Press Release

Office of the Historian Bureau of Public Affairs United States Department of State September 19, 2005

The Department of State released today Foreign Relations of the United States, 1969–1976, Volume E–1, Documents on Global Issues, 1969–1972, as an electronic–only publication. This volume is the latest publication in the subseries of the Foreign Relations series that documents the most important decisions and actions of the foreign policy of the administrations of Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford. Volume E–1 is the second Foreign Relations volume to be published in this new format, available to all free of charge on the Internet. Approximately 25 percent of the volumes scheduled for publication for the 1969–1976 subseries, covering the Nixon and Nixon–Ford administrations, will be in this format.

This volume documents the foreign policy of the Nixon administration towards global–sometimes called transnational–issues: terrorism, hijacking and other attacks on civilian aviation; international narcotics control; international cooperation in space and on the environment; and oceans policy, especially the law of the sea. This is not a complete list of global issues faced by the first Nixon administration; others–such as energy, disarmament, refugees, and human rights–will be covered in other regional or topical Foreign Relations volumes.

The Nixon administration was the first in U.S. history to grapple with a major terrorist threat to civilian aviation, diplomats, and representatives of the United States and other nations, including Olympic athletes and ordinary citizens. Hijackings, the hostage taking of American citizens, and attacks against and assassinations of U.S. diplomats occurred prior to 1969, but the U.S. Government had neither formulated an overall policy in response to these incidents, nor designed a plan of action for unilateral, bilateral, or multilateral action to prevent them. This volume documents the beginning of an effort to develop an overall strategy and policy towards terrorism and to forge an international campaign to combat it. The Nixon administration also faced a serious drug addiction problem at home and sought to attack that problem by eliminating its perceived cause: illegal opium production abroad and the illicit narcotics trade. This volume documents this international phase of the “war on drugs.” This volume also demonstrates that Nixon and his major foreign policy advisers were concerned with international environment issues. Environmentalism in the United States had a transnational aspect, with a growing but still incomplete realization that the earth consisted of one interconnected environment. Exploration of outer space, as well as the use of near space for communications and photo reconnaissance by the U.S. Government and private companies, increased dramatically during the period. The section on international space cooperation documents a dialogue among the Nixon administration’s science and political advisers about the wisdom of international cooperation, especially its relationship to commercial and international security concerns. The final section covers U.S. oceans policy, including fisheries and potential economic and military use of the oceans’ sea beds, as well as territorial limits, rights of passage, and other law of the sea questions. The largest chapter in the volume, it reflects the Nixon administration’s emphasis on law of the sea as a major international issue.

The volume, including a preface, list of names, abbreviations, sources, annotated document list, and this press release, are available at the Office of the Historian website ( For further information contact Edward Keefer, General Editor of the Foreign Relations series, at (202) 663–1131; fax (202) 663–1289; e–mail