Issues for the Future

We have only begun. Implementing our new approach will require difficult adjustments, for ourselves and for our partners. Together we must respect and protect the independence of all members; provide for the peaceful resolution of disputes; make a better life for our peoples and embrace our diversity in a framework of partnership.

In such an association will the nations of this hemisphere share a stake. There will be unity not so much in common domestic structures as in mutual support for independence and mutual respect for diversity.

Our self-interest requires our creative contributions to the development of such a community, but three sets of problems constrain us:

The need to balance Western Hemisphere interests against other domestic and foreign policy considerations. To reflect this concern in the councils of government, I again urge Congress to establish an office of Under Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs.

To promote Latin American trade I will soon submit legislation to implement generalized tariff preferences; assure special attention in trade policies for commodities of particular interest to the region; continue to press for elimination or reduction of nontariff barriers, especially those which harm the exports of Latin America and other developing areas.

To maintain an equitable share in our new bilateral assistance programs for hemisphere development, I will establish guidelines for the resources to be provided to the region through the new development institutions.

To free the use of bilateral aid we will seek final agreement among industrial countries in 1971 to untie the bulk of development assistance.

The present limitations of inter-American machinery. The United States will seek further reform of inter-American instrumentalities. Two factors limit their current effectiveness-outdated methods and some members' concern that stronger institutions could become devices for U.S. domination. The system will be increasingly tested by the pervasive change and instabilities in the region. Together with our partners we must resist efforts to weaken our regional system. Together we must provide it with financial support, reshape its institutions and participate in a spirit of mutual respect.

The forces of nationalism and extremism. The United States must accommodate diversity and seek to maintain the fabric of hemispheric unity. We cannot afford to withdraw out of frustration or allow ourselves to become isolated. We shall be prepared to negotiate pragmatically to prevent or resolve bilateral disputes. And we shall avoid actions which foster or reinforce anti-U.S. nationalism.

The experience of 1970 confirmed the judgment of October 1969: "Partnership -mutuality- these do not flow naturally. We have to work at them." But the year also signaled that a more balanced relationship is taking root. In a turbulent age the mandate for our hemispheric policy is to act compassionately, to work cooperatively and to strengthen the bonds of a maturing partnership.