103. Memorandum From Vice President Agnew to President Nixon 1

SUBJECT

  • My Diplomatic Mission: June 26–July 28, 1971

I found all the leaders whom I visited frankly appreciative of your personal gesture in sending me as your representative to meet with them. My presence and discussions served as welcome reassurance to these nations which have in the past without exception looked to the United States for understanding or assistance—particularly timely reassurance at a period of rapid change in the international arena.

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Everywhere I visited, I found that American prestige and confidence in United States policies remain high. All to whom I talked expressed concern and/or bewilderment at the unauthorized publication by our media of confidential government documents.2 However, this episode has not dimmed their confidence that your leadership will continue to guide the American people toward policies and actions that are wise and in the best interests not only of the United States but of the world. A corollary of this confidence was an evident widespread understanding of what you are attempting to accomplish through the “Nixon doctrine.” This policy has brought to other governments a new awareness of their own responsibilities, while at the same time clearly, they hope for a reasonable level of American support for their own efforts. Except with Prime Minister Lee in Singapore, Vietnam did not figure significantly in my conversations, most leaders appearing to approve strongly the current course of American policy there and to be reasonably confident that it will succeed. Two major international problems were of active concern, however, in many areas: the Arab-Israeli confrontation, and the current East Pakistan problem.

[Omitted here is material unrelated to Korea.]

Korea

President Park is understandably more confident after his recent election victory and he deeply appreciated your gesture in sending a strong delegation to his inaugural.

Park and the Korean people seem to have adjusted quite positively to the hard fact of your decision last year to reduce American troop strength in Korea and have found new confidence in their own abilities. The several dialogues being carried on by Secretary Rogers, Secretary Laird, and our very competent Ambassador in Seoul concerning modernization of the Korean armed forces and arrangements for reduction of Korean troop strength in Vietnam have also strengthened the current sense of cooperation and understanding between our countries.

[Omitted here is material unrelated to Korea.]

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 951, VIP Visits, Vice President’s Trip, June–July 1971 [1 of 2]. Secret; Sensitive. The memorandum was forwarded to the President under an August 19 covering memorandum from Kissinger. Agnew conferred with foreign leaders in 10 nations during a round-the-world trip undertaken at Nixon’s request.
  2. Reference is to the publication in The New York Times of the Pentagon Papers.