The Necessity for Dialogue

The Nixon Doctrine, then, is a means to fulfill our world responsibilities on a sustained basis by evoking both the contributions of our friends and the support of our own people. Its very nature calls for continuing dialogue abroad and at home.

We recognize that the doctrine, like any philosophic attitude, is not a detailed design. In this case ambiguity is increased, since it is given full meaning through a process that involves other countries. When other nations ask how the doctrine applies to them in technical detail, the question itself recalls the pattern of the previous period when America generally provided technical prescriptions. The response to the question, to be meaningful, partly depends on them, for the doctrine's full elaboration requires their participation. To attempt to define the new diplomacy completely by ourselves would repeat the now presumptuous instinct of the previous era and violate the very spirit of our new approach.

In coming years we will therefore be engaged in a broad and deep discussion with others concerning foreign policy and the nature of our respective roles. To define and assume new modes of partnership, to discover a new sense of participation, will pose a great intellectual challenge for our friends and ourselves.

At home the challenge is comparable.

It is always a requirement of American leadership to explain, as clearly as possible, its overall approach. We must convincingly demonstrate the relationship between our specific actions and our basic purposes. In turn, the leadership can ask the American people for some degree of trust, and for acknowledgment of the complexities of foreign policy. This does not mean a moratorium on criticism. It means listening to the rationale for specific actions and distinguishing attacks on the broad policy itself from attacks on tactical judgments.

This dialogue between the government and the people is all the more imperative in this transitional era. Gone for Americans is a foreign policy with the psychological simplicity of worrying primarily about what we want for others. In its place is a role that demands a new type of sustained effort with others.

To further this dialogue overseas and in America is the principal objective of this annual review.

To promote this dialogue is to improve the prospects that America, together with others, will play its vital part in fashioning a global structure of peace. A peace that will come when all have a share in its shaping. A peace that will last when all have a stake in its lasting.