Press Statement by James B. Foley, Deputy Spokesman
August 25, 1999
The Department released today Foreign Relations of the United States, 1964-1968, volume XXXIV, Energy Diplomacy and Global Issues. This volume, part of the ongoing official published record of American foreign policy, presents the documentary record of U.S. policy toward newly-emerging issues, such as space flight, the technology gap, world population growth, human rights, and the hijacking of civilian airliners, in addition to the 1967 oil embargo and the rise of OPEC.
The volume provides a unique insight into President Johnson's hopes of internationalizing the "Great Society." In the early days of his administration, the goals were expansive, whether the arena was lunar exploration, efforts to use technology to raise the living standards of the destitute poor, or the possibility of beaming education to all direct from space. As Vice President Hubert Humphrey said in 1965, "We can put a man on the moon at the same time as we help to put a man on his feet." Many of the dreams were only partially realized and some were outright failures, but the optimism and the powerful belief that Americans could and would solve these problems left an important legacy.
The volume provides in-depth documentation on several foreign policy issues, including the 1967 Oil Embargo when, despite warnings from friendly Arab leaders, U.S. support of Israel in the Six-Day War led to a shutdown of crude oil shipments. In the wake of the war, OPEC's negotiating stance hardened and some of its member states moved to nationalize oil company assets. Western access to oil was no longer assured, and U.S. diplomats worked to ensure a unified Western response.
Other issues documented are the Johnson administration's concerns about unrestrained population growth as a major threat to economic advancement in the developing world; the "technology gap;" the foreign policy implications of the U.S.-Soviet space race; competition over development of the next generation of aircraft, specifically the SST and Concorde; development of communications satellites and INTELSAT; President Johnson's Water for Peace program and the use of atomic energy to power desalination plants in the Middle East; U.S. policy toward the hijacking of civilian aircraft; and U.S. human rights policies, as race and human rights emerged as factors in international diplomacy.