Monday, January 01, 2007

THE ROOTS OF OUR FOREIGN POLICY

Section 1 of the pamphlet, "OUR FOREIGN POLICY 1952":

THE ROOTS OF OUR FOREIGN POLICY



POLICIES are the courses of action taken by a nation in the interests of the welfare of its people. The roots of a democratic nation's policies lie in the values cherished by its people. Here are some of the values that have lasted all through our history:

We are an independent nation, and we want to keep our independence.
We attach the highest importance to individual freedom, and we mean to keep our freedom.
We are a peaceful people, and we want to see the time when war and the threat of war are abandoned as instruments of policy by all nations.
We are a friendly people. We have no traditional "enemies." We want to settle our differences with other peoples as "good neighbors."
We believe in justice. A peace based on justice is the only peace which can endure.

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These are the things on which Americans, with all their different points of view, are most likely to agree.

It is the job of Government, as the agent of the people, to promote these national interests.

Although our basic interests remain the same over the years, the means by which we express and advance those interests change from generation to generation, and sometimes even from year to year. They change in response to new situations at home and abroad.

In 1933, more than 12 million Americans were unemployed. The urgent national interest was to repair our economy, and the measures we took reflected that urgency. Other national interests took second place for the time being.

In 1941, the United States was attacked at Pearl Har-bor. Our policies then and thereafter during the war


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period reflected our most urgent interest, which was to defeat the Axis.

In 1945, we were still at war, and our primary policy was still victory in the war. But we were near enough to that victory plan in terms of what came next. Our determination to make permanent the peace for which we were fighting led us to promote the establishment of the United Nations.

The experience of the past 35 years have made it clear to the American people that we cannot promote our own interests without regard to what happens in the rest of the world.

We need a world where nations can work out the laws and principles of individual freedom for their people. That means a world where no aggressor can come in and reduce any people to slavery.

We need a world where there will be no more wars. That means a world where the peaceful majority is always too strong to be challenged by any aggressor and where the majority will insist that disputes must be settled without war.

We need a world where all the people can have a chance to raise their standard of living according to their own ideas of what is worth having. We believe that, by using science and new methods of production, people can raise their material well-being without robbing their neighbors. We want to encourage the development of production and trade so that progress and peace may go forward together.

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Today the foreign policy of the United States recog-nizes the interdependence of men and nations. We now know, as Woodrow Wilson told us 35 years ago, that "we are participants, whether we would or not, in the life of the world. The interests of all nations are our own also. We are partners with the rest. What affects mankind is inevitably our affair as well as the affair of the nations of Europe and of Asia."

The independence of nations that we stand for is bound up with the responsibilities of independence – to refrain from aggression, to act in ways that will not endanger world security, and to cooperate for the peace and welfare of the world. The foreign policies of the United States are designed to promote world conditions that will advance freedom and security of all free nations.

The most disturbing obstacle at present is the opposition of the powerful Soviet Union. The rulers of the Soviet Union want a different kind of world, one in which they can bring all nations under their control.

In overcoming this obstacle, we cannot go it alone. In the first place, our resources are not limitless. Although the United States is the richest nation in the world, it does not have the materials or the manpower to do all that needs to be done. If we are to have peace, freedom, and prosperity in the world, many nations must work together for that purpose.

The principles of freedom and independence for which we stand, by their very nature, inspire us to co-

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operate with other nations. The United States is forced by circumstances to take the lead in many lines of world action ; but the United States is not a master nation like the Soviet Union among its satellites. On the contrary, we are helping to build a world where no nation can be master. This principle of freedom often complicates our problems and makes our progress slow, because we and other free countries sometimes disagree. The United States cannot and will not use its power to lay down the law among friendly people. In the long run the policies and actions worked out by agreement among the free nations, though they may

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sometimes be slow to work our, are better and more lasting than any policies that violate the principles of freedom.

Many of the policies that attract attention and cause debate are decisions among several choices, all of them equally unpleasant. Soviet aggression anywhere in the world – in China, in Greece, in Indochina, in Berlin, in Korea – has invariably created situations where every possible way out would be costly and dangerous. Such conditions need to be debated at length among the American people so that all sides of the problems can be clearly seen and so that the policies chosen will be in the best interests of the United States and world peace.

We are carrying out many good programs that are constructive and good in themselves, because they foresee a need before it arises or because they head off trouble before it starts. Recent history provides examples of such policies in the United Nations, the Marshall Plan, and the Point Four Program.

Communism feeds on poverty, injustice, and eco-nomic disorder just as tuberculosis thrives in slum conditions. Our programs of economic development and technical assistance – either by government or by private enterprise – are made more urgent by the fact that the Soviets are always watching the chance to profit wherever anything goes wrong. Every gain for Soviet aggression or subversion anywhere in the world weakens the security of all free nations. All well-designed meas-ures for defense and for progress are therefore related,

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in one way or another, to the principal danger that now challenges the free world – the methods and activities of Soviet communism.

But this danger, we hope, will not continue indefinitely to demand so large a share of the world's attention. As the security of the world is built up, more and more attention can be devoted to human progress. In the long run, our policies are aimed at promoting freedom, economic well-being, justice, and peace for their own sakes, because those are the values that we believe are good. They are good for us, good for the rest of the world, too.

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