1976 Republican Platform: United States -- Soviet Relations

American foreign policy must be based upon a realistic assessment of the Communist challenge in the world. It is clear that the perimeters of freedom continue to shrink throughout the world in the face of the Communist challenge. Since 1917, totalitarian Communism has managed through brute force, not through the free electoral process, to bring an increasingly substantial portion of the world's land area and peoples under its domination. To illustrate, most recently South Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos have fallen under the control of Communist dictatorships, and in that part of the world the Communist pressure mounts against Thailand, the Republic of China, and the Republic of Korea. In Africa, Communist Cuban forces, brazenly assisted by the Soviet Union, have recently imposed a Communist dictatorship upon the people of Angola. Other countries in Africa and throughout the world generally await similar fates. These are the realities of world power in our time. The United States is thoroughly justified in having based its foreign policy upon these realities.

Thirty years ago relations between the United States and the Soviet Union were in a phase of great difficulty, leading to the tensions of the Cold War era. Although there have been changes in this crucial superpower relationship, there remain fundamental and profound differences between us. Republican Presidents, while acknowledging the depth of the gulf which separates our free society from Soviet society, have sought methodically to isolate and develop chose areas of our relations which would serve to lessen tension and reduce the chance of unwanted conflict.

In a world beset by countless opportunities for discord and armed conflict, the relationship between the United States and the Soviet Union is critically important; on it rests the hopes of the world for peace. We offer a policy that maintains our fundamental strength and demonstrates our steadfast determination to prevent aggressive use of Soviet power.

The role of a responsible, participating Congress in maintaining this diplomatic and military posture is critical to success. The United States must remain a loyal and dependable ally, and must be prepared to carry out commitments and to demonstrate a willingness to act. Resistance to open aggression, such as the Soviet-sponsored Cuban intervention in Angola, must not be allowed to become the subject of a partisan debate, nor can it be allowed to become an unchallenged and established pattern of international behavior, lest our credibility and deterrent strength be greatly diminished.

Soviet military power has grown rapidly in recent years, and while we shall prevent a military imbalance or a sudden shift in the global balance of power, we shall also diligently explore with the Soviet Union new ways to reduce tensions and to arrive at mutually beneficial and self-enforcing agreements in all fields of international activity. Important steps have been taken to limit strategic nuclear arms. The Vladivostok Agreement of November, 1974 placed a ceiling on the strategic forces of both the United States and the Soviet Union. Further negotiations in arms control are continuing. We shall not agree for the sake of agreement; on the contrary, we will make sure that any agreements yield fundamental benefits to our national security.

As an example of hard-headed bargaining, our success in concluding agreements limiting the size of peaceful nuclear explosions and nuclear weapons tests will, for the first time, permit the United States to conduct on-site inspections in the Soviet Union itself. This important step can now be measured in practical terms. All such agreements must stand the test of verification. An agreement that does not provide this safeguard is worse than no agreement at all.

We support the consolidation of joint efforts with our allies to verify that our policies regarding the transfer of technology to the Soviet Union and its allies are in concert and that consultation will be designed to preclude the sale of those technology-intensive products to the Soviet Union by the United States and our allies which will directly or indirectly jeopardize our national security.

Our trade in non-strategic areas creates jobs here at home, substantially improves our balance-of-payments position, and can contribute to an improved political climate in the world. The overseas sale of our agricultural products benefits American farmers and consumers. To guard against any sudden shift in domestic prices as the consequence of unannounced purchases, we have instituted strict reporting procedures and other treaty safeguards. We shall not permit concessional sales of agricultural products to the Soviet Union, nor shall we permit the Soviet Union or others to determine our agricultural export policies by irregular and unpredictable purchases.

The United States and the Soviet Union remain ideological competitors. We do not shrink from such a challenge; rather, we welcome the opportunity to demonstrate that our way of life is inherently preferable to regimentation and government-enforced orthodoxy. We shall expect the Soviet Union to implement the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights and the Helsinki Agreements, which guarantee the conditions for the free interchange of information and the right to emigrate, including emigration of Soviet Jews, Christians, Moslems and others who wish to join close relatives abroad. In this spirit we shall expect the immediate end of all forms of harassment, including imprisonment and military service, aimed at preventing such emigration. America must take a firm stand to bring about liberalization of emigration policy in countries which limit or prohibit free emigration, Governments which enjoy the confidence of their people need have no fear of cultural, intellectual or press freedom.

Our support for the people of Central and Eastern Europe to achieve self-determination will continue. Their ability to choose their future is of great importance to peace and stability. We favor increasing contacts between Eastern and Western Europe and support the increasing economic ties of all the countries of Europe. We strongly support the continuation of the Voice of America, Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty with adequate appropriations. Strict reciprocity must govern our diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union. We express our concern for the safety of our diplomatic representatives in the Soviet Union, and we insist that practices such as microwave transmissions directed at the United States Embassy be terminated immediately.

Thus our relations with the Soviet Union will be guided by solid principles. We will maintain our strategic and conventional forces; we will oppose the deployment of Soviet power for unilateral advantages or political and territorial expansion; we will never tolerate a shift against us in the strategic balance; and we will remain firm in the face of pressure, while at the same time expressing our willingness to work on the basis of strict reciprocity toward new agreements which will help achieve peace and stability.

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