Skip to main content

The Department of State today released Foreign Relations of the United States, 1969-1976, Volume I, Foundations of Foreign Policy, 1969-1972. Previous Foreign Relations volumes have focused on the formulation of major foreign policy initiatives, implementation of policy decisions, and significant diplomatic activity. This volume is the first in the series to step back from the foreign policy process and examine in detail the intellectual assumptions that U.S. foreign affairs leaders used to make sense of the world and to frame their basic policies. Therefore, the documents selected are necessarily a sampling chosen to illustrate policy perspectives and deeply held assumptions, rather than a thorough record of a bilateral relationship, a major issue, or a foreign policy crisis.

Although all key officials receive attention, the volume focuses on the world views of the two main architects of foreign policy during the first administration of Richard M. Nixon: the President and Henry A. Kissinger, his Assistant for National Security Affairs. Using previously unpublished records, drawn primarily from the Nixon Presidential Materials and the Kissinger Papers at the Library of Congress, along with published sources, the volume chronicles the basic assumption–realism–that both Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger used in formulating foreign policy. The source material differs from other Foreign Relations volumes. It includes articles written by Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger before they were in office, background briefings of the press by “senior officials,” Secretary of State William Rogers’s confirmation hearings before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, other administration officials’ interaction with Congress, major speeches and addresses by Nixon administration policymakers, as well as the type of documents more traditionally found in Foreign Relations: memoranda, letters, telegrams, and records of meetings. The volume takes the entire foreign policy record of the first Nixon administration as its canvas, but highlights the concepts of linkage and triangular diplomacy that they employed to achieve détente, Vietnamization, and other foreign policy objectives. It reveals the principals’ concerns about American credibility, multipolarity, and the strains on U.S. power, while tracing the development of such ideas as the Nixon Doctrine to meet those perceived challenges.

The Office of the Historian has prepared a summary of the volume. For further information, contact Edward C. Keefer, General Editor of the Foreign Relations series, at (202) 663-1131; fax: (202) 663-1289; e-mail:<>. The texts of the volume, the summary, and this press release are available on the Office’s Web site at <>. Copies of volume I can be purchased from the Government Printing Office at <>.

Comments are closed.