Gerald R. Ford photo

Address at the University of Hawaii

December 07, 1975

Thank you very much, Dr. Kleinjans. Governor Ariyoshi, Senator Fong, Congressman Matsunaga, Dr. Matsuda, students, faculty, and members of the community here in Hawaii:

It was nice to see you, Doctor. I had the honor for a good many years of representing an area, a wonderful community, from which the Doctor came. I know more of his relatives perhaps than he does--[laughter]--and they were always very kind to me, for which I was deeply grateful.

But it is good to be home again in the United States. I have just completed, as many of you know, a 7-day trip to the State of Alaska, to the People's Republic of China, to our good friends Indonesia and the Philippines, and now I am obviously happy to be home in our 50th State, Hawaii.

This morning I reflected on the past at the shrine of Americans who died on Sunday morning 34 years ago. I came away with a new spirit of dedication to the ideals that emerged from Pearl Harbor in World War II--dedication to America's bipartisan policy of pursuing peace through strength and dedication to a new future of interdependence and cooperation with all peoples of the Pacific.

I subscribe to a Pacific doctrine of peace with all and hostility toward none. The way I would like to remember or recollect Pearl Harbor is by preserving the power of the past to build the future. Let us join with new and old countries of that great Pacific area in creating the greatest civilization on the shores of the greatest of our oceans.

My visit here to the East-West Center holds another kind of meaning. Your center is a catalyst of America's positive concern for Asia, its people and its rich diversity of cultures. You advance our hope that Asia will gain a better understanding of the United States.

Last year we were pleased to receive and to welcome nearly 54,000 Asian students to the United States, while thousands upon thousands of American students went to Asian countries. I applaud your contribution to partnership in education. Your efforts represent America's vision of an open world of understanding, freedom, and peace.

In Hawaii, the crossroads of the Pacific, our past and our future join.

I was deeply moved when I visited Japan last year and when I recently had the honor of welcoming the Emperor and the Empress of Japan to America. The gracious welcome that I received and the warmth of the welcome the American people bestowed upon the Emperor and the Empress testify to a growing friendship and partnership between our two great countries. This is a tribute to what is best in man--his capacity to grow from fear to trust and from a tragedy of the past to a hopeful future. It is a superb example of what can be achieved in human progress. It inspires our new efforts in Asia to improve relations.

America, a nation of the Pacific Basin, has a very vital stake in Asia and a responsibility to take a leading part in lessening tensions, preventing hostilities, and preserving peace. World stability and our own security depend upon our Asian commitments.

In 1941, 34 years ago today, we were militarily unprepared. Our trade in the Pacific was very limited. We exercised jurisdiction over the Philippines. We were preoccupied with Western Europe. Our instincts were isolationist.

We have transcended that age. We are now the world's strongest nation. Our great commercial involvement in Asia is expanding. We led the way in conferring independence upon the Philippines. Now we are working out new associations and arrangements with the trust territories of the Pacific.

The center of political power in the United States has shifted westward. Our Pacific interests and concerns have increased. We have exchanged the freedom of action of an isolationist state for the responsibilities of a great global power. As I return from this trip to three major Asian countries, I am even more aware of our interests in this part of the world.

The security concerns of great world powers intersect in Asia. The United States, the Soviet Union, China, and Japan are all Pacific powers. Western Europe has historic and economic ties with Asia. Equilibrium in the Pacific is absolutely essential to the United States and to the other countries in the Pacific.

The first premise of a new Pacific Doctrine is that American strength is basic to any stable balance of power in the Pacific. We must reach beyond our concern for security. But without security, there can be neither peace nor progress. The preservation of the sovereignty and the independence of our Asian friends and allies remain a paramount objective of American policy.

We recognize that force alone is insufficient to assure security. Popular legitimacy and social justice are vital prerequisites of resistance against subversion or aggression. Nevertheless, we owe it to ourselves and to those whose independence depends upon our continued support to preserve a flexible and balanced position of strength throughout the Pacific.

The second basic premise of a new Pacific Doctrine is that partnership with Japan is a pillar of our strategy. There is no relationship to which I have devoted more attention, nor is there any greater success story in the history of American efforts to relate to distant cultures and to people. The Japanese-American relationship can be a source of great, great pride to every American and to every Japanese. Our bilateral relations have never been better. The recent exchange of visits symbolized a basic political partnership. We have begun to develop with the Japanese and other advanced industrial democracies better means of harmonizing our economic policy. We are joining with Japan, our European friends, and representatives of the developing nations this month to begin shaping a more efficient and more equitable pattern of North-South economic relations.

The third premise of a new Pacific Doctrine is the normalization of relations with the People's Republic of China, the strengthening of our new ties with this great nation representing nearly one-quarter of mankind. This is another recent achievement of American foreign policy. It transcends 25 years of hostility.

I visited China to build on the dialog started nearly 4 years ago. My wide-ranging exchanges with the leaders of the People's Republic of China--with Chairman Mao Tse-tung and Vice Premier Teng Hsiao-ping--enhanced our understanding of each other's views and each other's policies.

There were, as expected, differences of perspective. Our societies, our philosophies, our varying positions in the world give us differing perceptions of our respective national interests. But we did find a common ground. We reaffirmed that we share very important areas of concern and agreement. They say and we say that the countries of Asia should be free to develop in a world where there is mutual respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all states; where people are free from the threat of foreign aggression; where there is noninterference in the internal affairs of others; and where the principles of equality, mutual benefit, .and coexistence shape the development of peaceful international order. We share opposition to any form of hegemony in Asia or in any other part of the world.

I reaffirmed the determination of the United States to complete the normalization of relations with the People's Republic of China on the basis of the Shanghai communique. Both sides regarded our discussions as significant, useful, and constructive. Our relationship is becoming a permanent feature of the international political landscape. It benefits not only our two peoples but all peoples of the region and the entire world.

A fourth principle of our Pacific policy is our continuing stake in stability and security in Southeast Asia.

After leaving China, I visited Indonesia and the Philippines. Indonesia is a nation of 140 million people, the fifth largest population in the world today. It is one of our important new friends and a major country in that area of the world. The Republic of the Philippines is one of our oldest and dearest allies. Our friendship demonstrates America's longstanding interest in Asia.

I spent 3 days in Djakarta and Manila. I would have liked to have had time to visit our friends in Thailand, Singapore, and Malaysia. We share important political. and economic concerns with these five nations who make up the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

I can assure you that Americans will be hearing much more about the ASEAN organization. All of its members are friends of the United States. Their total population equals our own. While they are developing countries, they possess many, many assets--vital peoples, abundant natural resources, and well-mannered agricultures. They have skilled leaders and the determination to develop themselves and to solve their own problems. Each of these countries protects its independence by relying on its own national resilience and diplomacy. We must continue to assist them. I learned during my visit that our friends want us to remain actively engaged in the affairs of the region. We intend to do so.

We retain close and valuable ties with our old friends and allies in the Southwest Pacific--Australia on the one hand and New Zealand on the other.

A fifth tenet of our new Pacific policy is our belief that peace in Asia depends upon a resolution of outstanding political conflicts.

In Korea, tension persists. We have close ties with the Republic of Korea. And we remain committed to peace and security on the Korean Peninsula, as the presence of our forces there attests. Responding to the heightened tension last spring, we reaffirmed our support of the Republic of Korea. Today, the United States is ready to consider constructive ways of easing tensions on the peninsula. But we will continue to resist any moves which attempt to exclude the Republic of Korea from discussion of its own future.

In Indochina, the healing effects of time are required. Our policies toward the new regimes of the peninsula will be determined by their conduct toward us. We are prepared to reciprocate gestures of good will--particularly the return of remains of Americans killed or missing in action or information about them. If they exhibit restraint toward their neighbors and constructive approaches to international problems, we will look to the future rather than to the past.

The sixth point of our new policy in the Pacific is that peace in Asia requires a structure of economic cooperation reflecting the aspiration of all the peoples in the region.

The Asian-Pacific economy has recently achieved more rapid growth than any other region in the world. Our trade with East Asia now exceeds our transactions with the European Community. America's jobs, currency, and raw materials depend upon economic ties with the Pacific Basin. Our trade with the region is now increasing by more than 30 percent annually, reaching some $46 billion last year. Our economies are increasingly interdependent as cooperation grows between developed and developing nations.

Our relations with the five ASEAN countries are marked by growing maturity and by more modest and more realistic expectations on both sides. We no longer approach them as donor to dependent. These proud people look to us less for outright aid than for new trading opportunities and more equitable arrangements for the transfer of science and technology.

There is one common theme which was expressed to me by the leaders of every Asian country that I visited. They all advocate the continuity of steady and responsible American leadership. They seek self-reliance in their own future and in their own relations with us.

Our military assistance to allies and friends is a modest responsibility, but its political significance far surpasses the small cost involved. We serve our highest national interests by strengthening their self-reliance, their relations with us, their solidarity with each other, and their regional security.

I emphasized to every leader I met that the United States is a Pacific nation. I pledged, as President, I will continue America's active concern for Asia and our presence in the Asian-Pacific region.

Asia is entering a new era. We can contribute to a new structure of stability founded on a balance among the major powers, strong ties to our allies in the region, an easing of tension between adversaries, the stir-reliance and regional solidarity of smaller nations, and expanding economic ties and cultural exchanges. These components of peace are already evident. Our foreign policy in recent years and in recent days encourages their growth.

If we can remain steadfast, historians will look back and view the 1970's as the beginning of a period of peaceful cooperation and progress, a time of growing community for all the nations touched by this great ocean.

Here in the Pacific crossroads of Hawaii, we envision hope for a wider community of man. We see the promise of a unique republic which includes all the world's races. No other country has been so truly a free, multiracial society. Hawaii is a splendid example, a splendid showcase of America and exemplifies our destiny as a Pacific nation.

America's Pacific heritage emerged from this remarkable State. I am proud to visit Hawaii--the island star in the American firmament which radiates the universal magic of aloha.

Let there flow from Hawaii--and from all of the States in our Union--to all peoples, East and West, a new spirit of interchange to build human brotherhood. Thank you very much.

Note: The President spoke at 11:05 a.m. at the East-West Center. In his opening remarks, he referred to Everett Kleinjans, president of the center, and Fujio Matsuda, president of the University of Hawaii.

Gerald R. Ford, Address at the University of Hawaii Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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