Historically, the environment had never been a major concern of U.S. presidents. With the exception of Theodore Roosevelt, no twentieth-century president had taken an interest in environmental issues until President Nixon. During RN’s presidency, the environment was fast becoming a hot-button issue and as President, RN rose to the challenge of the American people and became the first Commander-in-Chief to make extensive progress in environmental policy. Under his direction, the United States participated in the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm, Sweden in 1972, and on June 20th he issued a statement regarding the results of that conference.
“The United States achieved practically all of its objectives at Stockholm.
(1) The Conference approved establishment of a new United Nations unit to provide continued leadership and coordination of environmental action, an important step which had our full support.
(2) The Conference approved forming a $100 million United Nations environmental fund which I personally proposed last February.
(3) The Conference overwhelmingly approved the U.S. proposal for a moratorium on commercial killing of whales.
(4) The Conference endorsed our proposal for an international convention to regulate ocean dumping.
(5) The Conference endorsed the U.S. proposal for the establishment of a World Heritage Trust to help preserve wilderness areas and other scenic natural landmarks.”
President Nixon regarded this conference as a great success, not only because the goals of the United States had been met, but also because the conference represented the start of a new era of international cooperation in the arena of environmental protection and preservation.