Richard Nixon photo

Statement on the Asian Development Bank.

July 27, 1969

ON THIS FIRST TRIP which I have made to Asia as President of the United States, I will be able to visit only five nations. I am particularly happy, therefore, to have this opportunity to address a statement to the Asian Development Bank. For in that way, I can, on behalf of my countrymen, express my appreciation to all 20 of the Asian nations which belong to the Bank.

The United States firmly supports the cause of economic development in Asia. And we therefore support the work of the Asian Development Bank, for we believe that this Bank will play a critical role in that development. That is why I requested in May that our Congress appropriate $20 million for the ordinary capital of the Asian Development Bank, and $25 million to its special fund during the next fiscal year.

The Asian Development Bank was born because its founders recognized the importance of international cooperation-both within Asia and between this continent and the rest of the world--in achieving economic progress.

This Bank--with its 33 member nations---exemplifies such cooperation. When our Secretary of the Treasury attended the Bank's Board of Governors meeting in Sydney this past April, he underscored this point. The Asian Development Bank can "point the way to even greater cooperation among nations . . ." he said, and he described it, therefore, as a "unique and inspiring step in the history of man." I wholeheartedly endorse his statement.

In addition, the Asian Development Bank is a prime example of what President Marcos has called "Asian solutions to Asian problems." It is above all else an Asian institution, with its headquarters in a key Asian commercial and economic center, and with a requirement that the Bank's president, seven of its 10 directors, and 60 percent of its capital must come from Asia. This is as it should be. Only a great sense of commitment and cooperation among the Asian peoples themselves can make this institution successful and bring the development that all of us seek. The United States and other non-Asian nations can play a certain role within that framework, but the leadership must always come from Asia.

The future of the Bank is Asia's potential-and Asia is on the move. A number of Asian countries have experienced economic growth rates in excess of 10 percent annually over the last 5 years. Taiwan's trade has quadrupled since 1958, and its GNP has doubled. Korea, whose exports were only $16 million in 1958, exported 20 times that much--$320 million--in 1967. Like Taiwan, its increased exports were from new industries: The traditional agricultural exports have given way to a wide variety of industrial products, most of which are exported to developed countries. The Philippines has developed new high yield strains of rice which are now being planted in India, Indonesia, and Laos. Singapore, like Hong Kong, is changing from a center of transit trade to a center of industry.

This astonishing growth in the past few years of trade, industry, agricultural production, and the exchange of ideas is only a beginning. I applaud the Bank's accomplishments and extend my best wishes as it serves as a catalyst to this exciting new Asian dynamism. I also take this opportunity to extend my personal regards to the Bank's president, Mr. [Takeshi] Watanabe.

Note: The statement was released in Manila.

Richard Nixon, Statement on the Asian Development Bank. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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