A Community of DiversityThe year was marked by continuing internal changes, sometimes with radical overtones. We maintained contact with governments spanning a wide political spectrum.
The United States has a strong political interest in maintaining cooperation with our neighbors regardless of their domestic viewpoints. We have a clear preference for free and democratic processes. We hope that governments will evolve toward constitutional procedures. But it is not our mission to try to provide-except by example -the answers to such questions for other sovereign nations. We deal with governments as they are. Our relations depend not on their internal structures or social systems, but on actions which affect us and the inter-American system.
The new government in Chile is a clear case in point. The 1970 election of a Socialist President may have profound implications not only for its people but for the inter-American system as well. The government's legitimacy is not in question, but its ideology is likely to influence its actions. Chiles decision to establish ties with Communist Cuba, contrary to the collective policy of the OAS, was a challenge to the inter-American system. We and our partners in the OAS will therefore observe closely the evolution of Chilean foreign policy.
Our bilateral policy is to keep open lines of communication. We will not be the ones to upset traditional relations. We assume that international rights and obligations will be observed. We also recognize that the Chilean government's actions will be determined primarily by its own purposes, and that these will not be deflected simply by the tone of our policy. In short, we are prepared to have the kind of relationship with the Chilean government that it is prepared to have with us.
Ferment in the region provides openings for exploitation. Cuba continued to exclude itself from the inter-American system by its encouragement and support of revolution and its military ties to the Soviet Union. The latter meanwhile attempted to expand its influence and its military presence.
We do not seek confrontations with any government. But those which display unremitting hostility cannot expect our assistance. And those which violate the principles of the inter-American system, by intervening in the affairs of their neighbors or by facilitating the intervention of nonhernispheric powers, cannot expect to share the benefits of inter-American cooperation. We will work constructively with other members of the community to reduce the disruptive effect of such actions.
Many governmental disputes flow from pressures against foreign private investment. Such investment plays a constructive role in devel- opment, for no government or public agency has the vast resources required for even basic development goals. It is clearly for each country to decide its conditions for foreign investment, just as it is for each investor to decide what conditions provide adequate security and incentives. The challenge for governments and investors is to develop new approaches which satisfy the needs of both. We ask only that our citizens be treated fairly in accordance with international law.
In some tragic cases, the forces of change take on extreme forms -hijacking, kidnapping and terrorism. These are acts of desperation, morally bankrupt. The nations of the inter-American community recently signed a convention dealing with their prevention and punishment. We hope that others will join in this commitment, and that its coverage will reach beyond the hemisphere.