48. Editorial Note
On June 29, 1977, Secretary of State Cyrus Vance addressed a meeting of the Asia Society in New York. Founded by John D. Rockefeller III during the 1950s, the Asia Society helped to improve American understanding of Asian cultures. Vance begin his remarks, entitled “America’s Role in Consolidating a Peaceful Balance and Promoting Economic Growth in Asia,” by noting that American prospects for “sustaining and developing relationships” with East Asian nations were more promising than at any time since World War II. The Carter administration sought to capitalize upon positive developments in U.S.-Asian relationships, while preventing negative trends that might upset the “presently favorable regional environment.” U.S. interests in Asia, he asserted, “are enduring, and they are substantial.” He continued:
“I hope to leave you with these understandings:
“—First, the United States is and will remain an Asian and Pacific power.
“—Second, the United States will continue its key role in contributing to peace and stability in Asia and the Pacific.
“—Third, the United States seeks normal and friendly relations with the countries in the area on the basis of reciprocity and mutual respect.
“—Fourth, the United States will pursue mutual expansion of trade and investment across the Pacific, recognizing the growing interdependence of the economies of the United States and the region.
“—Fifth, we will use our influence to improve the human conditions of the peoples of Asia.
“In all of this, there can be no doubt of the enduring vitality of our country’s relationships with the peoples of Asia and the Pacific.[Page 207]
“To the people of Asia I say tonight without qualification that our nation has recovered its self-confidence at home. And we have not abandoned our interest in Asia.
“We are and will remain a Pacific nation, by virtue of our geography, our history, our commerce, and our interests. Roughly one-quarter of all our trade is now with East Asia and the Pacific; last year we sold $22 billion worth of our products in the region. For the last five years more of our trade has been with that region than with any other, including the European Community.
“To be able to speak of peace and stability in Asia is a welcome change. But serious problems persist. Our tasks are to help consolidate the emerging peaceful balance in Asia and to promote economic growth that offers promise to its peoples.
“The United States will pursue its relations with the nations of Asia with an open mind. We will continue to work closely with allies and friends. And we hope to normalize relations on a mutually constructive basis with those who have been adversaries.
“The United States recognizes the importance of its continuing contribution to Asian security. We will maintain a strong military presence in the area.” (Department of State Bulletin, August 1, 1977, pages 141–142)
The complete text of Vance’s address is ibid., pages 141–145. The Department transmitted the text of the speech to all East Asian and Pacific diplomatic posts in telegram 151507, June 29. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D770232–1067)