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Foreign Relations of the United States, 1969–1976, Volume I, Foundations of Foreign Policy, 1969–1972

Louis J. Smith
David H. Herschler
General Editor:
David S. Patterson

United States Government Printing Office

Department of State
Office of the Historian
Bureau of Public Affairs


The purpose of this volume, which is a departure from previous volumes published in the Foreign Relations series, is to document the intellectual foundations of the foreign policy of the first Nixon administration. Previous volumes have been compiled to meet the legislatively mandated standard that the Foreign Relations series shall be "a thorough, accurate, and reliable documentary record of major United States foreign policy decisions and significant diplomatic activity." This volume is unique in that it explores the collective mind-set of the Nixon administration on foreign policy issues rather than documenting foreign policy decisions or diplomatic exchanges. It takes as its canvas the entire record of the first Nixon administration. Therefore the documents selected are necessarily a sampling chosen to illustrate policy perspectives and themes, rather than a thorough record of a bilateral relationship or of a major issue. A measure of the departure of this volume from previous volumes in the Foreign Relations series is the extent to which it draws upon the published record of speeches, press releases, press conferences and briefings, interviews, and testimony before Congressional committees to document policy positions and the assumptions of administration officials on the foreign policy process.

President Nixon had a strong interest in foreign policy and he and his assistant for National Security Affairs, Henry Kissinger managed many of the more important aspects of foreign policy from the White House. Nixon and Kissinger shared a well-defined general perception of world affairs. The editors of the volume sought to present a representative selection of documents chosen to develop the primary intellectual themes that ran through and animated the administration's foreign policy. The documents selected focus heavily upon the perspectives of Nixon and Kissinger but also include those of Secretary of State Rogers, Secretary of Defense Laird, Under Secretary of State Richardson and others.