State of the Union Addresses of Jimmy Carter
by Jimmy Carter
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Our relations with the developing nations are of major importance to the United States. The fabric of our relations with these countries has strong economic and political dimensions. They constitute the most rapidly growing markets for our exports, and are important sources of fuel and raw materials. Their political views are increasingly important, as demonstrated in their overwhelming condemnation of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Our ability to work together with developing nations toward goals we have in common (their political independence, the resolution of regional tensions, and our growing ties of trade for example) require us to maintain the policy of active involvement with the developing world that we have pursued over the past four years.

The actions we have taken in such areas as energy, trade, commodities, and international financial institutions are all important to the welfare of the developing countries. Another important way the United States can directly assist these countries and demonstrate our concern for their future is through our multilateral and bilateral foreign assistance program. The legislation which I will be submitting to you for FY 82 provides the authority and the funds to carry on this activity. Prompt Congressional action on this legislation is essential in order to attack such high priority global problems as food and energy, meet our treaty and base rights agreements, continue our peace efforts in the Middle East, provide economic and development support to countries in need, promote progress on North-South issues, protect Western interests, and counter Soviet influence.

Our proposed FY 1982 bilateral development aid program is directly responsive to the agreement reached at the 1980 Venice Economic Summit that the major industrial nations should increase their aid for food and energy production and for family planning. We understand that other Summit countries plan similar responses. It is also important to honor our international agreements for multilateral assistance by authorizing and appropriating funds for the International Financial Institutions. These multilateral programs enhance the efficiency of U.S. contributions by combining them with those of many other donor countries to promote development; the proposed new World Bank affiliate to increase energy output in developing countries offers particular promise. All these types of aid benefit our long-run economic and political interests.

Progress was made on a number of economic issues in negotiations throughout the U.N. system. However, in spite of lengthy efforts in the United Nations, agreement has not been reached on how to launch a process of Global Negotiations in which nations might collectively work to solve such important issues as energy, food, protectionism, and population pressures. The United States continues to believe that progress can best be made when nations focus on such specific problems, rather than on procedural and institutional questions. It will continue to work to move the North-South dialogue into a more constructive phase.


The War on Hunger must be a continuous urgent priority. Major portions of the world's population continue to be threatened by the specter of hunger and malnutrition. During the past year, some 150 million people in 36 African countries were faced with near disaster as the result of serious drought, induced food shortages. Our government, working in concert with the U.N.'s Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), helped to respond to that need. But the problems of hunger cannot be solved by short-term measures. We must continue to support those activities, bilateral and multilateral, which aim at improving food production especially in developing countries and assuring global food security. These measures are necessary to the maintenance of a stable and healthy world economy.

I am pleased that negotiation of a new Food Aid Convention, which guarantees a minimum annual level of food assistance, was successfully concluded in March. The establishment of the International Emergency Wheat Reserve will enable the U.S. to meet its commitment under the new Convention to feed hungry people, even in times of short supply.

Of immediate concern is the prospect of millions of Africans threatened by famine because of drought and civil disturbances. The U.S. plea for increased food aid resulted in the organization of an international pledging conference and we are hopeful that widespread starvation will be avoided.

Good progress has been made since the Venice Economic Summit called for increased effort on this front. We and other donor countries have begun to assist poor countries develop long-term strategies to improve their food production. The World Bank will invest up to $4 billion in the next few years in improving the grain storage and food-handling capacity of countries prone to food shortages.

Good progress has been made since the Tokyo Economic Summit called for increased effort on this front. The World Bank is giving this problem top priority, as are some other donor countries. The resources of the consultative Group on International Agricultural Research will be doubled over a five-year period. The work of our own Institute of Scientific and Technological Cooperation will further strengthen the search for relevant new agricultural technologies.

The goal of freeing the world from hunger by the year 2000 should command the full support of all countries.

The Human Dimension of Foreign Policy


The human rights policy of the United States has been an integral part of our overall foreign policy for the past several years. This policy serves the national interest of the United States in several important ways: by encouraging respect by governments for the basic rights of human beings, it promotes peaceful, constructive change, reduces the likelihood of internal pressures for violent change and for the exploitation of these by our adversaries, and thus directly serves our long-term interest in peace and stability; by matching espousal of fundamental American principles of freedom with specific foreign policy actions, we stand out in vivid contrast to our ideological adversaries; by our efforts to expand freedom elsewhere, we render our own freedom, and our own nation, more secure. Countries that respect human rights make stronger allies and better friends.

Rather than attempt to dictate what system of government or institutions other countries should have, the U.S. supports, throughout the world, the internationally recognized human rights which all members of the United Nations have pledged themselves to respect. There is more than one model that can satisfy the continuing human reach for freedom and justice:

1980 has been a year of some disappointments, but has also seen some positive developments in the ongoing struggle for fulfillment of human rights throughout the world. In the year we have seen:

—Free elections were held and democratic governments installed in Peru, Dominica, and Jamaica. Honduras held a free election for installation of a constituent assembly. An interim government was subsequently named pointing toward national presidential elections in 1981. Brazil continues on its course of political liberalization.

—The "Charter of Conduct" signed in Riobamba, Ecuador, by Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Peru, Costa Rica, Panama and Spain, affirms the importance of democracy and human rights for the Andean countries.

—The Organization of American States, in its annual General Assembly, approved a resolution in support of the Inter-American Human Rights Commission's work. The resolution took note of the Commission's annual report, which described the status of human rights in Chile, El Salvador, Paraguay and Uruguay; and the special reports on Argentina and Haiti, which described human rights conditions as investigated during on-site inspections to these countries.

—The awarding of the Nobel Prize for Peace to Adolfo Perez Esquivel of Argentina for his non-violent advocacy of human rights.

—The United States was able to rejoin the International Labor Organization after an absence of two years, as that U.N. body reformed its procedures to return to its original purpose of strengthening employer-employee-government relations to insure human rights for the working people of the world.

The United States, of course, cannot take credit for all these various developments. But we can take satisfaction in knowing that our policies encourage and perhaps influence them.

Those who see a contradiction between our security and our humanitarian interests forget that the basis for a secure and stable society is the bond of trust between a government and its people. I profoundly believe that the future of our world is not to be found in authoritarianism: that wears the mask of order, or totalitarianism that wears the mask of justice. Instead, let us find our future in the human face of democracy, the human voice of individual liberty, the human hand of economic development.


The United States has continued to play its traditional role of safehaven for those who flee or are forced to flee their homes because of persecution or war. During 1980, the United States provided resettlement opportunities for 216,000 refugees from countries around the globe. In addition, the United States joined with other nations to provide relief to refugees in country of first asylum in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.

The great majority of refugee admissions continued to be from Indo-china. During 1980, 168,000 Indo-chinese were resettled in the United States. Although refugee populations persist in camps in Southeast Asia, and refugees continue to flee Vietnam, Laos and Kampuchea, the flow is not as great as in the past. One factor in reducing the flow from Vietnam has been the successful negotiation and commencement of an Orderly Departure Program which permits us to process Vietnamese for resettlement in the United States with direct departure from Ho Chi Minh Ville in an orderly fashion. The first group of 250 departed Vietnam for the United States in December, 1980.

In addition to the refugees admitted last year, the United States accepted for entry into the United States 125,000 Cubans who were expelled by Fidel Castro. Federal and state authorities, as well as private voluntary agencies, responded with unprecedented vigor to coping with the unexpected influx of Cubans.

Major relief efforts to aid refugees in countries of first asylum continued in several areas of the world. In December, 1980, thirty-two nations, meeting in New York City, agreed to contribute $65 million to the continuing famine relief program in Kampuchea. Due in great part to the generosity of the American people and the leadership exercised in the international arena by the United States, we have played the pivotal role in ameliorating massive suffering in Kampuchea.

The United States has taken the lead among a group of donor countries who are providing relief to some two million refugees in the Horn of Africa who have been displaced by fighting in Ethiopia. U.S. assistance, primarily to Somalia, consists of $35 million worth of food and $18 million in cash and kind. Here again, United States efforts can in large part be credited with keeping hundreds of thousands of people alive.

Another major international relief effort has been mounted in Pakistan. The United States is one of 25 countries plus the European Economic Community who have been helping the Government of Pakistan to cope with the problem of feeding and sheltering the more than one million refugees that have been generated by the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

In April, 1980, the Congress passed the Refugee Act of 1980 which brought together, for the first time, in one piece of legislation the various threads of U.S. policy towards refugees. The law laid down a new, broader definition of the term refugee, established mechanisms for arriving at a level of refugee admissions through consultation with Congress, and established the Office of the United States Coordinator for Refugees.

It cannot be ignored that the destructive and aggressive policies of the Soviet Union have added immeasurably to the suffering in these three tragic situations.

The Control of Nuclear Weapons

Together with our friends and allies, we are striving to build a world in which peoples with diverse interests can live freely and prosper. But all that humankind has achieved to date, all that we are seeking to accomplish, and human existence itself can be undone in an instant—in the catastrophe of a nuclear war.

Thus one of the central objectives of my Administration has been to control the proliferation of nuclear weapons to those nations which do not have them, and their further development by the existing nuclear powers— notably the Soviet Union and the United States.


My Administration has been committed to stemming the spread of nuclear weapons. Nuclear proliferation would raise the spectre of the use of nuclear explosives in crucial, unstable regions of the world endangering not only our security and that of our Allies, but that of the whole world. Non-proliferation is not and can not be a unilateral U.S. policy, nor should it be an issue of contention between the industrialized and developing states. The international non-proliferation effort requires the support of suppliers as well as importers of nuclear technology and materials.

We have been proceeding on a number of fronts:

—First, we have been seeking to encourage nations to accede to the Non-Proliferation Treaty. The U.S. is also actively encouraging other nations to accept full-scope safeguards on all of their nuclear activities and is asking other nuclear suppliers to adopt a full-scope safeguards requirement as a condition for future supply.

—Second, the International Nuclear Fuel Cycle Evaluation (INFCE), which was completed in 1980, demonstrated that suppliers and recipients can work together on these technically complex and sensitive issues. While differences remain, the INFCE effort provides a broader international basis for national decisions which must balance energy needs with non-proliferation concerns.

—Finally, we are working to encourage regional cooperation and restraint. Protocol I of the Treaty of Tlatelolco which will contribute to the lessening of nuclear dangers for our Latin American neighbors ought now to be ratified by the United States Senate.


I remain convinced that the SALT II Treaty is in our Nation's security interest and that it would add significantly to the control of nuclear weapons. I strongly support continuation of the SALT process and the negotiation of more far-reaching mutual restraints on nuclear weaponry.


We have new support in the world for our purposes of national independence and individual human dignity. We have a new will at home to do what is required to keep us the strongest nation on earth.

We must move together into this decade with the strength which comes from realization of the dangers before us and from the confidence that together we can overcome them. The White House, January 16, 1981.


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