Cold War Diplomacy: American Foreign Policy, 1945-1960

By Norman A. Graebner | Go to book overview

-- Document No. 7 --
ACHESON'S SPEECH IN WASHINGTON, JANUARY 12, 19507

Acheson's speech before the National Press Club comprised a complete statement of American Far Eastern policy at mid-century. This policy, the Secretary pointed out, was anchored to the assumption of a vast revolutionary upheaval blanketing the Orient. He defined the nation's defense commitment in the Far East, including specfically Japan, the Ryukyus, and the Philippines. Recognizing the force of the Asiatic upheaval, he warned that henceforth the fundamental decisions in Asia would lie in Asian hands.

. . . I am frequently asked: Has the State Department got an Asian policy? And it seems to me that that discloses such a depth of ignorance that it is very hard to begin to deal with it. The peoples of Asia are so incredibly diverse and their problems are so incredibly diverse that how could anyone, even the most utter charlatan, believe that he had a uniform policy which would deal with all of them. On the other hand, there are very important similarities in ideas and in problems among the peoples of Asia and so what we come to, after we understand these diversities and these common attitudes of mind, is the fact that there must be certain similarities of approach, and there must be very great dissimilarities in action. . . .

There is in this vast area what we might call a develop-

____________________
7
The Department of State Bulletin, January 23, 1950, pp. 111- 119.

-159-

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