7. Secretary of State Rogers’s Annual Report on U.S. Foreign Policy1


1973 will be a year of building in American foreign policy—for in 1973 we will be initiating new negotiations and developing new relationships which could determine the political-economic structure of the world for the remainder of this century. As President Nixon stated in his second Inaugural Address: “We are embarking on an era that presents challenges as great as those any nation or any generation has ever faced.”2

We have reached this formative stage in international affairs as a result of the dramatic changes of the past year, changes due in substantial measure to innovations we began to introduce into American foreign policy four years ago.

We can take special pride in the four accomplishments of last year that are enabling us to complete the transition from the concerns of the past to the construction of a new and more peaceful international environment.

—The profound transformation the United States brought about during 1972 in our relations with the People’s Republic of China is [Page 22] opening new opportunities for an Asia at peace. A “new start” was the phrase Premier Chou En-lai used in his toast during President Nixon’s first night in Peking. Today—as the first official Americans to reside in Peking since 1949 have already arrived—there is no question that a new start in our relations is being carried forward.3 We are particularly hopeful that progress in U.S.-Chinese relations will lead toward an improving international climate throughout Asia.

—Firm foundations for a new era of cooperative efforts between the world’s two most powerful nations now exist in the aftermath of the Moscow Summit.4 A fabric of common interests and of instruments of cooperation is being created that will serve to perpetuate better relations. And agreements to limit offensive and defensive arms have been concluded that may well be viewed historically as the critical point when risks of nuclear conflict between us turned permanently downward.

—The flash point of Europe’s dangers for 25 years, Berlin, has been defused, and the Quadripartite Agreement5 has proven to be a major stimulant to favorable evolution in the European situation. Not only has the inner German agreement followed, but movement toward conferences on European security and cooperation and on mutual and balanced force reductions has been hastened as a result.

—The Paris Agreement on Vietnam6 is bringing an end to this century’s longest war. Though it is yet imperfectly observed a cease-fire has been established in Vietnam and Laos. And a framework for a peaceful environment in Indochina has been established.

[Omitted here are Rogers’s comments on nine areas: European unity, Asian stability, Middle East negotiations, Western Hemispheric ties, African economic growth, expansion of international trade and monetary reform, acceleration of per capita growth in developing nations, multilateral trading arrangements, and international law.]

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This introduction can only hope to outline the most important of the Administration’s foreign policy objectives. I have elaborated here upon those which collectively give 1973 the characteristic of a year of building—the building of relations and institutions that could determine the course of the rest of the century. Given the President’s strong interest and leadership in this effort, we have every reason to expect that further substantial progress toward lasting peace and cooperation will be made in the coming year.

It is now commonplace to hear that there are no more dramatic accomplishments possible in foreign affairs. I do not agree. 1973 can be a dramatic year—not in breaking old patterns but in building new ones, a year when we begin to erect the framework for a generation of peace.

But 1973 will be just beginning. The road ahead will be as difficult and dangerous as it will be promising. It will require the continued perseverance and engagement of this great nation. That is why our foreign policy must continue to be a policy of engagement—engagement with adversaries in building cooperation, engagement with allies on a basis of shared values and interests, engagement with developing nations in the effort to raise the living standards of their people.

For many years the economic and political health of the world has been heavily affected by the state of the American society. Now our condition increasingly is affected by the welfare of others. The degree of interdependence among nations and many of the principal trends of international affairs are succinctly evident in the statistical indicators of the state of the world I have appended to this introduction.7 In concise terms they illustrate both the necessity of our engagement in the world and the nature of many of the issues the world must still face.

In my first foreign policy report,8 I expressed the hope that we could fashion a foreign policy which would overcome the deep and destructive divisions within this country and restore a sense of common purpose in America’s approach to world affairs. Today the obstacles to such a common purpose have been overcome, and we have found a new self-confidence, devoid both of arrogance and of destructive self-doubts. The foreign policy objectives we are setting forth are moderate and constructive ones. It will be my earnest endeavor so to carry them out that the Administration and the Congress, the leadership of both parties, the government and the citizenry can again move forward [Page 24] harmoniously in their support. With such cooperation 1973 will be a year of substantial progress toward the more peaceful and prosperous world we all desire.

  1. Source: Department of State Bulletin, May 7, 1973, pp. 545–557. The complete 743-page report is entitled “United States Foreign Policy 1972: A Report of the Secretary of State.” Rogers sent the report to Congress on April 19 under a transmittal letter, in which he noted that “1973 will be a year of building, a year of intensive negotiations that will move us forward into the structure of peace which President Nixon has made our foremost national goal.” (Ibid., p. 545)
  2. See Public Papers: Nixon, 1973, pp. 12–15.
  3. The United States and the PRC established liaison offices in Beijing and Washington in March 1973. Ambassador David K.E. Bruce, who had served as Ambassador to France, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the Paris Peace Talks, was appointed Chief of the United States Liaison Office (USLO). Alfred LeS. Jenkins, Director of the Office of Asian Communist Affairs, Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, Department of State, and NSC Staff member John H. Holdridge were named as Bruce’s deputies.
  4. See Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, volume XIV, Soviet Union, October 1971–May 1972, Documents 224302, for documentation on the May 1972 Moscow summit meetings.
  5. The Quadripartite Agreement, ratified by the West German Bundestag in 1972 and signed by the United States, France, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union, regularized relations between the Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic and the status of Berlin within the context of the Four-Power relationship. A summary of the treaty’s provisions is ibid., volume XL, Germany and Berlin, 1969–1972, Document 383.
  6. See Document 1 and footnote 3 thereto.
  7. Rogers’s report as printed in the Department of State Bulletin contains a table entitled “The State of the World in Statistics.” Under the headings Human Welfare, Interdependence, and Military, the table traces trends in population, infant mortality, literacy, international travel, energy, and men under arms in 1960, 1965, and 1970. (Department of State Bulletin, May 7, 1973, p. 557)
  8. United States Foreign Policy, 1969–1970: A Report of the Secretary of State (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1971).