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Radio Address About the Fourth Annual Foreign Policy Report to the Congress.

May 03, 1973

Good evening:

The year 1972 was a time of more dramatic progress toward a lasting peace in the world than any other year since the end of World War II. But as encouraging as that progress was, we cannot rest on our laurels now.

Nineteen hundred seventy-three and the years to come will test whether America will go forward into a new era of international relations or whether we will go backward into preoccupation with ourselves, thus allowing the world to slip back into its age-old patterns of conflict.

If we meet this test, the rewards can be great. If we do not, a priceless opportunity may be tragically lost.

It is against this background of hope and danger that I have today submitted to the Congress my fourth annual report on United States foreign policy. Tonight I want to share with you some highlights of that report.

Since the time of my last foreign policy review, we have witnessed historic achievements on a number of fronts. After more than two decades of hostility and isolation, we have begun an entirely new relationship with the People's Republic of China when I visited Peking last year.

Travel, exchanges, and trade between our two countries are accelerating. This month we shall open liaison offices in each other's capitals, headed by distinguished senior diplomats.

The United States and the Soviet Union have taken a decisive turn away from the confrontation of the past quarter century. At our meeting last May, the Soviet leaders and I established a set of basic principles to govern our relations. We signed a series of cooperative agreements, and we laid the foundation for major increases in trade. Most importantly, we reached an unprecedented agreement limiting the nuclear arsenals that have haunted the world for a generation.

In the early months of 1973, intensive negotiations and a decisive military policy brought us at last to a just settlement of the long and costly war in Vietnam. We achieved our fundamental objectives--a cease-fire, the return of our prisoners, a commitment to account for those missing in action, the honorable withdrawal of our forces, and the right of the people of South Vietnam to determine their own political future.

But the peace in Vietnam and the parallel peace in Laos remain fragile because of North Vietnam's continued violations of the peace agreement. A cease-fire still has not been reached in Cambodia. We earnestly hope these problems can be solved at the conference table. We will not turn our back on our friends and allies while Hanoi makes a mockery of its promise to help keep the peace.

During recent months, with less fanfare than in negotiations with our adversaries but with no less dedication, we have also been working closely with our Atlantic and Pacific partners. In addition, we have moved toward major reform of the international economic system, although the process of readjustment is still marked by crises.

We have continued to share more responsibilities with our friends under the Nixon Doctrine. In sum, recalling the challenges we faced and the goals we set at the outset of this Administration, all Americans can take satisfaction in the record of the recent past.

But our progress in the early 1970's has been more marked in reducing tensions than in restructuring partnerships. That is why we must make 1973 not only the "Year of Europe," as some have called it, but also the year of renewal for all of America's alliances and friendships.

In this spirit, we shall cooperate with our European friends to forge even stronger partnerships, cemented by a new articulation of the goals we share.

There will be the closest collaboration on such major issues as the mutual and balanced reduction of forces in Europe, the European Security Conference, and the current round of strategic arms limitation talks. Before the end of the year, I will visit our Atlantic allies.

We shall also continue to attach the highest priority to our relations with our major Pacific ally, Japan. Prime Minister Tanaka will visit the United States this summer for talks on this subject.

We shall work with all concerned nations to create a stable monetary system and to promote freer trade. To make this possible, I again urge the Congress to pass promptly the crucial trade legislation I submitted last month.

We are also seeking in 1973 to further the positive momentum in our relations with the Soviet Union. I look forward to welcoming the Soviet leadership to this country later in the year.

Dr. Kissinger leaves tonight for Moscow to prepare for that visit. New U.S.-Soviet talks are already underway, aiming for further agreements on controlling nuclear weapons.

We shall also continue this year to build our promising new relationship with the People's Republic of China.

We shall pay particular attention to our neighbors in this hemisphere. Secretary Rogers is soon to embark on a trip to Latin America, and I look forward to a similar journey myself during my second term.

We shall do our part with others to reduce tensions and increase opportunity in such areas as the Middle East, South Asia, and Africa.

We shall continue building new partnerships of shared responsibilities with all our friends around the globe. Approval of the foreign aid bill which I sent to the Congress this week will be fundamental to this effort.

Our policy in the world for the next 4 years can be summarized quite simply:

Where peace is newly planted, we shall work to make it thrive. Where bridges have been built, we shall work to make them stronger.

Where friendships have endured, we shall work to make them grow.

We shall keep America strong, involved in the world, meeting the responsibilities which no other free nation is able to meet in building a structure of peace.

I said upon taking office more than 4 years ago that a nation could aspire to no higher honor than the title of peacemaker. America has done much to earn that title since then. Let us resolve to do still more in the years ahead.

Thank you and good evening.

Note: The President recorded the remarks for use on radio.

Richard Nixon, Radio Address About the Fourth Annual Foreign Policy Report to the Congress. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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