Alfred M. Landon, Former Governor of Kansas and Former Presidential Candidate
December 13, 1966
New challenges in international relations
We must face the challenges of new realities of international life today. The world is an armed camp. An uneasy peace is maintained while a power struggle continues to build up between the Soviet Union and China with the United States neutral between them. On the other hand we support South Vietnam's opposition to Communist aggression.
India, the second largest nation, wrecked by Socialistic leadership, is racked by internal dissension and menaced by external threats. The potential colossus of China - the world's most populous nation - is experiencing severe internal revolution.
The end of the Vietnam War is not in sight. And the vital questions of barring the use and spread of nuclear weapons and the military use of space remain unanswered.
Everywhere, a new nationalism - having recently vanquished European empires - is now transcending ideologies, old alliances, and is paradoxically supporting world peace, based on fear - not trust. World Communism, the United Nations, NATO, and the Atlantic Alliance are fragmenting on the rocks of this new nationalism.
The New Nationalism
This new nationalism is one of independence and self-determination. It is not the old dynasty nationalism with its ancestral roots in medieval feudalism. Nor is it the aggressive nationalism of modern dictators built on the doctrine of force.
World War One wiped out the last of the monarchs representing the centuries - old dynasty nationalism. And World War Two eliminated two megalomaniac dictators - Hitler and Mussolini and their Japanese brethren. The policies of two more aggressors, Stalin and Sukarno, have been thrown on the scrap heap of history by their people. Only one of the five megalomaniacs of our time is left - China's troubled Mao. The ruthless Red Guards turned loose by him on his unhappy countrymen are a sad recreation of Hitler's Jackboots and Mussolini's Blackshirts.
Meanwhile, China's world influence has suffered severe reversals - in Latin America, Africa, India and Indonesia - and also in the United Nations, which, by the greatest majority vote in some years, recently refused to seat Communist China.
This new nationalism is transcending Communism. Both out-side, as well as inside China, the theories of Marx and Lenin for the establishment and maintenance of worldwide Communism are being revised. The turmoil in China is essentially concerned with a struggle between the fundamentalists and revisionists.
The Soviet Union is departing so far from the original concepts of Marx and Lenin as to render them almost unrecognizable. Soviet Communism is moving slowly and subtly, but surely, toward incorporation of certain capitalistic principles of reward for individual talent and incentive.
Behind the thinning and now porous Iron Curtain Communism has failed to meet the hopes and aspirations of its people. Its hierarchy is changed. Developing public opinion has eroded and loosened its monolithic structure.
Therefore captive East European satellites are no longer captive and no longer satellites. They are pushing away from economics and political control and domination by Moscow. And it must be admitted - by the same token - Western Europe is also pushing away from economic and political domination by the United States of America.
This new nationalism has brought about momentous changes. It is changing the post - war alliances within both the Communist and non-Communist world. It presents great difficulties for the United Nations and the ideas of world federation, or Atlantic union. By fostering national barriers the new nationalism in one sense obstructs international cooperation. Paradoxically, by reducing ideological barriers this new nationalism in another sense permits greater international cooperation based on the principle of equality of nations.
In October 1961 when the White House was divided on whether to support the fledgling European Economic Community, or whether to request a year's extension of the Reciprocal Trade Agreements Act I urged support of the E.E.C. as the most realistic step toward economic anti-political stability, and hence world peace. Why? Because the E.E.C. was founded on the simple principle of removing nationalist barriers through international trade.
The principle of a high protective tariff is basic to a government-protected, or owned or managed economy. High tariffs inhibit cross-cultural relations. Freer trades, on the other hand, enables the peoples of different nations to become better acquainted with the customs, beliefs ways of life, and government policies of one another. With the greater expansion and ease of communication today, freer trade induces mutual international understanding.
When international understanding is thus achieved, political tensions are reduced and voices of reason are easier heard and understood. The way is then prepared to move toward world stability, increased prosperity, higher standards of living and education, and peaceful competitive existence in international markets. These conditions, in turn, form the foundation for cooperative political policies among nations.
Two and one-half years of bargaining within the European Economic Community are coming to a close with the expectation of the most substantial tariff reductions in history. The effects of this action will spread all over the world - from Europe to Latin America, Africa and Asia. I quote from a recent statement by the Japanese Ambassador:
We Japanese believe that contacts through trade tend to facilitate mutual understanding among nations of differing ideologies and social structures.
This development is not as dramatic and grandiose as a League of Nations, a United Nations or world law based on a world court. However, international trade is the only proven method for initiating a workable peace with international security and understanding - security and understanding that might save the United Nations organization, which is now, bankrupt financially, politically, and structurally. The world needs the United Nations as a forum to discuss and expose international grievances and concerns.
Early this year, our President requested Congress to repeal legislation obstructing United States Cradle with Communist countries. Congress adjourned without acting on the President's trade recommendations. Meanwhile, the English French West Germans, and Japanese are filling the orders of China; the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. Our allies are trading with Communist countries. We are not.
The defensive "white elephant'' military structures of SEATO and CENTO existent only on paper. Despite our rebuilding efforts, NATO'S days are numbered. They were not designed to provide the common ground for better acquaintance with, and understanding of, the Communist world. Nevertheless, our own nationalism persists to inhibit the expansion of America's world trade. The American Congress has not learned a prime lesson of history - that economic isolationism leads to political isolationism as well as the converse, and that either is counter - productive in this day and age, as even the Soviet Union is reluctantly learning.
The world is truly in an era of greatest change. World peace and stability depends on harmonious relations between China, the Soviet Union, and the United States. The time has come for each to completely reappraise its foreign policies. Each major power must ask itself whether it correctly perceives new realities, whether momentous world changes have evoked commensurate policy changes. Specifically, each must introspectively assess whether continuing confrontation with its military strength is the most effective means to assure world peace and stability and hence its own security.
What are these new realities? They include: the Soviet modernizing of Communist dogma, the Sino-Soviet split. European self-determination anti-independence from Soviet and American domination, the advent of Chinese nuclear power, the growing non-alignment of developing nations the recession of the Communist tide, and worldwide acceptance of the concept of the welfare state. In a nutshell, these are the new challenges wrought by new nationalism.
The potential colossus of China, weakened internally and externally by Mao's unrealistic fanatic militancy, bitterly attacks both the Soviet Union and the United States. The irony is that these attacks help to induce better relations between these super powers - exactly what China fears.
The Soviet Union faces hostility from China on her Eastern front - the closest and most obvious mark for its nuclear bomb - with the longest borderline in the world, and territorial disputes and memories of bloody invasions centuries old. The passage of time has not eliminated from the folklore of Russian memories the ravages of Genghis Khan's hordes or Napoleon's French, or German armies twice in the last fifty years. It was Mao's leadership that chased Russia out of Manchuria.
On her Western front the Soviet fears a united Germany as the devil fears holy water. In all of Russian history, there has been one basic foreign policy and that is to avoid facing a war at the same time on two fronts.
By the same token, China faces the Soviet Union on her land front and the United States of America on her Pacific front - without a navy.
Both the Soviet Union and China face the United States of America uncertain as to the international policies of the greatest economic power, welfare state, and military power in the world. The Soviet lately links together both China and the United States of America in formal public attacks. The corollary of such attacks is what the Soviet fears.
We have this definite situation then, that the Soviet Union needs the pressure of America on China in the Pacific despite President Kosygin's continued assertions that: ". . . if the war [in Vietnam] were ended relations [with America] would certainly improve."
China, in turn, needs the pressure of America in Europe on the Soviet Union, despite Mao's attacks on both. The peace of the world, therefore, is in suspense while this jockeying goes on.
Hence, America is presented with an unusual opportunity to initiate a "live-and-let-live'' policy of competitive economic existence with the Soviet Union, or China, or preferably both. Such American initiatives are necessary to reduce tensions violence, war, and threats of war in other words - to normalize international relations. Encouragingly, these policies seem to be developing.
In recent months, President Johnson has made three highly significant foreign policy moves that have generally escaped the public attention and discussion they deserve, and have yet to be explained to the American people. Foremost among the foreign policies of the Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson administrations were the reunification of Germany and the political and economic isolation of Communist China. These two policies, together with the implications of the President's commitments at the Manila Conference, signify possible momentous changes in our foreign policy.
Reappraising Our China Policy
The first of these three significant moves by President Johnson occurred last July, when he proposed at least a tentative reappraisal of our China policy with his offer of reconciliation with China. I quote the President:
Lasting peace can never come to Asia as long as the 700 million people of mainland China are isolated by their rulers from the outside world. We persist [in efforts to improve relations] because we believe that cooperation, not hostility, is the way of the future. That day is not here yet. It may be long in coming, but it is clearly on the way, and come it must.
In September, Vice President Humphrey followed President Johnson's incipient design by speaking of "building bridges to China." I have been urging such a policy for a long time, without success. Recently, spokesmen for the United States Chamber of Commerce are on record as stating that increased communication with the Peking government is in order. And according to a recent report of the American Friends Service Committee, our present policy of non-intercourse with China is leading to disaster. Said the Committee, quote:
Two of the largest and most powerful nations of the world have since 1950 lived largely in isolated ignorance of one another and in an atmosphere of mutual fear and hate. . . Some attempt to break the present deadlock is long and dangerously overdue.
The point to be emphasized here is not that our China policy is soon to be reversed. China has replied to the President with more lies and abuse. Rather the question of great interest to both the United States and the Soviet Union is - After Mao, what? It is in anticipation of answering this important question that the pending reappraisal of our China policy acquires added significance.
Abandoning German Reunification
The second of the three meaningful moves was inherent in Mr. Johnson's assertion of last August that better relations with the Soviet Union "must be our first concern." By implication, the President thereby signaled our intention to abandon the priority of the reunification of Germany. I quote from Joseph C. Harsch in the Christian Science Monitor:
. . . the President has formally stated that reunification of Germany can come about only within the reunification of Europe. Germany's cause is no longer Step One in healing the split in Europe caused by the cold war. The unity of Germany is a hoped-for result of closer East-West ties. It is no longer the precondition.
Two recent developments in Germany might possibly be related. They are: (1) the downfall of the Erhard government replaced by an uncertain coalition of the Christian Democrats and the Social Democrats; and (2) a resurgence of German nationalism as evidenced in two state legislative recent elections.
A quid pro quo for this momentous change in our European policy could he for the Soviet Union to use its good offices in bringing about a settlement in Vietnam that would be worthy of our sacrifices of blood and money.
An end to the Vietnam War, according to Premier Kosygin, would pave the way to improved relations. Recently he said, "We want a relaxation of tension; we want an understanding with the United States."
The Soviet Union would have much to gain. She would be free of a threat on her Western front which would allow her to concentrate on the growing Chinese military threat on her long Eastern front.
The Manila Conference
The third and last move fraught with momentous consequences for all the world concerns President Johnson's pre-election Manila Conference. I quote from a recent report by the Research Institute:
First the Conference left untouched the one crucial issue: Where does the Vietcong figure in the war's final settlement? South Viet Premier Ky made clear where he figures the Vietcong: destroyed as an organization, its members ''abiding by the law" - the South Vietnam law as enforced by the government headed by Ky.
It is inconceivable that Hanoi or the Vietcong will negotiate on any such terms unless Ky should retract his words publicly. It is equally inconceivable that he will yield on any of them.
The stage is set hence for a long drawn-out tug-of-war among the Manila conferees - with no end to the fighting itself. The allied Stalemate may be harder to break than the field impasse.
And concluding from this report:
If Ky were alone, he might be brought to heel fairly soon. But he has real support from the South Koreans, Thais and Australians. They do not want to see the Vietcong in a peacetime Saigon government either; they are in this to stop Red expansion, no matter what it takes.
This is different from what the Filipinos, New Zealand - and the United States - are ready to accept. Let the Vietcong into the government. Philippine President Marcos is ambitious to become Asia's peacemaker even at the cost of including the VC.
This is the United States position, as well, although President Johnson did not press it openly at Manila.
The Manila Conference was a complete failure as far as agreement on any Vietnam peace settlement is concerned. Before the ink was dry, Premier Ky of South Vietnam emphatically dissented from President Johnson's interpretation of the Manila Conference proceedings, just as he did with President Johnson's interpretation of the so-called Honolulu Pact. Again I quote from the Research Institute report:
After Manila . . . Ky has only one clear course left: Keep the U.S. fighting until the Vietcong has been totally smashed. This means more men and arms, more escalation, a much wider war.
It should also be noted that the much-heralded free election law in that unhappy country gives Premier Ky and his military junta a veto over any measure the civilian assembly adopts.
One result of the Manila Conference was the dramatic pronouncement by our President that the United States is a major Asian power and is assuming guardianship in its name over all of Asia. This appears to be an assertion of national responsibility of appalling proportions. Should Congress implement Johnson's Asian manifesto, it would seem that America would become permanently and deeply involved - politically, militarily, economically - in all Asia.
Nearly two months have passed without any explanation by our President of his sweeping pronouncement. Why is the President silent? Americans are kept in the dark as to just what was said at Manila by our President - and what his intentions are.
Of equal present and future importance is how other governments interpret President Johnson's Manila manifesto. Do they consider it as a definite projection of U.S. foreign policy? Or do they consider his expansive statement as merely a gesture of good intentions designed to obscure the ultimate failure of the Conference to agree on peace in Vietnam? Have they learned that American presidents' words do not "always weigh a ton" - as Mr. Coolidge said?
Perhaps, when interpreting our President's Manila statement other governments might recall previous American international commitments which we (lid not honor - as, for example, the Open Door for China which we ignored when Japan invaded Manchuria in 1931. Or they might recall the Buffalo speech of John Foster Dulles during the 1952 presidential election campaign pledging the new administration - if elected - to liberation of the captive nations of Eastern Europe - a pledge that was to contribute to the East German and Hungarian revolt of 1956 in expectation of American support that was never forthcoming.
Or, our President's Manila pronouncement might be explained as "speaking softly but carrying a big stick." If this is the correct interpretation then the question must be asked - just how big a stick does America intend to carry in Asia in the light of spreading nuclear power. Do we really need such paramountcy in Asia?
In October 1964 China formally proposed a conference of the five nuclear powers preliminary to a conference of all nations to abolish nuclear weapons. I immediately urged American acceptance at least for the purpose of discussion. Secretary General U. Thant somewhat unprecedentedly publicly endorsed my statement the next morning. But the Johnson administration dismissed off- hand China's overture on the ground that it was mere propaganda, that China's nuclear bomb was obsolete, and would be twenty or more years before China would perfect the means of delivering it. But, in less than two years, China has demonstrated that it has already achieved the capacity to develop an on-target missile delivery system and a bomb with thermonuclear characteristics.
Finally, there is the question - if President Johnson meant what he seemed to say at Manila - where is he going to get the money to bring his Great Society to all of Asia. And this in addition to the pressing question of where is he going to get the money to finance both a big war and yet contently his Great Society for the home folks.
If our President's new Asian policy is undertaken, the greater question must be asked: What responsibility - moral or otherwise - do we Americans actually have to bankrupt ourselves for President Johnson's unrealistic policy for world salvation?
If this policy is described as a part of the program to contain Communism, let us observe how Communism is containing itself by its unworkable theories, as can be seen in Communist dominated countries everywhere. Indonesia is the latest example, plus a number of African States that have kicked out both Chinese and Russian attempts at Communist domination.
It will be the responsibility of our Congress to implement President Johnson's Manila manifesto, or to refuse to assume its frightful consequences, when and if the President requests the necessary appropriations to implement it. Even a token Congressional appropriation would be tantamount to the assumption of responsibility that would lead to various future complications.
While the President's astounding Manila manifesto does not require treaty ratification by the United States Senate, it is so vital to American interests that I believe that the Senate Foreign Relations Committee ought to probe all its facets and to expose all its implications, and our obligations under it, for the attention of the American people as well as peoples elsewhere.
There must be a clear and complete understanding not only between the American people and their government, but also among the governments that participated at Manila as to what exactly are we Americans expected to do for our Asian wards what specific commitments and limitations were made by President Johnson, and how lasting will they be. For some unknown reason, President Johnson has chosen not to discuss these great concerns with the American people. Meanwhile, other governments should clearly understand that President Johnson's exuberant Asian commitments require Congressional action under our system to become operative.
The simplest way to clear this all up is to get the complete transcript of the Manila Conference before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for introduction in the Congressional Record.
There remains one other critical development that threatens to enlarge even further the stretching world commitments of the United States. I speak of the growing pressures to impose economic embargoes through the United Nations on Rhodesia and the Republic of South Africa. To enforce its decision to end the South African mandate over Southwest Africa, the United Nations may soon impose economic sanctions on South Africa as well as Rhodesia.
When Britain attempted to bring Rhodesia to heel by imposing sanctions President Johnson promptly concurred. But these sanctions have failed. Now Prime Minister Wilson is apparently caught bluffing again. When his bold words in his report to the British Parliament of his conference with the Prime Minister of Rhodesia are boiled down they are nothing but the same old appeal for "special sanctions'' by the United Nations on purchases of key Rhodesian products.
From the beginning, it has been evident that Prime Minister Wilson is trying to bluff Rhodesia back into line by threats.
If the United Nations adopts a more forcible policy, who is going to enforce it?
I quote from John Knight's "Editor's Scrapbook":
Mr. Wilson would like nothing more than to have the United States pull his is chestnuts out of the fire. As the Economist of London has said: "To pretend that Britain alone can resolve this problem is just as stupid as to think it can be handed over to the U.N. That duty (sanctions) does not rest with the British alone. The cloud in Mr. Ian Smith's sky may seem no bigger than a man's hand; but the real question is whether the hand is President Johnson's."
And the London Sunday Observer comments that it must be up to the United States to make effective the sanctions on Rhodesia, the Republic of South Africa and Southwest Africa.
The only effective means of enforcing economic embargoes is by naval blockade, not to mention air cover. To effectively blockade the coast of South and Southwest Africa would be a prodigious and very expensive undertaking. Our navy is already fully committed. Our First Fleet is patrolling the California coast, and the Second Fleet the Atlantic coast. Our Sixth Fleet operates in the Mediterranean area, and our Seventh Fleet in the straits between Taiwan and China and the rest of the Pacific area, including South Vietnam.
Any effective embargo of Rhodesia would require a blockade of South Africa. The volume of South African trade alone with Great Britain might well involve the solvency of the British pound.
How can we support the solvency of the British pound and yet enforce such economic embargoes on Rhodesia or South Africa, or both, and yet fight a major war in South Vietnam, not to mention all the other American commitments at home and abroad?
This African affair will not be settled in one week or one month. It can be as long as the engagement in Vietnam.
While I staunchly believe in and support President Johnson's policies of new contacts with both the Soviet Union and China as the basis for better international understanding, I believe Senator Fulbright's announced plan for a full and comprehensive review by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in both public and closed hearings is both timely and essential.
Long ago, I said the United Nations could not succeed in its objectives if it left out Communist China.
President Johnson has taken the first steps with both China and the Soviet Union. There has been no commensurate response from either.
Our President is leading from strength, both economically and militarily. There is as much need - perhaps more - for our national administration's intelligent concentration on strengthening our economic foundations and backlogs as its concentration on strengthening our military.
It is now up to the Soviet Union to demonstrate the change of front - that Premier Kosygin desires - by performance rather than by words. After all, credibility is as essential in political relations as it is in trade.
Let me conclude by saying simply this: We should respond to the new nationalism and other new challenges in international relations in our continuing search for world peace. I believe we are on the threshold of abandoning our foolish and unrealistic China policy. At the same time, we are hopefully making progress toward improving international relations with East European nations.
Now, at last a realistic basis exists for discussions between the Soviet Union and the United States of a new policy for both countries.
Should China recover from her present insanity and join in responsible interaction with the Soviet Union and the United States - a new era in international relations would commence that would shape the destiny of this world by creating stability on which peace with security is ultimately based. This must be our hope. This must be our aim.