Dwight D. Eisenhower photo

Radio and Television Report to the American People on the Trip to the far East.

June 27, 1960

[ Delivered from the President's office at 7:30 p.m. ]

My friends:

I have just returned to Washington from a trip to the far East. It has been a trip so marked by events of significance that I shall try this evening to give you a simple background of fact, against which these recent events can be viewed in perspective.

To begin, a few personal observations on the trip I have just concluded:

First, American relations with the Philippines, Taiwan, Korea and Okinawa have been strengthened.

Second, the people of these far Eastern lands took advantage of the opportunity given by this visit to demonstrate anew their long and ardent friendship with and for the people of America. The American people are gratified, I am sure, as am I, by these heartwarming demonstrations.

Third, the ratification of the Mutual Security Treaty between the United States and Japan represents an important victory for the free World--a defeat for international communism.

And now, let's look at the background of this trip--and the others I have taken in the interest of world peace.

This trip was planned as one of a series which have, in toto, taken me nearly around the world, to twenty-seven nations of Europe, the Middle East, South Asia, North Africa, the Americas, and the far East. Those nations I have visited during the last ten months have populations reaching an aggregate of over a billion people.

To understand where these visits fit into the over-all foreign relations of this government we must go back to 1953, to the time when I was assessing the world situation with the late Secretary of State Dulles, preparatory to my assumption of the office of the Presidency.

At that time we recognized that the Communists had, for some years following the conclusion of World War II, taken advantage of the chaotic aftermath of conflict--and of our own self-imposed military disarmament-to indulge in a continuous campaign of aggression and subversion in Asia and Eastern Europe. They had disrupted the lives of millions of free people, causing lowered living standards and exhausted economies. China and its half billion people had been lost to the free World. The war in Korea, then in condition of stalemate, still dragged on.

We began our studies with one essential fact before us. It had become clear, by 1953, that the accumulation of atomic weapon stockpiles, whose use could destroy civilization, made resort to force an intolerable means for settling international disputes. Only in the rule of law--which meant the attainment of an enduring peace with justice could mankind hope for guarantee against extinction.

With these facts in mind we concluded, and have since been guided by the conviction, that there were several things which we should_ do simultaneously, all of them in conformity with the ideals expressed in the Charter of the United Nations.

It was, and is, mandatory to present before the world, constantly and vigorously, America's great desire for peace and her readiness to sit at the conference table to discuss specific problems with anyone who would show an equal readiness to negotiate honestly and in good faith. This we continue to do in spite of difficulties such as the regrettable action of the Soviet delegation in walking out of the 10-nation Disarmament Conference at Geneva this morning. But, from the very beginning we have made it clear that until real progress toward mutual disarmament could be achieved, our first concern would be to keep our own defenses strong, modern, and alert.

We tried to identify all those areas in the world where serious trouble could erupt suddenly, and developed suggestions for correcting the causes of unrest and of enhancing stability in such localities. Through cooperation with our friends we have succeeded in removing causes of friction in many of these areas.

In support of these purposes, we have sought, from the beginning, frequent personal contact with responsible governmental officials of friendly nations. Indeed, we have felt it wise, also, to seek to improve communications between ourselves and the Soviet government. Akin to this effort was one which has come to be called the people-to-people program--a completely new type of venture in international relations which has been amazingly successful.

Along with these objectives, we have constantly striven to devise better methods of cooperation with our friends, working out with them programs by which together we could improve our common security and raise living standards. Our Mutual Security Program has been and is a vital means of making such cooperation effective.

To carry out the purpose of proclaiming and demonstrating to the world America's peaceful intentions, we first made a number of policy statements and a series of concrete proposals that might lead to fruitful discussions with the Soviets.

As early as April of 1953, I suggested disarmament talks with the Soviets and pledged that I would urge the United States to apply a substantial portion of any savings realized through mutually acceptable disarmament to the improvement of living standards in the less developed nations.

Later that year I proposed, before the United Nations General Assembly, that we devote all discoveries in atomic science to peaceful uses. Nineteen months later at Geneva I suggested the Open Skies method of mutual inspection.

In the meantime, the Secretary of State set out tirelessly to make calls on friendly governments and to strengthen collective security. In return we issued invitations to Heads of State to visit America and her people. Other good will visits were concurrently made by the Vice President and other personal representatives.

Many Heads of Government or State responded promptly to our invitations to visit this country. In the past seven and a half years, more than seventy Heads of State and Prime Ministers have come to the United States (some of them several times) in visits extending from a few days to some weeks. In this respect the period has been without precedent. Other visitors are to come in the near future. Indeed, tomorrow we shall be honored by the arrival in Washington on such a visit of the King and Queen of Thailand, and later in the year the Crown Prince and Princess of Japan, and the King and Queen of Denmark.

I early began to receive urgent invitations to make return visits to the countries whose Heads had paid us the courtesy of coming to see America and our way of life

Many months ago we concluded that I should personally accept some of these invitations, as opportunity should present itself. Secretary Herter, first as Under Secretary of State and later as Secretary of State, enthusiastically concurred. Overseas visits by me, all of us felt, would be a strong support of other successful programs.

The great value resulting from these journeys to twenty-seven nations has been obvious here and abroad. Throughout the world there has been opportunity to emphasize and re-emphasize America's devotion to peace with justice; her determination to sustain freedom and to strengthen free World security through our cooperative programs; her readiness to sacrifice in helping to build the kind of world we want.

These visits involved, of course, valuable conversations between Heads of State and Government, as well as the promotion of understanding among peoples.

However, except for so-called Summit and the NATO Heads of Government meeting, none of my visits has been planned or carried out solely as a diplomatic mission seeking specific agreements, even though discussions have invariably involved important issues.

Incidentally, I believe that Heads of State and Government can, occasionally, and preferably on an informal basis, profitably meet for conversations on broad problems and principles. They can, of course, also convene to give solemn approval to agreements previously prepared by normal diplomatic methods.

But Heads of Government meetings are not effective mechanisms for developing detailed provisions of international compacts, and have never been so considered by this government.

On the other hand, the good will aspects of a visit by a Head of Government can frequently bring about favorable results far transcending those of normal diplomatic conferences. They have resulted in the creation of a more friendly atmosphere and mutual confidence between peoples. They have proved effective in bringing closer together nations that respect human dignity and are dedicated to freedom.

Indeed it seems apparent that the Communists, some time ago, reached the conclusion that these visits were of such positive value to the free World as to obstruct Communist imperialism. Thus they have sought every possible method to stop them. Through their propaganda they bitterly opposed my entry into the Philippines, in Taiwan, in Okinawa, in Korea, and, of course, Japan.

In Paris last month they advanced false and elaborate excuses for cancelling my invitation to visit the Soviet Union, when all that was necessary to say was that they found it inconvenient to receive me.

With their associates in Peiping, they went to great lengths and expense to create disorders in Tokyo that compelled the Japanese government to decide, under conditions then existing, that it should revoke its longstanding invitation for me to visit that sister democracy.

These disorders were not occasioned by America. We in the United States must not fall into the error of blaming ourselves for what the Communists do; after all, Communists will act like Communists.

One clear proof of the value, to us, of these visits is the intensity of the opposition the Communists have developed against them.

Respecting Japan, in spite of the outrageous conduct of a violent and disorderly minority, I have been assured that the people there were, in overwhelming majority, anxious to welcome me as a representative of a nation with which they wished to cooperate and to have friendly relations.

Of course, the basic objective of the Communist-inspired disorders in Tokyo was to bring about the rejection by the Japanese government of the Treaty. That the Communists were defeated in their frantic efforts to prevent ratification of that Treaty speaks well for the future of Japanese-American relations. Obviously that signal defeat for International Communism far outweighs, in importance, the blocking of my scheduled visit.

Another purpose of the Communist-inspired riots in Tokyo was to weaken confidence between our peoples and to persuade the United States to change its basic policies toward Japan. It would be a tremendous victory for International Communism if we were to permit the unhappy events of the past several weeks in Japan to disrupt our economic relationships with that nation; or to weaken the feeling of friendship and understanding which unites the vast majority of the Japanese and American people.

Japan has once again become a great nation. Over the postwar years she has painstakingly created a new image of herself, the image of a responsible, peaceful and cooperative free World nation, mindful of her obligations and of the rights of others. Japan has made a fine record in the United Nations as well as elsewhere on the international stage.

Since the loss of mainland China to the Communists in 1949, the need to link the other nations of the far East with the United States more strongly, in their mutual interest, should be apparent to all. We seek, and continue to build and strengthen these links, with Japan as well as with the other countries, by actions of many kinds--of which my recent trip was but a single example. In the present circumstances, a far Eastern policy of "waiting for the dust to settle" will not meet the free World's need.

The other free countries of the far East, small in relation to the massive area and immense population of Red China, can survive in freedom and flourish only in cooperative association with the United States and a free Japan. Through our aid programs, through our bilateral and collective defensive arrangements such as SEATO, through our very presence in the area, we help them greatly. And a free and friendly Japan can reinforce this American effort, as indeed she is already doing through aid programs of her own.

Because of the Prime Minister's necessary withdrawal of his urgent invitation of last winter for me to visit Japan on June 19th, I was of course unable to meet with the Japanese Government and people, or to bring to them assurances of American good will. This was disappointing, but we should not forget the favorable effects of visits elsewhere in the far East, as well as the final approval of the Japanese-American treaty by both Governments. Moreover, the general improvement that has come about through exchanges of visits by friendly Heads of Government is recognized and appreciated throughout the free World.

I wish that every one of you could have accompanied me to Manila, Taipei, and Korea and thus witnessed for yourselves the outpouring of friendship, gratitude and respect for America. The throngs of people there, like the many millions who, during earlier journeys, lined the streets of great cities in the Mid-East, Europe, North Africa, South America--as well as in Canada and Mexico--had one overwhelming message for our nation.

That message, expressed in glowing faces, friendly shouts, songs, gaily painted placards, and home made signs, was that they wanted to be partners with the United States. They share our ideals of dignity of man and the equality of all before the law--they believe in their God; they believe that the American people are their friends. They believe that Americans are sincerely devoted to their progress which means so much to them, and which is so evident on every side.

These demonstrations have been inspiring to all who have not closed their eyes and minds to their meaning. Moreover, the leaders of the free peoples I have met here or abroad have assured me, privately and publicly, that they approve of America's purposes and policies, even though details of implementation are frequently subjects for discussion or negotiation. They have expressed the hope that visits to their countries by the senior officials of our Government might be of greater frequency. They have shown to me evidence of their marked material progress through American cooperation. They have testified to the reborn hope and restored confidence of their peoples.

Let me stress, however, that all the profit gained by past and any possible future trips will be quickly dissipated should we Americans abandon our present course in foreign relations or slacken our efforts in cooperative programs with our friends.

This is what the Communists want. It is imperative that we act with mature judgment.

We must recognize their tactics as a deliberate attempt to split the free World, causing friction between allies and friends. We must not fall into this trap; all of us must remain firm and steadfast in our united dedication to freedom, and, to peace with justice.

Above all, we must bear in mind that successful implementation of any policy against Communist imperialism requires that we never be bluffed, cajoled, blinded or frightened. We cannot win out against the Communist purpose to dominate the world by being timid, passive, or apologetic when we are acting in our own and the free World's interests. We must accept the risks of bold action with coolness and courage. We must always be strong but we must never forget that peace can never be won by arms alone; we will be firm but never truculent; we will be fair but never fearful; we will always extend friendship wherever friendship is offered honestly to us.

Now a final, personal word--

So far as any future visits of my own are involved, I have no plans, no other particular trip in mind. Considering the shortness of the time before next January, and the unavoidable preoccupations of the few months remaining, it would be difficult to accept any invitation for me, again, to go abroad.

But so long as the threat of Communist domination may hang over the free World, I believe that any future President will conclude that reciprocal visits by Heads of friendly Governments have great value in promoting free World solidarity.

And this I assure you. If any unforeseen situation or circumstances arising in the near future should convince me that another journey of mine would still further strengthen the bonds of friendship between us and others, I would not hesitate a second in deciding to make still an additional effort of this kind.

No consideration of personal fatigue or inconvenience, no threat or argument would deter me from once again setting out on a course that has meant much for our country, for her friends, and for the cause of freedom--and peace with justice in the world.

Thank you and--good night.

Dwight D. Eisenhower, Radio and Television Report to the American People on the Trip to the far East. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/234965

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