1969-1976, Volume I, Foundations of Foreign Policy|
Released by the Office of the Historian
107. Editorial Note During the course of a long meeting between President Nixon and Premier Chou En-lai on February 23, 1972, the President raised the issue of a triangular relationship among the United States, China, and the Soviet Union for the purpose of assuring the Prime Minister that the United States did not intend to promote discord between China and the Soviet Union: "I am sure the Prime Minister, who follows our press very closely has noted that some rather cynical observers have implied that it would be in our interests to have the two great socialist superpowers--the USSR is one, and China could be one--be in conflict because this would make things safer for us. Some have written this. The Prime Minister probably didn't notice this, but I was asked in one of my press conferences a year ago about this, and I categorically said that it was not in the interest of the United States to have war between the Soviet Union and China. War between major powers can never be contained, and the whole world would become involved. "Prime Minister Chou: Because everything is linked. "President Nixon: Now to the assurance that I give the Prime Minister. "Prime Minister Chou: Yes, I also read your press conference. "President Nixon: To the assurances I already gave the Prime Minister I add this. In December, when the situation was getting very sensitive in the subcontinent--I'm using understatement--I was prepared to warn the Soviet Union against undertaking an attack on China. A warning, of course, means nothing unless the individual being warned realizes you may have the will to carry it out. Insofar as Japan is concerned and India, there is no question about where our influence will be used. With regard to the Soviet Union, I can also give assurances that the U.S. would oppose any attempt by the Soviet Union to engage in an aggressive action against China. This we would do because we believe it is in our interest, and in the interest of preserving peace as well, world peace." (Memorandum of conversation, February 23, 1972; National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, White House Special Files, President's Office Files, Memos for the President, Classified Material, Box 3) The President raised the subject again in a meeting with Chou En-lai on February 25, speaking of the Soviet Union: "I think they apparently welcomed an antagonistic relationship between the United States and the People's Republic of China. That is why they reacted when we showed we had changed our attitude. They did not want us to have more normal relations. "I would not try to judge motives, but based on their conduct they apparently want the People's Republic and the United States to be at odds. However, our policy is not, as I said to the Prime Minister, to have the People's Republic and the Soviet Union at odds. As I told the Prime Minister, I reject the proposition that it is in the interest of the United States to have the Soviet Union and China in a state of belligerency. "In a sentence, we want good relations with the People's Republic and we want good relations with the Soviet Union. And we would welcome better relations between the Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China. That, however, is something the Soviet Union and the People's Republic will have to work out. "As I said when I was in Romania and Yugoslavia, my principle is any nation can be a friend of the United States without being someone else's enemy. That is my view. "I realize that is sometimes very difficult to achieve, because there is a tendency for some nations to gang up against other nations. But in the very delicate power balances in the world we in the United States would not gain in the long run by trying to stir up trouble between other nations. We, the United States, would not gain by trying to stimulate conflict between the Soviet Union and the People's Republic. The People's Republic would not gain, the Soviet Union would not gain, and we would not gain by trying to stimulate conflict between the others. "That is the idea, but in practicality we realize that the real world is very different than the ideal, and that is what we are concerned about, the real world." (Memorandum of conversation, February 25, 1972; ibid.) The full text of the conversation is scheduled for publication in Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, China, 1969-1972. 108. Editorial Note On February 29, 1972, President Nixon met with the bipartisan Congressional leadership in the Cabinet Room of the White House to discuss his trip to China. During the course of his comments, which were summarized in a memorandum for the President's file prepared by Tom C. Korologos of the White House Staff, Nixon considered the possible long-term results of the unprecedented visit: "He then turned to long-term results which he classed as most important. He said that he hopes that we will conduct our policy in Asia without threat or use of force, and he hoped the Chinese would do the same. He said neither the United States or China seek to dominate Asia, and both oppose the other nation's domination in the future. He said that we shall speak of a common interest and normalization of relations. "He touched upon a 'naive' reporter's analysis that what finally got us together was that both the PRC and the United States had found that their philosophies were not that far apart. The President said that this was not at all true. All we are trying to do is get to know each other better, and now I know them and they know us. We wanted to help eliminate the inevitable road of suspicion over the past 25 years. He said this road is the one which may lead to war. "The President pointed out that had this meeting occurred 25 years ago, Korea might have been avoided. He said neither side changed its beliefs. 'They are dedicated Communists and I am a dedicated American.' "The simple thing that brought us together was a common interest, the President said. We want to maintain our integrity and independence as they do, and we both want to build a structure of peace in the Pacific and in the World. If we do not find a way, we will be on a collision course. "The President pointed to two more or less guidelines for the future. First, they are the first to say that they are not a super power. Inevitably, however, the President pointed out 750 million Chinese Communists are something to be reckoned with. Consequently, they are destined to become a major force. "Second, the President said the relationship between the United States and China is a very delicate one. The President then quoted Ayub Khan, who said that relationships between nations are based on trust, no matter what their beliefs are. He said that Khan said trust is a very thin thread. If it is broken, it is important to put it back together. We have started to put it back together. We are reliable, we are strong and we will continue to build for the future. "Our part is much greater than theirs. They read everything said in the Senate and House and they read the newspaper editorials and columns. They think that whenever a columnist speaks that that is the United States speaking, the President said. "While we have made a beginning in certain areas, we are far apart in other areas, such as in Africa, the Middle East, etc., the President said. "The President said that in the future, we must expect the Chinese at the United Nations to express their views vociferously, but not to worry about it. It would not mean our relationship is ended when they blast us. "We must assume they are still as dedicated to their philosophies as we are to ours. The President said, 'I am glad I went. I am impressed with what I saw and I am glad to be home. I have a new realization for us not to become one of them, and to realize that when you get people as dedicated as they are, that a soft and flabby or weak United States will not long survive in the world. We need certain dedication and belief in our country. So, we must continue our debates, but we must recognize that we must not lose dedication, determination or our love of country.' "He said that if the United States would withdraw and live as an island, then others who may want to dominate the world would have a free hand to do so. Consequently, we need to keep America strong with strong commitments around the world. The most important thing to remember is that they constantly are reinvigorating their people and we must reinspire our people." (Memorandum for the President's File, February 29, 1972; National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, White House Special Files, President's Office Files, Memos for the President, Box 88, February 27-May 28, 1972) The meeting took place between 10:07 and 11:45 a.m. (Ibid., White House Central Files, Staff Members and Office Files, Office of Presidential Papers and Archives, Daily Diary) 109. Editorial Note On March 30, 1972, North Vietnam initiated a major offensive against the South. The offensive was supplied in large measure by the Soviet Union, which continued to be the principal support for Hanoi. With the planned U.S.-Soviet Moscow Summit less than 2 months away, the latest North Vietnamese offensive put to the test the Nixon administration's long-standing concept of linkage, where progress with the Soviet Union in some aspects of U.S.-Soviet relations must be accompanied by progress in other, more difficult areas. While at the Pentagon on April 9, Henry Kissinger called to confer with the President, who was in Key Biscayne. According to the Nixon Diary, the telephone call was placed at 10:47 a.m. and concluded at 11:10 a.m. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, White House Central Files, Staff Members and Office Files, Office of Presidential Papers and Archives, Daily Diary) "We are coming to the point," Nixon said, when "knocking off of the Soviet Summit becomes more and more a possibility." The conversation continued: "K: I am afraid so. I do not have another view. I do not think we can survive a Soviet Summit as a country if we are humiliated in Vietnam. Unless they accept rules of conduct, we may have to confront them. It is easy for me to say. But if one looks at an election on that platform . . . "P: The country would be done then. "K: I think our bargaining position in Moscow, if it came out of a position of total weakness, would be hopeless. "P: I have been arguing for sending more carriers, planes, etc. and taking the heat on it because I realize everything rides on this. If we lose this one, the other stuff won't hold up. Our great China initiative--we at least opened the door, and handle ourselves as gracefully as we can--and quietly leave the scene." The President declared that "We have to look closely at our whole American purpose as to whether or not it is possible for one [sic] [non-Communist] country to defend itself and leave. We know it is possible for a Communist country to do that. I am not sure. We shall see." Nixon ordered Kissinger to "call Dobrynin in" and relate the current U.S. thinking. "Tell him the Summit is on the line now," the President said. "I think he has to know with this going on as it is that we are under enormous pressure. The whole Summit is being jeopardized. Our hole card is to play more with the Chinese." After brief discussion, the President concluded: "We both agree to go ahead under those circumstances. . . . In the meantime, we will keep kicking them in the balls. I made a decision no Summit if this thing goes. We have no other choices now. We can't be put in a position of letting our whole policy be hostage to a couple of summits." (Transcript of telephone conversation between President Nixon and Kissinger; Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box 371, Telephone Conversations, Chronological File) 110. Telegram From President Nixon to the President's Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) in Moscow/1/
107. Editorial Note
During the course of a long meeting between President Nixon and Premier Chou En-lai on February 23, 1972, the President raised the issue of a triangular relationship among the United States, China, and the Soviet Union for the purpose of assuring the Prime Minister that the United States did not intend to promote discord between China and the Soviet Union:
"I am sure the Prime Minister, who follows our press very closely has noted that some rather cynical observers have implied that it would be in our interests to have the two great socialist superpowers--the USSR is one, and China could be one--be in conflict because this would make things safer for us. Some have written this. The Prime Minister probably didn't notice this, but I was asked in one of my press conferences a year ago about this, and I categorically said that it was not in the interest of the United States to have war between the Soviet Union and China. War between major powers can never be contained, and the whole world would become involved.
"Prime Minister Chou: Because everything is linked.
"President Nixon: Now to the assurance that I give the Prime Minister.
"Prime Minister Chou: Yes, I also read your press conference.
"President Nixon: To the assurances I already gave the Prime Minister I add this. In December, when the situation was getting very sensitive in the subcontinent--I'm using understatement--I was prepared to warn the Soviet Union against undertaking an attack on China. A warning, of course, means nothing unless the individual being warned realizes you may have the will to carry it out. Insofar as Japan is concerned and India, there is no question about where our influence will be used. With regard to the Soviet Union, I can also give assurances that the U.S. would oppose any attempt by the Soviet Union to engage in an aggressive action against China. This we would do because we believe it is in our interest, and in the interest of preserving peace as well, world peace." (Memorandum of conversation, February 23, 1972; National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, White House Special Files, President's Office Files, Memos for the President, Classified Material, Box 3)
The President raised the subject again in a meeting with Chou En-lai on February 25, speaking of the Soviet Union:
"I think they apparently welcomed an antagonistic relationship between the United States and the People's Republic of China. That is why they reacted when we showed we had changed our attitude. They did not want us to have more normal relations.
"I would not try to judge motives, but based on their conduct they apparently want the People's Republic and the United States to be at odds. However, our policy is not, as I said to the Prime Minister, to have the People's Republic and the Soviet Union at odds. As I told the Prime Minister, I reject the proposition that it is in the interest of the United States to have the Soviet Union and China in a state of belligerency.
"In a sentence, we want good relations with the People's Republic and we want good relations with the Soviet Union. And we would welcome better relations between the Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China. That, however, is something the Soviet Union and the People's Republic will have to work out.
"As I said when I was in Romania and Yugoslavia, my principle is any nation can be a friend of the United States without being someone else's enemy. That is my view.
"I realize that is sometimes very difficult to achieve, because there is a tendency for some nations to gang up against other nations. But in the very delicate power balances in the world we in the United States would not gain in the long run by trying to stir up trouble between other nations. We, the United States, would not gain by trying to stimulate conflict between the Soviet Union and the People's Republic. The People's Republic would not gain, the Soviet Union would not gain, and we would not gain by trying to stimulate conflict between the others.
"That is the idea, but in practicality we realize that the real world is very different than the ideal, and that is what we are concerned about, the real world." (Memorandum of conversation, February 25, 1972; ibid.)
The full text of the conversation is scheduled for publication in Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, China, 1969-1972.
108. Editorial Note
On February 29, 1972, President Nixon met with the bipartisan Congressional leadership in the Cabinet Room of the White House to discuss his trip to China. During the course of his comments, which were summarized in a memorandum for the President's file prepared by Tom C. Korologos of the White House Staff, Nixon considered the possible long-term results of the unprecedented visit:
"He then turned to long-term results which he classed as most important. He said that he hopes that we will conduct our policy in Asia without threat or use of force, and he hoped the Chinese would do the same. He said neither the United States or China seek to dominate Asia, and both oppose the other nation's domination in the future. He said that we shall speak of a common interest and normalization of relations.
"He touched upon a 'naive' reporter's analysis that what finally got us together was that both the PRC and the United States had found that their philosophies were not that far apart. The President said that this was not at all true. All we are trying to do is get to know each other better, and now I know them and they know us. We wanted to help eliminate the inevitable road of suspicion over the past 25 years. He said this road is the one which may lead to war.
"The President pointed out that had this meeting occurred 25 years ago, Korea might have been avoided. He said neither side changed its beliefs. 'They are dedicated Communists and I am a dedicated American.'
"The simple thing that brought us together was a common interest, the President said. We want to maintain our integrity and independence as they do, and we both want to build a structure of peace in the Pacific and in the World. If we do not find a way, we will be on a collision course.
"The President pointed to two more or less guidelines for the future. First, they are the first to say that they are not a super power. Inevitably, however, the President pointed out 750 million Chinese Communists are something to be reckoned with. Consequently, they are destined to become a major force.
"Second, the President said the relationship between the United States and China is a very delicate one. The President then quoted Ayub Khan, who said that relationships between nations are based on trust, no matter what their beliefs are. He said that Khan said trust is a very thin thread. If it is broken, it is important to put it back together. We have started to put it back together. We are reliable, we are strong and we will continue to build for the future.
"Our part is much greater than theirs. They read everything said in the Senate and House and they read the newspaper editorials and columns. They think that whenever a columnist speaks that that is the United States speaking, the President said.
"While we have made a beginning in certain areas, we are far apart in other areas, such as in Africa, the Middle East, etc., the President said.
"The President said that in the future, we must expect the Chinese at the United Nations to express their views vociferously, but not to worry about it. It would not mean our relationship is ended when they blast us.
"We must assume they are still as dedicated to their philosophies as we are to ours. The President said, 'I am glad I went. I am impressed with what I saw and I am glad to be home. I have a new realization for us not to become one of them, and to realize that when you get people as dedicated as they are, that a soft and flabby or weak United States will not long survive in the world. We need certain dedication and belief in our country. So, we must continue our debates, but we must recognize that we must not lose dedication, determination or our love of country.'
"He said that if the United States would withdraw and live as an island, then others who may want to dominate the world would have a free hand to do so. Consequently, we need to keep America strong with strong commitments around the world. The most important thing to remember is that they constantly are reinvigorating their people and we must reinspire our people." (Memorandum for the President's File, February 29, 1972; National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, White House Special Files, President's Office Files, Memos for the President, Box 88, February 27-May 28, 1972)
The meeting took place between 10:07 and 11:45 a.m. (Ibid., White House Central Files, Staff Members and Office Files, Office of Presidential Papers and Archives, Daily Diary)
109. Editorial Note
On March 30, 1972, North Vietnam initiated a major offensive against the South. The offensive was supplied in large measure by the Soviet Union, which continued to be the principal support for Hanoi. With the planned U.S.-Soviet Moscow Summit less than 2 months away, the latest North Vietnamese offensive put to the test the Nixon administration's long-standing concept of linkage, where progress with the Soviet Union in some aspects of U.S.-Soviet relations must be accompanied by progress in other, more difficult areas. While at the Pentagon on April 9, Henry Kissinger called to confer with the President, who was in Key Biscayne. According to the Nixon Diary, the telephone call was placed at 10:47 a.m. and concluded at 11:10 a.m. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, White House Central Files, Staff Members and Office Files, Office of Presidential Papers and Archives, Daily Diary) "We are coming to the point," Nixon said, when "knocking off of the Soviet Summit becomes more and more a possibility." The conversation continued:
"K: I am afraid so. I do not have another view. I do not think we can survive a Soviet Summit as a country if we are humiliated in Vietnam. Unless they accept rules of conduct, we may have to confront them. It is easy for me to say. But if one looks at an election on that platform . . .
"P: The country would be done then.
"K: I think our bargaining position in Moscow, if it came out of a position of total weakness, would be hopeless.
"P: I have been arguing for sending more carriers, planes, etc. and taking the heat on it because I realize everything rides on this. If we lose this one, the other stuff won't hold up. Our great China initiative--we at least opened the door, and handle ourselves as gracefully as we can--and quietly leave the scene."
The President declared that "We have to look closely at our whole American purpose as to whether or not it is possible for one [sic] [non-Communist] country to defend itself and leave. We know it is possible for a Communist country to do that. I am not sure. We shall see." Nixon ordered Kissinger to "call Dobrynin in" and relate the current U.S. thinking. "Tell him the Summit is on the line now," the President said. "I think he has to know with this going on as it is that we are under enormous pressure. The whole Summit is being jeopardized. Our hole card is to play more with the Chinese."
After brief discussion, the President concluded: "We both agree to go ahead under those circumstances. . . . In the meantime, we will keep kicking them in the balls. I made a decision no Summit if this thing goes. We have no other choices now. We can't be put in a position of letting our whole policy be hostage to a couple of summits." (Transcript of telephone conversation between President Nixon and Kissinger; Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box 371, Telephone Conversations, Chronological File)
110. Telegram From President Nixon to the President's Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) in Moscow/1/
Washington, April 23, 1972, 1945Z.
/1/Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, HAK Trip Files, HAK's Secret Moscow Trip, TOHAK/HAKTO, April 1972 (Part 1), Box 21. Top Secret; Sensitive; Eyes Only. Kissinger made a secret trip to Moscow between April 20 and 24, 1972, ostensibly to discuss the situation in Vietnam, as well as many other bilateral and international issues, in preparation for the U.S.-Soviet Summit planned for the next month. Documentation on this visit and the Summit is scheduled for publication in Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Moscow Summit.
Memorandum for Henry Kissinger From the President
I am dictating this message personally to you rather than transmitting through Haig so that you can directly sense my views with regard to the state of play in your historic journey.
First, there is no question whatever among any of us here about the skill, resourcefulness and determination you have displayed in conducting your talks to date. I have read each one of your messages carefully and have been enormously impressed with how you have had exactly the right combination of sweet and sour in dealing with them.
Second, as Haig has already indicated, I have no objection to your staying until 1500 Moscow time or even until 1700 or 1800 Moscow time, provided that you determine that your staying on may make some contribution on Vietnam. It is important for you to arrive at Camp David before midnight on Monday/2/ so that we can go back to Washington and thereby maintain our cover and have time to prepare the announcement for Tuesday noon and Tuesday evening, as well as getting your recommendations with regard to what I should say on Wednesday or Thursday. As I am sure it has occurred to you, your hosts have already gained one of their goals--that of having you stay longer in Moscow on your first visit than you stayed in Peking. Of course, this is of very little concern to us and a few more hours makes no difference on that score.
It was predictable that they would give no ground on Vietnam although it seems to me that their primary purpose of getting you to Moscow to discuss the Summit has now been served while our purpose of getting some progress on Vietnam has not been served, except, of course, in the very important, intangible ways you have pointed out--the effect on Hanoi of Moscow receiving you three days after we bombed Hanoi-Haiphong, of course, the obvious result of keeping Peking balanced vis-à-vis Moscow.
As far as what they have agreed to--sending messages to Hanoi, I suppose that in the long run this might have some beneficial effect. At least it enlists them in the diplomatic game in a way that they have refused to become enlisted before. However, we cannot be oblivious to the fact that while they have agreed to send messages, secretly, they will be continuing to send arms, publicly, and the latter fact will be the one our critics at home on both the left and the right will eventually seize upon.
Whether your hosts were in collusion with Hanoi is, of course, a question none of us can answer without knowing their innermost thoughts. But as far as the observers who will be trying to appraise the success or failure of your trip and later the Summit, if it comes off, there is one hard fact that stands out--anyone who gives a murder weapon to someone he knows is going to kill with it is equally responsible for the crime. You and I might have reason to believe that both Peking and Moscow would like to de-fuse the situation in Southeast Asia but cannot do so for reasons of which we are aware. On the other hand, in dealing with our own opinion at home, this sophisticated analysis makes no dent whatever.
[Omitted here are comments on domestic issues.]
After the first shock of the announcement of your trip wears off--by the end of the week a chorus will arise from both the doves and the hawks raising two questions: First, what did Kissinger discuss with the Russians? (and here there will be insistence that you inform the Foreign Relations Committee and all others on this score) and (2) what did the Kissinger trip accomplish in terms of getting progress on Vietnam?
You and I know that it has to have accomplished a considerable amount indirectly by the message it sends to Hanoi and also that it may open the door for future progress on Vietnam where the Soviet Union may play a more helpful role. On the other hand, we must batten down the hatches for what will be a rising chorus of criticism from our political opponents on the left and from our hawk friends on the right for going to Moscow and failing to get progress on the major issue.
I have deliberately painted this picture at its worst because, of course, we must prepare for the worst and hope for the best. Haig makes the point, and I share it to an extent, that Hanoi will be under enormous heat to be more forthcoming in their private meeting with you on May 2nd. On the other hand, they may hold firm. It is then that we will have to make the really tough decision. It is my view that if they give no more than they have given on the twelve previous meetings they have had with you--and I believe those meetings were constructive of course but not on the decisive issue--then we will have to go all-out on the bombing front.
That is why it is vitally important that your hosts know that all options--repeat--all options as far as actions against the North are open in the event that the meeting of May 2 turns out to be as non-productive on the really critical issues as have the previous meetings you have had with the North Vietnamese.
Going back to our major goals, I could not agree with you more that the Summit in terms of long-term interests of the US is vitally important. However, no matter how good a deal we get out of the Summit on SALT and on the other issues, we must realize that now the Soviet Summit, far more than the Chinese Summit, due to the fact that your trip directly dealt with Vietnam, will be judged as a success or failure depending upon whether we get some progress on Vietnam. My feeling about the necessity for resuming attacks on the Hanoi-Haiphong complex in the event that the May 2 meeting is a dud is as you can recognize quite different from the decision I made with regard to activities we would undertake prior to, during and after the China visit. For four weeks before we went to China, for the two weeks that we were there or on the way and for three weeks after we were there we made a decision, which I think was right, not to be provocative in our bombing of targets north of the DMZ even though we knew from all intelligence reports that an enemy build-up was going forward. I think that decision was right at that time.
However, I am convinced that we cannot pay that kind of price for the Soviet Summit--much as I recognize substantively that the Soviet Summit is of course going to be infinitely more productive than the Chinese Summit.
[Omitted here are brief comments, mainly concerning SALT.]
We have painted ourselves into this corner--quite deliberately--and I only hope that developments will justify the course we have followed.
In sum, we risked the Summit by hitting Hanoi and Haiphong. After we have gone through your meeting of May 2, we may be faced with the hard decision to risk it again and probably damage it irreparably because we may have no other choice if that meeting turns out to be a failure.
I cannot emphasize too strongly that except for a few sophisticated foreign policy observers, interest in what we are able to get on a SALT agreement, trade, a better communiqué than the French got, etc., will not save the Summit unless one way or another we are able to point to some progress on Vietnam. Of course, I am aware of the fact that if your hosts still want to go forward with the Summit, despite the actions we may have had to take after May 2, we will do so because we know that the substantive agreements that we will reach at the Summit are in and of themselves substantively very important even without progress on Vietnam. What I am trying to emphasize is that we must face the hard fact that we have now convinced the country that Soviet arms and Soviet tanks have fueled this massive invasion of South Vietnam by the North. Having done so, it is only logical that our critics on both right and left will hammer us hard if we sit down and meet with the Soviets, drink toasts, sign communiqués, etc., without getting progress on Vietnam.
However it all comes out, just remember we all know we couldn't have a better man in Moscow at this time than Kissinger. Rebozo joins us in sending our regards.
111. Memorandum of Conversation/1/
New York, May 5, 1972.
/1/Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 1026, Presidential/HAK Memcons. Administratively Confidential. There is no drafting information on the memorandum.
Following the introduction of members of the head table, Dr. Kissinger was introduced and received a standing ovation./3/
/3/Kissinger was addressing a dinner of the Asian Society in the Plaza Hotel.
[Omitted here are introductory comments.]
We took over essentially a post-war foreign policy. Complete attitudes had to be changed. We took office when the American pre-eminence to wage war had begun to wane. Much of our policy was based on previous successes. The principal problem was to adjust to the new realities.
When America adopted the post-war policies, the United States was the only country capable of having a global foreign policy. We had a history of uninterrupted success. We could invite challenge anywhere in the world.
Our task was how to define a role for the United States where we could have a constructive and permanent relationship with other nations. The Nixon Doctrine gives other countries a bigger role. Some call it a retreat. It has led to our now evolving relationships with the People's Republic of China and the Soviet Union. It is sometimes called the balance of power approach.
The first concern of any leader must be the basic security of the country. It cannot base decisions on circumstances elsewhere. Each country wants independent relations with the other nations. We have been lucky in the past because of geographic considerations. Vast oceans lay between ourselves and possible enemies. Technology has changed all this, requiring us now to develop careful relationships with other countries. It is important that we establish relationships with other countries even where painful to our traditional friends, who are seeing us establish relationships with previously rejected countries. We no longer have a black and white foreign policy. All nations have a stake. We could not overlook the 800 million people in the People's Republic of China.
Our relations with China started in a curious way. The President asked us to explore contacts. It is amazing how difficult it is to establish ties to a nation after 22 years of an isolationist policy. It is difficult to find an intermediary and even to do simple things like drafting messages acceptable to both sides. It is an interesting analysis for a good student in foreign relations. Once contact was established, problems arose because so many nations were looking at our China policy. They were looking at specific details and were concerned we might be shifting our weight.
The essence of our China policy is that we do not impinge on Chinese interests very much. Our effort was basically in three levels. First was what specific arrangement could be made in Shanghai. Second was to make inroads bilaterally which, if acceptable, would prove significant. And third was the impact of Americans on Chinese society, and vice versa.
In our discussions with the Chinese our vast cultural differences became apparent. Where Americans are pragmatic, the Chinese concentrate on principle. They want to distill things into absolute terms. We talk about peace. The Chinese talk about justice and they are dedicated to the proposition that without justice, peace is meaningless. We talk about compromise. They talk about truth. It is interesting to observe what happens. The Chinese have many of the rules my former students thought they would like to have, but with the Chinese we are making no great deals. There is no counter-Soviet strategy or shifting of weight from Tokyo to Peking.
With Japan we have concrete problems. In China we are making a policy framework, results of which will not be known for four to five years. Our Japanese experience has been considerably different than the Chinese. After the war, the Japanese concentrated on economic matters and left foreign policy and security in American hands. This relationship could not continue. Japan must play a more significant role without nationalism and without all their weight with one major power.
Our objective in the Soviet summit is to try to create vested interests for both parties in many areas so that when crises occur, there will be a group within the Soviet Union with a vested interest want-ing a steady course resulting in negotiation.
Now, about Southeast Asia. Our major concern is that a new international order must be built. This is complicated by a disaster which has lasted ten years. The debate is so strong that I cannot bridge the valley. The problem we face is how to act in a situation where success for the opponent would mean the capture of an additional 60,000 Americans. The only alternative given us is to impose a Communist government on the South. This we refuse to do. We will not join our enemies to defeat our friends. This is the only obstacle. This is a very painful problem and painful decisions have to be made.
I am not here to talk about Vietnam but Asian policy, but the discussion must include Vietnam. After the elections, we will find we have had great successes but also some regrets. We want to help other nations become participants in world order. [applause]/4/
/4/Brackets in the source text.
[Omitted here is a non-substantive explanatory comment by the notetaker.]
112. Address by President Nixon to the Nation/1/
Washington, May 8, 1972.
/1/Source: Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Richard Nixon, 1972, pp. 583-587. The President spoke at 9 p.m. from the Oval Office at the White House. His address was broadcast live on radio and television.
Five weeks ago, on Easter weekend, the Communist armies of North Vietnam launched a massive invasion of South Vietnam, an invasion that was made possible by tanks, artillery, and other advanced offensive weapons supplied to Hanoi by the Soviet Union and other Communist nations.
The South Vietnamese have fought bravely to repel this brutal assault. Casualties on both sides have been very high. Most tragically, there have been over 20,000 civilian casualties, including women and children, in the cities which the North Vietnamese have shelled in wanton disregard of human life.
As I announced in my report to the Nation 12 days ago, the role of the United States in resisting this invasion has been limited to air and naval strikes on military targets in North and South Vietnam. As I also pointed out in that report, we have responded to North Vietnam's massive military offensive by undertaking wide-ranging new peace efforts aimed at ending the war through negotiation.
On April 20, I sent Dr. Kissinger to Moscow for 4 days of meetings with General Secretary Brezhnev and other Soviet leaders. I instructed him to emphasize our desire for a rapid solution to the war and our willingness to look at all possible approaches. At that time, the Soviet leaders showed an interest in bringing the war to an end on a basis just to both sides. They urged resumption of negotiations in Paris, and they indicated they would use their constructive influence.
I authorized Dr. Kissinger to meet privately with the top North Vietnamese negotiator, Le Duc Tho, on Tuesday, May 2, in Paris. Ambassador Porter, as you know, resumed the public peace negotiations in Paris on April 27 and again on May 4. At those meetings, both public and private, all we heard from the enemy was bombastic rhetoric and a replaying of their demands for surrender. For example, at the May 2 secret meeting, I authorized Dr. Kissinger to talk about every conceivable avenue toward peace. The North Vietnamese flatly refused to consider any of these approaches. They refused to offer any new approach of their own. Instead, they simply read verbatim their previous public demands.
Here is what over 3 years of public and private negotiations with Hanoi has come down to: The United States, with the full concurrence of our South Vietnamese allies, has offered the maximum of what any President of the United States could offer.
We have offered a deescalation of the fighting. We have offered a cease-fire with a deadline for withdrawal of all American forces. We have offered new elections which would be internationally supervised with the Communists participating both in the supervisory body and in the elections themselves.
President Thieu has offered to resign one month before the elections. We have offered an exchange of prisoners of war in a ratio of 10 North Vietnamese prisoners for every one American prisoner that they release. And North Vietnam has met each of these offers with insolence and insult. They have flatly and arrogantly refused to negotiate an end to the war and bring peace. Their answer to every peace offer we have made has been to escalate the war.
In the 2 weeks alone since I offered to resume negotiations, Hanoi has launched three new military offensives in South Vietnam. In those 2 weeks the risk that a Communist government may be imposed on the 17 million people of South Vietnam has increased, and the Communist offensive has now reached the point that it gravely threatens the lives of 60,000 American troops who are still in Vietnam.
There are only two issues left for us in this war. First, in the face of a massive invasion do we stand by, jeopardize the lives of 60,000 Americans, and leave the South Vietnamese to a long night of terror? This will not happen. We shall do whatever is required to safeguard American lives and American honor.
Second, in the face of complete intransigence at the conference table do we join with our enemy to install a Communist government in South Vietnam? This, too, will not happen. We will not cross the line from generosity to treachery.
We now have a clear, hard choice among three courses of action: Immediate withdrawal of all American forces, continued attempts at negotiation, or decisive military action to end the war.
I know that many Americans favor the first course of action, immediate withdrawal. They believe the way to end the war is for the United States to get out, and to remove the threat to our remaining forces by simply withdrawing them.
From a political standpoint, this would be a very easy choice for me to accept. After all, I did not send over one-half million Americans to Vietnam. I have brought 500,000 men home from Vietnam since I took office. But, abandoning our commitment in Vietnam here and now would mean turning 17 million South Vietnamese over to Communist tyranny and terror. It would mean leaving hundreds of American prisoners in Communist hands with no bargaining leverage to get them released.
An American defeat in Vietnam would encourage this kind of aggression all over the world, aggression in which smaller nations armed by their major allies, could be tempted to attack neighboring nations at will in the Mideast, in Europe, and other areas. World peace would be in grave jeopardy.
The second course of action is to keep on trying to negotiate a settlement. Now this is the course we have preferred from the beginning and we shall continue to pursue it. We want to negotiate, but we have made every reasonable offer and tried every possible path for ending this war at the conference table.
The problem is, as you all know, it takes two to negotiate and now, as throughout the past 4 years, the North Vietnamese arrogantly refuse to negotiate anything but an imposition, an ultimatum that the United States impose a Communist regime on 17 million people in South Vietnam who do not want a Communist government.
It is plain then that what appears to be a choice among three courses of action for the United States is really no choice at all. The killing in this tragic war must stop. By simply getting out, we would only worsen the bloodshed. By relying solely on negotiations, we would give an intransigent enemy the time he needs to press his aggression on the battlefield.
There is only one way to stop the killing. That is to keep the weapons of war out of the hands of the international outlaws of North Vietnam.
Throughout the war in Vietnam, the United States has exercised a degree of restraint unprecedented in the annals of war. That was our responsibility as a great Nation, a Nation which is interested--and we can be proud of this as Americans--as America has always been, in peace not conquest.
However, when the enemy abandons all restraint, throws its whole army into battle in the territory of its neighbor, refuses to negotiate, we simply face a new situation.
In these circumstances, with 60,000 Americans threatened, any President who failed to act decisively would have betrayed the trust of his country and frayed the cause of world peace.
I therefore concluded that Hanoi must be denied the weapons and supplies it needs to continue the aggression. In full coordination with the Republic of Vietnam, I have ordered the following measures which are being implemented as I am speaking to you.
All entrances to North Vietnamese ports will be mined to prevent access to these ports and North Vietnamese naval operations from these ports. United States forces have been directed to take appropriate measures within the internal and claimed territorial waters of North Vietnam to interdict the delivery of any supplies. Rail and all other communications will be cut off to the maximum extent possible. Air and naval strikes against military targets in North Vietnam will continue.
These actions are not directed against any other nation. Countries with ships presently in North Vietnamese ports have already been notified that their ships will have three daylight periods to leave in safety. After that time, the mines will become active and any ships attempting to leave or enter these ports will do so at their own risk.
These actions I have ordered will cease when the following conditions are met:
First, all American prisoners of war must be returned.
Second, there must be an internationally supervised cease-fire throughout Indochina.
Once prisoners of war are released, once the internationally supervised cease-fire has begun, we will stop all acts of force throughout Indochina and at that time we will proceed with a complete withdrawal of all American forces from Vietnam within 4 months.
Now, these terms are generous terms. They are terms which would not require surrender and humiliation on the part of anybody. They would permit the United States to withdraw with honor. They would end the killing. They would bring our POW's home. They would allow negotiations on a political settlement between the Vietnamese themselves. They would permit all the nations which have suffered in this long war--Cambodia, Laos, North Vietnam, South Vietnam--to turn at last to the urgent works of healing and of peace. They deserve immediate acceptance by North Vietnam.
It is appropriate to conclude my remarks tonight with some comments directed individually to each of the major parties involved in the continuing tragedy of the Vietnam war.
First, to the leaders of Hanoi, your people have already suffered too much in your pursuit of conquest. Do not compound their agony with continued arrogance; choose instead the path of a peace that redeems your sacrifices, guarantees true independence for your country, and ushers in an era of reconciliation.
To the people of South Vietnam, you shall continue to have our firm support in your resistance against aggression. It is your spirit that will determine the outcome of the battle. It is your will that will shape the future of your country.
To other nations, especially those which are allied with North Vietnam, the actions I have announced tonight are not directed against you. Their sole purpose is to protect the lives of 60,000 Americans, who would be gravely endangered in the event that the Communist offensive continues to roll forward, and to prevent the imposition of a Communist government by brutal aggression upon 17 million people.
I particularly direct my comments tonight to the Soviet Union. We respect the Soviet Union as a great power. We recognize the right of the Soviet Union to defend its interests when they are threatened. The Soviet Union in turn must recognize our right to defend our interests.
No Soviet soldiers are threatened in Vietnam. Sixty thousand Americans are threatened. We expect you to help your allies, and you cannot expect us to do other than to continue to help our allies, but let us, and let all great powers, help our allies only for the purpose of their defense, not for the purpose of launching invasions against their neighbors.
Otherwise the cause of peace, the cause in which we both have so great a stake, will be seriously jeopardized.
Our two nations have made significant progress in our negotiations in recent months. We are near major agreements on nuclear arms limitation, on trade, on a host of other issues.
Let us not slide back toward the dark shadows of a previous age. We do not ask you to sacrifice your principles, or your friends, but neither should you permit Hanoi's intransigence to blot out the prospects we together have so patiently prepared.
We, the United States and the Soviet Union, are on the threshold of a new relationship that can serve not only the interests of our two countries, but the cause of world peace. We are prepared to continue to build this relationship. The responsibility is yours if we fail to do so.
And finally, may I say to the American people, I ask you for the same strong support you have always given your President in difficult moments. It is you most of all that the world will be watching.
I know how much you want to end this war. I know how much you want to bring our men home. And I think you know from all that I have said and done these past 3-1/2 years how much I, too, want to end the war to bring our men home.
You want peace. I want peace. But, you also want honor and not defeat. You want a genuine peace, not a peace that is merely a prelude to another war.
At this moment, we must stand together in purpose and resolve. As so often in the past, we Americans did not choose to resort to war. It has been forced upon us by an enemy that has shown utter contempt toward every overture we have made for peace. And that is why, my fellow Americans, tonight I ask for your support of this decision, a decision which has only one purpose, not to expand the war, not to escalate the war, but to end this war and to win the kind of peace that will last.
With God's help, with your support, we will accomplish that great goal.
Thank you and good night.
113. Editorial Note
On May 8, 1972, immediately following the President's address on the situation in South Vietnam (see Document 112), Nixon spoke to the Cabinet and selected senior White House staff in the Cabinet Room. According to the notes of the President's Assistant, Raymond K. Price, Jr., the President discussed the possible risk to the Moscow Summit that could result from his decision to mine Haiphong harbor:
"'We're aware of the risks. We also must realize that an American President couldn't be in Moscow when Soviet tanks were rumbling through the streets of Hue--unless he could do something about it.'
"He added that we have put the proposition to the Soviets very directly: we are prepared to go forward and negotiate on SALT, etc., and even with the Summit--so the responsibility is theirs as to whether it goes forward or is postponed." (Memorandum for the President's File, May 8, 1972; National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, White House Special Files, President's Office Files, Memos for the President, Box 88, February 27-May 28, 1972)
The next day, May 9, Henry Kissinger told a group of reporters at a news conference:
"For 2 years we have been engaged in negotiations on a broad range of issues with the Soviet Union. We are on the verge not just of success in this or that negotiation, but of what could be a new relationship of benefit to all of mankind, a new relationship in which, on both sides, whenever there is a danger of crisis, there will be enough people who have a commitment to constructive programs so that they could exercise restraining influences. But in order for such a policy to succeed, it cannot be accepted that one country can be oblivious to the impact on another of the actions of its friends, particularly when those friends are armed with the weapons of this country." (Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents, Volume 8, May 15, 1972, page 844)
114. Memorandum for the President's File by the President's Special Consultant (Scali)/1/
Washington, May 19, 1972, 4 p.m.
/1/Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, White House Special Files, President's Office Files, Memos for the President, Box 88, February 27-May 28, 1972. No classification marking. Prepared on June 7. According to the President's Daily Diary, Nixon met with the bipartisan Congressional leadership in the Cabinet Room of the White House at 4:13 p.m. on May 19. Members of the press later joined the group before the session adjourned at 5:23 p.m. (Ibid., White House Central Files, Staff Members and Office Files, Office of Presidential Papers and Archives, Daily Diary)
President's Pre-Moscow Summit
Briefing of Congressional Leaders
[Omitted here are comments by Nixon relating to background matters and some specific issues for negotiation.]
Let me talk to you a moment about summitry. I've expressed some very direct views about this. Previous summits have generated a spirit of Vienna, Geneva, Camp David and Glassboro, but we wound up with flat beer as far as agreements were concerned. I wanted the summit prepared not for cosmetics which raise great hopes, which are then dashed, but to cover substance. This is why we have taken so much time to arrange this meeting--to prepare for probable agreements in certain areas./2/ I would say it is probably difficult to find any meeting of powerful heads of state where there has been more meticulous groundwork laid. We have discussed in detail the key areas--commerce, space, SALT, etc. Also Kissinger's trip to Moscow and discussions with Soviet leaders have been helpful in spotlighting further opportunities and difficulties.
/2/Shortly after this meeting, Nixon covered much the same ground in remarks to members of the press at a White House reception for those accompanying the President on his trip. For text of Nixon's remarks, see Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Richard Nixon, 1972, p. 603.
I saw Ambassador Dobrynin yesterday, who brought me a personal message from Brezhnev./3/ I can tell you there is no question of the amount of good will and good intentions on our side and on their side. We both want a successful meeting. But this meeting must be one which is not detrimental to each other's vital security interests. It promises to be a very difficult trip with many long and arduous meetings.
/3/Reference is to a meeting at Camp David on May 18. The Brezhnev message may have been delivered orally as no written message was found, nor was it mentioned in the written record of the Nixon-Dobrynin discussion. (Memorandum of conversation, May 18; National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 494, President's Trip Files, Dobrynin/Kissinger, 1972, Vol. 12 [Part 2])
[Omitted here is brief commentary on logistics and on Brezhnev.]
Vietnam will be on the agenda and will be discussed, but it is best not to speculate on this and put us or the Russians on the spot. Another quite difficult area that we will discuss is the Middle East where we are very, very far apart. Perhaps we can narrow the differences by the time we leave so that each will know more accurately what the other's position is.
The fact that this summit is going forward has great significance. Both sides are recognizing the fundamental principle that their own security interests must take precedence over certain matters and issues which are peripheral and collateral, Vietnam and the Middle East, for example. It is important to find areas where we can cooperate. Neither side believes that just getting to know one another better will change the actual conditions. There are some very pragmatic considerations. Confrontation is not in their interest or in ours. We must both avoid being dragged into major conflicts in outlying areas where it is not to either side's interests. I look forward to hard bargaining without propaganda. But let's not raise our hopes too high or too low.
The President then asked Secretary Rogers to speak. Rogers said he wanted to underscore two points. The preparation for this summit has been excellent and that a large number of government departments and agencies have been involved. The Soviet attitude thus far has been constructive and in preliminary talks the Soviets have made some concessions. In the final analysis, however, nothing comes into play because a lot of these agreements are interrelated.
The President interjected to say "linked" and that we have some reason to believe that they will be linked successfully because no nation has ever been better prepared for a meeting. The President then asked Kissinger to speak.
Kissinger opened by saying he had a few general observations. The fact that the summit is going forward underlines the point that if both sides did not believe there would be progress possible at the session then it would have been canceled. There has been an understanding, a recognition of the pressures on both of us. In advance of the meeting, the President wanted precise, concrete negotiations. On the Russian side the leadership has many pressures upon it. The leaders understand the impact that a nuclear war could have on the Soviets. In addition, they have a very complex economy which needs assistance and a resulting pressure from the Soviet people. One comes away from all of this with the belief that the Soviets have a stake in improving relations with the United States. It is not inconceivable that the Soviet leadership is interested in a period of détente for the purpose of softening up the United States and then pushing us out of Europe. But whatever their motive, we should not be afraid. Our strategy will be to create vested interests for peace within the Soviet structure which would help encourage restraint on their actions.
In China, as a result of our visit, we set up a framework for a new relationship. In Moscow, we hope to get concrete agreements which can lead to mutual restraints on our policies. We also hope to nail down plans for mutual cooperation in space and in other areas where we can work together. We have an historic opportunity, but what will happen will depend on what the President and the Secretary of State and others can negotiate.
The President interjected to say that it is very important that we not picture the meeting as an effort to set up a Soviet-United States condominium.
Kissinger said, yes, this was so, or to portray the meeting as one which is going forward at the expense of the allies of both sides.
The President added, perhaps the greatest consideration that one should recognize as this meeting is about to get underway is the fact that the Soviets have now achieved nuclear parity. We have MIRV, but they have more missiles. If either President Eisenhower or President Kennedy had gone to Moscow they both would have gone in a position where they were looking down the throat of the Soviets. But the situation has now changed.
In this circumstance, the President said, you don't have to tote up who won or who lost as a result of this meeting. You can be sure that I, Bill, and Kissinger will make sure that the United States' interests will be protected. But if the two super-powers meet and then either one begins to say that I won and you lost, perhaps we will have done more harm than good. The whole business is one of mutuality. The Russians are extremely sensitive. They want to be accepted on an equal basis. They remember all too well the strategic military situation during the Cuban missile crisis. We both expect to bargain very hard, very tough. But when both sides realize they have a mutual interest in keeping a deal, that's when it will mean something.
[Omitted here are comments and discussion of specific issues.]
115. Editorial Note
President Nixon and senior U.S. officials visited the Soviet Union May 22-29, 1972, for Summit meetings. During the first plenary session held in St. Catherine's Hall, Grand Kremlin Palace on May 23, Nixon expounded on détente:
"The President said he would like to think that each person at the table is a sentimental man to a certain degree, but we are meeting here not because of sentiment, but because we are pragmatic men. As practical and honest men we recognize that our systems are different and that in many parts of the world our interests conflict. But as practical men, we have learned the lessons of history and will not allow ourselves to be dragged into conflict in areas peripheral to our interests. These problems may seem important at the time, but cannot compare in importance with the need to have good relations between the two most powerful countries in the world.
"So we see that the time has come when our two nations have an opportunity which perhaps has not come to nations in history up to this point. That time means that we must find ways to work together to limit arms, to expand our economic relations for our mutual benefit and also to work together in other fields such as improvement of the environment, cooperation in outer space and others. We would continue to compete, but it can be a friendly competition in which each side would gain rather than lose, and we can both work for the mutual good.
"This does not mean that settlement of differences will always be easy. Differences are settled easily only under the dictation of the strong to the weak. We had reached the stage in our relations--and the President believes this was fortunate--where we consider ourselves to be equally strong. Therefore, we feel this opportunity is one which is unique, not only because of what we do here on these agreements which are important in themselves, but even more so because of the way we view the future.
"Good relations between the Soviet Union and the United States can have an enormous effect for the good of the people of the whole world and above all for the good of the people of our two countries. It is his hope that this week the personal relationships between us will become better. We can begin the process of exploring future progress which could make these agreements seem small in terms of what can be accomplished in the future.
"The President said he wished to close his remarks by saying what his Soviet friends may be too polite to say. He said his reputation is of being very hard-line and cold-war oriented.
"Kosygin remarked that he had heard this sometime back.
"The President said that he has a strong belief in our system but at the same time he respects those who believe just as strongly in their system. There must be room in this world for two great nations with different systems to live together and work together. We cannot do this however, by mushy sentimentality or by glossing over differences which exist. We can do it only by working out real problems in a concrete fashion, determined to place our common interests above our differences." (Memorandum of conversation between President Nixon and General Secretary Brezhnev, May 23, 1972; National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 487, President's Trip Files, The President's Conversations in Salzburg, Moscow, Tehran and Warsaw, May 1972, Part 1)
At the final plenary session, held at St. Catherine's Hall on May 29, the President returned to the theme of détente:
"The President said he was grateful for the boundless hospitality of his hosts, and, more important, that he was grateful for the frank talks. The results were significant because of the preparatory work by the experts both in Moscow and in the United States. We recognized at the outset that most summit conferences had been failures; since the end of World War II they had raised hopes and then failed. These meetings, on the other hand, had been successful because they were well prepared, and also because--and this was important but quite difficult to measure--because of an acceptance of mutual responsibility to respect the other side's viewpoint, and its right to disagree strongly, and, while respecting the equal strength of each side, finally to find a way to reach agreement on fundamental matters.
"The President continued by noting that superficial observers, sometimes in the press, would judge the meeting only by the agreements signed. These are important, but as pointed out by the Soviet side the results will be determined more by how the agreements are implemented. By establishing a process for progress in all areas, this enabled us to reach agreement.
"The President said that on the part of the United States he could assure the Soviet leaders that on all levels of the US Government there would be an intention to take a forthcoming attitude in working out problems that might arise. For example, there is the question of trade. The President noted that he had pointed out the great possibilities in this field. Even though we had not made the progress we would have liked, our differences were narrowed and we could be confident that we would see a blossoming of trade and a new relationship of enormous benefit to our peoples. The key to this, as well as other difficult issues, will be the continuation of frank contacts at all levels, including ambassadors and ministers, and, of course, at the summit level where that is the best way to break an impasse.
"The President said he wanted to conclude his remarks by saying that history had been made by what had been signed, but the real test is what happens in the future. Now that we all know and respect each other, we have an opportunity to make even greater history for future generations." (Memorandum of conversation between President Nixon and General Secretary Brezhnev, May 29, 1972; ibid., Part 2)
116. Paper Agreed Upon by the United States and the Soviet Union/1/
Moscow, May 29, 1972.
/1/Source: Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Richard Nixon, 1972, pp. 633-634. The text was signed by President Nixon and General Secretary Brezhnev. Following the signing, Kissinger briefed the press. Speaking of the text of the "Basic Principles," Kissinger stated in part:
"As in every document, this document indicates an aspiration and an attitude, and if either the aspiration or the attitude changes, then, of course, as sovereign countries, either side can change its course. Nothing in this document entitles us to give up our alliances or would justify lowering the efforts that have brought us to this point; but at the same time, it is an event of considerable significance that the countries whose seemingly irreconcilable hostility has characterized the entire postwar period, and the two countries which, between themselves or, indeed, individually have the capacity to destroy humanity are making an effort which would state some principles which would reduce the dangers of war and which would enable them to promote a more stable international system." (Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents, Vol. 8, June 5, 1972, p. 952)
BASIC PRINCIPLES OF RELATIONS BETWEEN THE
The United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, Guided by their obligations under the Charter of the United Nations and by a desire to strengthen peaceful relations with each other and to place these relations on the firmest possible basis,
Aware of the need to make every effort to remove the threat of war and to create conditions which promote the reduction of tensions in the world and the strengthening of universal security and international cooperation,
Believing that the improvement of US-Soviet relations and their mutually advantageous development in such areas as economics, science and culture, will meet these objectives and contribute to better mutual understanding and business-like cooperation, without in any way prejudicing the interests of third countries,
Conscious that these objectives reflect the interests of the peoples of both countries,
Have agreed as follows:
First. They will proceed from the common determination that in the nuclear age there is no alternative to conducting their mutual relations on the basis of peaceful coexistence. Differences in ideology and in the social systems of the USA and the USSR are not obstacles to the bilateral development of normal relations based on the principles of sovereignty, equality, non-interference in internal affairs and mutual advantage.
Second. The USA and the USSR attach major importance to preventing the development of situations capable of causing a dangerous exacerbation of their relations. Therefore, they will do their utmost to avoid military confrontations and to prevent the outbreak of nuclear war. They will always exercise restraint in their mutual relations, and will be prepared to negotiate and settle differences by peaceful means. Discussions and negotiations on outstanding issues will be conducted in a spirit of reciprocity, mutual accommodation and mutual benefit.
Both sides recognize that efforts to obtain unilateral advantage at the expense of the other, directly or indirectly, are inconsistent with these objectives. The prerequisites for maintaining and strengthening peaceful relations between the USA and the USSR are the recognition of the security interests of the Parties based on the principle of equality and the renunciation of the use or threat of force.
Third. The USA and the USSR have a special responsibility, as do other countries which are permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, to do everything in their power so that conflicts or situations will not arise which would serve to increase international tensions. Accordingly, they will seek to promote conditions in which all countries will live in peace and security and will not be subject to outside interference in their internal affairs.
Fourth. The USA and the USSR intend to widen the juridical basis of their mutual relations and to exert the necessary efforts so that bilateral agreements which they have concluded and multilateral treaties and agreements to which they are jointly parties are faithfully implemented.
Fifth. The USA and the USSR reaffirm their readiness to continue the practice of exchanging views on problems of mutual interest and, when necessary, to conduct such exchanges at the highest level, including meetings between leaders of the two countries.
The two governments welcome and will facilitate an increase in productive contacts between representatives of the legislative bodies of the two countries.
Sixth. The Parties will continue their efforts to limit armaments on a bilateral as well as on a multilateral basis. They will continue to make special efforts to limit strategic armaments. Whenever possible, they will conclude concrete agreements aimed at achieving these purposes.
The USA and the USSR regard as the ultimate objective of their efforts the achievement of general and complete disarmament and the establishment of an effective system of international security in accordance with the purposes and principles of the United Nations.
Seventh. The USA and the USSR regard commercial and economic ties as an important and necessary element in the strengthening of their bilateral relations and thus will actively promote the growth of such ties. They will facilitate cooperation between the relevant organizations and enterprises of the two countries and the conclusion of appropriate agreements and contracts, including long-term ones.
The two countries will contribute to the improvement of maritime and air communications between them.
Eighth. The two sides consider it timely and useful to develop mutual contacts and cooperation in the fields of science and technology. Where suitable, the USA and the USSR will conclude appropriate agreements dealing with concrete cooperation in these fields.
Ninth. The two sides reaffirm their intention to deepen cultural ties with one another and to encourage fuller familiarization with each other's cultural values. They will promote improved conditions for cultural exchanges and tourism.
Tenth. The USA and the USSR will seek to ensure that their ties and cooperation in all the above-mentioned fields and in any others in their mutual interest are built on a firm and long-term basis. To give a permanent character to these efforts, they will establish in all fields where this is feasible joint commissions or other joint bodies.
Eleventh. The USA and the USSR make no claim for themselves and would not recognize the claims of anyone else to any special rights or advantages in world affairs. They recognize the sovereign equality of all states.
The development of US-Soviet relations is not directed against third countries and their interests.
Twelfth. The basic principles set forth in this document do not affect any obligations with respect to other countries earlier assumed by the USA and the USSR.
117. Address by President Nixon to a Joint Session of the Congress/1/
Washington, June 1, 1972.
/1/Source: Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Richard Nixon, 1972, pp. 660-666. The President spoke at 9:40 p.m. in the House Chamber at the Capitol. The address, presented upon the President's return from the Moscow Summit, as well as visits to Austria, Iran, and Poland, was broadcast live on radio and television.
Mr. Speaker, Mr. President, Members of the Congress, our distinguished guests, my fellow Americans:
Your welcome in this great Chamber tonight has a very special meaning to Mrs. Nixon and to me. We feel fortunate to have traveled abroad so often representing the United States of America. But we both agree after each journey that the best part of any trip abroad is coming home to America again.
During the past 13 days we have flown more than 16,000 miles and we visited four countries. Everywhere we went--to Austria, the Soviet Union, Iran, Poland--we could feel the quickening pace of change in old international relationships and the peoples' genuine desire for friendship for the American people. Everywhere new hopes are rising for a world no longer shadowed by fear and want and war, and as Americans we can be proud that we now have an historic opportunity to play a great role in helping to achieve man's oldest dream--a world in which all nations can enjoy the blessings of peace.
On this journey we saw many memorable sights, but one picture will always remain indelible in our memory--the flag of the United States of America flying high in the spring breeze above Moscow's ancient Kremlin fortress.
To millions of Americans for the past quarter century the Kremlin has stood for implacable hostility toward all that we cherish, and to millions of Russians the American flag has long been held up as a symbol of evil. No one would have believed, even a short time ago, that these two apparently irreconcilable symbols would be seen together as we saw them for those few days.
But this does not mean that we bring back from Moscow the promise of instant peace, but we do bring the beginning of a process that can lead to a lasting peace. And that is why I have taken the extraordinary action of requesting this special joint session of the Congress because we have before us an extraordinary opportunity.
I have not come here this evening to make new announcements in a dramatic setting. This summit has already made its news. It has barely begun, however, to make its mark on our world, and I ask you to join me tonight--while events are fresh, while the iron is hot--in starting to consider how we can help to make that mark what we want it to be.
The foundation has been laid for a new relationship between the two most powerful nations in the world. Now it is up to us--to all of us here in this Chamber, to all of us across America--to join with other nations in building a new house upon that foundation, one that can be a home for the hopes of mankind and a shelter against the storms of conflict.
As a preliminary, therefore, to requesting your concurrence in some of the agreements we reached and your approval of funds to carry out others, and also as a keynote for the unity in which this Government and this Nation must go forward from here, I am rendering this immediate report to the Congress on the results of the Moscow summit.
The pattern of U.S.-Soviet summit diplomacy in the cold war era is well known to all those in this Chamber. One meeting after another produced a brief euphoric mood--the spirit of Geneva, the spirit of Camp David, the spirit of Vienna, the spirit of Glassboro--but without producing significant progress on the really difficult issues.
And so early in this Administration I stated that the prospect of concrete results, not atmospherics, would be our criterion for meeting at the highest level. I also announced our intention to pursue negotiations with the Soviet Union across a broad front of related issues, with the purpose of creating a momentum of achievement in which progress in one area could contribute to progress in others.
This is the basis on which we prepared for and conducted last week's talks. This was a working summit. We sought to establish not a superficial spirit of Moscow, but a solid record of progress on solving the difficult issues which for so long have divided our two nations and also have divided the world. Reviewing the number and the scope of agreements that emerged, I think we have accomplished that goal.
Recognizing the responsibility of the advanced industrial nations to set an example in combatting mankind's common enemies, the United States and the Soviet Union have agreed to cooperate in efforts to reduce pollution and enhance environmental quality. We have agreed to work together in the field of medical science and public health, particularly in the conquest of cancer and heart disease.
Recognizing that the quest for useful knowledge transcends differences between ideologies and social systems, we have agreed to expand United States and Soviet cooperation in many areas of science and technology.
We have joined in plans for an exciting new adventure, a new adventure in the cooperative exploration of space, which will begin--subject to Congressional approval of funding--with a joint orbital mission of an Apollo vehicle and a Soviet spacecraft in 1975.
By forming habits of cooperation and strengthening institutional ties in areas of peaceful enterprise, these four agreements, to which I have referred, will create on both sides a steadily growing vested interest in the maintenance of good relations between our two countries.
Expanded United States-Soviet trade will also yield advantages to both of our nations. When the two largest economies in the world start trading with each other on a much larger scale, living standards in both nations will rise, and the stake which both have in peace will increase.
Progress in this area is proceeding on schedule. At the summit, we established a joint Commercial Commission which will complete the negotiations for a comprehensive trade agreement between the United States and the U.S.S.R. And we expect the final terms of this agreement to be settled later this year.
Two further accords which were reached last week have a much more direct bearing on the search for peace and security in the world.
One is the agreement between the American and Soviet navies aimed at significantly reducing the chances of dangerous incidents between our ships and aircraft at sea.
And second, and most important, there is the treaty and the related executive agreement which will limit, for the first time, both offensive and defensive strategic nuclear weapons in the arsenals of the United States and the Soviet Union.
Three-fifths of all the people alive in the world today have spent their whole lifetimes under the shadow of a nuclear war which could be touched off by the arms race among the great powers. Last Friday in Moscow we witnessed the beginning of the end of that era which began in 1945. We took the first step toward a new era of mutually agreed restraint and arms limitation between the two principal nuclear powers.
With this step we have enhanced the security of both nations. We have begun to check the wasteful and dangerous spiral of nuclear arms which has dominated relations between our two countries for a generation. We have begun to reduce the level of fear by reducing the causes of fear, for our two peoples and for all peoples in the world.
The ABM Treaty will be submitted promptly for the Senate's advice and consent to ratification and the interim agreement limiting certain offensive weapons will be submitted to both Houses for concurrence, because we can undertake agreements as important as these only on a basis of full partnership between the executive and legislative branches of our Government.
I ask from this Congress and I ask from the Nation the fullest scrutiny of these accords. I am confident such examination will underscore the truth of what I told the Soviet people on television just a few nights ago--that this is an agreement in the interest of both nations. From the standpoint of the United States, when we consider what the strategic balance would have looked like later in the seventies, if there had been no arms limitation, it is clear that the agreements forestall a major spiraling of the arms race--one which would have worked to our disadvantage, since we have no current building programs for the categories of weapons which have been frozen, and since no new building program could have produced any new weapons in those categories during the period of the freeze.
My colleagues in the Congress, I have studied the strategic balance in great detail with my senior advisers for more than 3 years. I can assure you, the Members of the Congress, and the American people tonight that the present and planned strategic forces of the United States are without question sufficient for the maintenance of our security and the protection of our vital interests.
No power on earth is stronger than the United States of America today. And none will be stronger than the United States of America in the future.
This is the only national defense posture which can ever be acceptable to the United States. This is the posture I ask the Senate and the Congress to protect by approving the arms limitation agreements to which I have referred. This is the posture which, with the responsible cooperation of the Congress, I will take all necessary steps to maintain in our future defense programs.
In addition to the talks which led to the specific agreements I have listed, I also had full, very frank, and extensive discussions with General Secretary Brezhnev and his colleagues about several parts of the world where American and Soviet interests have come in conflict.
With regard to the reduction of tensions in Europe, we recorded our intention of proceeding later this year with multilateral consultations looking toward a conference on security and cooperation in all of Europe. We have also jointly agreed to move forward with negotiations on mutual and balanced force reductions in central Europe.
The problem of ending the Vietnam war, which engages the hopes of all Americans, was one of the most extensively discussed subjects on our agenda. It would only jeopardize the search for peace if I were to review here all that was said on that subject. I will simply say this: Each side obviously has its own point of view and its own approach to this very difficult issue. But at the same time, both the United States and the Soviet Union share an overriding desire to achieve a more stable peace in the world. I emphasize to you once again that this Administration has no higher goal, a goal that I know all of you share, than bringing the Vietnam war to an early and honorable end. We are ending the war in Vietnam, but we shall end it in a way which will not betray our friends, risk the lives of the courageous Americans still serving in Vietnam, break faith with those held prisoners by the enemy, or stain the honor of the United States of America.
Another area where we had very full, frank, and extensive discussions was the Middle East. I reiterated the American people's commitment to the survival of the state of Israel and to a settlement just to all the countries in the area. Both sides stated in the communiqué their intention to support the Jarring peace mission and other appropriate efforts to achieve this objective.
The final achievement of the Moscow conference was the signing of a landmark declaration entitled "Basic Principles of Mutual Relations Between the United States and the U.S.S.R."/2/ As these 12 basic principles are put into practice, they can provide a solid framework for the future development of better American-Soviet relations.
They begin with the recognition that two nuclear nations, each of which has the power to destroy humanity, have no alternative but to coexist peacefully, because in a nuclear war there would be no winners, only losers.
The basic principles commit both sides to avoid direct military confrontation and to exercise constructive leadership and restraint with respect to smaller conflicts in other parts of the world which could drag the major powers into war.
They disavow any intention to create spheres of influence or to conspire against the interests of any other nation--a point I would underscore by saying once again tonight that America values its ties with all nations, from our oldest allies in Europe and Asia, as I emphasized by my visit to Iran, to our good friends in the third world, and to our new relationship with the People's Republic of China.
The improvement of relations depends not only, of course, on words, but far more on actions. The principles to which we agreed in Moscow are like a road map. Now that the map has been laid out, it is up to each country to follow it. The United States intends to adhere to these principles. The leaders of the Soviet Union have indicated a similar intention.
However, we must remember that Soviet ideology still proclaims hostility to some of America's most basic values. The Soviet leaders remain committed to that ideology. Like the nation they lead, they are and they will continue to be totally dedicated competitors of the United States of America.
As we shape our policies for the period ahead, therefore, we must maintain our defenses at an adequate level until there is mutual agreement to limit forces. The time-tested policies of vigilance and firmness which have brought us to this summit are the only ones that can safely carry us forward to further progress in reaching agreements to reduce the danger of war.
Our successes in the strategic arms talks and in the Berlin negotiations, which opened the road to Moscow, came about because over the past 3 years we have consistently refused proposals for unilaterally abandoning the ABM, unilaterally pulling back our forces from Europe, and drastically cutting the defense budget. The Congress deserves the appreciation of the American people for having the courage to vote such proposals down and to maintain the strength America needs to protect its interests.
As we continue the strategic arms talks, seeking a permanent offensive weapons treaty, we must bear the lessons of the earlier talks well in mind./3/
/3/Documentation on the planning, negotiations, and agreements on SALT is scheduled for publication in a forthcoming Foreign Relations volume.
By the same token, we must stand steadfastly with our NATO partners if negotiations leading to a new détente and a mutual reduction of forces in Europe are to be productive. Maintaining the strength, integrity, and steadfastness of our free world alliances is the foundation on which all of our other initiatives for peace and security in the world must rest. As we seek better relations with those who have been our adversaries, we will not let down our friends and allies around the world.
And in this period we must keep our economy vigorous and competitive if the opening for greater East-West trade is to mean anything at all, and if we do not wish to be shouldered aside in world markets by the growing potential of the economies of Japan, Western Europe, the Soviet Union, the People's Republic of China. For America to continue its role of helping to build a more peaceful world, we must keep America number one economically in the world.
We must maintain our own momentum of domestic innovation, growth, and reform if the opportunities for joint action with the Soviets are to fulfill their promise. As we seek agreements to build peace abroad, we must keep America moving forward at home.
Most importantly, if the new age we seek is ever to become a reality, we must keep America strong in spirit--a nation proud of its greatness as a free society, confident of its mission in the world. Let us be committed to our way of life as wholeheartedly as the Communist leaders with whom we seek a new relationship are committed to their system. Let us always be proud to show in our words and actions what we know in our hearts--that we believe in America.
These are just some of the challenges of peace. They are in some ways even more difficult than the challenges of war. But we are equal to them. As we meet them, we will be able to go forward and explore the sweeping possibilities for peace which this season of summits has now opened up for the world.
For decades, America has been locked in hostile confrontation with the two great Communist powers, the Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China. We were engaged with the one at many points and almost totally isolated from the other, but our relationships with both had reached a deadly impasse. All three countries were victims of the kind of bondage about which George Washington long ago warned in these words: "The nation which indulges toward another an habitual hatred . . . is a slave to its own animosity."
But now in the brief space of 4 months, these journeys to Peking and to Moscow have begun to free us from perpetual confrontation. We have moved toward better understanding, mutual respect, point-by-point settlement of differences with both the major Communist powers.
This one series of meetings has not rendered an imperfect world suddenly perfect. There still are deep philosophical differences; there still are parts of the world in which age-old hatreds persist. The threat of war has not been eliminated--it has been reduced. We are making progress toward a world in which leaders of nations will settle their differences by negotiation, not by force, and in which they learn to live with their differences so that their sons will not have to die for those differences.
It was particularly fitting that this trip, aimed at building such a world, should have concluded in Poland.
No country in the world has suffered more from war than Poland--and no country has more to gain from peace. The faces of the people who gave us such a heartwarming welcome in Warsaw yesterday, and then again this morning and this afternoon, told an eloquent story of suffering from war in the past and of hope for peace in the future. One could see it in their faces. It made me more determined than ever that America must do all in its power to help that hope for peace come true for all people in the world.
As we continue that effort, our unity of purpose and action will be all-important.
For the summits of 1972 have not belonged just to one person or to one party or to one branch of our Government alone. Rather they are part of a great national journey for peace. Every American can claim a share in the credit for the success of that journey so far, and every American has a major stake in its success for the future.
An unparalleled opportunity has been placed in America's hands. Never has there been a time when hope was more justified or when complacency was more dangerous. We have made a good beginning. And because we have begun, history now lays upon us a special obli-gation to see it through. We can seize this moment or we can lose it; we can make good this opportunity to build a new structure of peace in the world or we can let it slip away. Together, therefore, let us seize the moment so that our children and the world's children can live free of the fears and free of the hatreds that have been the lot of mankind through the centuries.
Then the historians of some future age will write of the year 1972, not that this was the year America went up to the summit and then down to the depths of the valley again, but that this was the year when America helped to lead the world up out of the lowlands of constant war, and onto the high plateau of lasting peace.
118. Briefing by the President's Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee/1/
Washington, June 15, 1972.
/1/Source: Strategic Arms Limitations Agreements: Hearings Before the Committee on Foreign Relations, United States Senate, Ninety-second Congress, Second Session (Washington, 1972), pp. 393-398, 400-402.
[Omitted here is a very brief introductory comment by Kissinger.]
In considering the two agreements before the Congress, the treaty on the limitation of antiballistic missile systems and the interim agreement on the limitation of offensive arms,/2/ the overriding questions are these: Do these agreements permit the United States to maintain a defense posture that guarantees our security and protects our vital interests? Second, will they lead to a more enduring structure of peace?
/2/The Strategic Arms Limitation Treaties (SALT ) were signed by President Nixon and General Secretary Brezhnev in Moscow on May 26. The signing was a major highlight of the Moscow Summit meeting.
In the course of the formal hearings over the coming days and weeks, the Administration will demonstrate conclusively that they serve both of these ends. I will begin that process this morning by offering some general remarks on the agreement, after which I will be happy to take your questions.
U.S.-Soviet Relations in the 1970's
The first part of my remarks will deal with U.S.-Soviet relations as they affect these agreements. The agreement which was signed 46 minutes before midnight in Moscow on the evening of May 26th by President Nixon and General Secretary Brezhnev is without precedent in the nuclear age; indeed, in all relevant modern history.
Never before have the world's two most powerful nations, divided by ideology, history and conflicting interests, placed their central armaments under formally agreed limitation and restraint. It is fair to ask: What new conditions now prevail to have made this step commend itself to the calculated self-interests of both of the so-called superpowers, as it so clearly must have done for both willingly to undertake it?
Let me start, therefore, with a sketch of the broad design of what the President has been trying to achieve in this country's relations with the Soviet Union, since at each important turning point in the SALT negotiations we were guided not so much by the tactical solution that seemed most equitable or prudent, important as it was, but by an underlying philosophy and a specific perception of international reality.
The international situation has been undergoing a profound structural change since at least the mid-1960s. The post-World War II pattern of relations among the great powers had been altered to the point that when this Administration took office, a major reassessment was clearly in order.
The nations that had been prostrate in 1945 had regained their economic strength and their political vitality. The Communist bloc was divided into contending factions, and nationalistic forces and social and economic pressures were reasserting themselves within the individual Communist states.
Perhaps most important for the United States, our undisputed strategic predominance was declining just at a time when there was rising domestic resistance to military programs, and impatience for redistribution of resources from national defense to social demands.
Amidst all of this profound change, however, there was one important constant--the continuing dependence of most of the world's hopes for stability and peace upon the ability to reduce the tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union.
The factors which perpetuated that rivalry remain real and deep.
We are ideological adversaries, and we will in all likelihood remain so for the foreseeable future.
We are political and military competitors, and neither can be indifferent to advances by the other in either of these fields.
We each have allies whose association we value and whose interests and activities of each impinge on those of the other at numerous points.
We each possess an awesome nuclear force created and designed to meet the threat implicit in the other's strength and aims.
Each of us has thus come into possession of power singlehandedly capable of exterminating the human race. Paradoxically, this very fact, and the global interest of both sides, create a certain commonality of outlook, a sort of interdependence for survival between the two of us.
Although we compete, the conflict will not admit of resolution by victory in the classical sense. We are compelled to coexist. We have an inescapable obligation to build jointly a structure for peace. Recognition of this reality is the beginning of wisdom for a sane and effective foreign policy today.
President Nixon has made it the starting point of the United States policy since 1969. This Administration's policy is occasionally characterized as being based on the principles of the classical balance of power. To the extent that that term implies a belief that security requires a measure of equilibrium, it has a certain validity. No national leader has the right to mortgage the survival of his people to the good will of another state. We must seek firmer restraints on the actions of potentially hostile states than a sanguine appeal to their good nature.
But to the extent that balance of power means constant jockeying for marginal advantages over an opponent, it no longer applies. The reason is that the determination of national power has changed fundamentally in the nuclear age. Throughout history, the primary concern of most national leaders has been to accumulate geopolitical and military power. It would have seemed inconceivable even a generation ago that such power once gained could not be translated directly into advantage over one's opponent. But now both we and the Soviet Union have begun to find that each increment of power does not necessarily represent an increment of usable political strength.
With modern weapons, a potentially decisive advantage requires a change of such magnitude that the mere effort to obtain it can produce disaster. The simple tit-for-tat reaction to each other's programs of a decade ago is in danger of being overtaken by a more or less simultaneous and continuous process of technological advance, which opens more and more temptations for seeking decisive advantage.
A premium is put on striking first and on creating a defense to blunt the other side's retaliatory capability. In other words, marginal additions of power cannot be decisive. Potentially decisive additions are extremely dangerous, and the quest for them are destabilizing. The argument that arms races produce war has often been exaggerated. The nuclear age is overshadowed by its peril.
All of this was in the President's mind as he mapped the new directions of American policy at the outset of this Administration. There was reason to believe that the Soviet leadership might also be thinking along similar lines as the repeated failure of their attempts to gain marginal advantage in local crises or in military competition underlined the limitation of old policy approaches.
The President, therefore, decided that the United States should work to create a set of circumstances which would offer the Soviet leaders an opportunity to move away from confrontation through carefully prepared negotiations. From the first, we rejected the notion that what was lacking was a cordial climate for conducting negotiations.
Past experience has amply shown that much heralded changes in atmospherics, but not buttressed by concrete progress, will revert to previous patterns at the first subsequent clash of interests.
We have, instead, sought to move forward across a broad range of issues so that progress in one area would add momentum to the progress of other areas.
We hoped that the Soviet Union would acquire a stake in a wide spectrum of negotiations and that it would become convinced that its interests would be best served if the entire process unfolded. We have sought, in short, to create a vested interest in mutual restraint.
At the same time, we were acutely conscious of the contradictory tendencies at work in Soviet policy. Some factors--such as the fear of nuclear war; the emerging consumer economy, and the increased pressures of a technological, administrative society--have encouraged the Soviet leaders to seek a more stable relationship with the United States. Other factors--such as ideology, bureaucratic inertia, and the catalytic effect of turmoil in peripheral areas--have prompted pressures for tactical gains.
The President has met each of these manifestations on its own terms, demonstrating receptivity to constructive Soviet initiatives and firmness in the face of provocations or adventurism. He has kept open a private channel through which the two sides could communicate candidly and settle matters rapidly. The President was convinced that agreements dealing with questions of armaments in isolation do not, in fact, produce lasting inhibitions on military competition because they contribute little to the kind of stability that makes crises less likely. In recent months, major progress was achieved in moving toward a broadly-based accommodation of interests with the USSR, in which an arms limitation agreement could be a central element.
This approach was called linkage, not by the Administration, and became the object of considerable debate in 1969. Now, three years later, the SALT agreement does not stand alone, isolated and incongruous in the relationship of hostility, vulnerable at any moment to the shock of some sudden crisis. It stands, rather, linked organically, to a chain of agreements and to a broad understanding about international conduct appropriate to the dangers of the nuclear age.
The agreements on the limitation of strategic arms is, thus, not merely a technical accomplishment, although it is that in part, but it must be seen as political event of some magnitude. This is relevant to the question of whether the agreements will be easily breached or circumvented. Given the past, no one can answer the question with certainty, but it can be said with some assurance that any country which contemplates a rupture of the agreement or a circumvention of its letter and spirit must now face the fact that it will be placing in jeopardy not only a limited arms control agreement, but a broad political relationship.
[Omitted here is a review of the preparation for the arms talks and the provisions of the SALT agreements.]
What Do the Agreements Mean?
Taking the longer perspective, what can we say has been accomplished?
First, it is clear that the agreement will enhance the security of both sides. No agreement which fails to do so could have been signed in the first place or stood any chance of lasting after it was signed. An attempt to gain a unilateral advantage in the strategic field must be self-defeating.
The President has given the most careful consideration to the final terms. He has asked me to reiterate most emphatically this morning his conviction that the agreements fully protect our national security and our vital interests.
Secondly, the President is determined that our security and vital interests shall remain fully protected. If the Senate consents to ratification of the treaty and if the Congress approves the interim agreement, the Administration will, therefore, pursue two parallel courses.
On the one hand, we shall push the next phase of the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks with the same energy and conviction that have produced these initial agreements.
On the other hand, until further arms limits are negotiated, we shall push research and development and the production capacity to remain in a fully protected strategic posture should follow-on agreements prove unattainable and so as to avoid giving the other side a temptation to break out of the agreement.
Third, the President believes that these agreements, embedded as they are in the fabric of an emerging new relationship, can hold tremendous political and historical significance in the coming decades. For the first time, two great powers, deeply divided by their divergent values, philosophies, and social systems, have agreed to restrain the very armaments on which their national survival depends. No decision of this magnitude could have been taken unless it had been part of a larger decision to place relations on a new foundation of restraint, cooperation and steadily evolving confidence. A spectrum of agreements on joint effort with regard to the environment, space, health, and promising negotiations on economic relations provides a prospect for avoiding the failure of the Washington Naval Treaty and the Kellogg-Briand pact outlawing war which collapsed in part for lack of an adequate political foundation.
The final verdict must wait on events, but there is at least reason to hope that these accords represent a major break in the pattern of suspicion, hostility, and confrontation which has dominated U.S.-Soviet relations for a generation. The two great nuclear powers must not let this opportunity slip away by jockeying for marginal advantages.
Inevitably an agreement of such consequence raises serious questions on the part of concerned individuals of quite different persuasions. I cannot do justice to all of them here. Let me deal with some of the most frequently asked since the agreements were signed three weeks ago.
The President has already answered this question. He has stressed that it is inappropriate to pose the question in terms of victory or defeat. In an agreement of this kind, either both sides win or both sides lose. This will either be a serious attempt to turn the world away from time-worn practices of jockeying for power, or there will be endless, wasteful and purposeless competition in the acquisition of armaments.
Does the agreement perpetuate a U.S. strategic disadvantage?
We reject the premise of that question on two grounds. First, the present situation is on balance advantageous to the United States. Second, the Interim Agreement perpetuates nothing which did not already exist in fact and which could only have gotten worse without an agreement.
Our present strategic military situation is sound. Much of the criticism has focused on the imbalance in number of missiles between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. But, this only examines one aspect of the problem. To assess the overall balance it is necessary to consider those forces not in the agreement; our bomber force which is substantially larger and more effective than the Soviet bomber force, and our forward base systems.
The quality of the weapons must also be weighed. We are confident we have major advantage in nuclear weapons technology and in warhead accuracy. Also, with our MIRV's we have a two-to-one lead today in numbers of warheads and this lead will be maintained during the period of the agreement, even if the Soviets develop and deploy MIRV's of their own.
Then there are such factors as deployment characteristics. For example, because of the difference in geography and basing, it has been estimated that the Soviet Union requires three submarines for two of ours to be able to keep an equal number on station.
When the total picture is viewed, our strategic forces are seen to be completely sufficient.
The Soviets have more missile launchers, but when other relevant systems such as bombers are counted there are roughly the same number of launchers on each side. We have a big advantage on warheads. The Soviets have an advantage on megatonnage.
What is disadvantageous to us, though, is the trend of new weapons deployment by the Soviet Union and the projected imbalance five years hence based on that trend. The relevant question to ask, therefore, is what the freeze prevents; where would we be by 1977 without a freeze? Considering the current momentum by the Soviet Union, in both ICBM's and submarine launched ballistic missiles, the ceiling set in the Interim Agreement can only be interpreted as a sound arrangement that makes a major contribution to our national security.
Does the agreement jeopardize our security in the future?
The current arms race compounds numbers by technology. The Soviet Union has proved that it can best compete in sheer numbers. This is the area which is limited by the agreement.
Thus the agreement confines the competition with the Soviets to the area of technology. And, heretofore, we have had a significant advantage.
The follow-on negotiations will attempt to bring the technological race under control. Until these negotiations succeed, we must take care not to anticipate their outcome by unilateral decisions.
Can we trust the Soviets?
The possibility always exists that the Soviets will treat the Moscow agreements as they have sometimes treated earlier ones, as just another tactical opportunity in the protracted conflict. If this happens, the United States will have to respond. This we shall plan to prepare to do psychologically and strategically and provided the Congress accepts the strategic programs on which the acceptance of the agreements was predicated.
I have said enough to indicate we advocate these agreements not on the basis of trust, but on the basis of the enlightened self-interests of both sides. This self-interest is reinforced by the carefully drafted verification provisions in the agreement. Beyond the legal obligations, both sides have a stake in all of the agreements that have been signed, and a large stake in the broad process of improvement in relations that has begun. The Soviet leaders are serious men, and we are confident that they will not lightly abandon the course that has led to the summit meeting and to these initial agreements. For our own part, we will not abandon this course without major provocation, because it is in the interest of this country and in the interest of mankind to pursue it.
Prospects for the Future
At the conclusion of the Moscow summit, the President and General Secretary signed a Declaration of Principles to govern the future relationship between the United States and the Soviet Union./3/ These principles state that there is no alternative to peaceful coexistence in the nuclear age. They commit both sides to avoid direct armed confrontation, to use restraint in local conflicts, to assert no special claims in derogation of the sovereign equality of all nations, to stress cooperation and negotiation at all points of our relationship.
At this point, these principles reflect an aspiration and an attitude. This Administration will spare no effort to translate the aspiration into reality. We shall strive with determination to overcome further the miasma of suspicion and self-confirming preemptive actions which have characterized the Cold War.
Of course the temptation is to continue along well worn paths. The status quo has the advantage of reality, but history is strewn with the wreckage of nations which sought their future in their past. Catastrophe has resulted far less often from conscious decisions than from the fear of breaking loose from established patterns through the inexorable march towards cataclysm because nobody knew what else to do. The paralysis of policy which destroyed Europe in 1914 would surely destroy the world if we let it happen again in the nuclear age.
Thus the deepest question we ask is not whether we can trust the Soviets, but whether we can trust ourselves. Some have expressed concern about the agreements not because they object to their terms, but because they are afraid of the euphoria that these agreements might produce.
But surely we cannot be asked to maintain unavoidable tension just to carry out programs which our national survival should dictate in any event. We must not develop a national psychology by which we can act only on the basis of what we are against and not on what we are for.
Our challenges then are: Can we chart a new course with hope but without illusion, with large purposes but without sentimentality? Can we be both generous and strong? It is not often that a country has the opportunity to answer such questions meaningfully. We are now at such a juncture where peace and progress depend on our faith and our fortitude.
[Omitted here is a brief concluding comment by Kissinger.]
119. Memorandum for the President's File by the President's Special Assistant (Price)/1/
Washington, June 16, 1972.
/1/Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, White House Special Files, President's Office Files, B Series Documents, Box 7 ("B" Box 59, Folder 14). Confidential. The President addressed the Cabinet and selected members of the White House staff in the Cabinet Room. According to the Daily Diary, the meeting convened at 8:37 and ended at 10:17 a.m. (Ibid., White House Central Files, Staff Members and Office Files, Office of Presidential Papers and Archives, Daily Diary)
[Omitted here is commentary on domestic politics.]
As we look at what happened with the Chinese and Soviets, the reason China and the U.S. finally got together is not because we or they finally reached the conclusion that we had been mistaken. It was because at this juncture in history there were very fundamental shifts in the world balance of power that made it imperative that they look elsewhere, and useful to us to have better relations with them.
The leaders of the Chinese government are more dedicated to Communism as an ideology than the Soviets, because they are in an earlier stage. Also, they are more dedicated to supporting the "third world." They consider themselves weak. When it comes to Africa, to Southeast Asia, to the Middle East--the Chinese speak out strongly to those nations. Also, for another reason--not because they love all those people, but also because the overriding Chinese and Russian concern is the fact that both are in competition for the leadership of the Communist world. When the Russians are trying to make an accommodation with the major powers, the Chinese see this as an opportunity to make gains with minor powers around the world. This hasn't worked very well.
The fundamental point, however, is why the Chinese felt it was in their interest. Put yourself in the position of the Chinese leaders--with 800 million people, on one border they see the Russians, with more men there than against Western Europe. To the south, there is India. The Chinese have contempt for the Indians, after the 1962 war. But it gives them pause to see what India could do with the support of the Soviets against China's friend, Pakistan. To the northeast, they see Japan. They have no reason to fear Japan, because Japan has no nuclear weapons. But they have enormous respect for Japan, which has invaded and occupied China. Also, Japan is now the third and will soon be the second economic power in the world, and they could well develop nuclear weapons soon on the industrial base that they have.
Then there's the U.S. As far as our system is concerned, we are much more antagonistic toward them than anyone else. Mao and Chou make no decisions on a personal basis--only on cold calculation--which is true of most world leaders.
So, if you were the Chinese--you would welcome better relations with the U.S.--given on one flank not an enemy at the very least, and also a nation that because of its interest might restrain some of China's neighbors.
One of the major Chinese doctrines is that Japan must never rearm. Also they say that the U.S. and Japan should dissolve our defense arrangement. But they don't want this. Japan, unprotected, facing Russia and China with its enormous economic capacity is not going to be neutral--it will either go with one of the others or rearm. The Chinese know that.
These clowns who write for the media do not understand this. They see it all in terms of their own prejudices from the past.
Now look at the Soviet Union--why is the Soviet Union interested in talking to the U.S. in a number of fields? While they of course jump through the ceiling if you talk about linkage, they link everything.
What are the Soviet Union's problems? They look at China--they know they have nothing to fear now from China, but they also know what they themselves have done economically in 50 years in a relatively backward country. They respect the Chinese people. They know that a billion Chinese in 25 years could be an enormous threat in the future.
The Soviets' major purpose with the U.S. is to weaken the European alliance, and to erase the idea that the Soviets pose any threat to NATO.
As they look to the future, they realize their interests at this time would not be served by allowing the U.S.-Chinese opening to ripen into, not friendship, but a possible accommodation which down the road might threaten them.
So--did we go to China to play against the Soviets, and vice versa? We have to say no. If we ever said yes, they'd have to react the other way. But put yourself in their position.
On arms control, there would have been no agreement whatever if we hadn't had ABM. And we won that by only one vote in the Senate.
The Soviets are no more interested in peace as an end in itself than the Fascists were. They prefer it. Their people don't want war. But the leaders--their goals, while not as violently expressed as the Chinese, have not changed. They still want Communism to spread to other countries, by subversion perhaps. They play it down. No Soviet soldier has been lost since World War II. But, because they have avoided a military confrontation with the U.S., this does not mean that the Soviet leaders have abandoned their ultimate goal--the victory of Communism in other areas of the world.
Every one of the Eastern European countries is a potential problem for the Soviet Union except for perhaps Bulgaria.
These countries are pulled toward Western Europe. They have differences with the Russians. Communism hasn't sunk in there. So the Russians have Eastern Europe on one side, China on the other--and also internal problems.
Anyone who has gone to the Soviet Union 12 years ago, and again now, has to be impressed by the changes. But theirs is still a very primitive society by our standards. They want more consumer goods. So--where's the logical place to turn? France and England don't matter any more. The Soviet and Chinese leaders are total pragmatists. They know where the power is.
Unless the U.S. has not only military strength, but also leadership that makes us respected and credible, they wouldn't be interested in talking to us.
That's why I took the action I did in mining Haiphong./2/ If we were to lose in Vietnam, it would have pleased the Soviets and the Chinese, but there would have been no respect for the American President, no matter who he was--because we had power and didn't use it. When U.S. does become involved, we must be credible. We must stand by our commitments, our allies, our friends.
/2/See Document 113.
So the Soviets look at the situation--the arms race--in major categories, they have caught us. They do respect our enormous economic power, and they believe if they get into a race with us on the military side, they cannot hope to gain an advantage and win it.
Therefore, we have reached these agreements.
[Omitted here is commentary relating to defense issues.]
I'm convinced that as a result of what we have done, the chances of having a more peaceful world 50 years from now are substantially increased. But this would not have been done with woolly-headed idealism. If we've come this far, it is because we have not been belligerent, we have avoided exacerbating the problem by engaging in a shouting match. Our personal relationship is as good as it can be. I never believe in letting personal relationships make difficult decisions more difficult. But--you've got to put yourself in their position--how are they going to evaluate us? If they think we are weak, they are going to pounce on us. If they think we are strong, they are going to deal with us.
[Omitted here is brief discussion on defense matters and domestic politics.]
120. Memorandum for the President's File by the President's Assistant (Flanigan)/1/
Washington, September 11, 1972.
/1/Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, White House Special Files, President's Office Files, Memos for the President, Box 89, June 4-September 17, 1972. Secret. The memorandum is a record of the President's meeting with the Council on International Economic Policy (CIEP). The meeting took place in the Cabinet Room between 10:06 and 11:06 a.m. (Ibid., White House Central Files, Staff Members and Office Files, Office of Presidential Papers and Archives, Daily Diary) Another account of this meeting is printed in Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, vol. III, Document 100.
[Omitted here is discussion on general economic matters and domestic issues relating to trade.]
The President said that eventually we have to look to the longer term aspects of our relations in broader focus. For the present, we have a tough line. For example, his speech to the IMF meeting/2/ will not be forthcoming on trade matters. However, we should understand that more is involved here than just questions of "horse-trading between soybeans and cheese."
The real question was what do the Europeans want their position vis-à-vis the U.S. and the Soviet Union to be? Does Europe want to go the route of a "Finlandization" of Europe? If they adopt an anti-U.S. trade policy, resulting in "an unenthusiastic" attitude in the U.S. about Europe, they must be made to understand that it will carry over into the political area. NATO could blow apart. The idea that the Europeans can defend themselves without us is "bull." If NATO comes apart, they will be in a position of being economic giants and military pygmies. Cutting themselves off from the U.S. risks a more subtle form of invasion by the Soviet Union than in the conventional military sense.
European leaders, he said, are "terrified" at that prospect. However, "the economic guys over there just want to screw us and our economic guys should want to do the same. There ought to be a lot of screwing going on."
Nevertheless, the political aspects of our relations should be overriding for both sides. Between now and the elections, we should say nothing, but we should be giving careful thought about how trade relations fit into the context of our overall relations. We need to examine the trade prices which both we and they will have to pay for the continued strength of our overall relations. "We cannot allow the umbilical cord to be cut and Europe to be nibbled away by the Soviets." We need to strengthen the bonds of trade, monetary relations, parliamentary exchanges, etc.
To illustrate his point, the President recalled that, in watching the 100 meter race of the Olympics, he was struck by the remarks of the Soviet winner. Borzov said that the "race marked the end of an era and now the Europeans are the best." This was an example of the new style, according to which the Soviets are trying to identify themselves with the Europeans and against the U.S. Basically this example was just white racism (since our runners were black), but the idea of Europe versus the U.S. is a Soviet line. Brezhnev and Kosygin say almost the same thing.
Free Europeans know they would be out of their minds to come under this influence. They know we have the divisions and the nuclear weapons. It is easy to say we will take them out of Europe, but it is definitely not in our interest to do so. Nevertheless, there is a growing sentiment in the U.S. to the effect of "damn the Europeans" and "the foreigners are doing us in."
It is true that the foreigners are treating us badly and understandable that we should want to do them in too. However, he urged that we be under no illusions. We cannot turn isolationist in the broader context. If we were only looking at trade, we could get along without the Europeans or the rest of the world, since trade is much less important to our GNP than it is to others. Trade is "the froth on top of the beer" but "beer without froth does not taste too bad."
However, trade is part of a bigger package. For instance, we have to treat Japan with "tender loving care" since, what Europe could become to the Soviets, Japan to China would be even more. Trade is important politically, and good trade relations can contribute to good overall relations. We must realize that our interests can be served by being as tough as we can without going over the line where anti-U.S. sentiment will cause them to turn against us and break with us. The Europeans recognize that they do not matter in the world anymore, and thus they concentrate on economic issues which are more important to them. That means that we may have to give more than our trade interest, strictly construed, would require. However, for the moment, we should let them know that a lot of Americans would welcome a trade split with Europe. We should stress that the Administration is fighting against this, but the Europeans should realize why we are doing it. It is not because our economic survival is at stake but rather that we value our overall relations very highly, in the interest of world peace.
At the same time, they must understand that our economic relations affect our leadership position in the world. In the future, our relations will have a larger economic content and this will require more subtlety in the way we conduct our overall relations. We are best at this game because we are strongest.
This is not the time to fix on a major strategy. After the elections is the time to do this. Then we can do what we have to do. It is going to be very hard to sell trade liberalization to the Congress. We will be prepared to do it because we know that more is at stake than just trade. But for now we should not talk in public about the political-commercial trade-off.
Secretary Peterson asked what the possibilities looked like for a longer term political-security-trade linkage in our relations with Europe, and the prospects of selling liberalization bill to Congress.
The President said that if we do well in the elections, for a few months we can get quite a lot from the Congress. This does not mean we need a landslide but just a good majority. With that, we can make a major move to propose what is best for the country and to educate the country so that it sees the issues in the broader context.
We have to be able to show the country that there is a major shift in the world balance of power, particularly as among ourselves, the Russians, the Chinese and the Japanese. As regards Europe, the Europeans "will have one hell of a time acting as a bloc." They do not get along with each other and it will be some time before they can learn to act as a group. This means we have to work with the heads of government in the various countries and not "that jackass" in the European Commission in Brussels./3/
/3/Presumably a reference to European Commission President Sicco Mansholt.
The President said that it is important that, after the elections, we look at the long-range relations. We have to tie this in with the whole political problem of what we want our relations with Europe to be. "We have to think internationally--we're it in the Free World." We would miss a great opportunity if we do not see these relations in broader terms and be guided by the broader picture. Then we can move to educate the public as to how it is in their own self-interest. However, we may also be able to get something in the economic area by using our political-security leverage.
[Omitted here is a concluding comment by Nixon relating mainly to political concerns.]
121. Remarks by President Nixon/1/
Washington, September 25, 1972.
/1/Source: Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Richard Nixon, 1972, pp. 907-908. The President spoke at 11:18 a.m. in the Ballroom of the Sheraton Park Hotel at the opening session of the annual meeting of the Boards of Governors of the International Monetary Fund and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development.
[Omitted here are brief introductory comments.]
I am convinced, on the basis of the evidence of the past year, that we are not only participating today in a great moment in history, but that we are witnessing and helping to create a profound movement in history.
That movement is away from the resolution of potential conflict by war, and toward its resolution through peaceful means. The experienced people gathered in this room are not so naive as to expect the smoothing out of all differences between peoples and between nations. We anticipate that the potential for conflict will exist as long as men and nations have different interests, different approaches, different ideals.
Therefore, we must come to grips with the paradoxes of peace. As the danger of armed conflict between major powers is reduced, the potential for economic conflict increases. As the possibility of peace grows stronger, some of the original ties that first bound our postwar alliances together grow weaker. As nations around the world gain new economic strength, the points of commercial contact multiply along with the possibilities of disagreements.
There is another irony that we should recognize on this occasion. With one exception, the nations gathered here whose domestic economies are growing so strongly today can trace much of their postwar growth to the expansion of international trade. The one exception is the United States--the industrial nation with by far the smallest percentage of its gross national product in world trade.
Why, then, is the United States--seemingly with the least at stake--in the forefront of those working for prompt and thoroughgoing reform of the international monetary system, with all that will mean for the expansion of trade now and in the future?
One reason, of course, is our national self-interest. We want our working men and women, our business men and women, to have a fair chance to compete for their share of the expanding trade between nations. A generation ago, at the end of World War II, we deliberately set out to help our former enemies as well as our weakened allies, so that they would inevitably gain the economic strength which would enable them to compete with us in world markets. And now we expect our trading partners to help bring about equal and fair competition.
There is another reason, more far-reaching and fundamental, that motivates the United States in pressing for economic and monetary reform.
Working together, we must set in place an economic structure that will help and not hinder the world's historic movement toward peace.
We must make certain that international commerce becomes a source of stability and harmony, rather than a cause of friction and animosity.
Potential conflict must be channeled into cooperative competition. That is why the structure of the international monetary system and the future system of world trade are so central to our concerns today. The time has come for action across the entire front of international economic problems. Recurring monetary crises such as we have experienced all too often in the past decade, unfair currency alignments and trading agreements which put the workers of one nation at a disadvantage with workers of another nation, great disparities in development that breed resentment, a monetary system that makes no provision for the realities of the present and the needs of the future--all these not only injure our economies, they also create political tensions that subvert the cause of peace.
There must be a thoroughgoing reform of the world monetary system to clear the path for the healthy economic competition of the future.
We must see monetary reform as one part of a total reform of international economic affairs encompassing trade and investment opportunity for all.
We must create a realistic code of economic conduct to guide our mutual relations--a code which allows governments freedom to pursue legitimate domestic objectives, but which also gives them good reason to abide by agreed principles of international behavior.
Each nation must exercise the power of its example in the realistic and orderly conduct of internal economic affairs so that each nation exports its products and not its problems.
[Omitted here are comments relating to domestic economic matters and to recently concluded agreements with the Soviet Union.]
We recognize that the issues that divide us are many and they are very serious and infinitely complex and difficult. But the impetus that will make this negotiation successful is the force that unites us all, all the 124 nations represented here today: that is a common need to establish a sound and abiding foundation for commerce, leading to a better way of life for all the citizens of all the nations here and all the citizens of the world.
That common need, let us call it the world interest, demands a new freedom of world trade, a new fairness in international economic conduct.
It is a mark of our maturity that we now see that an unfair advantage gained in an agreement today only sabotages that agreement tomorrow.
I well remember when I was a first-year law student, 32 years ago, what the professor of contracts said as he opened the course. He said, "A contract is only as good as the will of the parties to keep it."
The only system that can work is one that each nation has an active interest in making work. The need is self-evident. The will to reform the monetary system is here in this room, and, in a proverb that has its counterpart in almost every language here, where there is a will there is a way.
We are gathered to create a responsible monetary system, responsive to the need for stability and openness, and responsive to the need of each country to reflect its unique character.
In this way we bring to bear one of the great lessons of federalism: that often the best way to enforce an agreed-upon discipline is to let each member take action to adhere to it in the way that is best suited to its local character, its stage of development, its economic structure.
For its part, I can assure you, the United States will continue to rise to its world responsibilities, joining with other nations to create and participate in a modern world economic order.
We are secure enough in our independence to freely assert our interdependence.
These are the principles that I profoundly believe should and will guide the United States in its international economic conduct now and in the years ahead.
We shall press for a more equitable and a more open world of trade. We shall meet competition rather than run away from it.
We shall be a stimulating trading partner, a straightforward bargainer.
We shall not turn inward and isolationist.
In turn we shall look to our friends for evidence of similar rejection of isolationism in economic and political affairs.
Let us all resolve to look at the ledgers of international commerce today with new eyes--to see that there is no heroism in a temporary surplus nor villainy in a temporary deficit, but to see that progress is possible only in the framework of long-term equilibrium. In this regard we must take bold action toward a more equitable and a more open world trading order.
Like every leader of the nations represented here, I want to see new jobs created all over the world, but I cannot condone the export of jobs out of the United States caused by any unfairness built into the world's trading system.
Let all nations in the more advanced stages of industrial development share the responsibility of helping those countries whose major development lies ahead, and let the great industrial nations, in offering that help, in providing it, forgo the temptation to use that help as an instrument of domination, discrimination, or rivalry.
Far more is at stake here than the mechanics of commerce and finance. At stake is the chance to add genuine opportunity to the lives of people, hundreds of millions of people in all nations, the chance to add stability and security to the savings and earnings of hundreds of millions of people in all of our nations, the chance to add economic muscle to the sinews of peace.
I have spoken this morning in general terms about how we can advance our economic interdependence. Later this week, Secretary Shultz will outline a number of proposals which represent the best thinking of my top economic advisers. I commend those proposals to you for your careful consideration./2/
/2/See Document 122.
The word "economics," traced to its Greek root, means "the law of the house."
This house we live in--this community of nations--needs far better laws to guide our future economic conduct. Every nation can prosper and benefit working within a modern world economic order that it has a stake in preserving.
Now, very little of what is done in these negotiations will be widely understood in this country or in any of your countries as well. And very little of it will be generally appreciated.
But history will record the vital nature of the challenge before us. I am confident that the men and the nations gathered here will seize the opportunity to create a monetary and trading system that will work for the coming generation--and will help to shape the years ahead into a generation of peace for all nations in the world.
122. Statement by Secretary of the Treasury Shultz/1/
/1/Source: Department of State Bulletin, October 23, 1972, pp. 460-462, 465-466. Secretary Shultz made his statement before the combined IMF-IBRD Boards of Governors. He was U.S. Governor of the Fund and the Bank.
Washington, September 26, 1972.
The nations gathered here have it in their power to strike a new balance in international economic affairs
The new balance of which I speak does not confine itself to the concepts of a balance of trade or a balance of payments. The world needs a new balance between flexibility and stability in its basic approach to doing business. The world needs a new balance between a unity of purpose and a diversity of execution that will permit nations to cooperate closely without losing their individuality or sovereignty.
We lack that balance today. Success in the negotiations in which we are engaged will be measured in terms of how well we are able to achieve that balance in the future.
I anticipate working closely and intensively with you to that end, shaping and reshaping the best of our thinking as we proceed in full recognition that the legitimate requirements of each nation must be meshed into a harmonious whole.
In that spirit, President Nixon has asked me to put certain ideas before you.
[Omitted here are brief general remarks on economic policy matters.]
Principles Underlying Monetary Reform
Drawing from this interchange of views, and building upon the Smithsonian agreement,/2/ we can now seek a firm consensus for new monetary arrangements that will serve us all in the decades ahead. Indeed, I believe certain principles underlying monetary reform already command widespread support.
/2/For background, see Bulletin of Jan. 10, 1972, p. 32. [Footnote in the source text. See also Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, vol. III, Document 221.]
First is our mutual interest in encouraging freer trade in goods and services and the flow of capital to the places where it can contribute most to economic growth. We must avoid a breakup of the world into antagonistic blocs. We must not seek a refuge from our problems behind walls of protectionism.
The pursuit of the common welfare through more open trade is threatened by an ancient and recurring fallacy: Surpluses in payments are too often regarded as a symbol of success and of good management rather than as a measure of the goods and services provided from a nation's output without current return.
We must recognize, of course, that freer trade must be reconciled with the need for each country to avoid abrupt change involving serious disruptions of production and employment. We must aim to expand productive employment in all countries--and not at one another's expense.
A second fundamental is the need to develop a common code of conduct to protect and strengthen the fabric of a free and open international economic order.
Such basic rules as "no competitive devaluation" and "most-favored-nation treatment" have served us well, but they and others need to be reaffirmed, supplemented, and made applicable to today's conditions. Without such rules to guide us, close and fruitful cooperation on a day-to-day basis would not be possible.
Third, in shaping these rules we must recognize the need for clear disciplines and standards of behavior to guide the international adjustment process--a crucial gap in the Bretton Woods system. Amid the debate about the contributing causes of past imbalances and the responsibility for initiative toward correction, sight has too often been lost of the fact that adjustment is inherently a two-sided process--that for the world as a whole, every surplus is matched by a deficit.
Resistance of surplus countries to loss of their surpluses defeats the objective of monetary order as surely as failure of deficit countries to attack the source of their deficits. Any effort to develop a balanced and equitable monetary system must recognize that simple fact; effective and symmetrical incentives for adjustment are essential to a lasting system.
Fourth, while insisting on the need for adjustment, we can and should leave considerable flexibility to national governments in their choice among adjustment instruments. In a diverse world, equal responsibility and equal opportunity need not mean rigid uniformity in particular practices. But they do mean a common commitment to agreed international objectives. The belief is widespread--and we share it--that the exchange rate system must be more flexible. However, important as they are, exchange rates are not the only instrument of adjustment policy available; nor in specific instances will they necessarily be the most desirable.
Fifth, our monetary and trading systems are an interrelated complex. As we seek to reform monetary rules, we must at the same time seek to build in incentives for trade liberalization. Certainly, as we look ahead, ways must be found to integrate better the work of the GATT and the IMF. Simultaneously we should insure that there are pressures which move us toward adequate development assistance and away from controls which stifle the free flow of investment.
Finally, and perhaps most fundamental, any stable and well-functioning international monetary system must rest upon sound policies to promote domestic growth and price stability in the major countries. These are imperative national goals for my government--and for yours. And no matter how well we design an international system, its prospects for survival will be doubtful without effective discharge of those responsibilities.
[Omitted here are policy details.]
Cooperation for Equilibrium
I am fully aware that the United States as well as other countries cannot leap into new monetary and trading arrangements without a transitional period. I can state, however, that after such transitional period the United States would be prepared to undertake an obligation to convert official foreign dollar holdings into other reserve assets as a part of a satisfactory system such as I have suggested--a system assuring effective and equitable operation of the adjustment process. That decision will of course need to rest on our reaching a demonstrated capacity during the transitional period to meet the obligation in terms of our reserve and balance of payments position.
We fully recognize that we have not yet reached the strength we need in our external accounts. In the end, there can be no substitute for such strength in providing the underpinning for a stable dollar and a stable monetary system.
An acceptable monetary system requires a willingness on the part of all of us to contribute to the common goal of full international equilibrium. Lacking such equilibrium, no system will work. The equilibrium cannot be achieved by any one country acting alone.
We engage in discussions on trade and financial matters with a full realization of the necessity to continue our own efforts on a broad front to restore our balance of payments. I must add, in all candor, that our efforts to improve our position have in more than one instance been thwarted by the reluctance of others to give up an unjustified preferential and highly protected market position. Yet without success in our endeavor, we cannot maintain our desired share in the provision of aid and reduce our official debt to foreign monetary authorities.
We take considerable pride in our progress toward price stability, improved productivity, and more rapid growth during the past year. Sustained into the future, as it must be, that record will be the best possible medicine not only for our domestic prosperity but for the effective functioning of the international financial system.
[Omitted here are brief concluding comments.]
123. Address by President Nixon/1/
Washington, November 4, 1972.
/1/Source: Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Richard Nixon, 1972, pp. 1110-1114. The President's address was recorded at the White House for broadcast at 12:07 p.m. on nationwide radio.
Through the long years of America's involvement in Vietnam, our people's yearning for peace has largely been focused on winning an end to that difficult war. As a result, there has often been a tendency to lose sight of the larger prospects for peace in the rest of the world. As peace in Vietnam comes closer, we can look to the larger world and the long-term future with hope and satisfaction.
Four years ago I promised that we would move from an era of confrontation to an era of negotiation. I also said that we would maintain our own strength and work to restore that of our alliances, because the way to make real progress toward peace is to negotiate from strength and not from weakness. Because we have done so, the world today is more peaceful by far than it was 4 years ago. The prospects for a full generation of peace are brighter than at any time since the end of World War II.
In the past 4 years, we have concluded more--and more significant--agreements with the Soviets than in all the previous years since World War II. We have ended nearly a quarter century of mutual isolation between the United States and the People's Republic of China. All over the world, the tide toward negotiation is moving. North and South Korea are negotiating with one another. East and West Germany are negotiating with one another. A cease-fire has been in effect for more than 2 years in the Middle East. The leaders of India and Pakistan are talking with one another. The nations of Europe, of NATO, and of the Warsaw Pact are preparing to meet next year in a European Security Conference, and preparations are underway for negotiations on mutual and balanced reduction of armed forces in Central Europe.
All this is evidence of solid progress toward a world in which we can talk about our differences rather than fight about them.
Nineteen hundred seventy-two has been a year of more achievement for peace than any year since the end of World War II. This progress did not just happen by itself.
In my Inaugural Address nearly 4 years ago, I said that the greatest honor history can bestow is the title of peacemaker, but I also pointed out that peace does not come through wishing for it, that there is no substitute for days and even years of patient and prolonged diplomacy.
For the past 4 years this Nation has engaged in patient and prolonged diplomacy in every corner of the world, and we have also maintained the strength that has made our diplomacy credible and peace possible. As a result, we are well on the way toward erecting what I have often referred to as a structure of peace, a structure that rests on the hard concrete of common interests and mutual agreements, and not on the shifting sands of naive sentimentality.
That term, "a structure of peace," speaks an important truth about the nature of peace in today's world. Peace cannot be wished into being. It has to be carefully and painstakingly built in many ways and on many fronts, through networks of alliances, through respect for commitments, through patient negotiations, through balancing military forces and expanding economic interdependence, through reaching one agreement that opens the way to others, through developing patterns of international behavior that will be accepted by other powers. Most important of all, the structure of peace has to be built in such a way that all those who might be tempted to destroy it will instead have a stake in preserving it.
In the past 4 years, my efforts to build that structure of peace have taken me to 22 countries, including four world capitals never visited by an American President before--Peking, Moscow, Warsaw, and Bucharest. Everywhere I have traveled I have seen evidence that the times are on the side of peace, if America maintains its strength and continues on course. For example, ever since World War II, the world's people and its statesmen have dreamed of putting the nuclear genie back in the bottle, of controlling the dreaded nuclear arms race, but always that race remained unchecked until this year.
In Moscow last May, we and the Soviet Union reached the first agreement ever for limiting strategic nuclear arms. We signed that agreement last month in Washington. This was an historic beginning. It moved back the frontiers of fear. It helped check the dangerous spiral of nuclear weapons. It opened the way to further negotiations on further limitations on nuclear arsenals which will soon begin.
As we pursue these negotiations, however, let us remember that no country will pay a price for something that another country will give up for nothing. If we had scrapped the ABM missile system, as many advocated, we would never have achieved the first arms agreement with the Soviets. If we unilaterally slashed our defenses now as our opponents in this election advocate, the Soviets would have no incentive to negotiate further arms limitations.
Or take another example. After 10 years of recurring international monetary crises, we took bold actions a year ago to strengthen the dollar and to bring about a reformed international monetary system that would be fair to the United States and fair to the world. The result of these actions has been a solid and substantial beginning on just such a system, and the stage is now set for an international effort to achieve some of the most important monetary and trade reforms in history. As we complete these reforms in the years ahead, we can usher in a new age of world prosperity, a prosperity made even greater by the rapid expansion of peaceful trade that is now taking place, not only with our traditional trading partners but also with nations that have been our adversaries.
I cite these simply as examples of the broad, unfinished agenda of peace that now lies before us, the agenda of new starts made, of negotiations begun, of new relationships established, which now we must build on with the same initiative and imagination that achieved the initial breakthroughs. As we move forward on this agenda, we can see vast areas of peaceful cooperation to be explored.
We agreed in Peking to pursue cultural, journalistic, educational, and other exchanges, so that the world's most prosperous nation and its most populous nation can get to know one another again.
We agreed in Moscow to cooperate in protecting the environment, explore in space, fight disease. This means the day is fast approaching when a Russian cosmonaut and an American astronaut will shake hands in space, when a Russian chemist and an American biologist will work side by side to find a cure for cancer. And each time our nations join hands in the works of peace, we advance the day when nations will no longer raise their hands in warfare.
Throughout the world today America is respected. This is partly because we have entered a new era of initiative in American foreign policy, and the world's leaders and its people have seen the results. But it is also because the world has come to know America. It knows we are a nation of peaceful intentions, of honorable purposes, true to our commitments. We are respected because for a third of a century under six Presidents we have met the responsibilities of a great and free nation. We have not retreated from the world. We have not betrayed our allies. We have not fallen into the foolish illusion that we could somehow build a wall around America, here to enjoy our comforts, oblivious to the cries or the threats of others. We have maintained our strength.
There are those today who condemn as a relic of a cold war mentality the idea that peace requires strength. There are those who ridicule military expenditures as wasteful and immoral. Our opponents in this campaign have even described the great bipartisan tradition of negotiating from strength as one of the most damaging and costly clichés in the American vocabulary. If the day ever comes when the President of the United States has to negotiate from weakness, that will be a dangerous day, not only for America but for the whole world.
Those who scoff at balance of power diplomacy should recognize that the only alternative to a balance of power is an imbalance of power, and history shows that nothing so drastically escalates the danger of war as such an imbalance. It is precisely the fact that the elements of balance now exist that gives us a rare opportunity to create a system of stability that can maintain the peace, not just for a decade but for a generation and more.
The years ahead will not be easy. The choices will not be simple. They will require an extra measure of care in distinguishing between rhetoric and reality, between the easy temptation and the hard necessity. We will be told that all the things we want to do at home could be painlessly financed if we slashed our military spending. We will be told that we can have peace merely by asking for it, that if we simply demonstrate good will and good faith, our adversaries will do likewise, and that we need do no more. This is dangerous nonsense.
A heavy responsibility lies on the shoulders of those who hold or seek power in today's world, a responsibility not to court the public favor by fostering illusions that peace can be either achieved or kept without maintaining our strength and meeting our responsibilities.
As we approach the end of the war in Vietnam, the great question is whether the end of that war will be only an interlude between wars or the beginning of a generation of peace for the world.
Five months ago, I delivered the first television address to the Soviet people ever made by an American President. I tried to tell them something about America, about the people of America, about our hopes, our desire for peace and progress, not only for ourselves but for all the people of the world. In that talk, I repeated an old story told in Russia about a traveler who was walking to another village, who stopped and asked a woodsman how long it would take him to get there. The woodsman replied he did not know. The traveler was angry, because he was sure the woodsman lived in the village and knew how far it was. But then as soon as he had gone a few steps further down the road, the woodsman called out to him to stop. "It will take you 15 minutes," the woodsman said. "Why didn't you tell me that in the first place?" the traveler demanded. And the woodsman answered, "Because then I didn't know the length of your stride."
In these past 4 years, we and the other nations of the world have had a chance to measure the length of our strides. At last we are traveling in the same direction toward a world of peace, toward an era of negotiation, and of expanding cooperation. In the next 4 years, the President of the United States, whoever he is, will negotiate with the leaders of many nations on a broad range of issues vital to America, vital to the world. As we cast our ballots next Tuesday, the world will see whether we have changed the length of our stride.
If you approve the beginnings we have made, then your vote on election day to support those policies will be a message to the leaders of all other nations that the American people are not going to retreat, are not going to surrender. It will strengthen the President's hand immensely as we continue to move from confrontation to negotiation to cooperation all around the world as we build toward a generation of peace.
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