The overwhelming evidence of the last twenty-five years-from the Marshall Plan to Vietnamization-is that a systematic program that helps other nations harness their own resources for defense and development enables them to take on the primary burden of their own defense.
Message to the Congress
Proposing Supplemental Foreign
November 18, 1970
The Nixon Doctrine requires a strong program of security assistance.
When Communist nations promoted the theory and practice of "wars of national liberation," particularly in the l960s, the United States saw this as a threat to us and our allies and responded energetically. We offered advice, training, resources, reform programs and new theories and techniques of counterinsurgency.
During those years, direct involvement was deemed appropriate in some cases. The United States, indeed, sometimes acted as if defense against conventional or guerrilla aggression anywhere in the world was principally an American responsibility. But it is not in our interest or that of our friends to act as if their security is more important to us than it is to them.
The effectiveness of American assistance depends on the will and the effort of the threatened country or region. Unless a country mobilizes its own resources, the effect of our assistance can only be limited. The best way to prevent insurgency is to meet economic and social imperatives; the best way to control it is a determined security effort by the country itself. Nothing we can do is an adequate substitute for a government supported by its people and for a nation unified and determined to defend itself. If they do make that effort, our assistance can make a crucial difference -to their security and world stability.
Security assistance has been an important aspect of United States foreign policy for nearly twenty-five years. Today it is more important than ever, for without it our effort to share responsibilities more widely with our friends and allies cannot succeed. As Secretary Laird has pointed out: "Many nations are willing and able to provide manpower for their own defense but lack the means to convert it to well-trained and properly equipped armed forces." Our materiel and training can enable nations whose security is important to us to deal with threats against them and to help each other to do so.
But it is not simply a matter of helping friends and allies to do more for themselves. Particularly in the areas of the world where we are reducing our manpower, we must make resources available to help them complete the transition with us. In some cases this will require substantial assistance during the period of adjustment. This is central to our new approach to American foreign policy in the 197Os.
By fostering local initiative and self-sufficiency, security assistance enables us in some instances to reduce our direct military involvement abroad. An effective security assistance program will lessen the need for and the likelihood of the engagement of American forces in future local conflicts. Thus it will ease the burdens upon the United States. But at the same time it signals to the world that the United States continues to help and support its allies.
We have addressed the specific issues and programs of security assistance with the care that befits its importance to our new foreign policy. The Peterson Report treated the purposes and structure of security assistance programs in its comprehensive analysis of U.S. foreign assistance in the 1970s. We gave specific emphasis in our F.Y. 1971 programs to important needs of friends and allies who are shouldering the burden of their own and regional security. The passage by the Congress of the appropriation I requested a year ago, and the overwhelming support for the supplemental request I submitted last November, demonstrated fulfillment of our own responsibility.
The most significant individual country programs are discussed in the regional chapters of this annual report. The budget I presented last month, Secretary Rogers' forthcoming review of foreign policy developments and Secretary Laird's Defense Report treat these programs in detail.
This year I will present to the Congress the design of a new International Security Assistance Program. It will be reorganized to gear it more effectively to the purposes of the Nixon Doctrine:
- It will clearly separate out our security assistance from other forms of assistance to enhance the integrity and effectiveness of each.
- It will pull together all types of security assistance into one coherent program. This will make it possible to coordinate them more efficiently and to exercise stronger policy guidance and program direction.
- It will place increasing emphasis on fostering the self-reliance of those with whom we are engaged in a cooperative effort. We will encourage them, and give them the technical assistance needed, to determine their own requirements and to make the hard decisions on resource allocation which a meaningful security posture demands.
This is a program for the 1970s, building on partnership in the security sphere and responding to new conditions and the lessons of recent history. We look to the day when our friends and allies are free from threats to their security and able to concentrate their energies and resources-and our assistance-on the constructive tasks of economic and social development.