1976 Republican Platform: Foreign Affairs, National Defense, and International Economic Affairs - Prologue

The foreign policy of the United States defines the relationships we seek with the world as a whole, with friends and with adversaries. Our policy must be firmly rooted in principle and must clearly express our goals. Our principles cannot be subject to passing whim; they must be true, strong, consistent and enduring.

We pledge a realistic and principled foreign policy designed to meet the needs of the nation in the years ahead. The policies we pursue will require an informed consensus; the basis of that consensus will be the American people, whose most cherished desire is to live in freedom and peace, secure from war or threat of war.

The United States is a world power with world-wide interests and responsibilities. We pledge the continuation of efforts to revitalize our traditional alliances and to maintain close consultation with our friends. International cooperation and collaboration is required because we can achieve neither our most important objectives nor even our own security in the type of "splendid isolation" which is urged upon us by so many strident voices. The regrettable emergence of neo-isolationism often expressed in Congress and elsewhere is detrimental, we believe, to a sound foreign policy.

The branches of government can and should work together as the necessary prerequisite for a sound foreign policy. We lament the reckless intrusion of one branch into the clear constitutional prerogative of another. Confronted by so many challenges and so many crises, the United States must again speak with one voice, united in spirit and in fact. We reject partisan and ideological quarrels across party lines and urge Democrats to join with us to lay the foundations of a true bipartisan spirit. Let us speak for this country with one voice, so that our policies will not be misunderstood by our allies or our potential adversaries.

Effective policy must rest on premises which are understood and shared, and must be defined in terms of priorities. As the world has changed in a dynamic fashion, so too have our priorities and goals, and so too have the methods of debating and discussing our objectives. When we assumed Executive office eight years ago, we found the national security and foreign policy machinery in shambles. Last minute reactions to crises were the practice. The National Security Council, so effective under President Eisenhower, had fallen into disuse. As an important first step, the National Security Council machinery was streamlined to cope with the problems of the moment and long-range planning. This restored process allows once again for exhaustive consideration of all the options from which a President must choose. Far from stifling internal debate and dissent as had been the practice in the past, Republican leadership now invites and stimulates evaluation of complex issues in an orderly decisionmaking process.

Republican leadership has also taken steps to report comprehensively its foreign policy and national security objectives. An annual "State of the World" message, designed to increase communication with the people and with Congress, has become a permanent part of Presidential practice.

A strong and effective program of global public diplomacy is a vital component of United States foreign policy. In an era of instant communications, the world is infinitely and forever smaller, and we must have the capacity to communicate to the world -- to inform, to explain and to guard against accidental or willful distortion of United States policies.

Interdependence has become a fact of international life, linking our actions and policies with those of the world at large. The United States should reach out to other nations to enrich that interdependence. Republican leadership has demonstrated that recognition of the ties that bind us to our friends will serve our mutual interests in a creative fashion and will enhance the chances for world peace.

Return to 1976 Republican Platform

Send e-mail to the Gerald R. Ford Library