80. Address by Secretary of State Kissinger 1
The Western Alliance: Peace and Moral Purpose
[Omitted here are Kissinger’s introductory remarks focusing on the life and legacy of Alistair Buchan, founder of the International Institute for Strategic Studies.][Page 437]
The United States and a United Europe
In 1973, with Viet-Nam at last behind us, and fresh from new initiatives with China and the Soviet Union, the United States proposed that the collaboration of the industrial democracies be given new impetus.2 Military security, while still crucial, was no longer sufficient to give content or political cohesion to our broader relationship or to retain support for it from a new generation. We faced important East-West negotiations on European security and force reductions, a fresh agenda of international economic problems, the challenge of shaping anew our relationship with the developing world, and the need to redefine relations between America and a strengthened and enlarged European community.
It is academic to debate now whether the United States acted too theoretically in proposing to approach these challenges through the elaboration of a new Atlantic Declaration, or whether our European friends acted wisely in treating this proposal as a test case of European identity. The doctrinal arguments of 1973 over the procedure for Atlantic consultations, or whether Europe was exercising its proper global role, or whether economic and security issues should be linked, have in fact been settled by the practice of consultations and cooperation unprecedented in intensity and scope. The reality and success of our common endeavors have provided the best definition and revitalization of our relationship.
There is no longer any question that Europe and the United States must cooperate closely under whatever label and that the unity of Europe is essential to that process.
In its early days, the European Community was the focus of much American idealism, and perhaps of some paternalism, as we urged models of federal unity and transatlantic burden sharing on our European friends. By now, leaders on both sides of the Atlantic have come to understand that European unity cannot be built by Americans or to an American prescription; it must result from European initiatives.
The evolution of European initiatives—both its successes and its setbacks—inevitably gives rise to new questions about whether the United States still welcomes European unification. Let me take this occasion to emphasize our conviction that European unity is crucial for Europe, for the West, and for the world. We strongly support and encourage it.
We have perhaps become a little more sophisticated about our contribution to the process. We no longer expect that it will grow from the desire to ease American burdens. If Europe is to carry a part of the [Page 438] West’s responsibilities in the world, it must do so according to its own conceptions and in its own interest.
Alastair Buchan wrote:
It is impossible to inspire Western Europe to political unity or to encourage Japanese self-reliance unless they have the freedom and confidence to define their interests in every sphere, interests which must be reconciled with those of the United States but not subordinated to them.
The United States endorses this principle wholeheartedly. It is not healthy for the United States to be the only center of initiative and leadership in the democratic world. It is not healthy for Europe to be only a passive participant, however close the friendship and however intimate the consultation.
We therefore welcome the fact that Europe’s role in global affairs is gaining in vigor and effectiveness. A vital and cohesive Western Europe is an irreplaceable weight on the scales of global diplomacy; American policy can only gain by having a strong partner of parallel moral purposes.
Of course we do not want Europe to find its identity in opposition to the United States. But neither does any sensible European. Of course there will be disagreements between us of tactics and sometimes of perspectives, if not of ends. But I do not believe that we Americans have so lost confidence in ourselves that we must inhibit the role of others with whom we may have occasional differences but who share our highest values. The wisest statesmen on the two sides of the ocean have always known that European unity and Atlantic partnership are both essential and mutually reinforcing.
So let us finally put behind us the debates over whether Europe’s unity has American support. We consider the issue settled. Let us, rather, address ourselves to the urgent challenges of mutual concern which a uniting Europe, the United States, and all industrial democracies must face together—common defense, East-West relations, and the international economy.
Security and the Democracies
Security is the bedrock of all that we do. A quarter century ago, the American defense commitment to Europe provided the shield behind which Western Europe recovered its economic health and political vitality. Today, our collective defense alliance—and the U.S.-Japanese relationship—continue to be essential for global stability. But the nature of security and strategy has fundamentally changed since the time when our alliances were founded:
—The Soviet Union has recovered from the devastation of World War II and pressed vigorously ahead on the path of industrial growth. [Page 439] Possessing resources on a continental scale and imposing on its people enormous sacrifices in the name of its ideology, the U.S.S.R. has developed its economic strength and technology to a point where it can match the West in many sectors of industrial and military power. It shows no signs of changing its priorities.
—For centuries, it was axiomatic that increases in military power could be translated into almost immediate political advantage. It is now clear that in strategic weaponry, new increments of weapons or destructiveness do not automatically lead to either military or political gains. The destructiveness of strategic weapons has contributed to the emergence of nuclear stalemate. Neither side, if it acts with minimum prudence, will let the balance tip against it, either in an arms race or in an agreement to limit arms.
—Beneath the nuclear umbrella, the temptation to probe with regional forces or proxy wars increases. The steady growth of Soviet conventional military and naval power and its expanding global reach cannot be ignored. Conventional forces and military assistance to allies assume pivotal importance. We must insure that the strength and flexibility of all forces capable of local defense are enhanced. And we must conduct a prudent and forceful foreign policy that is prepared to use our strength to block expansionism.
These new realities demand from us steadiness, above all. Democratic societies have always fluctuated in their attitude toward defense—between complacency and alarmist concern. The long leadtimes of modern weapons and their complexity make both these aberrations dangerous. We cannot afford alternation between neglect and bursts of frenzy if we are to have a coherent defense program and public support for the necessary exertions. We need an allied defense posture that is relevant to our dangers, credible to both friends and adversaries, and justifiable to our peoples. And we must be prepared to sustain it over the long term.
It is imperative that we maintain the programs that insure that the balance is preserved. But we owe it to ourselves to see the military balance in proper perspective. Complacency may produce weakness, but exaggeration of danger can lead to a loss of will. To be sure, there has been a steady buildup of Soviet military power. But we have also seen to the steady growth and improvement of our own forces over the same period.
—We have always had to face Soviet ground forces larger than our own, partly because of the Soviet Union’s definition of its needs as a power in the heart of the Eurasian landmass, with perceived threats on both flanks. Its naval power, while a growing and serious problem, is far weaker than combined allied naval strength in terms of tonnage, firepower, range, access to the sea, experience, and seamanship.[Page 440]
—The United States, for its part, is expanding its Army from 13 to 16 divisions through new measures of streamlining forces; we are increasing our combat forces in Europe; we plan to station a new Army brigade on the critical sector of the north German plain; we are augmenting our naval forces. Our European allies have completed major programs to build common infrastructure. We have undertaken new joint efforts of standardization and interoperability of allied forces.
—U.S. strategic forces are superior in accuracy, diversity, reliability, survivability, and numbers of separately targetable nuclear warheads. We have a commanding lead in strategic bombers. In addition, there are American deployments overseas and the nuclear forces of two Atlantic allies.
—Even with our different priorities, the economic and technological base which underlies Western military strength remains overwhelmingly superior in size and capacity for innovation. The Soviet Union suffers endemic weakness in its industry and agriculture; recent studies indicate that this chronic inefficiency extends even into their military sector to a much greater extent than realized before.
These strengths of ours demonstrate that our present security posture is adequate and that it is well within our capacities to continue to balance the various elements of Soviet power. To maintain the necessary defense is a question of leadership more than of power. Our security responsibility is both manageable and unending. We must undertake significant additional efforts for the indefinite future. For as far ahead as we can see, we will live in a twilight area between tranquillity and open confrontation.
This is a task for both sides of the Atlantic. Our defense effort within the alliance will be importantly affected by the degree to which the American public is convinced that our allies share similar perceptions of the military challenge and a comparable determination to meet it. The greatest threat to the alliance would occur if, for whatever reason—through misreading the threat, or inattention to conventional forces, or reductions of the defense efforts of allies, or domestic developments within NATO members—U.S. public support for NATO were weakened.
The challenge of building sufficient hardware is easier than those of geopolitical understanding, political coordination, and above all, resolve. In the nuclear age, once a change in the geopolitical balance has become unambiguous, it is too late to do anything about it. However great our strength, it will prove empty if we do not resist seemingly marginal changes whose cumulative impact can undermine our security. Power serves little purpose without the doctrines and concepts which define where our interests require its application.[Page 441]
Therefore let us not paralyze ourselves by a rhetoric of weakness. Let us concentrate on building the understanding of our strategic interests which must underlie any policy. The fact is that nowhere has the West been defeated for lack of strength. Our setbacks have been self-inflicted, either because leaders chose objectives that were beyond our psychological capabilities or because our legislatures refused to support what the executive branch believed was essential. This—and not the various “gaps” that appear in the American debate in years divisible by four—is the deepest security problem we face.
As long ago as the Harmel report of December 1967,3 the Atlantic alliance has treated as its “two main functions” the assurance of military security and realistic measures to reduce tensions between East and West. We never considered confrontation—even when imposed on us by the other side—or containment an end in itself. Nor did we believe that disagreements with the Soviet Union would automatically disappear. On the contrary, the very concept of “détente” has always been applicable only to an adversary relationship. It was designed to prevent competition from sliding into military hostilities and to create the conditions for the relationship to be gradually and prudently improved.
Thus, alliance policy toward the East has two necessary dimensions. We seek to prevent the Soviet Union from transforming its military power into political expansion. At the same time, we seek to resolve conflicts and disputes through negotiation and to strengthen the incentives for moderation by expanding the area of constructive relations.
These two dimensions are mutually reinforcing. A strong defense and resistance to adventurism are prerequisites for efforts of conciliation. By the same token, only a demonstrated commitment to peace can sustain domestic support for an adequate defense and a vigilant foreign policy. Our public and Congress will not back policies which appear to invite crises, nor will they support firmness in a crisis unless they are convinced that peaceful and honorable alternatives have been exhausted. Above all, we owe it to ourselves and to future generations to seek a world based on something more stable and hopeful than a balance of terror constantly contested.[Page 442]
However we label such a policy, it is imposed by the unprecedented conditions of the nuclear age. No statesman can lightly risk the lives of tens of millions. Every American President, after entering office and seeing the facts, has come to President Eisenhower’s view that there is no alternative to peace.
Our generation has been traumatized by World War II, because we remember that war broke out as a result of an imbalance of power. This is a lesson we must not forget. But neither must we forget the lesson of World War I, when war broke out despite an equilibrium of power. An international structure held together only by a balance of forces will sooner or later collapse in catastrophe. In our time this could spell the end of civilized life. We must therefore conduct a diplomacy that deters challenges if possible and that contains them at tolerable levels if they prove unavoidable—a diplomacy that resolves issues, nurtures restraint, and builds cooperation based on mutual interest.
This policy has critics in all our countries. Some take for granted the relative absence of serious crises in recent years, which the policy has helped to bring about, and then fault it for not producing the millennium, which it never claimed. Some caricature its objectives, portraying its goals in more exalted terms than any of its advocates, and then express dismay at the failure of reality to conform to this impossible standard. They describe détente as if it meant the end of all rivalry; when rivalry persists, they conclude that détente has failed and charge its advocates with deception or naivete. They measure the success of policy toward adversaries by criteria that should be reserved for traditional friendships. They use the reality of competition to attack the goal of coexistence, rather than to illustrate its necessity.
In fact, this policy has never been based on such hope or gullibility. It has always been designed to create conditions in which a cool calculus of interests would dictate restraint rather than opportunism, settlement of conflicts rather than their exacerbation. Western policies can at best manage and shape, not assume away, East-West competition.
A pivot of the East-West relationship is the U.S.-Soviet negotiation on limitation of strategic arms. Increasingly, strategic forces find their function only in deterring and matching each other. A continuing buildup of strategic arms therefore only leads to fresh balances, but at higher levels of expenditures and uncertainties. In an era of expanding technological possibilities, it is impossible to make rational choices of force planning without some elements of predictability in the strategic environment. Moreover, a continuing race diverts resources from other needed areas such as forces for regional defense, where imbalances can have serious geopolitical consequences. All these factors have made arms limitation a practical interest of both sides, as well as a factor for stability in the world.[Page 443]
We have made considerable progress toward curbing the strategic arms race in recent years. We will continue vigorously to pursue this objective in ways which protect Western interests and reflect the counsel of our allies.
In defining and pursuing policies of relaxing tensions with the East, the unity of the industrial democracies is essential. Our consultations have been intensive and frequent, and the record of Western cohesion in recent years has been encouraging—in the negotiations leading to the Four Power Agreement on Berlin, in the mutual and balanced force reduction talks, in the SALT negotiations [Strategic Arms Limitation Talks], and in the preparation for the European Security Conference.
Allied cooperation and the habits of consultation and coordination which we have formed will be even more important in the future. For as the policy of relaxing tensions proceeds, it will involve issues at the heart of all our interests.
No one should doubt the depth of our commitment to this process. But we also need to be clear about its limits and about our conception of reciprocity:
—We should require consistent patterns of behavior in different parts of the world. The West must make it clear that coexistence requires mutual restraint, not only in Europe and in the central strategic relationship but also in the Middle East, in Africa, in Asia—in fact, globally. The NATO Foreign Ministers, at their Oslo meeting last month, stressed the close link between stability and security in Europe and in the world as a whole.4 We must endorse this not only by our rhetoric but above all by our actions.
—We should make clear the tolerable definition of global ideological rivalry. We do not shrink from ideological competition. We have every reason for confidence in the indestructible power of man’s yearning for freedom. But we cannot agree that ideology alone is involved when Soviet power is extended into areas such as southern Africa in the name of “national liberation” or when regional or local instabilities are generated or exploited in the name of “proletarian internationalism.”
—We should not allow the Soviet Union to apply détente selectively within the alliance. Competition among us in our diplomatic or economic policies toward the East risks dissipating Western advantages and opening up Soviet opportunities. We must resist division and maintain the closest coordination.[Page 444]
The process of improving East-West relations in Europe must not be confined to relations with the Soviet Union. The benefits of relaxation of tensions must extend to Eastern as well as Western Europe. There should be no room for misconceptions about U.S. policy:
—We are determined to deal with Eastern Europe on the basis of the sovereignty and independence of each of its countries. We recognize no spheres of influence and no pretensions to hegemony. Two American Presidents and several Cabinet officials have visited Romania and Poland as well as non-aligned Yugoslavia,5 to demonstrate our stake in the flourishing and independence of those nations.
—For the same reason, we will persist in our efforts to improve our contacts and develop our concrete bilateral relations in economic and other fields with the countries of Eastern Europe.
—The United States supports the efforts of West European nations to strengthen their bilateral and regional ties with the countries of Eastern Europe. We hope that this process will help heal the divisions of Europe which have persisted since World War II.
—And we will continue to pursue measures to improve the lives of the people in Eastern Europe in basic human terms—such as freer emigration, the unification of families, greater flow of information, increased economic interchange, and more opportunities for travel.
The United States, in parallel with its allies, will continue to expand relationships with Eastern Europe as far and as fast as is possible. This is a long-term process; it is absurd to imagine that one conference by itself can transform the internal structure of Communist governments. Rhetoric is no substitute for patient and realistic actions. We will raise no expectations that we cannot fulfill. But we will never cease to assert our traditional principles of human liberty and national self-determination.
The course of East-West relations will inevitably have its obstacles and setbacks. We will guard against erosion of the gains that we have made in a series of difficult negotiations; we will insure that agreements already negotiated are properly implemented. We must avoid both sentimentality that would substitute good will for strength and mock toughness that would substitute posturing for a clear conception of our purposes.
We in the West have the means to pursue this policy successfully. Indeed, we have no realistic alternative. We have nothing to fear from [Page 445] competition: If there is a military competition, we have the strength to defend our interests; if there is an economic competition, we won it long ago; if there is an ideological competition, the power of our ideas depends only on our will to uphold them.
We need only to stay together and stay the course. If we do so, the process of East-West relations can, over time, strengthen the fabric of peace and genuinely improve the lives of all the peoples around the world.
Our Economic Strength
One of the greatest strengths of the industrial democracies is their unquestioned economic preeminence. Partly because we are committed to the free market system which has given us this preeminence, we have not yet fully realized the possibilities—indeed, the necessity—of applying our economic strength constructively to shaping a better international environment.
The industrial democracies together account for 65 percent of the world’s production and 70 percent of its commerce. Our economic performance drives international trade and finance. Our investment, technology, managerial expertise, and agricultural productivity are the spur to development and well-being around the world. Our enormous capacities are multiplied if we coordinate our policies and efforts.
The core of our strength is the vitality and growth of our own economies. At the Rambouillet economic summit last November,6 at the Puerto Rico summit next week,7 in the OECD [Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development], and in many other forums, the major democratic nations have shown their ability to work together.
But an extensive agenda still summons us. We will require further efforts to continue our recovery and promote noninflationary growth. We will need to facilitate adequate investment and supplies of raw materials. We must continue to avoid protectionist measures, and we must use the opportunity of the multilateral trade negotiations to strengthen and expand the international trading system. We need to reduce our vulnerability and dependence on imported oil through conservation, new sources of energy, and collective preparations for possible emer[Page 446]gencies. And we must build on the progress made at Rambouillet and at Jamaica last January8 to improve the international monetary system.
Our central challenge is to pool our strengths, to increase our coordination, and to tailor our policies to the long term. On the basis of solid cooperation among ourselves, we must deal more effectively with the challenges of the global economy—such as our economic relations with the centrally planned Communist economies and with the scores of new nations concerned with development.
East-West economic interchange, while small in relative scale, is becoming an important economic and political factor. This growth reflects our fundamental strength. It carries risks and complications, both political and economic. But it also presents opportunities for stabilizing relations and involving the Communist countries in responsible international conduct. If the democracies pursue parallel policies—not allowing the Communist states to stimulate debilitating competition among us or to manipulate the process for their own unilateral advantage—East-West economic relations can be a factor for peace and well-being.
We must insure that benefits are reciprocal. We must avoid large trade imbalances which could open opportunities for political pressure. We should structure economic relations so that the Communist states will be drawn into the international economic system and accept its disciplines.
When dealing with centrally controlled state economies, we have to realize that economic relations have a high degree of political content and cannot be conducted solely on the normal commercial basis. Obviously, profitability must be one standard, but we need a broader strategy, consistent with our free enterprise system, so that economic relations will contribute to political objectives.
The industrial democracies should coordinate their policies to insure the orderly and beneficial evolution of East-West relations. To these ends, the United States has proposed to the OECD that we intensify our analyses of the problems and opportunities inherent in East-West trade with a view to charting common objectives and approaches.
If the economic strength of the industrial democracies is important to the Socialist countries, it is vital for the developing world. These nations seek to overcome pervasive poverty and to lift the horizons of their peoples. They ask for an equitable share of global economic benefits and a greater role in international decisions that affect them.[Page 447]
The process of development is crucial not only for the poorer nations but for the industrial nations as well. Our own prosperity is closely linked to the raw materials, the markets, and the aspirations of the developing countries. An international order can be stable only if all nations perceive it as fundamentally just and are convinced that they have a stake in it. Over the long term, cooperative North-South relations are thus clearly in the interest of all, and the objectives of industrial and developing countries should be complementary.
However, the North-South dialogue has been far from smooth. Tactics of pressure and an emphasis on rhetorical victories at conferences have too often created an atmosphere of confrontation. Such attitudes obscure the fundamental reality that development is an arduous long-term enterprise. It will go forward only if both sides face facts without illusions, shunning both confrontation and sentimentality.
Far more is involved than the mechanical application of technology and capital to poverty. There must be within the developing country a sense of purpose and direction, determined leadership, and perhaps most important, an impulse for change among the people. Development requires national administration, a complex infrastructure, a revised system of education, and many other social reforms. It is a profoundly unsettling process that takes decades.
For many new countries it is in fact even more difficult than similar efforts by the Western countries a century ago, for their social and geographic conditions reflect the arbitrary subdivisions of colonial rule. Some face obstacles which could not be surmounted even with the greatest exertions on their own. Their progress depends on how well the international community responds to the imperatives of economic interdependence.
It is senseless, therefore, to pretend that development can proceed by quick fixes or one-shot solutions. Artificial majorities at international conferences confuse the issue. Confrontational tactics will in time destroy the domestic support in the industrial countries for the forward-looking policy which the developing countries so desperately need.
The industrial democracies have special responsibilities as well. Development requires their sustained and collective cooperation. They represent the largest markets and most of the world’s technology and capital. They have an obligation to show understanding for the plight of the poorest and the striving for progress of all developing nations. But they do the developing countries no favor if they contribute to escapism. If they compete to curry favor over essentially propagandistic issues, contributions will be diluted, resources will go unallocated, and unworkable projects will be encouraged.[Page 448]
The developing countries need from us not a sense of guilt but intelligent and realistic proposals that merge the interests of both sides in an expanding world economy:
—First, we must develop further the mechanisms of our own cooperation. To this end the United States has made a number of concrete proposals at the recently concluded OECD meeting.9
—Second, the industrial democracies should coordinate their national aid programs better so that we use our respective areas of experience and technical skill to best advantage. [French] President Giscard d’Estaing’s proposal for an integrated Western fund for Africa is an imaginative approach to regional development.
—Third, we should regularly consult and work in close parallel in major international negotiations and conferences. The Conference on International Economic Cooperation; the multilateral trade negotiations; U.N. General Assembly special sessions; world conferences on food, population, environment, or housing; and UNCTAD [U.N. Conference on Trade and Development] all can achieve much more if the industrial democracies approach them with a clear and coherent purpose.
—Fourth, we should stop conducting all negotiations on an agenda not our own. We should not hesitate to put forward our own solutions to common problems.
—And finally, we need a clear longer term strategy for development. The diverse elements of the process, including various forms of assistance, technology transfer, and trade and financial policy, must be better integrated.
Cooperation among developed countries is not confrontation between North and South, as is often alleged. The fact is that a responsible development policy is possible only if the industrial democracies pursue realistic goals with conviction, compassion, and coordination. They must not delude themselves or their interlocutors by easy panaceas, or mistake slogans for progress. We make the greatest contribution to development if we insist that the North-South dialogue emphasize substance rather than ideology and concentrate on practical programs instead of empty theological debates.
The Future of Democratic Societies
In every dimension of our activities, then, the industrial democracies enter the new era with substantial capacities and opportunities. [Page 449] At the same time, it would be idle to deny that in recent years the moral stamina of the West has been seriously challenged.
Since its beginnings, Western civilization has clearly defined the individual’s relationship to society and the state. In southern Europe, the humanism of the Renaissance made man the measure of all things. In northern Europe, the Reformation, in proclaiming the priesthood of all believers and offering rewards for individual effort, put the emphasis on the individual. In England, the sense of justice and human rights and responsibilities evolved in the elaboration of the common law. Two hundred years ago the authors of our Declaration of Independence drew upon this heritage; to them every human being had inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The state existed to protect the individual and permit full scope for the enjoyment of these rights.
Today in the West, 30 years after the Marshall plan, our deepest challenge is that a new generation must explore again the issues of liberty and social responsibility, in an era when societies have grown vastly in size, complexity, and dynamism.
The modern industrial society, though founded in freedom and offering prosperity, risks losing the individual in the mass and fostering his alienation. The technical complexity of public issues challenges the functioning of democracy. Mass media and the weakening of party and group structures further the isolation of the individual; they transform democratic politics, adding new elements of volatility and unpredictability. The bureaucratic state poses a fundamental challenge to political leadership and responsiveness to public will.
Basic moral questions are raised: How do we inspire a questioning new generation in a relativistic age and in a society of impersonal institutions? Will skepticism and cynicism sap the spiritual energies of our civilization at the moment of its greatest technical and material success? Having debunked authority, will our societies now seek refuge in false simplifications, demagogic certitudes, or extremist panaceas?
These questions are not a prediction but a test—a test of the creativity and moral fortitude of our peoples and leaders.
Western civilization has met such tests before. In the late 15th century, Europe was in a period of gloomy introspection, preoccupied with a sense of despair and mortality. The cities which had sparked its revival following the Islamic conquests were in decline. Its territory was being diminished by the depredations of a powerful invader from the East. Its spiritual, economic, and cultural center—Italy—was a prey to anarchy and dismemberment.
And yet Europe at that very moment was already well launched on one of the world’s periods of greatest political and intellectual [Page 450] advance. The Renaissance and Reformation, the great discoveries, the revival of humanistic values, the industrial and democratic revolutions—these were all to create the character and the dynamism of the Western civilization of which we, on both sides of the Atlantic, are the heirs.
Similarly today, the West has assets to meet its challenges and to draw from them the material for new acts of creation. It is our nations that have been the vanguard of the modern age. Intellectually and morally, it is our societies that have proven themselves the vast laboratory of the experiment of modernization. Above all, it is the Western democracies that originated—and keep alive today—the vision of political freedom, social justice, and economic well-being for all peoples. None of us lives up to this vision ideally or all the time. But the rigorous standard by which we judge ourselves is what makes us different from totalitarian societies, of the left or the right.
This, then, is our moral task:
—First, as democratic governments we must redeem, over and over again, the trust of our peoples. As a nation which has accepted the burden of leadership, the United States has a special responsibility: we must overcome the traumas of the recent period, eradicate their causes, and preserve the qualities which world leadership demands. In Europe, wherever there has been a slackening in governmental responsiveness to the needs of citizens, there should be reform and revival.
—Second, we must confront the complexities of a pluralistic world. This calls for more than specific technical solutions. It requires of leaders a willingness to explain the real alternatives, no matter how complicated or difficult. And it requires of electorates an understanding that we must make choices amidst uncertainty, where the outcome may be neither immediate nor reducible to simple slogans.
—Third, we must clarify our attitudes toward political forces within Western societies which appeal to electorates on the ground that they may bring greater efficiency to government. But we cannot avoid the question of the commitment of these forces to democratic values nor a concern about the trends that a decision based on temporary convenience would set in motion. At the same time, opposition to these forces is clearly not enough. There must be a response to legitimate social and economic aspirations and to the need for reforms of inadequacies from which these forces derive much of their appeal.
—Finally, the solidarity of the democratic nations in the world is essential both as material support and as a moral symbol. There could be no greater inspiration of our peoples than the reaffirmation of their common purpose and the conviction that they can shape their fortune in freedom.[Page 451]
We cannot afford either a perilous complacency or an immobilizing pessimism. Alastair Buchan posed his questions not to induce paralysis, but as a spur to wiser action and fresh achievement.
We know what we must do. We also know what we can do. It only remains to do it.
- Source: Department of State Bulletin, July 26, 1976, pp. 105–115. All brackets, except those indicating the omission of unrelated material, are in the original. Kissinger delivered the address before the International Institute for Strategic Studies, inaugurating the Alastair Buchan memorial lecture series. He arrived in London on June 24 for meetings with British Prime Minister James Callaghan and Foreign Secretary Anthony Crosland.↩
- See Document 8.↩
- For text of the report (annex to the communiqué issued at the conclusion of the December 1967 ministerial meeting of the North Atlantic Council, see Bulletin of Jan. 8, 1968, p. 50. [Footnote is in the original. Officially titled “The Future Tasks of the Alliance,” but informally named for the Belgian Foreign Minister Pierre Harmel, the Harmel Report defined the future direction and objectives of the NATO alliance.]↩
- The text of the communiqué issued on May 21 at the conclusion of the North Atlantic Council Ministerial meeting at Oslo is in Department of State Bulletin, June 21, 1976, pp. 774–775.↩
- Nixon paid official visits to Romania (August 2–3, 1969), Yugoslavia (September 30–October 2, 1970), and Poland (May 31–June 1, 1972). Similarly, Ford visited Poland (July 28–29, 1975), Romania (August 2–3, 1975), and Yugoslavia (August 3–4, 1975) as part of a two-week European trip which also included stops in West Germany and Finland.↩
- The economic summit at Rambouillet, France, November 15–17, 1975, was attended by Ford and Kissinger as well as the heads of state of France, West Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy, and Japan. The memoranda of conversations of the summit’s four sessions are printed in Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, volume XXXI, Foreign Economic Policy, 1973–1976, Documents 122–125.↩
- The summit meeting of the leaders of the United States, France, West Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy, Japan, and Canada was held in San Juan, Puerto Rico, June 27–28. See ibid., Documents 148 and 149.↩
- The IMF Interim Committee met in Jamaica January 7–8. For a report on the meeting, see ibid., Document 128.↩
- On June 21, Kissinger addressed the June 21–22 session of the OECD Council in Paris on “The Cohesion of the Industrial Democracies: The Precondition of Global Progress.” For the text of his speech, see Department of State Bulletin, July 19, 1976, pp. 73–83.↩