6. Editorial Note

Richard Nixon offered his perspective on prospects for détente with the Soviet Union in his acceptance speech at the Republican convention in Miami Beach, Florida, on August 8, 1968:

“And now to the leaders of the Communist world, we say: After an era of confrontation, the time has come for an era of negotiation.

“Where the world’s super powers are concerned, there is no acceptable alternative to peaceful negotiation.

“Because this will be a period of negotiation, we shall restore the strength of America so that we shall always negotiate from strength and never from weakness.

“So we begin with the proposition that if we are to have peace we must negotiate. If we are to negotiate we must negotiate from strength. If we are to have strength we must restore the strength of the United States and also we must restore the strength of the Western Alliance.

“Despite the recent setbacks, the years just ahead can bring a breakthrough for peace, they must be a time of careful probing, of intensive negotiations, of a determined search for those areas of accommodation between East and West on which a climate of mutual trust can eventually be built. But this can only succeed if Western strength is sufficient to back up our diplomacy. As one of Europe’s leading statesmen has phrased it: ‘genuine détente presupposes security; it does not replace it’.

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“First, the United States must be strong. We’ve got to make sure that our president will always be able to negotiate from strength. He must negotiate with the leaders of the Soviet because in today’s nuclear world there is no alternative to negotiation. The Soviet Union knows it and we know it. And that is why I will re-establish the strength of the United States, not only here, but re-establish also the strength of our NATO Alliance which has been allowed to crumble and go to pieces during this Administration.” ( Nixon on the Issues, pages 29-30)

The full text of the speech was published in The New York Times on August 9.