The Application of the Nixon Doctrine

Thus it was that the Nixon Doctrine was first announced in the Pacific region, and has most actively been manifested in Asia. It served the domestic imperative of restraint in our international role, without sacrificing our interests in Asia or defaulting on our obligations. brings our own deep interest in the future of Asia into better and more permanent balance with the growing indigenous strength of nationalism in the area.

To clarify the Nixon Doctrine, I have twice sent Vice President Agnew to Asia. He has listened to the views of Asian leaders. He has reassured them that our purpose is not to withdraw from world affairs, but to establish the conditions which ensure our continued participation in them.

It is perhaps inevitable, but it is nonetheless an error to judge the success of the doctrine's application too narrowly by the reduction' effected in the number of American military installations and personnel. Such reductions, to be sure, have been effected. They are described in detail elsewhere in this report. They include substantial cuts in the military and civilian American presence in Korea, Japan, Okinawa, Thailand and the Philippines, as well as the more publicized reductions of our forces in Vietnam.

But these reductions cannot, by themselves, establish a more sound international structure in Asia, based more upon Asian efforts and self-reliance, dependent less upon American initiatives and resources. Such a structure is, by definition, a process involving the actions of many nations. It cannot be created by American actions alone.

In applying the Nixon Doctrine, we cannot move too fast without sapping the Asian sense of confidence and security which it is our purpose to sustain and nurture. And we cannot cut our own contributions to Asian security without providing for their assumption by our Asian friends. Thus, there is built into the decision to reduce our own presence the obligation to help our allies create the capacity to carry the responsibilities we are transferring. To do otherwise is to undercut our fundamental goal of creating a stable structure in Asia.

Korea is an excellent case in point. The maintenance of the level of U.S. forces in Korea had come to be viewed as a symbol of our commitment to the defense of that country. To a considerable extent the symbol had become more important than the substance, for it inhibited critical examination of the threat, and of the capacity of local forces to deal with it. Yet it was clear that the situation in Korea had greatly changed since the decision was made in 1954 to maintain the U.S. military presence there at two combat divisions.

Today the military strength of the Republic of Korea has greatly increased, and includes an impressive pool of skilled manpower. The economic picture has also changed. In 1953 the South Korean economy had been devastated by war. Today it is vigorous, and for she past four years has grown at a remarkable average rate of more than l0 percent.

This strength enables us and our Korean ally to focus upon the substance, rather than the symbolic needs, of Korean defense. Thus we joined with the government of Korea in a comprehensive review of our program of military cooperation. Together we decided that the Republic of Korea was now better able to meet its own defense needs provided measures were taken to modernize the equipment of its existing forces.

On February 6, therefore, our two governments announced that US forces in Korea would be reduced by twenty thousand by June 30, 1971, and that agreement had been reached upon a program of modernization of the Korean armed forces.

Thus, the rationale for the return home of twenty thousand American troops is that the Korean armed forces, if modernized, are adequate to carry a larger share of the Korean defense burden. Their prompt modernization requires assistance from us. The Congress has wisely seen fit to make available the initial resources needed to provide that assistance.

There will be other similar instances, for our own presence has been the central element in Asian security. The only responsible alternative to continuing to carry that full burden is to help our friends build the capacity to do the job with less assistance from us. I am sure the Congress will continue to see the wisdom of such investments.

The real progress of the Nixon Doctrine is to be seen in the ability and the desire of our Asian friends to assume more of the responsibilities we have shared in the past. Such evidence is not lacking:

In the past decade, the gross national product of the non-Communist nations of East Asia has tripled from $100 billion to about $300 billion.

A decade ago our East Asian allies had about one million men under arms. Today, that figure has more than doubled, and the quality of equipment and training has significantly improved.

The decision of Japan to contribute l percent of its gross national product in governmental and private transfers to foreign economic assistance by 1975 is a singular contribution to the kind of Asia they and we seek.

No less significant is Japan's decision to liberalize its trade and capital restrictions, thus improving the access of others to the burgeoning Japanese market, and promising, to the benefit of all, a greater participation in meeting Japan's capital needs.

The Republic of China, five years after the termination of our economic assistance, is the source of economic assistance to twenty- three less developed countries. This is eloquent testimony to Asian abilities to expand creatively on the base that we helped construct.