The Foreign Relations of the United States series presents the official documentary historical record of major foreign policy decisions and significant diplomatic activity of the United States Government. The Historian of the Department of State is charged with the responsibility for the preparation of the Foreign Relations series. The staff of the Office of the Historian, Bureau of Public Affairs, under the direction of the General Editor, plans, researches, compiles, and edits the volumes in the series. Secretary of State Frank B. Kellogg first promulgated official regulations codifying specific standards for the selection and editing of documents for the series on March 26, 1925. Those regulations, with minor modifications, guided the series through 1991.

Public Law 102–138, the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal Years 1992 and 1993 established a new statutory charter for the preparation of the series, which was signed by President George Bush on October 28, 1991. Section 198 of P.L. 102–138 added a new Title IV to the Department of State’s Basic Authorities Act of 1956 (22 USC 4351, et seq.).

The statute requires that the Foreign Relations series comprise a thorough, accurate, and reliable record of major United States foreign policy decisions and significant United States diplomatic activity. The volumes of the series should include all records needed to provide comprehensive documentation of major foreign policy decisions and actions of the United States Government. The statute also confirms the editing principles established by Secretary Kellogg: the Foreign Relations series is guided by the principles of historical objectivity and accuracy; records should not be altered or deletions made without indicating in the published text that a deletion has been made; the published record should omit no facts that were of major importance in reaching a decision; and nothing should be omitted for the purposes of concealing a defect in policy. The statute also requires that the Foreign Relations series be published not more than 30 years after the events recorded.

Structure and Scope of the Foreign Relations Series

This electronic-only volume is part of the subseries of the Foreign Relations series that documents the most important decisions and actions of the foreign policy of the administrations of Richard M. Nixon and Gerald R. Ford. Approximately twenty-five percent of the volumes scheduled for publication for the 1969–1976 subseries, covering the Nixon and Nixon-Ford administrations, will be in this format. The decision to institute this change was taken in full consultation with the Advisory Committee on Historical Diplomatic Documentation, which was established under the Foreign Relations statute. The advantages of this new method of presenting documentation are evident in this volume: the format enables convenient access to more key documentation on a broader range of issues, all or any portion of which can be easily downloaded. Annotation, the value-added element of documentary editing, is still present in limited form, but not to the same extent as print volumes. This electronic-only publication results in substantial savings in cost and time of production, thus allowing the series to present a fuller range of documentation on a wider range of topic sooner than would have been possible under a print-only format. These advantages compensate for the fact that this Foreign Relations volume is not an actual book bound in traditional ruby buckram. The Department of State, the Historian, the General Editor, and the Advisory Committee are all dedicated to publishing the great majority of the Foreign Relations series in print volumes, which are posted in electronic format on the Department of State’s website as well. While the future of research in documentary publications is increasingly tied to the ease and availability of the Internet, the Department of State will continue to use both print and electronic-only publishing to make the Foreign Relations series available to the widest audience possible. In that sense, this innovation is in keeping with the general principles of the series begun by President Lincoln and Secretary of State Seward and continued by subsequent presidents and secretaries of state for 134 years.

Focus of Research and Principles of Selection for Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, E–3

This volume documents United States policy concerning global/transnational issues during the Nixon and Ford administrations: Antarctic resource exploitation, international drug control, human rights, oceans policy, space and telecommunications, and terrorism. Additional global issues, including energy, disarmament, food policy, population control, and women’s issues are treated in other volumes in the 1969–1976 subseries. During the period covered in this volume, a number of refugee problems resulting from regional conflicts or civil wars occurred, but the Nixon administration usually approached those incidents individually rather than as phenomena requiring an overarching policy. It is the opinion of the editors that this volume recounts the era faithfully by focusing on those topics that the second Nixon and Ford administrations recognized as global issues and dealt with as worldwide phenomena. Issues treated primarily as bilateral or regional matters can be found in other volumes in this subseries.

The second Nixon and Ford administrations confronted numerous issues that could only be addressed in a global context, through multi-level negotiations including other governments, non-governmental entities, intergovernmental organizations, domestic constituencies, and transnational communities of scientific, scholarly, or other professional expertise. Moreover, the period reflected the growing influence of factors such as rapid technological innovation, a deepening sensitivity to environmental consequences, Congressional involvement in international affairs, and the influence of popular opinion in formulating foreign policy.

The potential for economic exploitation of the ecologically sensitive Antarctic region threatened to upset the special neutrality arrangements that protected the southernmost continent and its surrounding oceans. Aware of the fragile political-strategic balance in the region, Nixon and Ford administration officials exercised restraint in considering commercial opportunities, continued support for scientific research, and initiated measures to institute an orderly regime for management of Antarctic resources.

Policy makers endeavored to regulate the international flow of legal drugs in order to ensure adequate supplies of medicine while at the same time controlling the traffic in illicit substances. Nixon, Ford, and their advisers engaged in a multifaceted effort that included negotiations with governments whose territory acted as centers for the illicit traffic, a significant restructuring of federal drug control organization, attempts to promote demand reduction and crop substitution abroad, and cooperation with international agencies involved in drug control activities.

The promotion of human rights worldwide caused a significant reconsideration of the moral basis and fundamental goals of U.S. foreign policy. Congressional action resulted in the creation of an office within the Department of State to monitor human rights abuses and the imposition of sanctions against certain governments.

The continuum of issues involving innovations in the fields of telecommunications, the possibilities inherent in space exploration, and the potential for exploitation of extraterrestrial bodies elicited a multifaceted governmental response. Nixon and Ford administration officials promoted peaceful uses of space by providing launch assistance, cooperating with allies on joint projects, sharing some technologies, supporting international agreements to coordinate communications satellite networks, and disseminating remote sensing information with few restrictions. At the same time administration officials took advantage of U.S. technological superiority in negotiations concerning potential exploitation of the moon and other celestial bodies, dissemination of television and radio signals through direct broadcast satellites, through the restriction of data acquired from certain satellite activities, and by limiting technology transfers. The documents reveal the tension between civil and military uses of those technologies, especially in matters such as anti-satellite initiatives and measures enacted to protect the security of domestic telecommunications.

In the context of a global redefinition of maritime regimes taking place at the Third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea, oceans and fisheries policy consumed a considerable portion of the administrations’ attention, especially as negotiations reached a climax in 1976. While multiple domestic constituencies attempted to promote their interests, vital military and strategic considerations remained at the heart of U.S. policy.

Finally, a fundamental re-definition of the problem of terrorism occurred as the Nixon administration entered its second term. The March 1973 attack on U.S. diplomats in Khartoum and increased concern about the safety of foreign emissaries at the United Nations in New York City caused federal officials to engage in a variety of measures to promote security at home and abroad.

Editorial Methodology

The documents are presented chronologically according to Washington time. Memoranda of conversation are placed according to the time and date of the conversation, rather than the date the memorandum was drafted.

Editorial treatment of the documents published in the Foreign Relations electronic-only volumes follows Office style guidelines, supplemented by guidance from the General Editor and the Chief of the Declassification and Publishing Division. The original text is reproduced exactly, including marginalia or other notations, which are both visible on the facsimile copy of the document and described in the source note. There is also a text version of the document. Both versions are word searchable, so the volume has no index. The editors have supplied a heading, a summary, and a source note with additional relevant information as required for each document included in the volume. Spelling, capitalization, and punctuation are retained as found in the original text, except that obvious typographical errors are silently corrected in the text file. Other mistakes and omissions in the original text are corrected by bracketed insertions: a correction is set in italic type, an addition in roman type. Abbreviations and contractions are preserved as found in the text, and a list of abbreviations, persons, and sources accompanies the volume.

Bracketed insertions are also used to indicate text omitted by the editors because it deals with an unrelated subject (in roman type) or text that remains classified after declassification review (in italic type). The amount of material not declassified has been noted by indicating the number of lines or pages of text that were omitted and, where possible, the nature of the material extracted. Entire documents selected for publication but withheld because they must remain classified have been accounted for by a heading, a source note, and a bracketed note indicating the number of pages not declassified. These denied documents are listed in their chronological place in the volume.

Advisory Committee on Historical Diplomatic Documentation

The Advisory Committee on Historical Diplomatic Documentation reviews records, advises, and makes recommendations concerning the Foreign Relations series. The Advisory Committee monitors the overall compilation and editorial process of the series and advises on all aspects of the preparation and declassification of the series. The Advisory Committee does not necessarily review the contents of individual volumes in the series, but it makes recommendations on issues that come to its attention and reviews volumes, as it deems necessary to fulfill its advisory and statutory obligations.

Presidential Recordings and Materials Preservation Act Review

Under the terms of the Presidential Recordings and Materials Preservation Act (PRMPA) of 1974 (44 USC 2111 note), the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) has custody of the Nixon Presidential historical materials. The requirements of the PRMPA and implementing regulations govern access to the Nixon Presidential historical materials. The PRMPA and implementing public access regulations require NARA to review for additional restrictions in order to ensure the protection of the privacy rights of former Nixon White House officials, since these officials were not given the opportunity to separate their personal materials from public papers. Thus, the PRMPA and implementing public access regulations require NARA formally to notify the Nixon estate and former Nixon White House staff members that the agency is scheduling for public release Nixon White House historical materials. The Nixon Estate and former White House staff members have 30 days to contest the release of Nixon historical materials in which they were a participant or are mentioned. Further, the PRMPA and implementing regulations require NARA to segregate and return to the creator of files private and personal materials. All Foreign Relations volumes that include materials from NARA’s Nixon Presidential Materials Staff are processed and released in accordance with the PRMPA.

Declassification Review

The Office of Information Programs and Services, Bureau of Administration, Department of State, conducted the declassification review of all the documents published in this volume. The review was undertaken in accordance with the standards set forth in Executive Order 12958, as amended, on Classified National Security Information and applicable laws.

The principle guiding declassification review is to release all information, subject only to the current requirements of national security as embodied in law and regulation. Declassification decisions entailed concurrence of the appropriate geographic and functional bureaus in the Department of State, other concerned agencies of the U.S. Government, and the appropriate foreign governments regarding specific documents of those governments. The declassification review of this volume, which began in 2006, resulted in the decision to withhold 0 documents in full, excise a paragraph or more in 4 documents, and make minor excisions of less than a paragraph in 16 documents. A small number of documents remain under declassification review and will be added to the volume as the reviews are completed.

The Office of the Historian is confident, on the basis of the research conducted in preparing this volume and as a result of the declassification review process described above, that the documentation presented here is an accurate record of the foreign policy of the Nixon and Ford administrations toward global issues for the period 1973 to 1976.


The editor wishes to acknowledge the assistance of officials at the Nixon Presidential Materials Project of the National Archives and Records Administration (Archives II), at College Park, Maryland, the Richard Nixon Estate for allowing access to the Nixon Presidential recordings, and the Richard Nixon Library & Birthplace for facilitating that access. The editor would also like to thank, the staff of the Gerald R. Ford Library in Ann Arbor, Michigan for their research assistance as well as their consultation on many of the issues covered in this volume.

William B. McAllister conducted the research, made the document selections, and wrote the annotation for this volume under the supervision of Louis Smith, former Chief of the General and European Division and M. Todd Bennett, former Chief of the Europe and Global Issues Division, and under the direction of the former General Editor Edward C. Keefer. Dean Weatherhead coordinated the declassification review, under the supervision of the Chief of the Declassification and Publishing Division, Susan C. Weetman. Forrest Barnum, Mandy A. Chalou, and Chris Tudda scanned the documents, prepared them for on-line publication, and devised the Internet format. Mandy A. Chalou and Keri Lewis performed the copy and technical editing of the list of documents, summaries, and annotation.

Ambassador Edward Brynn
Acting Historian
Bureau of Public Affairs
December 18, 2009