His remarks were on a background basis, for attribution but not direct quotation. Nixon was in Guam after witnessing the splashdown in the Pacific Ocean of the Apollo astronauts following their return from the first landing on the moon. Speaking at p. And that is what we want, and that is the role we should play. We should assist but we should not dictate. We will give assistance to those plans. We, of course, will keep the treaty commitments that we have. The doctrine was refined and restated repeatedly and became one of the principal foreign policy themes of the Nixon administration. As to its origins, Henry Kissinger recalls that in preparing for the Asian trip he and Nixon had discussed redefining the parameters of U.
Background to the Nixon Doctrine
Eisenhower's vice president, Richard M. Nixon, would challenge the premises and augment the scope of Cold War presidential doctrines. One of Nixon's goals, in fact, was to limit the type of intervention that Eisenhower had joined in Lebanon, where the commander in chief responded to an international crisis by "sending in the marines. Speaking to reporters on the island of Guam, Nixon described the U. Retrenchment, according to Nixon, would subordinate the nation's commitments to its interests, reversing the recent trend of American policy. Nixon's policy would likewise encourage friends and allies to marshal greater resources in their own defense, even as the United States continued to meet its treaty obligations. Finally, it would grant the United States greater flexibility to respond to new diplomatic realities.
President Richard Nixon announces that henceforth the United States will expect its Asian allies to tend to their own military defense. When Richard Nixon took office in early , the United States had been at war in Vietnam for nearly four years. The bloody conflict had already claimed the lives of more than 25, American troops and countless Vietnamese. Despite its best efforts, the United States was no closer to victory than before. At home, antiwar protesters were a constant presence in American cities and on college campuses. In July , an important part of his plan for Vietnam became evident.
On July 24, he met the Apollo 11 astronauts on their return from the moon landing, a highly symbolic American victory in the space race. On the next day, at a press conference in Guam, he tried to adapt U. He resisted calls to withdraw American ground forces from Vietnam immediately, and searched for a way to reinvigorate U. Over the next several months, the president and his advisers worked to clarify and codify his initial comments, an effort that led to the simple formulation of the Nixon Doctrine included in a famous November 3, , speech pdf :. This doctrine explained how the United States would interact with its allies, specifically in Asia, according to the president's speech. It was most explicitly applied in Vietnam and, later, in Iran, but the principles might apply around the world. The key point was that U. The result would be to reduce the cost to the United States of its alliances, especially in terms of relatively scarce American military manpower. Motivated local troops would also be likely to understand the details of conflicts better than intervening American forces, and their knowledge of the history, the local dialects, and the local terrain might offer important intelligence and military advantages. At a time when the United States military is again stretched by its overseas commitments, could an updated version of the Nixon Doctrine help solve at least some of America's strategic problems?