This volume includes documentation on U.S.
relations with Japan, North and South Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia,
New Zealand, ANZUS, Papua New Guinea, the Pacific Islands, the Philippines, SEATO, and
ASEAN from 1973 through 1976. The chapter on Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos covers the
period from May 1975 through 1976. A chapter on Thailand and Burma will be added once it
has been fully cleared for publication.
U.S. policy toward East and Southeast Asia
during these years sought to rebalance U.S. policy following the subordination of other
concerns to the waging of the Vietnam War. The policies of the Nixon and Ford
administrations were also affected by the evolving Sino-American relationship, the Nixon
doctrine, and the challenge of pursuing economic growth within a fluctuating
international monetary system. During 1975 and 1976, the United States spent a great
deal of time reassuring its Asian allies of its commitment to remain engaged in the
region, many of whom expressed alarm following the collapse of pro-American governments
in South Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos.
In regard to Japan, U.S. and Japanese
diplomats remained preoccupied with economic issues, particularly trade disputes,
monetary instability, and concern over the international supply of oil, although newer
issues, such as environmental policy and space cooperation, assumed a more prominent
place within the bilateral relationship. In Korea, the United States sought to modernize
the ROK military and regularize its presence on the peninsula, which still rested upon
institutions from the era of the Korean War.
Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore posed a
variety of challenges to American diplomacy. U.S. aid to Indonesia became a topic of
debate within the U.S. government, due to budgetary pressures and congressional
questions about the Indonesian occupation of East Timor. U.S. relations with Malaysia
focused mainly upon expediting military and development aid to that country. Malaysia’s
stability received attention in discussions between the United States and Singapore,
especially following the collapse of South Vietnam. Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Kuan
Yew met repeatedly with U.S. officials, mainly because they found him a good sounding
board for American policies toward East Asia.
Disagreements with Australia and New Zealand
put strains upon the ANZUS alliance. Australian criticism of U.S. bases and the election
of Jim Cairn as Australia’s Deputy Prime Minister produced concern within the U.S.
foreign policy establishment. Meanwhile, the governments of the United States and New
Zealand clashed over the latter’s desire for a South Pacific nuclear free zone.
U.S.-Philippine relations became increasingly
difficult. At the beginning of 1973, U.S. policy-makers were watchful of the challenges
posed by the Philippine insurgency, the growing authoritarianism of President Ferdinand
Marcos, the capricious behavior of Imelda Marcos, and border disputes involving the
Philippines and its neighbors.
Events in Indochina greatly affected U.S.
relations with the rest of East Asia. This volume chronicles U.S. interactions with
Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam, from the evacuation of Saigon and Phnom Penh until the end
of 1976. Meanwhile, the United States’ declining presence in Indochina contributed to a
modification of its defense posture and alliances with Asian countries. Among the most
important of the changes during this period were the dissolution of SEATO and the
establishment of ASEAN.