The Foreign Relations of the United States series presents the official documentary historical record of major foreign policy decisions and significant diplomatic activity of the United States Government. The Historian of the Department of State is charged with the responsibility for the preparation of the Foreign Relations series. The staff of the Office of the Historian, Bureau of Public Affairs, plans, researches, compiles, and edits the volumes in the series. Official regulations codifying specific standards for the selection and editing of documents for the series were first promulgated by Secretary of State Frank B. Kellogg on March 26, 1925. These regulations, with minor modifications, guided the series through 1991.

A new statutory charter for the preparation of the series was established by Public Law 102-138, the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal Years 1992 and 1993, which was signed by President George Bush on October 28, 1991. Section 198 of P.L. 102-138 added a new Title IV to the Department of State’s Basic Authorities Act of 1956 (22 USC 4351, et seq.).

The statute requires that the Foreign Relations series be a thorough, accurate, and reliable record of major United States foreign policy decisions and significant United States diplomatic activity. The volumes of the series should include all records needed to provide comprehensive documentation of major foreign policy decisions and actions of the United States Government. The statute also confirms the editing principles established by Secretary Kellogg: the Foreign Relations series is guided by the principles of historical objectivity and accuracy; records should not be altered or deletions made without indicating in the published text that a deletion has been made; the published record should omit no facts that were of major importance in reaching a decision; and nothing should be omitted for the purposes of concealing a defect in policy. The statute also requires that the Foreign Relations series be published not more than 30 years after the events recorded.

Structure and Scope of the Foreign Relations Series

This volume is part of a subseries of volumes of the Foreign Relations series that documents the most important issues in the foreign policy of the administration of Richard M. Nixon. The subseries will present a documentary record of major foreign policy decisions and actions of President Nixon’s administration. This volume documents the intellectual assumptions underlying the foreign policy decisions made by the administration.

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Focus of Research and Principles of Selection for Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume I

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.

In a volume that explores the administration’s intellectual assumptions on a variety of issues, three principal themes emerge. During a stop on Guam in July 1969, President Nixon articulated what would become known as the Nixon doctrine. Conditioned by the experience of Vietnam, Nixon defined a more limited role for the United States in potential future conflicts. He stated “that as far as the problems of military defense, except for the threat of a major power involving nuclear weapons, the United States is going to encourage and has the right to expect that this problem will be handled by, and responsibility for it taken by, Asian nations themselves.” The Nixon doctrine was subsequently expanded to apply to all allies of the United States. A second foreign policy theme that runs through the record of the first Nixon administration is that of linkage, the concept of linking progress on foreign [Page V] policy issues in dealing with the Soviet Union. Triangular diplomacy, the third theme developed in the volume, involved balancing relations with the Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China. Triangular diplomacy embraced the assumptions underlying the diplomatic opening to China and the Moscow summit in 1972.

Editorial Methodology

The documents are presented chronologically according to Washington time. Memoranda of conversation are placed according to the time and date of the conversation, rather than the date the memorandum was drafted.

Editorial treatment of the documents published in the Foreign Relations series follows Office style guidelines, supplemented by guidance from the General Editor and the chief technical editor. The source text is reproduced as exactly as possible, including marginalia or other notations, which are described in the footnotes. Texts are transcribed and printed according to accepted conventions for the publication of historical documents within the limitations of modern typography. A heading has been supplied by the editors for each document included in the volume. Spelling, capitalization, and punctuation are retained as found in the source text, except that obvious typographical errors are silently corrected. Other mistakes and omissions in the source text are corrected by bracketed insertions: a correction is set in italic type; an addition in roman type. Words or phrases underlined in the source text are printed in italics. Abbreviations and contractions are preserved as found in the source text, and a list of abbreviations is included in the front matter of each volume.

Bracketed insertions are also used to indicate omitted text that deals with an unrelated subject (in roman type) or that remains classified after declassification review (in italic type). The amount of material not declassified has been noted by indicating the number of lines or pages of source text that were omitted. Entire documents withheld for declassification purposes have been accounted for and are listed with headings, source notes, and number of pages not declassified in their chronological place. All brackets that appear in the source text are so identified by footnotes.

The first footnote to each document indicates the source of the document, original classification, distribution, and drafting information. This note also provides the background of important documents and policies and indicates whether the President or his major policy advisers read the document.

Editorial notes and additional annotation summarize pertinent material not printed in the volume, indicate the location of additional documentary sources, provide references to important related documents [Page VI] printed in other volumes, describe key events, and provide summaries of and citations to public statements that supplement and elucidate the printed documents. Information derived from memoirs and other first-hand accounts has been used when appropriate to supplement or explicate the official record.

The numbers in the index refer to document numbers rather than to page numbers.

Advisory Committee on Historical Diplomatic Documentation

The Advisory Committee on Historical Diplomatic Documentation, established under the Foreign Relations statute, reviews records, advises, and makes recommendations concerning the Foreign Relations series. The Advisory Committee monitors the overall compilation and editorial process of the series and advises on all aspects of the preparation and declassification of the series. The Advisory Committee does not necessarily review the contents of individual volumes in the series, but it makes recommendations on issues that come to its attention and reviews volumes as it deems necessary to fulfill its advisory and statutory obligations.

The Advisory Committee encouraged the addition of this volume to the Foreign Relations series and reviewed and endorsed the compilation.

Presidential Recordings and Materials Preservation Act Review

Under the terms of the Presidential Recordings and Materials Preservation Act (PRMPA) of 1974 (44 USC 2111 note), the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) has custody of the Nixon Presidential historical materials. The requirements of the PRMPA and implementing regulations govern access to the Nixon Presidential historical materials. The PRMPA and implementing public access regulations require NARA to review for additional restrictions in order to ensure the protection of the privacy rights of former Nixon White House officials, since these officials were not given the opportunity to separate their personal materials from public papers. Thus, the PRMPA and implementing public access regulations require NARA formally to notify the Nixon estate and former Nixon White House staff members that the agency is scheduling for public release Nixon White House historical materials. The Nixon estate and former White House staff members have 30 days to contest the release of Nixon historical materials in which they were a participant or are mentioned. Further, the PRMPA and implementing regulations require NARA to segregate and return to the creator of files private and personal materials. All Foreign Relations volumes that include materials from NARA’s Nixon Presidential Materials Staff are processed and released in accordance with the PRMPA.

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Declassification Review

The Information Response Branch of the Office of IRM Programs and Services, Bureau of Administration, Department of State, conducted the declassification review for the State Department of the documents published in this volume. The review was conducted in accordance with the standards set forth in Executive Order 12958 on Classified National Security Information and applicable laws.

The principle guiding declassification review is to release all information, subject only to the current requirements of national security as embodied in law and regulation. Declassification decisions entailed concurrence of the appropriate geographic and functional bureaus in the Department of State, other concerned agencies of the U.S. Government, and the appropriate foreign governments regarding specific documents of those governments.

The final declassification review of this volume, which began in 2001 and was completed in 2002, resulted in the decision to withhold minor excisions in two documents; no documents were withheld in full. The editors are confident, on the basis of the research conducted in preparing this volume and as a result of the declassification review process described above, that the documentation and editorial notes presented here provide an undiluted record of the intellectual foundations of the foreign policy of the first Nixon administration.


The editors wish to thank officials at the Nixon Presidential Materials Project of the National Archives and Records Administration (Archives II), at College Park, Maryland. The editors also wish to acknowledge the Richard Nixon Estate for allowing access to the Nixon Presidential Recordings and the Richard Nixon Library and Birthplace for facilitating that access.

Paul Claussen, Evan Duncan, David Goldman, David Herschler, Joseph Hilts, Susan Holly, Douglas Keene, Daniel Lawler, Sidney Ploss, and Louis Smith collected the documentation for this volume. David Herschler and Louis Smith selected and edited it, under the supervision of David S. Patterson, the then General Editor of the Foreign Relations series. Rita M. Baker did the copy and technical editing, and Susan C. Weetman coordinated the final declassification review. Juniee Oneida prepared the index.

Marc J. Susser
The Historian
Bureau of Public Affairs

March 2003