was wrong. The lasting impression that finally resulted was that of NATO's and the US' virtually total non-reaction, except in words, and the capability of brute force (applied in this case by the Soviets) to impose its will.

2. The Germans, as you know only too well from frequent and direct observation, have--after two World Wars lost, with five totally different regimes following each other within 50 years, and with their country still divided--by no means regained their self-confidence. I transmitted to you the other day a report containing the remarks of a German leader/9/ who, upon his return from an official visit to Moscow, while admitting that the Soviets had remained totally rigid and offered absolutely nothing, concluded nevertheless that W. Germany had no choice but to come to terms with Moscow "because," he said, "I have twice recently been in Washington and found there such a trend toward isolationism that I am certain the Americans will sooner or later pull their forces out of Germany." The individual in question may have been objectively wrong, but the fear he expressed is actually shared by virtually all Germans who do have opinions on foreign and world affairs.

/9/Nixon's marginal comment at this point reads: "K--who is this?"

3. After having visited Washington and signed the Offset Agreement,/10/ Chancellor Kiesinger thought he had obtained a US undertaking that current US force strength in Germany would be fully maintained during, at least, the two years covered by said Agreement. You are far better aware of the fact than I am that his impressions were overoptimistic.

/10/An agreement between the United States and the Federal Republic of Germany to offset the costs of the U.S. forces stationed in Germany was signed in Washington on July 9. For text of the joint statement announcing the agreement, see Department of State Bulletin, August 4, 1969, p. 92. When Chancellor Kurt Kiesinger visited Washington in August, he confirmed the agreement.

4. It is sometimes asserted that the very threat of US troop reductions would bring about a greater defense effort by the united Europeans themselves. In actual fact, however, Europe--though united it would be a Great Power--is not yet united, and Italians, Germans, Frenchmen, Beneluxers, and Scandinavians think of themselves as small, in terms of military strength, and in need of protection by the only super power that happens to exist in the non-Communist world: the US. When big brother even appears to falter, the little brethren will not move forward courageously--as we seem to think--but, on the contrary, they will anxiously take several steps backwards.

5. By coincidence, I happened to be in Italy at the end of August, when the fact leaked out that our very small garrison there (in the Verona/Vicenza area with a logistic base at Leghorn) would be cut in half for "economy reasons." The Italians guessed, more or less correctly, that no more than a total of about 1,500 men would be involved. Not a single Italian, whom I heard discuss the matter--regardless of whether he stood politically on the right, left or center--accepted that explanation. Everybody assumed, as a matter of course, that this was simply the first installment of a total US military pull-out from Italy.

6. The Canadians, incidentally, encounter the same disbelief throughout Europe, when they adduce economic motives for withdrawing roughly one-half of their small European garrison. Unaware of Trudeau's marked sense of independence, many Europeans actually believe that Canada could not very well take such a measure without the, at least tacit, approval of Washington. This, then, leads to the further conclusion that the entire North American continent is beginning to turn inward and intent on ultimately withdrawing all its forces still stationed on foreign soil.


1. You will not expect in this sketch any analysis of the complex issue of US/USSR relations. But one comment deserves to be made in the general context I have chosen: The Soviets are developing some genuine fear of Red China and its intractable leaders. They might, therefore, feel impelled by self-interest to seek a genuine Kremlin/Washington détente, and even make certain concessions to the US as a conceivable future ally, semi-ally or at least friendly "neutral" in a Soviet-Chinese confrontation. The entire Soviet assessment, however, of the weight and value of the United States as a friend or foe, will depend very largely on their considering us either strong-willed or else weak in purpose and resolve. The realists in the Kremlin may now be "taking our measure," and a US yielding, and reluctant to act on all fronts, will appear less interesting and important to them as a factor in the international power struggle than a super power obviously able and willing to use its strength./11/

/11/Nixon highlighted the final sentence of this paragraph and added the following marginal note: "good analysis."


1. This then is the overall image of the US as a reluctant giant: seeking peace and reconciliation almost feverishly, withdrawing forces not in one but in many parts of the world, tired of using its physical power and firmly resolved to cut existing commitments and keep out, for a very long time to come, of any confrontation that might lead to any military involvement./12/

/12/Nixon underscored this paragraph and wrote in the margin: "Sad but true!"

2. This picture appears to be confirmed by a flow of US governmental statements on military budget cuts, temporary suspension of the draft, overall reduction of forces, deactivation of units, and mothballing of naval vessels. Although in reality these various measures, so far, are not earth-shaking in themselves, they do produce the impression of an irreversible trend, of deliberate first steps on the road toward a liquidation of very many long-held power positions, of a systematic retreat into an inner shell. Even though we do not want it, we do appear to friendly as well as hostile observers as intent upon descending from a stage to make room for new actors whom nobody can fully see as yet, but who cannot fail to appear to take the spaces we are leaving empty.


1. Anyone with a sense of history will grasp the tragic elements in this situation. The President by training and instinct knows, of course, exactly what is at stake. So do you, a historian and a man with a pronounced sense of power realities. The policy on which we seem embarked is very obviously dictated by a conviction that "public opinion" demands it and that, accordingly, the government is essentially helpless to act otherwise. This pessimism about the public might be unwarranted. Results of a Gallup poll, published in today's NYT (see Annex)/13/ indicate that 3 out of 5 persons polled consider US intervention in Vietnam justified. The votes lie not with those professors, students, and other particularly visible and audible protesters, nor with the writers and readers of our few great (or perhaps only big) newspapers.

/13/Not printed.

2. The votes lie with the masses, and I have the truly frightening suspicion that these very masses--which today do not even care very much about foreign affairs and foreign problems--will be the first ones to yell for retribution and stampede forward over our bodies, howling that we have betrayed them, when a year or two from now it becomes clear that our well meant policy, allegedly attuned to public opinion, will have led to defeat, and to crises infinitely more terrible than that Vietnam war we have to face now. Lincoln used artillery in the streets of New York against rebellious "copperheads;" about 1100 people were killed in two days as a result. He was considered, however, not only a great man but a great humanitarian, when it turned out, subsequently, that he had been "right." "The people" are not very just, they forgive the victor, but always make scapegoats of their own leaders who are not victorious./14/ The Dolchstosslegende (the propaganda tale of the "stab in the back" of the fighting troops) unfortunately can be invented in any country and at any time.

/14/Nixon underscored this sentence.


40. Editorial Note

On October 20, 1969, President Nixon and Henry Kissinger met in the Oval Office of the White House with Soviet Ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin to discuss relations between the United States and the Soviet Union. Nixon used the occasion to put into practice his concept of linkage:

"President Nixon said he did not believe much in personal diplomacy, and he recognized that the Ambassador was a strong defender of the interests of his own country. The President pointed out that if the Soviet Union found it possible to do something in Vietnam, and the Vietnam war ended, the U.S. might do something dramatic to improve Soviet-U.S. relations, indeed something more dramatic than they could now imagine. But until then, real progress would be difficult.

"Ambassador Dobrynin asked whether this meant that there could be no progress. The President replied that progress was possible, but it would have to be confined essentially to what was attainable in diplomatic channels. He said that he was very happy to have Ambassador Dobrynin use the channel through Dr. Kissinger, and he would be prepared to talk to the Ambassador personally. He reiterated that the war could drag on, in which case the U.S. would find its own way to bring it to an end. There was no sense repeating the proposals of the last six months. However, he said, in the meantime, while the situation continued, we could all keep our tone down and talk correctly to each other. It would help, and would lay the basis for further progress, perhaps later on when conditions were more propitious.

"The President said that the whole world wanted us to get together. He too wanted nothing so much as to have his Administration remembered as a watershed in U.S.-Soviet relations, but we would not hold still for being 'diddled' to death in Vietnam." (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 489, President's Trip Files, Dobrynin/HAK, 1969, [Part 1])


41. Memorandum From the President's Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon/1/

Washington, October 20, 1969.

/1/Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 252, Agency Files, NSC 1969-71. Secret. Sent for information. The memorandum was stamped and initialed by Alexander Butterfield to indicate that it was seen by the President. The attached study was drafted by Robert E. Osgood of the NSC Staff.

Analysis of changes in international politics since World War II and their implications for our basic assumptions about U.S. foreign policy

In your meeting with the NSC Staff on October 2 you expressed the view that many basic aspects of international politics have changed during the past two decades, and you suggested that we ought to have an analysis of the implications of these changes for the underlying premises of U.S. foreign policy.

One of the first studies the Staff undertook was a comprehensive review of major trends in international politics. Part of that rather long review was a summary of these trends in the context of the postwar evolution of American foreign policy and the current mood of reassessment. I have attached this document (Tab A).

The document is one individual's interpretation of a momentous period in U.S. foreign policy, not a consensus of the Staff. But its overview of current trends is based on all the relevant official studies, documents, and analyses and on systematic discussions within the intelligence community. It indicates the emergence of an increasingly complex and pluralistic international environment and suggests some of the implications of this phenomenon for the basic pattern of U.S. policy, but it does not purport to recommend American responses.


Tab A


In a meeting with the NSC Staff on October 2 the President suggested that, in view of basic changes in international politics over the last twenty years, it would be useful to have a reassessment of the governing assumptions underlying American foreign policy. The pages that follow may serve this purpose.

There are three parts to this analysis. The first two parts assess the current questioning of American foreign policy in the light of basic changes--and some continuities--in the international environment and in America's position in the world. The third section spells out the most important trends in international politics over the next one to five years. In this context it suggests on pages 17-19 ways in which the dominant rationale of U.S. foreign policy during much of the cold war must be modified.

This analysis is a personal interpretation, but it is based on a thorough examination of the voluminous answers to NSSM-9/2/ and all the relevant documents in the intelligence community.

/2/In NSSM 9, January 23, 1969, Henry Kissinger, on President Nixon's behalf, tasked the Departments of State, Defense, and the Treasury, as well as the CIA to undertake a sweeping review "to provide a current assessment of the political, economic and security situation and the major problems relevant to U.S. security interests and U.S. bilateral and multilateral relations." Kissinger structured what he referred to as an "inventory" of the international situation by appending 52 pages of questions. (Ibid., Box 365, Subject Files, National Security Study Memoranda (NSSMs), nos 1-42)


Americans are questioning major features of the policy that has dominated the U.S. position in the world since the beginning of the cold war. Their questioning arises not only from disaffection with the war in Vietnam but also from a sense that familiar perceptions of the world do not fit a changing reality.

American foreign policy throughout most of the years since World War II could be summed up, with only a little exaggeration, as containment--that is, the prevention of communist expansion. Although the implementation of containment changed greatly during this period, the objective dominated American policy.

The threat of communist expansion has not disappeared, nor has the U.S. ceased being concerned about it. But the patterns of conflict and alignment, of power and political activity, among nations have changed in so many ways--and the communist world has changed so greatly--that containment no longer adequately describes the organizing concept of American foreign policy.

This change has not occurred suddenly. It is the result of a process that is in some respects at least a decade old. But its impact on American policy is sharpened now by a national mood of reappraisal--reappraisal of America's foreign interests and of how it should use its power to support them; reappraisal of familiar assumptions about international realities, of the proper extent of American involvement in the world, and of the relative weight that ought to be given to internal rather than external concerns.

This mood of reappraisal has been precipitated by the costs and frustrations of the war in Vietnam, but it goes deeper than the reaction to the war and will outlast the war. In Congress, for example, it extends to a loss of confidence in the wisdom of the Executive Branch to define the requirements of American military security. On the campuses it is manifested in efforts to exclude military training and research. But underlying a broad spectrum of dissatisfaction with American foreign policy is an ill-defined feeling that the United States has become involved in world affairs to an extent that exceeds the imperatives of its vital interests, the efficacy of its power, and its equitable share of the burdens of international order. In short, there is a widespread feeling that the nation is "over-committed" and that the familiar rationale of American involvement--containment, falling dominoes, the Munich analogy--no longer fits the facts as it seemed to fit them in a simpler period of East-West confrontation.

At the moment this feeling reflects a mood of doubt and frustration, not a set of hardened convictions. It is "limitationist" rather than "isolationist". It does not spring from the traditional isolationist disposition to remain aloof from the world or the isolationist premise that the U.S. ought to confine the exercise of its material and economic--and especially its military--power to the protection of the United States alone. The commitments the limitationists are prepared to accept would have struck the so-called neo-isolationists of the late 1940's as the product of extravagant interventionism. On the other hand, now that the U.S. has become a global power, the impact of limitationism upon the position of the U.S. in the world could be no less significant than the impact of isolationism before World War II.


A brief survey of the recent history of American foreign policy indicates the extent to which both the realities and the American perception of the realities have changed. These changes are the background in terms of which the significance of current international trends for American policy should be assessed.

The Europe-Centered Bipolar Order

From the United States standpoint the cold war was at the outset dominated by a military confrontation and a political and ideological contest with the Soviet Union in Europe, although this contest had antecedents in Iran and Greece. This confrontation became the basis for the organization of most of Europe into two military alliances, each under the preponderance of a superpower. It froze the division of Germany and Europe and thereby intensified the contest between the two superpowers and their allies. At the same time, however, the management of the military balance of Europe by two extra-European superpowers also dampened intra-European power politics in both Eastern and Western Europe--politics which had repeatedly been the source of international turmoil and war--and thereby created a new kind of international order.

The bipolar order was stabilized by the consolidation of American deterrence in Europe and by the growth of nuclear inhibitions on both sides. Moreover, in the atmosphere of superpower détente following the Berlin and Cuban missile crises the danger of East-West armed conflict in Europe came to seem negligible, notwithstanding the fact that the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia rekindled concern about the unpredictability of Soviet military action and about the prospect of East European conflict spilling over into West Germany.

The Spread of the Cold War to the Third World

Beginning with the Korean War, the bipolar contest, having become relatively stable in Europe, spread to Asia and then, in various muted and indirect ways, to the Middle East, Africa, and the Caribbean. In spreading to the so-called Third World, this contest also became more diffuse and complicated. For the restless, mostly unstable and poor new states of the crumbling colonial world were moved by a variety of concerns having little or nothing to do with the cold war between the superpowers. Their dominant concerns, next to the achievement of full independence, were national unity, national status, modernization, and the pursuit of local state rivalries.

Nonetheless, in the mid-1950's it seemed as though the Third World might become the decisive arena of the cold war. Following the Korean War the U.S. sought to extend containment to Asia and the Middle East by means of a network of alliances and declarations intended to bolster deterrence, by economic aid and military assistance agreements intended to foster friendly stable states, and in the 1960's by more pointed appeals to nationalism and neutralism intended to identify the U.S. with the rising aspirations of the "developing" world.

Similarly, Soviet and Communist Chinese leaders switched from reviling nonaligned states to embracing them as collaborators against the remnants of imperialism. The Soviet Union launched its own selective program of economic and military assistance to gain influence and, possibly, control in areas of Western vulnerability. When the strategy of peaceful coexistence and appeals to bourgeois nationalism failed to pay satisfactory dividends, the international communist parties endorsed, in 1960, a more militant strategy of supporting "wars of national liberation".

Contrary to the popular view in Western countries, however, Soviet leaders were staunchly opposed to Peking's active pursuit of this course at the risk of involving the Soviet Union in war. They were not averse to supporting subversion where the USSR could control the subverters at a minimum cost and risk, and they could not refuse assistance to the self-proclaimed socialist state of Castro's Cuba; but they preferred to project their influence by establishing close relations with nationalist, anti-Western regimes.

The new regimes in the Third World capitalized upon the extension of the great-power contest to their domain in order to gain personal and national status and acquire material assistance. Colorful national leaders--Nehru, Sukarno, Nasser, Nkrumah--dramatized their role in world politics, exalting nonalignment as a principle of international order and touting the struggle for the moral and intellectual allegiance of the modernizing nations as the essence of international politics.

The Intractability of the Third World

The emergence of politically independent and active states in the colonial areas has exerted a tremendous impact on international politics, but the Third World has not proved to be a decisive arena of great-power conflict. Nor does it fit any of the simplifying conceptions about the climactic role of the less developed countries, such as the polarization of world politics on a North-South or rich-poor axis or on the basis of a grand ideological competition for the organization of developing societies. The area is simply too heterogeneous, disorganized, and resistant to external control and influence to fit into any such single pattern of international politics. Accentuated subnational--communal, ethnic, and tribal--and inter-state conflicts have proved to be stronger determinants of policy than any common denominator among the new states, such as the desiraced the hard problems of internal unity, national security, and economic solvency. The mystique of nonalignment has been dissipated by growing divisions among Afro-Asian states, the discovery by India and others of a national security problem that may require limited alignment with one or both superpowers, and the death or political decline of the charismatic national leaders. dissipated by growing divisions among Afro-Asian states, the discovery by India and others of a national security problem that may require limited alignment with one or both superpowers, and the death or political decline of the charismatic national leaders.

Finally--as events in Greece, Burma, Malaysia, the Philippines, Guatemala, the Congo, Laos, and Indonesia show--the capacity of local communist parties to subvert or gain control of unstable states by "wars of national liberation" or any other means has proved to be quite limited. This is true even when such parties are supported by an adjacent communist power, especially if the target states receive external assist-ance. South Vietnam now seems to be an exception, due to a combination of unique circumstances: the sophisticated use of modern military power by North Vietnam, the organizational genius of Ho Chi Minh in developing an extensive Viet Cong infrastructure, and his ability to exploit nationalist sentiment in the war against the French. Cuba is an equally unique case of the leader of a non-communist revolution seeking Soviet assistance by appealing for membership in the communist camp.

The Loosening of Alliances

While the superpowers were growing aware of the complexity, intractability, and hazards of over-involvement in the Third World they were also becoming increasingly concerned with the cohesion of their alliances.

In NATO the growing capacity of the USSR to inflict nuclear devastation on the U.S. cast doubt on the credibility of America's nuclear protection. But the European allies were caught between the logic of a strategy of flexible response, which by 1967 prevailed on paper, and the political reality of budgetary restrictions on defense, which prevented conventional force improvements to support the strategy in practice.

President de Gaulle asserted France's independence by pulling her out of NATO's Organization and opposing American efforts to reduce allied dependence on a strategy of nuclear deterrence. Other allies were also growing restive under American preponderance, but they regarded American forces in Europe as indispensable to their security and showed few signs of being ready to supplant American preponderance with tangible efforts of their own.

At the same time, the U.S. was under steady domestic pressure to reduce its forces in Europe substantially. This prospect accentuated allied doubts about the reliability of American protection, but reinforced their own domestic pressures for reduction of defense efforts.

Now, in an atmosphere of détente, which persists despite the Czechoslovakian crisis, the appeal of East-West relations is more compelling than collective defense needs, and in the smaller countries concessions to the latter can be gained only through active deference to the former. Yet U.S. accommodations with the USSR, although welcomed in general as a contribution to détente, tend to arouse suspicion--especially in the FRG that the U.S. seeks a condominium with the USSR at the expense of allied interests. The Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) has been especially provocative in this respect, since it requires the FRG to sign a pledge of self-abnegation to appease special Soviet interests and fears.

Nonetheless, after twenty years the North Atlantic Alliance still serves its essential security function and still seems indispensable to its members. SEATO and CENTO (in which the U.S. is not formally a member) have increasingly shown their lack of cohesion, but the U.S. never conceived of them as being much more than means of conveying America's deterrent to the rimlands of Eurasia. America's other alliances and security commitments in Asia have served not only as deterrents against direct aggression and, indirectly, as obstacles to subversion but also (in the cases of Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan) as constraints upon the military policies and actions of allies.

The Soviet Union has encountered far more serious trouble than the U.S. from the loosening of its alliances. Since 1957 the growing split in the Sino-Soviet alliance has been a galling factor in every major Soviet policy and action throughout the world. In recent years the deterioration of this split into hostility has begun to alter fundamentally the structure of world power by establishing an incipient tripolarity at the center of international politics.

At the same time, "contradictions" in the Warsaw Pact threaten the maintenance of political and ideological control over the remaining members of the "socialist commonwealth". As long as Soviet leaders believe that the security of the Warsaw Treaty Organization depends on the political and ideological conformity of bloc members, they will have to rely heavily on armed control and threat of suppression. They will have to do this while trying to preserve an atmosphere of détente without permitting Western (and especially German) economic, political, and cultural penetration to "subvert" Eastern Europe. And at the same time they will be under steady pressure from their clients to subsidize their inefficient economics. The Soviets would face these dilemmas in their most acute form if liberal and nationalist forces were to threaten secure communist control of the GDR.

If the Soviet Union could accept liberalizing tendencies in Eastern Europe without feeling that its external security or its domestic tranquillity were threatened, it might strengthen the cohesion of its bloc by letting it evolve from an empire into a contractual alliance. But there is no assurance that Soviet leadership, foresight, or tolerance of diversity will be equal to this task. Meanwhile, Soviet burdens of empire are the more burdensome because, simultaneously, the Soviet economy (especially in the agricultural sector) is lagging in the face of rising consumer demands.

U.S.-Soviet Relations: Limited Adversaries

In some respects the U.S. and the USSR find themselves in comparable positions in the world, although for different reasons and in different ways. In military power, geographical reach, and the global scope of their interests, the discrepancy between them and the second-rank powers is greater than ever. Both have experienced a momentous expansion of powers and commitments. The United States attained its global position in pursuit of containment and a liberal conception of world order; the Soviet Union, in pursuit of an imperial status keyed to an ideological vision. In pursuit of their different aims both were sucked into the power vacuums of the world by the dynamics of their competition and the desire of others to turn it to their own advantage. Both have experienced concomitant frustrations and constraints--domestic and external--upon their ability to manage the environment within which they must exert their power and protect their commitments.

Now, having consolidated a limited core of common interests in minimizing the risks of armed conflict stemming from direct confrontation or the actions of other states, they nevertheless remain cautious adversaries on a broad spectrum of issues in an increasing portion of the world. In every important international development the relations of the superpowers are an important and often determining element. The vital interests of the U.S. can be affected far more seriously by the actions of the USSR, and vice-versa, than by the actions of any other state. The structure of military power in the world is no less dominated by the superpowers than at the outset of the cold war. The military balance between them is no less consequential for the security or insecurity of others.

Consequently, more than twenty years after World War II, despite all the diffusion of political activity, U.S.-Soviet relations continue to dominate the center stage of international politics. But their relations are the product of a substantially different mix of animosity and accommodation than in earlier periods of cold-war confrontation. Neither an unqualified adversary nor a partner in condominium, the Soviet Union seeks an international environment in which it can cope with its allies, its clients, and its internal problems--which implies a reduction of international tension and a stabilization of relations with the United States. But it also continues its efforts to overcome American strategic military superiority; to expand its air, land, and sea capacity for overseas intervention; and to eliminate American influence and enhance its own in areas like the Middle East where the stakes seem worth the costs and risks.

Having achieved a position of virtual parity with the U.S. in the capacity to inflict unacceptable nuclear retaliatory damage, the Kremlin is in a position either to consolidate détente through arms limitations with the U.S. or to try to exploit a position of strategic strength it lacked during most of the cold war. Conceivably, it could try both courses of action. But even if a bolder leadership should pursue a more aggressive foreign policy, the pattern of U.S.-Soviet relations would not return to the relatively simple confrontation that appeared to exist at the height of the cold war.

Vietnam in Perspective

Changes in the principal pattern of conflict facing the U.S. were already altering American policies and policy concerns in 1965 when the U.S. greatly expanded its direct involvement in the war in Vietnam. A more complicated mixture of containment and détente was already developing in U.S.-Soviet relations. The period of expanding American commitments had ended years before. What the agonies of Vietnam have done is to accelerate and accentuate a revision of some familiar aspects of containment which would probably have changed anyway, although more gradually and moderately.

America's assistance to South Vietnam against communist insurgency was initiated as a perfectly consistent application of the policy enunciated in the Truman Doctrine of helping independent governments resist communist incursions. The expansion of America's involvement after 1965 did not lead to any different rationale. Nevertheless, the costs and frustrations that followed, and their domestic repercussions, have called that rationale into question. In contrast, the adversities of the Korean War led only to a more intensive application of containment to Asia.

How far-reaching the current revision of America's policy and role will become depends not only upon the popular sentiment of "no more Vietnams" but on a number of other factors. Not the least of these is the government's and the nation's assessment of the nature of the international environment and especially of the nature of the communist threat to vital American interests.


This section summarizes the most important trends in international politics that will affect America's position in the world in the next five years.

A. The Diffusion of Politics

1. Many of the salient characteristics of the present period of international politics spring from the diffusion of independent political activity among and within states following the decline of the cold war, the loosening of cold-war alliances, and the assertion of national and subnational loyalties in the wake of colonial dissolution.

2. In the Third World this diffusion of politics is marked by the consolidation of distinct national feelings, especially in opposition to foreign interference or dependence on foreign powers; by the assertion of national policies locally, regionally, and in international bodies; by the growing heterogeneity of interests and alignments among states; and by centrifugal tendencies toward communal, ethnic, tribal and other subnational loyalties. These tendencies toward the diffusion of politics are not accompanied by any significant consolidations of power among LDC's, although there have been some advances in economic and political cooperation among Asian states.

3. Among the developed countries diffusion of politics is marked by centrifugal tendencies within the alliances of the superpowers, and particularly by the assertion on the part of second-rank states of independence from the superpowers in policies and national will. But diffusion does not yet take the form of the emergence of significant new centers of military power, destruction of alliances (with the very large exception of the Sino-Soviet alliance), major realignments, or the consolidation of new groupings among the second rank states.

4. The diffusion of politics in the Third World provides the USSR with new opportunities to extend its influence on a government-to-government basis, as conflicting states and factions within states seek external support and as nationalist sentiments are mobilized against the manifestations of American power. But it also constrains Soviet as well as U.S. influence from going as far as interference or dominance.

5. The diffusion of power within the superpowers' European alliances confronts the U.S. with difficulties in eliciting defense contributions commensurate with stated military requirements and the concomitant accentuation of pressures to withdraw American forces. It confronts the USSR with the more severe problem of maintaining political conformity within a quasi-imperial structure against a steady tide of national self-assertion.

6. The Sino-Soviet alliance has deteriorated into deep rivalry and hostility. This is creating a tripolar relationship in which (a) the U.S., USSR, and the PRC each have an interest in preventing the other two from cooperating, (b) the Soviets have parallel interests with the U.S. in containing China, but (c) the U.S. ability to achieve closer relations with China or to exploit Moscow's fear of a U.S.-Chinese rapprochement will be quite limited unless some substantial U.S.-PRC conflicts of interest are ameliorated--which is only a distant prospect.

B. The U.S.-USSR Military Balance

1. The growth of Soviet nuclear power tends to diminish the credibility of America's nuclear protection, but it has not been incompatible with the maintenance of an adequate American deterrent against Soviet military action or with the stabilization of the U.S.-USSR military balance based on mutual deterrence between the superpowers. Indeed, it has been accompanied by a growing mutual recognition of the need to avoid war, which has become the solid basis of détente.

2. The consolidation of a situation of virtual parity in second-strike capabilities does, however, accentuate the political problems the U.S. has in retaining the confidence of its allies. And the efforts of the superpowers to stabilize the military environment, especially when directed against the spread of nuclear capabilities to other states, foster suspicion that the superpowers may pursue their common interests at the expense of friends and allies.

3. The consolidation of strategic parity also provides the USSR with the military basis for claiming general equality with the U.S. as a global power. But whether it exploits this situation to America's disadvantage depends on opportunities unrelated to the strategic military balance.

4. The USSR will be better able than in the past to capitalize on new opportunities for projecting its influence and limiting America's influence in the Third World by virtue of the increase of its (a) naval power, especially in the Mediterranean, and of its (b) overseas amphibious and air lift forces, in both of which the U.S. held a virtual monopoly.

C. East-West Relations

1. The Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia has demonstrated the limits of the capacity of "bridge-building" to enhance the liberty or autonomy of members of the Warsaw Pact. Nonetheless, the attraction in the West of increased East-West communications is undiminished, and East European countries see such communications as a way of constraining Soviet dominance.

2. The slight prospects of a formal East-West settlement or security agreement are diminished by the added Soviet disinclination in the aftermath of the Czechoslovakian crisis to withdraw troops from the GDR. Nor are other conditions of a settlement that would be compatible with American interests--such as the emergence of Western guarantors that could supplant an American presence--any closer to realization. The prospects of a formal settlement are also diminished by the fact that every state except the FRG has come to look upon the status quo as de facto the most satisfactory settlement available and by the FRG's tendency, in practice, to subordinate unification of the Germanies to bridge-building and the normalization of relations with the GDR.

3. The most substantive East-West relations will remain in the realm of U.S.-USSR accommodation or cooperation within a framework of selective competition--a realm of political relationships that is inadequately expressed in the word "détente". In Europe the basis of détente will continue to be the Soviet desire to stabilize and consolidate the status quo and to moderate the arms competition with the U.S.

4. The strategic arms limitation talks will be the most consequential manifestation of détente. More than any previous arms control talks, SALT will impinge upon Soviet-American political relations, the central strategic balance in the world, and the interests of the NATO allies. The talks--whether they result in a comprehensive agreement or, more likely, a limited agreement, or no agreement at all--will not end the arms race or transform Soviet-American relations, but they will tend to accentuate all the interrelated issues of U. S.-USSR and U.S.-allied relations.

D. The Third World

1. Despite some impressive achievements of economic development, as in Asia, most LDC's continue to suffer the well-known obstacles to development: population growth that exceeds food resources, lack of entrepreneurial skills, lack of the requisite political and administrative capacity, resistance of traditional elites to economic and social reform. Even among the states that are really "developing", the disparity between their standard of living and that of the developed states is increasing.

2. The frequency and intensity of political violence and disorder have been increasing. The insurgencies do not seem likely to displace existing regimes in the next five years; but in some areas (especially Latin America) they reflect economic and social developments that may create genuine although not necessarily successful revolutions. At least they will radicalize political life.

3. The high frequency and intensity of internal conflict is accompanied by an accentuation of interstate conflicts among the LDC's, but the political and military weakness of these states saves them, with a few exceptions, from organized warfare against each other.

4 The heterogeneity of interests and accentuation of conflicts among LDC's, the instability and weakness of their governments, and the growth of internal conflict and violence makes them susceptible to external political access, penetration, and influence. That is, foreign governments can readily establish lines of communication, bargaining, and inducement with not only governments but also parties, factions, and individuals within the LDC's; so that LDC's must take into account the wishes of foreign donors, and donors can marginally affect the internal and external policies of recipients. On the other hand, apart from a few exceptional cases in which actual military occupation is feasible, the capacity of foreign governments to influence the LDC's is limited far short of control--that is, far short of the capacity to subvert governments or to induce or compel them to follow courses of action solely in response to a foreign government. Control is impeded by the strength of nationalist resistance to external interference, the availability of alternative sources of support, the self-restraint of foreign governments seeking official and popular approval, the strength and diversity of internal loyalties, and the disorganization and weakness of political and administrative institutions.

5. One manifestation of the susceptibility of LDC's to external influence has been the immense extension since 1950 of American involvement in the internal and external security of the LDC's in pursuit of containment. Since 1955 this development has been accompanied by growing Soviet influence and involvement, especially in the Middle East. This influence is now spreading from India to other parts of Asia. Soviet influence, however, is due to government-to-government relations (particularly through Soviet military assistance) rather than to the influence of communist parties. Indeed, the resistance of LDC's to foreign interference, the strength of subnational loyalties, and the emergence of new radical and revolutionary forces in some parts of the Third World (especially Latin America) have restricted the influence of communist parties; while the Sino-Soviet split, Soviet troubles in maintaining the cohesion of its "commonwealth" in Eastern Europe, and the effect of both of these developments in hastening the fragmentation of international communism have increased the independence of communist parties.

6. The capacity of the Soviet Union or Communist China to exploit internal conflicts so as to overthrow governments and establish political control is demonstrably limited. It is limited by the inherent obstacles to successful insurgency or revolutionary war, the limited capacity of the USSR or China to assist insurgencies except in adjacent countries, and, most important, the difficulty of controlling from the outside an insurgency or a victorious insurgent government. Although the prospects of successful insurgency may be increasing somewhat in Southeast Asia and Latin America, the Soviet or Chinese capacity to control insurgent movements or governments is, if anything, declining. This does not preclude LDC governments--revolutionary or otherwise--becoming economic and military dependents of the Soviet Union. But even then, as the cases of Egypt and Cuba illustrate, depend-ency is not the equivalent of subserviency.

7. As the USSR has succeeded in establishing access and influence in the Third World and as it has grown more apprehensive about Chinese competition, Soviet leaders have become more concerned with protecting their gains as opposed to simply stirring up trouble. They have also become more conscious of the limits and costs of their influence and of the hazards of becoming over-committed. Bitter experience with China and, to a lesser extent, Cuba has reinforced practical doubts about the value of translating into reality Lenin's vision of communist governments replacing colonial or bourgeois nationalist regimes.

8. The extension of American and Soviet influence and involvement in the Third World has geographically expanded the contest and rivalry of the superpowers. Although it is not polarizing the international politics of the LDC's along the tight ideological and political lines of the cold war, the extension of Soviet and American competition to areas in which they have not worked out a modus vivendi for avoiding direct clashes and in which there are many sources of local conflict over which they have limited influence raises the risk of these powers getting into armed encounters between themselves contrary to their intentions. The risk is highest in the Middle East.

E. The Locus of International Concern

A local war or a major change in the configuration of power or alignment would probably affect American interests more seriously in Europe or the Middle East than in other parts of the world. The establishment of a communist government even in a small state would be as serious a reversal, in American eyes, in Latin America as in either of these two areas because of our special historical relationship to the Western Hemisphere. In reality, however, the area in which changes basically affecting American policy over the next ten years are most likely to take place is Asia, since international politics in Asia are in flux and since the interests of several powerful states converge in the area. If the U.S. is to have any deliberate influence on these changes, it will have to demonstrate its continuing engagement in Asian affairs--but in a selective and unobtrusive manner acceptable to an increasingly self-assertive group of Asian states, as well as to American limitationist opinion.

F. The Devolution of Power

It is logical for those who believe that America's interests continue to be affected by international developments throughout the world to look beyond the diffusion of political activity to the devolution of power; that is, to the emergence of self-reliant regional and subregional groupings that would significantly relieve the U.S. of the burden of maintaining a modicum of order and stability in the world. At present, however, there are few signs that such groupings are emerging. Indeed, powerful trends toward the fragmentation of power lead in the opposite direction.

Unless the U.S. can convince those it protects that it is going to reduce its support, they are not likely to become more self-reliant, but a precipitate U.S. withdrawal would be more likely to lead allies to seek security in neutralism, accommodation with the Soviet Union or China, or national nuclear self-reliance than to induce them to undertake creative efforts of self-defense.

In any case, if the U.S. seriously seeks to encourage the emergence of indigenous guardians of regional security, it will also have to face the prospect of new and expanded centers of nuclear power in Western Europe and Japan.

In the next five years or so, however, progress toward regional self-reliance will fall far short of "hard" military collaboration (as distinct from staff discussions, agreement on strategic guidelines, etc.) or the emergence of new centers of nuclear power capable of supplementing American nuclear power. But bilateral security exchanges between Asian countries are possible.

G. Principal Policy Concerns

These trends create an international environment in which America's policy concerns will arise principally from:

1. the management of détente and a stable military balance with the Soviet Union in a manner consistent with the restraint of hostile Soviet moves or adventurism and the maintenance of allied strength and cohesion;

2. the encouragement of Western European allies, Japan, and Southeast Asian countries gradually to assume in the next decade a larger share of responsibility for their own security and the stability of their regions, short of a significant devolution of power from the U.S. to regional security groupings;

3. the conduct of a geographically expanding, though diversified and limited, contest with the Soviet Union for influence in the Third World while acting on parallel interests in the moderation of local conflicts and the containment of China;

4. the gradual improvement of relations with Communist China while continuing to maintain the strength of American deterrence against direct Chinese military aggression and nuclear blackmail;

5. the problems of maintaining access and influence in the Third World, although the LDC's under radical nationalist regimes will be intractable, if not hostile, to American influence; and a number of them will be torn by subnational as well as interstate and transnational conflicts;

6. the support of vital American commitments in the Third World while minimizing the risk of involvement in local conflicts, especially when they entail the risk of an armed confrontation with the Soviet Union or China;

7. the termination of the war in Vietnam and the establishment of a postwar American position in Asia that can encourage indigenous internal and external security efforts at a reduced scale of American involvement;

8. the further development of international surveillance and management of the monetary system, exchange rates, and correction of balance-of-payments disequilibria among the developed countries;

9. the development of national and international regulations for the orderly technological development and use of man's total environment, from ocean space to outer space.

H. Beyond Containment

Clearly, the containment of communist influence and adventures is an important condition for the pursuit of these policy concerns, but it no longer serves as the dominant rationale for American policies, because:

1. the threat of the expansion of communist control is not sufficiently intense or clear cut;

2. the expansion of the control of one communist party or state does not necessarily increase the threat of the Soviet Union or China to American security;

3. conflicts within and among the LDC's are diversified and fragmented, not polarized into a contest between communist and non-communist ideology and power; hence, disorder in the Third World is more apt to be localized, and threats of subversion or aggression are more readily decoupled from the central balance of power;

4. in so far as the U.S. is engaged in a contest with the USSR and Communist China in the Third World, it is a limited competition for influence in which the threat of communist take-over by peaceful or violent means is considerably less than was generally supposed to be the case in the early 1960's;

5. the contest with the Soviet Union is qualified by a limited but crucial area of parallel interests arising from the concern of the superpowers to avoid armed clashes with each other and to moderate the arms race;

6. a number of problems that are only indirectly, if at all, connected with containment have become more pressing--including the problems of inter-allied relations, nuclear non-proliferation, the international monetary system, and the orderly use of man's total environment.

Although in response to these trends the tasks of American policy have become more diverse and complex, they have not become less demanding. Coping with them still implies an active global foreign policy supported by American power and resources.

Such a policy is not incompatible with a selective reduction of America's scale of effort overseas or with the avoidance of burdensome new commitments. But as the familiar rationale of containment becomes less convincing, domestic opposition to "over-commitment" will tend to constrict the resource base of policy and inhibit the exercise of American power to an extent that may jeopardize a flexible global policy and even the support of existing commitments.

The prominent role that U.S. economic, diplomatic, and military power plays in the affairs of dozens of other states--whether it is actively used or not--refutes the frequent observations by contemporary analysts about the "impotence of power". The impression of growing impotence that both of the superpowers convey, however, does have a real basis in changes that have occurred since the period in which the U.S. was establishing and extending containment: The increased fragmentation of power, the greater diffusion of political activity, and the more complicated patterns of international conflict and alignment that have emerged over the past decade have limited the capacity of the U.S. and the USSR to control the effects of their influence and have revealed the limits of their capacity to control the actions of other governments, except by direct military means. At the same time, the U.S. has discovered the great obstacles to using military power directly to achieve political ends.

It is also significant for American policy, however, that the U.S. exerts immense and growing influence in the world through a broad range of international activities conducted by nongovernmental individuals, enterprises, and organizations. While the direct influence of the U.S. Government over its international environment has been restricted in one way or another, the scope and reach of American commercial, technical, and cultural influence has continued to expand.


42. Letter From the Under Secretary of State (Richardson) to the President's Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)/1/

Washington, October 27, 1969.

/1/Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Richardson Papers, Box CL 2, Chronological File. Secret.

Dear Henry:

This is in response to your suggestion that I try to put on paper the thoughts about the President's Viet-Nam speech/2/ that I touched on in our phone conversation Saturday.

/2/On November 3 President Nixon gave a nationally televised speech on Vietnam. The speech came to be known as the "silent majority speech" from Nixon's appeal for support for his policy from "the great silent majority of Americans." The full text of the speech is printed in Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Richard Nixon, 1969, pp. 901-909.

In thinking about the opportunity--and the need--for a Presidential restatement of our purposes and plans for Viet-Nam, I keep coming back to the pivotal question: why are we justified in calling for additional sacrifices of American lives and the continuing diversion of American resources for something less than victory but short of defeat?

It is not enough, I believe, to point to the goal of self-determination for the people of South Viet-Nam. Only a few of the world's peoples enjoy that privilege, if by it we mean the exercise of free choice through fair and honest elections. Nor is this goal made sufficient by the circumstance that in South Viet-Nam the major danger to its fulfillment is externally supported insurgency: the President himself, in his Southeast Asian tour, made clear that assistance against insurgency, even though externally supported, will not hereafter justify the involvement of U.S. combat forces.

There is, however, an element in the South Vietnamese situation which significantly distinguishes it from other situations in which the exercise of self-determination is threatened by external force. This is that we have made a commitment--a promise--to the people of South Viet-Nam to help them preserve the opportunity to determine their own destiny. Whether or not it was wise in the first instance for us to have undertaken such a commitment is not now in issue: the important fact is that we have undertaken it.

So firmly and so frequently has the United States proclaimed this objective that upon our willingness to carry it out depends the credibility of all U.S. commitments. And upon the credibility of U.S. commitments depends, in turn, the possibility of a relatively stable and peaceful world. Conversely, should our word be rendered doubtful by our abandonment of the people of South Viet-Nam, the risk of instability and war--even of World War III--would be measurably enhanced. Not to be willing to make such additional sacrifices as are essential to the fulfillment of our irreducible minimum objective in South Viet-Nam would thus increase the danger that we will be forced to make much greater sacrifices at some future time.

Now all this, of course, has been stated many times by the President, not only in his May 14 speech/3/ but in all his talks with heads of state, who have strongly endorsed these propositions. And yet they badly need restatement, particularly for the American people. For the real point of Viet-Nam is not Viet-Nam itself but our world-wide role. By the same token, the real core of the criticism of our policies in Viet-Nam is a criticism of that role. The critics discount both the continuing causes of conflict between East and West and the continuing risks to every nation whose primary concern is the preservation of its own independence and integrity. In the case of the generation that has grown up since the events which generated the Cold War, this is understandable enough, but no less misguided on that account.

/3/The text is printed ibid., pp. 369-375.

In the light of these considerations, it has occurred to me that the President in his November 3 speech, instead of restating our commitment to South Viet-Nam and then relating it to our wider responsibilities, might begin with a review of these responsibilities, explain their importance to world peace, and then show how abandonment of South Viet-Nam, by eroding confidence in our capacity to fulfill them, would prejudice the prospects of world peace. In so doing, he could also stress the point that the very opportunity for an era of negotiations depends on our adherence to our existing obligations. Unilateral concessions are the antithesis of reciprocal concessions. Negotiations, moreover, are aimed at agreement, and the validity of any agreement is dependent upon confidence between the parties that their mutual undertakings will be honored. The capacity of the United States to honor its present undertakings is thus an earnest of its capacity to honor its future undertakings, including those which contribute to a more enduring peace. Our sacrifices in Viet-Nam can thus be seen as sacrifices for a larger cause.

For a television audience, to be sure, a defect of this approach is its abstractness. This is a defect, however, which could be offset by injecting as tangible a feeling as possible for the real situation in Viet-Nam into the latter part of the address. And since the President does in fact have an extraordinarily comprehensive and integrated grasp of the U.S. role in world affairs, it would, I think, heighten the confidence of his viewers in the rightness of his Viet-Nam policies if he laid bare in a low-keyed but thoughtful way the essence of his thinking on this broader subject. In addition, his doing that would at the same time supply ammunition useful in containing other neo-isolationist pressures to roll back U.S. commitments.

Such, at any rate, for whatever they may be worth, are the thoughts I wanted to convey.

As ever,


Elliot L. Richardson/4/

/4/Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.


43. Notes of Telephone Conversation Between President Nixon and His Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)/1/

Washington, November 5, 1969, 7 p.m.

/1/Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box 361, Telephone Conversations, Chronological File, 1-10 Nov 1969. No classification marking.

The President thought of a couple of other things K might tell Sidey./2/ The President mentioned a book by Thompson, "1940" which is the story of what really happened when Churchill came in./3/ He mentioned the story about Patton and Pershing and that there were never tired decisions, only tired commanders. In terms of history, when we talk about the crusades that H.G. Wells talked about, for example the moon thing, had the effect of bringing to Western Europe not just the discovery in the East but the fact that Western Europe at that time devoted itself to a great cause beyond itself. It changed Western Europe. (The President read passages from H.G. Wells.) The President said nations must have great ideas or they cease to be great. They talked about what happened to England and France and that peoples' greatness has to be extra-dimensional and move beyond themselves. The question is whether we do what we need to both abroad and in the ghettos. If we just go to the ghettos and let go abroad, apart from the destruction that might come from a war, we might destroy ourselves. Roosevelt talked about it as the white man's burden. Both of these people were searching for that same feeling that people need.

/2/Hugh Sidey of Time magazine.

/3/Laurence Thompson, 1940 (New York: William Morrow, 1966).

K said he would have a talk with Sidey and do his best.


44. Special Message From President Nixon to the Congress/1/

Washington, November 18, 1969.

/1/Source: Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Richard Nixon, 1969, pp. 940-946.

For the past 35 years, the United States has steadfastly pursued a policy of freer world trade. As a nation, we have recognized that competition cannot stop at the ocean's edge. We have determined that American trade policies must advance the national interest--which means they must respond to the whole of our interests, and not be a device to favor the narrow interest.

This Administration has reviewed that policy and we find that its continuation is in our national interest. At the same time, however, it is clear that the trade problems of the 1970s will differ significantly from those of the past. New developments in the rapidly evolving world economy will require new responses and new initiatives.

As we look at the changing patterns of world trade, three factors stand out that require us to continue modernizing our own trade policies:

First, world economic interdependence has become a fact. Reductions in tariffs and in transportation costs have internationalized the world economy just as satellites and global television have internationalized the world communications network. The growth of multi-national corporations provides a dramatic example of this development.

Second, we must recognize that a number of foreign countries now compete fully with the United States in world markets.

We have always welcomed such competition. It promotes the economic development of the entire world to the mutual benefit of all, including our own consumers. It provides an additional stimulus to our own industry, agriculture and labor force. At the same time, however, it requires us to insist on fair competition among all countries.

Third, the traditional surplus in the U.S. balance of trade has disappeared. This is largely due to our own internal inflation and is one more reason why we must bring that inflation under control.

The disappearance of the surplus has suggested to some that we should abandon our traditional approach toward freer trade. I reject this argument not only because I believe in the principle of freer trade, but also for a very simple and pragmatic reason: any reduction in our imports produced by U.S. restrictions not accepted by our trading partners would invite foreign reaction against our own exports--all quite legally. Reduced imports would thus be offset by reduced exports, and both sides would lose. In the longer term, such a policy of trade restriction would add to domestic inflation and jeopardize our competitiveness in world markets at the very time when tougher competition throughout the world requires us to improve our competitive capabilities in every way possible.

In fact, the need to restore our trade surplus heightens the need for further movement toward freer trade. It requires us to persuade other nations to lower barriers which deny us fair access to their markets. An environment of freer trade will permit the widest possible scope for the genius of American industry and agriculture to respond to the competitive challenge of the 1970s.

Fourth, the less developed countries need improved access to the markets of the industrialized countries if their economic development is to proceed satisfactorily. Public aid will never be sufficient to meet their needs, nor should it be. I recently announced that, as one step toward improving their market access, the United States would press in world trade forums for a liberal system of tariff preferences for all developing countries. International discussions are now in progress on the matter and I will not deal with it in the trade bill I am submitting today. At the appropriate time, I will submit legislation to the Congress to seek authorization for the United States to extend preferences and to take any other steps toward improving the market access of the less developed countries which might appear desirable and which would require legislation.

[Omitted here are proposals for legislation addressing tariffs and trade.]

The trade bill I have submitted today is a necessary beginning. It corrects deficiencies in present policies; it enables us to begin the 1970s with a program geared to the start of that decade.

As we look further into the Seventies, it is clear that we must reexamine the entire range of our policies and objectives.

We must take into account the far-reaching changes which have occurred in investment abroad and in patterns of world trade. I have already outlined some of the problems which we will face in the 1970s. Many more will develop--and also new opportunities will emerge.

Intense international competition, new and growing markets, changes in cost levels, technological developments in both agriculture and industry, and large-scale exports of capital are having profound and continuing effects on international production and trade patterns. We can no longer afford to think of our trade policies in the old, simple terms of liberalism vs. protectionism. Rather, we must learn to treat investment, production, employment and trade as interrelated and interdependent.

We need a deeper understanding of the ways in which the major sectors of our economy are actually affected by international trade.

We have arrived at a point at which a careful review should also be made of our tariff structure itself--including such traditional aspects as its reliance upon specific duties, the relationships among tariff rates on various products, and adapting our system to conform more closely with that of the rest of the world.

To help prepare for these many future needs, I will appoint a Commission on World Trade to examine the entire range of our trade and related policies, to analyze the problems we are likely to face in the 1970s, and to prepare recommendations on what we should do about them. It will be empowered to call upon the Tariff Commission and the agencies of the Executive Branch for advice, support and assistance, but its recommendations will be its own.

By expanding world markets, our trade policies have speeded the pace of our own economic progress and aided the development of others. As we look to the future, we must seek a continued expansion of world trade, even as we also seek the dismantling of those other barriers--political, social and ideological--that have stood in the way of a freer exchange of people and ideas, as well as of goods and technology.

Our goal is an open world. Trade is one of the doors to that open world. Its continued expansion requires that others move with us, and that we achieve reciprocity in fact as well as in spirit.

Armed with the recommendations and analyses of the new Commission on World Trade, we will work toward broad new policies for the 1970s that will encourage that reciprocity, and that will lead us, in growing and shared prosperity, toward a world both open and just.

Richard Nixon


45. Memorandum From the President's Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon/1/

Washington, December 3, 1969.

/1/Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 1050, Staff Files, Staff Memos, Moynihan 3/69-11/70. Eyes Only; Sensitive.

Pat Moynihan's Memo on the Young Demonstrators

I have several specific comments on Pat Moynihan's memo on the problem of the young demonstrators. (Tab A)

Who Are They?

They are a very mixed group--in social origin, in political outlook, in potential for help or harm. Of the young Moratorium marchers, some were certainly the offspring of the affluent, and therefore their politics are a sharp departure from their parents. Yet many probably have fathers who attended college under the GI Bill in the late '40s. Some of the marchers were likely to be the first generation to reach college. And if Tom Wicker is speaking for himself and his colleagues in claiming that "those are our children" down there in the streets, these are also the offspring of some traditionally Democratic elements.

The geographic spread of politically active young people is much broader than the East Coast. A Harvard-Princeton game might find a majority of Bostonians and New Yorkers among the alumni in the stands. But the percentage of mid-Westerners and Westerners among the students would be far, far higher than it was 10 or 15 years ago. To use Pat's comparison, the distinction between the subway to City College (or the freeway to Berkeley) as against walking across Harvard Yard has largely broken down in this age of mass higher education.

Why Do They March?

Their motives are undoubtedly varied. I think a good many of these young people simply don't know who they are--and are trying desperately to find out. In the broader sense, they are casualties of our affluence. Brooded over by too zealous, too psychologically-oriented parents, they have lost confidence in themselves as well as in their elders. Graduated into the impersonal routine of a bureaucratic-technological society, they see conformity as a lonesome life without adventure. In short, they do not find meaning or purpose in those values that guided most of their parents.

It is this quality of rootlessness and despair that goes to explain their quest for "instant" experience--from politics to sex. And what better refuge from loneliness than the crowd ("the happening")--from Woodstock to the Moratorium.

Confusion and outrage have taken their toll, of course, of youthful energies in every generation. The group Pat talks about is special in the sheer breadth of its political consciousness and activism. It is drawn, after all, from the largest number of educated young people in history. They have had the leisure for self-pity, and the learning enabling them to focus it in a fashionable critique of the "system".

To the degree that they are politically conscious, many are substantially anti-establishment simply because that is not only the natural bent of youthful alienation, but also because it is a major thrust of contemporary academic literature. Modern American sociology, psychology, political science, etc., have turned a glaring light on the faults in our society. So too is some of our modern literature social criticism. All this is bound to fall on fertile ground--and cover more of it than ever before--in a country that sends 8 million kids to college.

The practical results are very mixed. The combination of aimlessness and skepticism of the elders has produced a sense of isolation and even of nihilism.

A small minority escapes (as it always has) in mindless radicalism. And the predictable quota of shallow minds and fanatics--the organizers rather than the thinkers--ride the crest of the wave to positions of prominence they could never claim otherwise.

There is also the danger that many of these young demonstrators--deriving passion from their personal crises--do not grasp the consequences of their actions. Some (though not all by any means) march for marching's sake with the sheepish conformity they claim to abhor. The heroes of a vocal minority among them (Che, Mao, et al) are romantic images devoid of reality. It is just unthinking emotion that links civil rights and Chinese Communism.

Yet I believe that the overwhelming majority of these young people across the country remain remarkably open in terms of their future political affiliation. Many are bright and thoughtful. They are committed to right wrongs as well as to find themselves. They are eager to participate, impatient for tangible progress. It is true that they are wary of every answer--and some are ready to suspect that arguments for gradual (realistic) progress (from peace in Vietnam to desegregation) mask some sinister conspiracy against the goal. But this skepticism can also be the bedrock of a critically intelligent and informed citizenry in the '70s and '80s.

Their Political Impact

This frame of reference will probably stay with most of these young people through their first decade as voters. Taken alone as a segment of the voting public, however, they are not significant, and you could build a broad majority however you deal with them.

They become formidable by adding to their own votes an enormous outburst of political activism, bound to have an influence on others as well as on their parents. We have ample proof of this in the McCarthy phenomenon.

In this sense, Vietnam may be only symptomatic. When that issue is gone, another will take its place. For they are fighting the established position as much as a given problem.

What Can You Do?

I think that attacking this group head-on is counterproductive. This is not to say that you should be soft on the destructive militants. There is obviously a need here for firm leadership. But when talking about the great majority of these young activists, I believe you should weigh the benefits and costs of taking them on.

My concern is that blanket condemnation, while giving no lasting benefit, will drive the young activists to focus their energies against you personally--with the fallout Pat describes in the sympathy of their elders and the influence they have in the broader arena. The best posture is that the Administration be seen to take seriously the perplexed but responsible majority of these young people. The posture would be that they may be wrong on the merits of the argument, but you do not doubt the authenticity and sincerity of their concerns.

However, we should remember that these same young people will not forgive us for letting them suffer the consequences of their own actions. To take them seriously is not to add one more indulgence. We need not give in to them to show our concern for their problems.

Above all, they need leadership to respect. It is the qualities they miss in their own lives--sureness of purpose, confidence in the future, the courage to stand alone--that they will recognize, whatever the differences on specific issues.

Although many do not realize it, you have something basic in common with many of them--a conviction that the machinery of New Deal liberalism has to be fundamentally overhauled. You also share a concern that America play a more balanced and restrained role in the world. You are, in fact, turning over most of the rocks at home and abroad that these kids want to see turned over. You are in addition, their best protection against the forces their impetuosity and extremism bids fair to unleash on the right.

With a concerted and sensitive effort to get across the fresh approach of your Administration, you may well gain some converts among those who now seem irretrievable.


Tab A

Memorandum From the President's Assistant for Urban Affairs (Moynihan) to President Nixon/2/

Washington, November 13, 1969.

/2/No classification marking. Nixon added the following handwritten note on the memorandum and sent it to Kissinger: "K--Return to me with your comment."

Last night Teddy White related to me your hopes for reviving the Eisenhower-Nixon majority. This seems to me altogether a worthy goal, and a perfectly feasible one. But I fear we may be jeopardizing that outcome by certain present postures which are now in no way central to any of your other goals or policies.

The Eisenhower-Nixon majority was broadbased. (Ike got 20% of the black vote in 1952 and twice that in 1956.) But its bedrock consisted of the business and professional class of the nation. These provided the brains, the money, the elan.

Clearly your overall policies are ideal for mobilizing that group once again. Your fixed intention to get us out of that war in Asia; to put the economy back in balance; to restore the authority of public institutions; to achieve social progress with social stability--all these are precisely the goals of that group.

I think, however, you could lose much of it--needlessly--if their children begin to take personally your necessary, proper and essentially impersonal opposition to their own effort to make foreign policy in the streets.

It must be remembered that to an extraordinary degree the demonstrators are an elite group./3/

/3/Nixon underlined the last five words in this sentence, and at the top of the first page of the memorandum he wrote: "Can we win the Harvard et al types?"

--I would hazard that half their parents are Republicans.

--I would not be surprised if those parents contributed half the funds spent by either major party in the 1968 election./4/

/4/Nixon added a marginal handwritten comment at this point which reads: "no--RN $ came from Midwest California & South."

--Note, for example, that much of the money behind this weekend's demonstration comes from General Motors and Singer Sewing Machine fortunes. (The Ole Mole, the radical journal in Cambridge, is financed by the granddaughter of Merrill, Lynch, Pierce, Fenner and Smith. There is no end to such examples.)

As with most such groups, they really are kind of arrogant. Teddy White told a (private) story. His son will be down from Harvard this weekend, demonstrating with his girl friend. She is an Auchincloss. As she put it "Uncle Mac [Bundy] and Uncle Bill [Bundy] made a terrible mistake about Vietnam, and I feel I must help rectify it."/5/

/5/Brackets in the source text.

They can also be wonderful. Maureen Finch who took part in the Moratorium worked for me this summer, and was superb. I gather that Mel Laird's son who also took part is equally an attractive young man.

And in the mass they are powerful. One of the least understood phenomenon of the time is the way in which the radical children of the upper middle classes have influenced their parents. That is why Time Magazine, Life, Newsweek, NBC, CBS, the New York Times and the media in general will take their side against anybody whatsoever: the Democratic Party, the Pentagon, Mayor Daley. Or, if it should ever come to it . . . you./6/

/6/Nixon underlined "against anybody whatsoever" and added the following marginal comment: "(on the left only!)."

In the course of the rioting at the Chicago convention Tom Wicker of the New York Times uttered the famous remark "But those are our children down there on the street." It remained for Pete Hamill to comment that "You'd think no cop ever had a mother." No matter. The kids finished Humphrey.

Their parents are in a curious way proud of them. Last Saturday at half time at the Harvard-Princeton game the Harvard Band lined up and began its march with the announcement "Ladies and Gentlemen, the Effete Harvard Corps of Intellectual Snobs." There cannot have been less than $10 billion bucks of Republican money in the Stadium at the time, and as one man it roared approval, i.e., unity with the undergraduates in the face of an outsider who dared affront them./7/ After all, they are Harvard men, etc. (Try to remember that I went to the City College of New York on the subway. So I am not writing about anybody I know!)

/7/Nixon underlined portions of this paragraph, including the final four words, and added a marginal note which reads: "RN did so in 1947."

I sometimes like these kids. More often I detest their ignorant, chiliastic, almost insolent self confidence. But I think it extremely important for the administration not to allow itself to become an object of their incredible powers of derision,/8/ destruction, and disdain.

/8/Nixon underlined "incredible powers of derision."



46. Memorandum From the Under Secretary of State (Richardson) to the President's Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)/1/

Washington, December 5, 1969.

/1/Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Richardson Papers, Box CL 2, Chronological File. Confidential.

As I have talked and thought about the emerging shape of the Nixon foreign policy, I have become increasingly struck by the extent to which its major elements form an integrated structure. Since I am scheduled to address the Boston World Affairs Council on January 12, I am contemplating trying this analysis out in that speech, but it has occurred to me that I should first bring it to your attention as a possible framework for a Presidential statement--in the State of the Union Message, in his year-end review of foreign policy, or in a major speech.

The Nixon foreign policy, as I understand it, is built first of all on a realistic awareness of changes in the world that have taken place over the past decade. For purposes of the role of the United States, the most important of these are: (a) the increasing capacity and determination of individual nations to maintain their own independence and integrity; (b) the subordination of ideologies to these over-riding national objectives; and (c) the recognition that United States economic and military resources, in light of competing domestic demands, are not as unlimited as they may once have seemed.

At the same time, however, the President affirms the indispensability of a major U.S. role in preserving a relatively stable world order and promoting a more secure peace.

Out of this assessment of changed circumstances and reaffirmation of U.S. responsibility, the following six propositions emerge:

(1) While scrupulously maintaining our existing commitments and being wary of assuming new ones, we should at the same time cut away any surplus fat that has accumulated around them. This, as I understand it, is the essence of the Nixon Doctrine enunciated in Guam.

(2) We should encourage national and regional efforts to achieve economic development and promote mutual security. The United States should be a helpful partner in supporting such efforts but not seek to dominate or control them. This, I take it, is implicit in the Nixon Doctrine and explicit in our Latin American policy. The same approach could well serve also for other regions, e.g., the western Mediterranean, including the Maghreb.

(3) Other advanced nations should be encouraged to contribute to the support of such regional efforts. Existing multilateral agencies should be called upon to assist and, in some instances, existing structures (e.g., CIAP) should be adapted to the purpose or new ones created.

(4) Meanwhile, as in the Middle East and Berlin, we should vigorously pursue efforts to reduce the causes of tension and conflict. Understanding that unilateral concessions do not purchase stability but stimulate the opposite, we recognize that only those settlements that are the product of hardheaded give-and-take are likely to last. Herein lies one important aspect of the significance--and the opportunity--of the "era of negotiation."

(5) We should simultaneously seek to diminish the dangers inherent in the by-products of tension, i.e., armaments and force levels since these inflict not only heavy economic burdens but tend in themselves to generate an atmosphere of tension. Here lies the other important aspect of the "era of negotiation," as evidenced by SALT and balanced force reductions.

(6) There remains the bitter residue left by past tensions, and this we are systematically seeking to dissipate through deliberate and carefully measured steps toward normalizing relations with countries with which our past relationships have, in varying degrees, been strained. Thus, Bucharest and our signals toward the Chicoms.

Not only do these propositions derive from the changed circumstances and the reaffirmed U.S. responsibility noted above, but they are mutually reinforcing. The sharper definition of our existing obligations, for example, and our wariness toward the assumption of new ones rest upon our awareness of the limitations of our resources. To the extent, however, that we succeed in encouraging national and regional self-sufficiency, the need for reliance on us correspondingly diminishes--and so on.

Articulated in this way, it seems to me these principles can be seen to be a coherent whole.

Elliot L. Richardson/2/

/2/Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.


47. White House Background Press Briefing by the President's Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)/1/

Washington, December 18, 1969, 2:50 p.m.

/1/Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box CL 425, Subject File, Background Briefings, June-Dec 1969. No classification marking.

[Omitted here are White House Press Secretary Ronald Ziegler's introduction of Kissinger and his explanation of the rules governing the briefing.]

Dr. Kissinger: I am ready for your questions.

Q. I thought you might have a frame, if I asked this question: Would you list briefly the accomplishments of the Administration this year and its major disappointments?

Dr. Kissinger: Let me first list the disappointments: Of course we haven't made more progress in ending the war, although we are on course. But we have always said there are two ways of ending the war. One is through essentially unilateral moves, on which we are now embarked, and the other one is through negotiations, which would be the rapid way of ending the war.

We are disappointed that there hasn't been more progress in the negotiations and we were perhaps more hopeful that there would be greater progress in the negotiations than there has in fact been, earlier this year.

In the accomplishments, let me take a few minutes on that. First, we have devised a new way of making decisions in the field of foreign policy, which I have explained to you on many occasions, and which takes a period of time to become effective; that is, we now have a reasonable opportunity to be sure that when a decision is made, we have looked at every respectable option, not only those generated within the bureaucracy, but those that exist outside, through the NSC system, and we have engaged in a systematic review of American foreign policy with this in mind.

We have done so, moreover, because we are convinced that, while Vietnam is, of course, the most anguishing problem we face, and the one that in the short term is going to determine the success or failure of this Administration, in the long term we are in a period in which American foreign policy has to be put on a new foundation.

For about 20 years after the end of the war, American foreign policy was conducted with the maxims and the inspiration that guided the Marshall Plan, that is, the notion of a predominant United States, as the only stable country, the richest country, the country without whose leadership and physical contribution nothing was possible, and which had to make all the difference for defense and progress everywhere in the world.

Now whichever Administration had come into office would have had to face the fact, I believe, that we have run out of that particular vision. Conditions have changed enormously. We are now in a world in which other parties are playing a greater role. They have regained some of their self-confidence. New nations have come into being. Communism is no longer monolithic and we, therefore, face the problem of helping to build international relations on a basis which may be less unilaterally American.

With this in mind, we have engaged in a rather systematic review of a whole range of things. What we have done in various fields, really, ought to be seen as part of this general pattern.

You take the Nixon Doctrine for Asia, the basic philosophy of which has really guided our actions elsewhere. This is based on the proposition, not that the United States withdraws from Asia, but that the defense and progress in Asia, as elsewhere, cannot be a primarily American policy, that the United States can participate where it can make a difference, but it cannot, over an historic period, be the American role to make all the plans, to design all the programs, to execute or implement all the decisions and undertake all the defense and be in the posture where both progress and defense of other areas seem more important to the United States than it is for the countries concerned.

Therefore, what President Nixon announced in Guam is the basic policy we have followed elsewhere. We have generally approached these problems in the NSC in two bites: That is, we would make a general--the word isn't a bit philosophical--decision first, of where is it we want to go, and then we would make a number of practical decisions on how to implement it.

For example, on Latin American policy, we made the general decision of where we wanted to go in July, and then in October, after Governor Rockefeller came back from his trip, and the Department of State and other agencies had made specific recommendations, we developed the implementing decisions.

What we have done in Latin America reflects essentially the same philosophy that has guided the policy towards Asia. That is to say, we have tried to develop a pattern that to the greatest degree possible elicits Latin American initiatives and the Latin American contribution, so that the programs that emerge there are joint programs, or programs in which the Latin American countries have played an important and perhaps even predominant role in formulating.

We have seen our role in eliciting their initiative and their contribution, and within the framework of what is a fact of life--that huge sums are not available--we have tried to go as far as it is possible to go, through executive and legislative action, to elicit this set of initiatives.

The policy towards Okinawa or towards Japan was set in effect in March. We decided in March that we were going to return Okinawa to Japan and we did so because we had to weigh the benefit in terms of physical security in maintaining our base in Okinawa against the intangible benefit of being able to establish a partnership with Japan on major areas of concern in the Pacific.

We decided that the temporary continuation of a certain amount of physical security was not our primary problem, that our primary problem was to enlist Japan's cooperation in the development of Asia and in the security interests of its immediate concern; and therefore, it seemed to us important for the sake of this long-term relationship to make the decisions which we did in March.

Another major area where we have started is the relationship with the Communist world. We have taken the view that the tensions that have persisted for 25 years have not been caused by an accident and cannot be removed by primarily psychological means.

We have made it very clear that we are prepared to negotiate intensively, seriously and concretely, and unemotionally, on a whole range of issues, including SALT, which I will come back to in a minute.

We have always made it clear that we have no permanent enemies and that we will judge other countries, including Communist countries, and specifically countries like Communist China, on the basis of their actions and not on the basis of their domestic ideology.

And we hope we have started a process towards Communist China, that over a period of years, will permit a more calibrated relationship to develop, and one in which such a large part of humanity will not be excluded from the international community.

Now, let me go back to SALT because I think this is a good example of both our approach and our philosophy. There has been a lot of discussion, some discussion in the press, that the White House in contrast to previous periods is not as interested in negotiations as before, that we have not given the push to arms control that previous White Houses have given. I think it might perhaps be of some use, if I explained our general approach, because I think it is symptomatic of the Administration.

First, in the SALT talks, we are concerned not with one weapons system, but a complex inter-relationship of weapons systems, in which on both sides, the most basic elements of security are involved, and which on our side, the most fundamental issues of alliances and the conception by our allies of their security is involved.

Secondly, there are many people who like to see this as a morality play in which the good guys defeat the bad guys and in which you drive desperately or, if not desperately, in which you drive brutally, if necessary, towards one position which you impose on the bad guys with White House leverage, if necessary.

But if you look at the negotiations in this field that have taken place over the years, you will find that negotiations as relatively simple as the test ban, and as the Non-Proliferation Treaty, took five and three years respectively; that, if you look at what the classical pattern has been, that we would enter with a position.

It never happened that the other side would come in with a similar position and therefore, we were confronted with having to spend half of our time negotiating with ourselves, another quarter of our time negotiating with our allies and the rest of our time in an entirely tactical exercise with the Soviets. Therefore, what we attempted to do is to be prepared for the contingency that the other side might really be serious, and that if it was serious, it would have to address a number of fundamental questions, which would concern us as much as them, and, therefore, we did something, which has not been done, I think--I know--in the history of these arms control negotiations; that is, we made a systematic survey of every weapons system that could conceivably be the subject of negotiations, of our intelligence capabilities with respect to that weapons system, of the possibility of evasion with respect to that system, what counter measures we would have to take, if there were evasion, what risks we were running and how we could avoid these risks.

And the purpose was to avoid the sterile, theological debate where one group of the bureaucracy would say, "You are jeopardizing American security" without ever being able to define how, and the other group of the bureaucracy would be saying, "You must be able to run the risk for peace", without ever being able to tell you what the risk was.

As a result, first of all, many of the disagreements, most of the disagreements disappeared because when you define just what the evasion was that was possible, and what the risk was, it was possible to express it in a way in which most people agreed.

Secondly, we are in a position to put together almost any position, and we have in fact put together a whole variety of positions, depending on the scope of the agreement, that the other side might be prepared to undertake.

Thirdly, we were able to engage with the Soviets in the preliminary talks in Helsinki, in what I consider the most constructive talks on arms control of which I am familiar, either in or outside the government, and I had participated in almost all of the scientific exchanges outside the government that have taken place.

We were told before we went to Helsinki by many people that if we didn't go there with a position, the Soviets would lose confidence in us, or we were told if we didn't go there with a detailed position the Soviets would pre-empt the field with a spectacular of their own.

In fact, the curious thing seems to have happened that the Soviet preparations have taken about the same form as ours; that is, they have made a detailed analysis of the problems and I consider that one of the more hopeful signs, regardless of what may come out in the next phase of the talks.

We are now in a position to enter the next phase of the talks with some understanding of how the Soviets conceive the problem. And we are not flying blind and we are not just negotiating with ourselves when we put forward a position. Again, I repeat, I think we have done, in terms of preparation, more thorough, detailed, and thoughtful work than I remember having been done in the last ten years.

Another example of how this works is in the field of biological and chemical warfare, where rather than turn it into an obtuse exercise of whether one was for or against biological warfare, we went through an analysis of what could be accomplished in either of these forms.

And in short, what we have attempted to do is to be thoughtful and to look ahead and to look at matters in a comprehensive manner.

The Defense budget now is no longer looked at from a purely security point of view. We have this Defense Policy Review Committee, which has been written about, which takes into consideration political and arms controls considerations and in the consideration of our basic defense posture, we for the first time consider the relationship between the Defense spending and domestic needs.

And when it was presented to the President, he was in a position to compare what domestic priorities had to be given up, or where possible, at various levels of Defense spending.

I don't want to be misleading. No procedure and no attempt to be thoughtful guarantees that one is in fact right, or indeed that one is in fact thoughtful. And three years from now, we won't be judged by the process by which we have made the decisions, or even where we attempted to be thoughtful, but whether we were in fact thoughtful.

[Omitted here is the question-and-answer session on a variety of foreign policy issues.]


48. Memorandum From Secretary of State Rogers to President Nixon/1/

Washington, December 24, 1969.

/1/Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 325, Subject Files, President's Annual Review of U.S. Foreign Policy. Confidential.

Suggestions on a Basic Approach for your Review of American Foreign Policy

I would like to let you have my thoughts on the basic approach your Review of American Foreign Policy/2/ might follow. Basically I believe the Review should serve to underscore the new direction you have given to United States involvement in world affairs in the past year.

/2/Reference is to the report on foreign policy submitted to Congress by President Nixon on February 18, 1970; see Document 60.

In essence I would capsulize this new direction as follows:

At a time when we should no longer be looking back to the residue of the Second World War and of a passing colonial era but ahead to a future of international cooperation in which others will have an increasing desire and capacity to contribute fully, you have directed American foreign policy toward:

--Achieving a broader sharing of responsibility and a new equality of partnership with our friends and allies throughout the world as the foundation for a durable collaboration to achieve a world of peace with security and a higher quality of life; and toward

--Approaching all international issues and conflicts in an atmosphere not of contention but of negotiation and with a desire to improve our relations with all countries of the world, whatever our differences may be.

I suggest that you build first upon these two broad themes and then elaborate by relating other policy developments to the relevant portions of your Inaugural Address./3/

/3/See Document 9.

Broader Sharing of Responsibility

The stress should be on the importance of a broader sharing of responsibility as a basis for a sound long-term international collaboration. Five main specific elements could be developed--(1) Vietnamization, (2) Latin American policy, (3) Asian policy (including Okinawa), (4) European policy, and (5) South East Asia other than Viet-Nam.

One aspect of this basic policy thrust was at the core of your address to the Inter-American Press Association on October 31, 1969,/4/ when you expressed the belief that the "future pattern of American assistance must be US support for Latin American initiatives" and when you offered them a larger role in decisions on economic aid. The efforts we have made to consult more widely with our European allies on matters of concern to them is another. The same policy was set forth in a security context in Guam on July 25,/5/ when you said that the United States was going to encourage and had a right to expect that problems of internal security and national defense will be increasingly handled by the Asian nations themselves.

/4/For text, see Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Richard Nixon, 1969, pp. 893-901.

/5/See Document 29.

The Vietnamization policy is another expression of the same view, and the present success of the Government of the Republic of Viet-Nam in improving the capabilities of its armed forces and assuming a larger share of the fighting on the ground is proof that the policy is based on a realistic appraisal of the potential of South Viet-Nam.

In setting forth this policy the presentation should make it clear that we intend to continue to do our share. Our policy reflects no desire to retreat to a fortress America./6/ Indeed it is an affirmation of our intention to establish a durable basis for continued world-wide cooperation. We have reaffirmed our treaty commitments to NATO, to our Asian allies, and to the attainment of a just peace in Viet-Nam. We have made clear that we will be, as you said in your Inaugural Address, "as strong as we need be for as long as we need be". We have made clear that we will judge each situation in itself and that we are prepared to assist those who are assisting themselves.

/6/Nixon underlined the second half of the first sentence and all of the second sentence. He wrote in the margin: "Hit this very hard."

Era of Negotiation

The basis of the policy of negotiations and improved relationship was contained in the Inaugural Address in the words: "after a period of confrontation, we are entering an era of negotiation". The section should bring out that during 1969 the United States sought to bring many major problems that confront the world community to the bargaining table. It should emphasize (1) efforts to negotiate in Viet-Nam, (2) negotiations with the Soviet Union, especially on disarmament, (3) efforts to open talks with the Chinese Communists, (4) efforts to bring about negotiations on the Middle East, and (5) a negotiable stance on matters affecting us, such as in Peru and in Korea.

Your Inaugural Address keynoted other important themes which have been carried forward in the policy decisions of this Administration over the past year.


--You said then "let us cooperate to reduce the burden of arms". This section obviously would deal with the beginning of Strategic Arms Limitations Talks with the Soviet Union. It would also cover the seabeds, NPT, chemical warfare, balanced force reductions and arms limitations in the Middle East. It should bring out that the start of negotiations does not signal their success and that we must govern our defense policies accordingly.


--You said then that "during this Administration our lines of communication will be open" and that this "government will listen". This willingness to listen and to appreciate the position of others made a major contribution to the style and quality of our relationships with other nations. Our willingness to truly consult, to listen as well as to speak, has improved relations within the NATO Alliance. It led to a marked improvement of our relations with France. It is a major aspect of the Latin American policy. It was reflected in your trips to Europe and to Asia and in my Asian trip and UN consultations as well as in your many meetings with foreign officials in Washington. We welcome in the same vein renewal of relations with Cambodia and Mauritania.

Quality of Life

--You called then for peaceful competition "in enriching the life of man". Here there are many elements to bring out, such as the visits of Doctor DuBridge and AEC Chairman Seaborg to Romania, which could mark a new success in East-West cooperation in the scientific and technological fields; your establishment of a high priority on population matters; our leadership on the human environment; our support of the UN Decade of Developments; the Decade of Ocean Exploration and the region of the seabed; and efforts to control the narcotics trade./7/

/7/Nixon highlighted this paragraph and added the marginal comment: "good theme."

Open World

--You called in your Inaugural Address for a more open world, open to the free flow of people. This section might include statements of your visit to Romania as the first State visit by an American President to any country in Eastern Europe;/8/ the extent of private American travel abroad; the proposed new visa regulations to encourage more people to visit the United States; our cultural exchange programs around the world; and our desire for continued and expanded exchange programs with Eastern Europe.

/8/Nixon highlighted this paragraph to this point and added a marginal note which reads: "good to hit again."

Trade and AID

--You also called for a world open to the free flow of goods. We have continued to encourage the growth of freer international trade. This section would develop the request for further authority to reduce trade barriers, the proposal for generalized tariff preferences for manufactured goods from developing countries; the creation of $9.5 billion of international monetary reserves--or Special Drawing Rights; our desire to negotiate reduction or removal of non-tariff barriers; the steps to liberalize economic relations with the Americas; easing of trade restrictions with Communist China; rationale and support for continued AID, and the appointment of the Peterson Commission./9/

/9/See footnote 2, Document 35.

Lowered Voices

In addition to the Administration's many specific accomplishments, the manner in which we have conducted our foreign policy is worthy of note. We have tried, in the words of your Inaugural Address, to "lower our voices". We have curtailed American presence overseas, reducing by 8,000 the number of people employed by the United States abroad because we knew that our presence can be overbearing, and that it is not the size of the American presence that determines our influence but the soundness of our efforts. You have called for a new partnership in Latin America "in which the United States lectures less and listens more". We have taken a businesslike approach in the various negotiations we have entered. We have reduced the rhetoric and hyperbole in our speeches.


I have not sought to set out treatments for other specific policy issues that should be covered--such as Biafra, Greece, the UN, Korea, India and Libya--as this can best be done as the outline of the entire presentation is established by the drafters.


Looking to the future, the conclusion might develop the theme that it is not likely that the United States will again find itself in the position it held after World War II of being the single country in the Free World with the national will and resources to make a major impact on world events. National capacity and strength will continue to grow among the nations of the world. We have not sought to impede or deflect this trend. Instead we have made clear by word and deed that we will continue to cooperate with and to encourage the increasingly self-reliant members of the world community in the cause of progress, peace and security.



49. Memorandum From Marshall Wright of the National Security Council Staff to the President's Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)/1/

Washington, January 10, 1970.

/1/Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Secretariat Files, Box 1303, Richard M. Nixon Annual Review 1970-1974, Annual Review 1970. Secret.

Revised Drafts of African and UN papers for Annual Report/2/

/2/Attached are an 8-page paper outlining the Nixon administration's policy toward Africa and a 7-page paper which addressed the administration's view of the United Nations. Neither draft is dated nor is drafting information provided. Regarding the annual report to Congress, see Document 60.

Here are the latest versions of these two papers, revised to reflect your comments as relayed by Dick Kennedy.

In connection with these drafts I want to remind you that both in Africa and in the UN our policy is essentially defensive. Neither is central in any way to US foreign policy operations or interests. We deal with them because they are there, not because we hope to get great things out of our participation. We aim at minimizing the attention and resources which must be addressed to them. What we really want from both is no trouble. Our policy is therefore directed at damage limiting, rather than at accomplishing anything in particular.

That being true, there is (or at least, I can find) no broad and positive conceptual base which can credibly be put forward to explain why we do what we do in Africa and the UN. The real base we cannot mention. The task then is to put the best possible face upon essentially negative roles, and to try to make them sound more positive and more integrated than they actually are.

I call this to your attention so that you will be under no illusions that I consider the attached drafts to be what you asked for.


50. Editorial Note

Henry Kissinger telephoned President Nixon on January 14, 1970, to report on negotiations with the North Vietnamese in Paris. Kissinger called the President in Camp David, Maryland, from his office in the White House. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, White House Central Files, Staff Members and Office Files, Office of Presidential Papers and Archives, Daily Diary) During the course of the conversation, Nixon and Kissinger concluded that the experience of history highlighted the serious risks involved in negotiating with the Soviet Union. Nixon apparently applied the lesson to negotiations with North Vietnam. His opening and concluding comments relate to negotiations with North Vietnam:

"P: I suppose they will want to take the line they will say what have you got to say. I was reading a couple of nights ago the whole record of Churchill's account on Teheran, Malta and his negotiations with Harriman and what happened in terms of Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, Poland, etc. And really it is a shameful record. It is an outrage. I thought Eisenhower was taking the orders from the top but the whole emphasis was on getting along with the Russians whereas Churchill was concerned with re-drawing the map of Europe.

"K: He was thinking of what would happen after the war.

"P: Right. And the whole thing was the absolute hardness of Stalin during the whole thing. The Russians did not give anything on anything.

"K: The Russians got us so focused on victory they never talked about peace.

"P: You know that in the days of McCarthy and Jenner they really overstated it but basically they happened to be right. We did screw up the peace.

"K: For example, the invasion of Southern France. If those units had been put into the Balkans the whole thing would have been different.

"P: I think you should scan through it and see just what happened. He would send a message over and obviously the American President was responding and was responding in an almost unbelievably naive way.

"K: And these Kremlinologists were saying just what Thompson told you. 'You have to be in good faith.'

"P: Right and Truman turned down a meeting with Churchill first and then came back with the proposition that Truman ought to meet with Stalin first. Well that would have been the most terrible thing. It is well to read this stuff in order to know what we are dealing with now.

"K: Hopkins wanted Truman and Roosevelt to be the intermediary between England and Russia, grossly overestimating the British strength and grossly underestimating the Russian intentions.

"P: What I am getting at is that I don't know what these clowns want to talk about but the line we take is either they talk or we are going to sit it out. I don't feel this is any time for concession. And mainly because I feel that the only way we are going to get anywhere is by talking this way."

Later in the conversation, Nixon outlined those elements of his administration's foreign policy he wanted to emphasize in his forthcoming State of the Union address:

"P: We have to say a little about Vietnam--maybe pick up what we said Nov 3rd and say it a little differently. We are for a just peace. We have seen progress in Asia, in Japan. We have seen progress here. There are other areas in the world where there are still problems. The Mid-East is still difficult. I will cover it all. We are not going to retreat from our world commitments. We are going to keep them. I would use it to make another whack at the Nixon Doctrine. The Nixon Doctrine is not a retreat from our world responsibilities. It is a method--a new way. Whether it is Latin America or any other area in the world. If you don't mention everybody they will feel hurt. My point is that we feel that it is time for the industrial nations of the world--all the nations of the world. You might give it a historical slant. As we enter the '70's more than 25 years have passed since WW II--we made a new policy to deal with the new situation. For 25 years the US had to assume the major responsibility. We are for negotiation rather than for confrontation." (Memorandum of telephone conversation; Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box 361, Telephone Conversations, Chronological File, 3-14 Jan 1970)

For the reference to Thompson, see footnote 3, Document 43.


51. Address by Secretary of State Rogers/1/

Washington, January 15, 1970.

/1/Source: Department of State Bulletin, February 2, 1970, pp. 118-120. Secretary Rogers addressed the National Foreign Policy Conference for Editors and Broadcasters in the Department of State.

In this first year the Nixon administration has put its own stamp on United States foreign policy. It is a mix of continuity and change.

There is a necessity for continuity in our foreign policy which derives from the fact that we are the world's greatest power. Nothing can relieve us of the inescapable responsibilities that go with that status. Certainly one of the most stabilizing influences in world affairs today is that other nations, friendly and not so friendly, take it for granted that the United States will live up to its obligations. Without the element of continuity in basic United States foreign policy, world affairs would be much more unstable and dangerous.

Yet there must be change, too, because world events require a dynamic foreign policy. When this administration took office, our participation in the war in Viet-Nam had come to pervade and color the whole of our foreign policy. In fact, it consumed much of the time and energy of our top leaders. The alternatives seemed to be either to negotiate a settlement or to go on fighting indefinitely.

It was clear that we needed another approach. President Nixon decided that our policy should be to negotiate a settlement or, if that were not possible, to transfer the responsibility for combat activities to the South Vietnamese in a way which would assist them to achieve self-determination. As you know, that has come to be known as Vietnamization, and we are cautiously optimistic about its success. It will be carried out until all combat forces and ultimately other forces have been withdrawn or until Hanoi decides to work out a peace through negotiation which will give the people of South Viet-Nam the right of free choice.

President Nixon's program to end American participation in combat in Viet-Nam is irreversible. We are training and equipping the forces of the Republic of Viet-Nam to take care of themselves as we transfer to them the whole of the combat role. There is a growing confidence in South Viet-Nam that this can be done. Assuming its success--and our policy makes this assumption--the result will be valuable for the future security of the area: a feeling of independence and self-reliance not just in South Viet-Nam but in Southeast Asia as a whole.

We believe we are on the right track toward national release from total preoccupation with this one area of foreign affairs.

If United States foreign policy a year ago was overly concentrated on Viet-Nam, the foreign policy of the Soviet Union was equally preoccupied with the quarrel with Communist China. As far as we can see this is still the case, and there is no reason to believe that it is likely to change dramatically in the near future.

It therefore seemed wise to us to make known what our position was with respect to the Sino-Soviet border dispute and the general tensions between those governments. This we have done.

We have made it clear that we have no intention of attempting to exploit their differences.

We intend to negotiate with the Soviet Union, hopefully in a meaningful way, in pursuit of common ground and mutual advantage.

We also intend to seek ways to have better relations with Communist China. Consequently, we are pleased that we now have an agreement to meet in Warsaw on January 20.

To have better relations with the Soviet Union and with Communist China, we believe, would be in our national interest, and our policy is to seek sensible ways to accomplish this. The fact that a Sino-Soviet conflict exists is strictly their affair, but it should not be a restraint on our efforts to improve relations with both.

I think I should mention two other powerful nations in the world which are making new contributions to the dynamics of world affairs.

The first is Japan. Japan has become the third industrial power of the world. She is ready to play a part in the affairs of the Asian and Pacific community of nations more commensurate with that status. In recognition of this fact our administration decided to return Okinawa to Japan in 1972. This historic decision should be looked upon as the closing act of the postwar period of United States-Japanese relations. Our relations with Japan now enter a new stage of close and friendly cooperation at the beginning of a new decade.

The Pacific community provides a bright picture. The highest rates of sustained economic growth in the world are found today in Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and Thailand. The picture in Indonesia is most encouraging. Cooperative regional organizations in the Pacific area have come into being; and as I have indicated, the new strength and energy of Japan is an outstanding factor in that regional picture.

The fourth most productive economy in the world is the Federal Republic of Germany. There is a new government in Bonn with which we have excellent relations, both bilaterally and within NATO.

The German Government is seeking in every practical way to reduce tensions that made the German question the most dangerous of the cold-war issues. The North Atlantic Council serves as a good forum for close consultation on policies and methods of improving relationships with the countries of Eastern Europe. But if East-West relations are to return to a more normal state, Germany obviously must play a major role in that process. The present German Government is engaged in an effort to do this in consultation with, and with the support of, its allies, including, of course, the United States.

These brief remarks serve to highlight the fact that in this next decade glacial changes will undoubtedly occur. The Nixon administration's general approach to foreign policy as we enter the decade of the seventies is:

First, to try to move from stalemated confrontations to active negotiations on outstanding issues with the Soviet Union and others;

Second, to encourage other more developed nations, and especially in the framework of regional organizations, to assume greater responsibility for leadership and initiative in the affairs of the major regions of the world;

Third, to lower our voice and our visibility on the world stage to accord with what we intend to be a more moderate dialogue and a greater degree of partnership with our friends and allies; and

Fourth, to make it clear that the United States has no intention of renouncing its treaty obligations, of withdrawing from the international scene, or of failing to play a proper and active role in the constant search for security and for a better life for all of mankind.

On the negotiating front, we have successfully launched the strategic arms limitations talks; we have agreed with the Soviet Union on a draft treaty banning the emplacement of weapons of mass destruction on the ocean floor; we are seeking to discuss arrangements to normalize access to Berlin; we have negotiated intensively, but with disappointing results so far, to find a framework on which the parties may negotiate a lasting settlement in the Middle East; and we have indicated a willingness to negotiate with the Warsaw Pact nations on mutual and balanced reduction of forces in Europe.

We shall make some proposals next week to the Communist Chinese in Warsaw in the hope that we can improve relations with them.

On the second point--encouraging greater responsibility for regional leadership by the nations of the area--we have moved forward in Europe, Asia, and Latin America.

To our NATO allies, President Nixon has offered to consult more on subjects of mutual concern. This has eliminated the fear of unilateral action, and our Western allies are appreciative.

In Asia our friends and allies have agreed that henceforth, if it should be required, they will provide the necessary military forces to cope with subversion, both internally and externally promoted, with the United States providing appropriate support by way of equipment and training, et cetera. We have agreed, too, that the proper role of the United States is that of partner and participant in regional activities, for which Pacific and Asian countries will undertake initiatives and provide leadership. This is the way we want it and the way the Asians want it.

In Latin America a comparable development has taken place. In accord with our neighbors to the south, we are proceeding on the basis of a more mature and a more equal partnership. Our hemisphere friends have accepted responsibility for providing a leading voice in inter-American affairs and in setting their own course in the struggle for economic development and social reform.

I have not mentioned Africa, but next month I shall visit Africa. I will in particular discuss with African leaders their views of how best to find a steady, long-term basis for relating our interest in helping them raise standards of living to their own efforts.

Overall, I believe that the United States, under the leadership of President Nixon, has had a successful year in the conduct of its foreign affairs.

Finally, I want to underscore that the foreign policy of this administration cannot be characterized as tending toward isolationism--as a curtailment of interests or a shedding of responsibility in world affairs. We cannot retreat from a world in which we will increasingly be involved, however longingly some might glance in that direction.

What we can do and what we propose to do is to alter the character of our involvement, to make that involvement more consistent with present-day realities, to give it a sound footing for the long term. We can be less intrusive and less domineering. We can have a lower profile. We can speak with a less strident voice. By working more effectively with other nations, by conducting our international affairs with a bit more modesty, we hope that we may become more successful and effective partners in the search for peace and security in the world during this last third of the 20th century.


52. Address by President Nixon on the State of the Union/1/

Washington, January 22, 1970.

/1/Source: Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Richard Nixon, 1970, pp. 8-16. The President delivered the address at 12:30 p.m. in the House of Representatives before a joint session of Congress.

Mr. Speaker, Mr. President, my colleagues in the Congress, our distinguished guests and my fellow Americans:

[Omitted here are general introductory remarks.]

When we speak of America's priorities the first priority must always be peace for America and the world.

The major immediate goal of our foreign policy is to bring an end to the war in Vietnam in a way that our generation will be remembered--not so much as the generation that suffered in war, but more for the fact that we had the courage and character to win the kind of a just peace that the next generation was able to keep.

We are making progress toward that goal.

The prospects for peace are far greater today than they were a year ago.

A major part of the credit for this development goes to the Members of this Congress who, despite their differences on the conduct of the war, have overwhelmingly indicated their support of a just peace. By this action, you have completely demolished the enemy's hopes that they can gain in Washington the victory our fighting men have denied them in Vietnam.

No goal could be greater than to make the next generation the first in this century in which America was at peace with every nation in the world.

I shall discuss in detail the new concepts and programs designed to achieve this goal in a separate report on foreign policy, which I shall submit to the Congress at a later date./2/

/2/See Document 60.

Today, let me describe the directions of our new policies.

We have based our policies on an evaluation of the world as it is, not as it was 25 years ago at the conclusion of World War II. Many of the policies which were necessary and right then are obsolete today.

Then, because of America's overwhelming military and economic strength, because of the weakness of other major free world powers and the inability of scores of newly independent nations to defend, or even govern, themselves, America had to assume the major burden for the defense of freedom in the world.

In two wars, first in Korea and now in Vietnam, we furnished most of the money, most of the arms, most of the men to help other nations defend their freedom.

Today the great industrial nations of Europe, as well as Japan, have regained their economic strength; and the nations of Latin America--and many of the nations who acquired their freedom from colonialism after World War II in Asia and Africa--have a new sense of pride and dignity and a determination to assume the responsibility for their own defense.

That is the basis of the doctrine I announced at Guam./3/

/3/See Document 29.

Neither the defense nor the development of other nations can be exclusively or primarily an American undertaking.

The nations of each part of the world should assume the primary responsibility for their own well-being; and they themselves should determine the terms of that well-being.

We shall be faithful to our treaty commitments, but we shall reduce our involvement and our presence in other nations' affairs.

To insist that other nations play a role is not a retreat from responsibility; it is a sharing of responsibility.

The result of this new policy has been not to weaken our alliances, but to give them new life, new strength, a new sense of common purpose.

Relations with our European allies are once again strong and healthy, based on mutual consultation and mutual responsibility.

We have initiated a new approach to Latin America in which we deal with those nations as partners rather than patrons.

The new partnership concept has been welcomed in Asia. We have developed an historic new basis for Japanese-American friendship and cooperation, which is the linchpin for peace in the Pacific.

If we are to have peace in the last third of the century, a major factor will be the development of a new relationship between the United States and the Soviet Union.

I would not underestimate our differences, but we are moving with precision and purpose from an era of confrontation to an era of negotiation.

Our negotiations on strategic arms limitations and in other areas will have far greater chance for success if both sides enter them motivated by mutual self-interest rather than naive sentimentality.

It is with this same spirit that we have resumed discussions with Communist China in our talks at Warsaw.

Our concern in our relations with both these nations is to avoid a catastrophic collision and to build a solid basis for peaceful settlement of our differences.

I would be the last to suggest that the road to peace is not difficult and dangerous, but I believe our new policies have contributed to the prospect that America may have the best chance since World War II to enjoy a generation of uninterrupted peace. And that chance will be enormously increased if we continue to have a relationship between Congress and the Executive in which, despite differences in detail, where the security of America and the peace of mankind are concerned, we act not as Republicans, not as Democrats, but as Americans.

[Omitted here is the remainder of the address devoted largely to domestic issues.]


53. Memorandum From the Under Secretary of State (Richardson) to the President's Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)/1/

Washington, January 22, 1970.

/1/Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 325, Subject Files, President's Annual Review of U.S. Foreign Policy. No classification marking.

"A Cause Bigger than Ourselves . . ."

Two thoughts which I have been meaning to suggest for Presidential utterance at some future date now--in the light of his State of the Union Message/2/--seem to me appropriate for his foreign policy message. They are:

/2/See Document 52.

1. Having outlined the importance of emerging nationalism in terms of its significance for self-reliance, regionalism, etc., and having emphasized the essentiality of our role in maintaining the relative stability of a world structure composed of sovereign states, the President could go on to say that for the long future such a structure is not enough. We must look, rather, toward ways in which the peacekeeping role of the UN as a supra-national structure can be strengthened, ways in which the rule of law can be expanded.

This can be said in a way, I think, which need not undercut the realism and the practicality with which he approaches today's and tomorrow's problems. To say it, however, could help to express the larger vision called for by his State of the Union address. It would, moreover, supply what has heretofore seemed to me a missing ingredient in the articulation of our policy.

The theme would, of course, be an appropriate one for further development in an address to the UN on the celebration of its 25th anniversary.

2. The youthful idealism and impatience that have fastened on the squalor and misery of our domestic ghettos is bound, I believe, eventually to be extended to the vastly greater squalor and misery in which most of the world lives. I just don't believe that young people who are so much concerned with the poverty, hunger and disease within our own borders will long continue to be indifferent to the much worse conditions beyond our borders./3/

/3/Kissinger highlighted this paragraph and the next one and put a checkmark in the margin.

As the President said months ago in our NSC meeting on foreign assistance, its most important justification is, after all, moral. To sound this note and to affirm the goal of a more adequate world order are the only ways I can think of for the President to sustain in the foreign policy message the inspirational tone so impressively achieved in his State of the Union message.

Again, the theme could be further developed in a later message--in this case, in a message based on the Peterson Task Force recommendations/4/ and in compliance with the Javits Amendment./5/

/4/Regarding the establishment of the President's Task Force on International Development, see footnote 2, Document 35. The task force submitted its report and recommendations to President Nixon on March 8, 1970. (Report to the President of the United States From the Task Force on International Development: U.S. Foreign Assistance in the 1970's, Washington, D.C., U.S. Government Printing Office, 1970) The White House released the report on March 8 along with a statement by President Nixon indicating his intention to reform the foreign assistance programs in light of the task force recommendations. (Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Richard Nixon, 1970, pp. 253-254)

/5/Reference is to an amendment offered by Senator Jacob Javits on December 12, 1969, during debate in the Senate on foreign assistance legislation. The amendment to H.R. 14580, which was adopted by the Senate, restored authorization for the Overseas Private Investment Corporation. (Congressional Quarterly Almanac, Vol. XXV, 1969, p. 445)



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