101. Editorial Note

On July 25, 1969, during his world tour, President Nixon made informal remarks to newsmen for attribution but not direct quotation and on background. Nixon was in Guam after witnessing the splashdown of Apollo 11 astronauts on their return from the first landing on the moon. Beginning at 6:30 p.m. in the Top O’ the Mar Officer Club, [Page 316] Nixon expounded on what was first called the Guam Doctrine and then came to be known as the Nixon Doctrine. After reaffirming the United States treaty commitments with Asian allies, Nixon stated, “that as far as problems of internal security are concerned, as far as the problem of military defense, except for the threat of a major power involving nuclear weapons, that the United States is going to encourage and has a right to expect that this problem will be increasingly handled by, and the responsibility for it taken by, the Asian nations themselves.” The full extent of the remarks in Guam are printed in Public Papers: Nixon, 1969, pages 544–556.

The statement caused great interest among the press and public in both the United States and Asia. It was refined and restated in later, more formal, Nixon speeches. See Nixon’s address on Vietnam, November 3, ibid., pages 901–909. As to the origins of the doctrine, Kissinger recalls that it had been a theme of preparations for Nixon’s trip and the original intention had been to develop a major Presidential speech along similar lines for later in the summary. Kissinger recalled that Nixon himself was surprised by the reaction to the statement. Kissinger also suggests that there was “less to the Nixon Doctrine than met the eye.” See Kissinger, White House Years, pages 222–225. Nixon’s own recollections of the event are in RN: The Memoirs of Richard Nixon , pages 394–395. Additional documentation on the Nixon Doctrine is in Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, volume I, Foundations of Foreign Policy.