30. Editorial Note

In a background briefing for reporters in Bangkok, Thailand, on July 29, 1969, Henry Kissinger amplified on the doctrine articulated by President Nixon in Guam 4 days earlier (see Document 29). In response to a question as to how the Asian nations consulted on the President’s tour had responded to the President’s remarks in Guam, Kissinger said:

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“I would prefer to answer how the Asian nations have taken to the President’s general position, because the text of the Guam conference isn’t available and we haven’t presented the Guam conference as such, although of course, we stand fully behind it.

“We have had full and detailed conversations with the Asian nations about the general philosophy that the President expressed at Guam and repeated at Manila.

“The Asian nations that we have talked to have agreed with us that the future of Asia must be, in the first instance, shaped by Asians and cannot be developed on the basis of prescriptions devised in Washington. They have also agreed with our general philosophy that the United States will, of course, fully live up to all of its commitments in this area, and that it will, of course, remain a Pacific power.

“However, it is clear that in the new period, in the period ahead, it becomes important to understand the various dangers that the Asian nations may face. As against military aggression from the outside, the President has repeated at every stop our intention to live up to those commitments that we have made, as well as to those commitments that are implied in the general United Nations Charter and the inherent importance of various countries.

“As regards internal subversion, we have stated that the primary responsibility for combating internal subversion has to be borne by the countries concerned with respect to manpower, with American material and technical help where that is indicated and thought appropriate.

“I am happy to report to you that this view has been shared by the heads of Government of every country in which we have spoken, and I have been particularly authorized by the heads of Government of Thailand to express to you their complete agreement with our philosophy, that the manpower to fight internal subversion has to be supplied by the countries concerned, with American material and technical help where indicated.

“Q. Does that mean that the United States now has decided not to supply any combat troops where a country is faced with internal subversion?

“Dr. Kissinger: The general policy is that internal subversion has to be the primary responsibility of the threatened country. In an overwhelming majority of the cases, to which it is hard to think of an exception, the numbers involved are not tremendous. We are talking now of internal subversion.

“Q. The numbers of what?

“Dr. Kissinger: The numbers of guerrillas involved are not tremendous. Therefore, local manpower should have the predominant responsibility for meeting this.

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“The United States stands ready to supply material assistance, advice and technical assistance where that is requested and where our interests so dictate. But the general policy is as I have indicated.

“You understand, of course, that it is never possible to be absolutely categorical about every last case, but this is the general policy as it now stands.” (Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box CL 425, Subject File, Background Briefings, June-Dec 1969)