17. Editorial Note

In a meeting with Australian Prime Minister John Gorton at the White House on April 1, 1969, President Nixon cited the domino theory in expressing his concern about the possible effects of a precipitate United States withdrawal from Vietnam:

“The President said the so-called domino theory is spoken of disparagingly these days, but in fact our posture in Viet-Nam affects the countries of Southeast Asia; countries such as Japan, which would not wish to see a solution in Viet-Nam that encouraged the ‘hawks’ of the Communist world, and in fact our whole relationship with the Communist powers on the world scene. The Viet-Nam war poisons our relations with certain European countries, the President said; they are not interested in it and do not care about it. The Latin American countries tend to feel the same way. Domestic opposition is substantial. Nevertheless we must persevere in our effort to achieve a workable peace, orchestrating the diplomatic and military instruments we have at hand for the purpose. He said one point that bears emphasis is that we cannot achieve an effective peace without the cooperation of the South-Vietnamese. President Thieu is coming along well and is quite reasonable, but he cannot be rushed unduly.” (Memorandum of conversation; National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, White House Special Files, President’s Office Files, B Series documents withheld in Box 7 from documents originally filed in folder 7 of Box 57)