Byline; Defense and Strategy in the West
The British Broadcasting Corporation in collaboration with the national educational radio network and Mutual Broadcasting System present a trans-Atlantic forum. In this edition Henry Kissinger professor of Government at Harvard University discusses from Harvard defense and strategy in the West with Charles Douglas Hume defense correspondent of The Times. And Wolf Mendel lecturer in the Department of War Studies at King's College London University. The program is introduced in London by Richard Gilbert the troubled partnership is the title of a recent book by our guest speaker in Harvard today Professor Henry Kissinger that travel partnership referred to by Professor Kissinger is the nature of alliance. Well events of the last few weeks of only added to the accuracy of that description of the French decision to withdraw from the military system of NATO and eject all NATO's military headquarters from French territory within a year has provoked a crisis in the Atlantic alliance. General de Gaulle's actions have forced Western strategists to reconsider the objects of NATO and the nature of America's relationship
with Europe. While the attention of many western politicians has been focused on the Viet Nam war and the Far East in general recent developments have now put Europe right back on the agenda. Professor Henry Kissinger is probably America's leading strategist. He's been a consultant to numerous American government agencies and his writings have had a great influence on the evolution of Defense thinking in the United States. In London to talk to Professor Kissinger in Harvard we have the defense correspondent of The Times Charles Douglas Hume. And Wolf Mendel a lecturer in the Department of War Studies at King's College London University. Professor Kissinger let me ask you this first. How serious do you think the repercussions are likely to be of the French withdrawal from NATO's military system. I think it will forward it to to undertake an aid organization and strategic doctrine which will in any event overdue
if that happens I think it can have a healthy long term effect if we are trying to continue what has been done in the under under bases of 14 to one without any modification. I think the long term effect will be very disruptive. What film did you fall see this overhaul of strategy taking. I think that in the first years the military organisation was used as a symbol and sometimes of a substitute for political cohesion. There was a fear of an imminent Soviet attack. There was the attempt to tie the United States organically to the defense of Europe. Its objective the objective of preventing that Soviet attack on Europe had been met. And in the decade ahead I believe that the problem of political coordination is going to be more important than military integration or rather it has to
take at least that take President over it and it in this direction that the changes have to occur in my view. I want to I'd like to ask Professor Kissinger what his views are in fact on the military capability of a NATO organization without France does seem to be some conflict had the first impression and we certainly gathered was that NATO could function as a military entity for a short campaign in Europe without France does not appear that the absence of France from what you might call the line up. Might seriously affect the native forces ability to carry out any campaign. But one would have to distinguish that the absence of French forces from shape in peacetime and the absence of French forces in wartime I don't exclude that in case of a massive Soviet attack on Europe. That friend that France would participate because of the logic of its
geographic position whatever its attitude towards integrated command in peace time. If however France had tended to remain neutral even in war time then I would think the capacity of NATO for a prolonged local defense would be bound to be reduced. Yes I fully agree with that because the French government's position is that they are even prepared in time of peace to continue and contingency planning of a general kind. The problem however is of course whether this is meaningful. If you don't have any kind of real integration when you come to deal with highly complex weapons systems I would think that for the conduct of military operations advanced weapon a
considerable amount of integration of military command at least in wartime at the same time I would. And Frederick you explored what the friend had in mind for the kind of cooperation that they're talking about to make sure that we're not all engaged in a theological dispute about how we're going to cause something that is taking place anyway. To what extent do you think the general the girl's behavior is merely perverse and based on this curious dislike he has of what he calls the Anglo-Saxons to what extent is this just eccentric behavior. Is there in fact a political case to be made out for what God has done. Well you know I think that one can say that the goals personal idiosyncracies obviously play a part in this is we know from the past and his utterances and writings about his feelings about the Anglo-Saxon domination in the West. But at the same time I think one can make a political
case and I think that this is proved by the fact that he is supported by a number of people who have strong reservations about his general outlook on international relations NATO after all while started at a time when Western Europe required the defense which only the United States could provide. West New York now feels much more self-confident after having Coverly and at the same time that this is happened in the United States of course finds itself in a position of nuclear balance with the Soviet Union and therefore the American deterrent becomes far less creditable far credible to the Europeans. And this I think is a serious problem which is exercising many Europeans even those who wouldn't go as far as to go in his manner of doing things is probably more here an expression of personally do you think AC rather than the basic policy behind it would you
agree with that professor. But I think the problem of their relative weight of Europe and the United States in the Atlantic alone and structural and independent of the goal. I agree that if you think radical and brutal and I no doubt affected that. I think also that the kind of organization that was appropriate to the first two and maybe even to the early 60s would have to be altered even if the god did not exist. And in that respect the question he had put are crucial. Even if we don't like the answers he'd get. What I find it's like a perplexing about Diggle this yeah that to say is the complete apparent complete reversal of his present policy in Europe to that period when he signed the Franco-German
agreement with Germany. I get the impression that the whole direction of his policy and you know what Michel the post natal phase is directed rather against Japanese certainly not in favor of cementing closer ties between France and Germany has as he has tried to do in the past. I think that the girl has in a way not strayed from a very consistent French policy ever since the end of the war to keep Germany friendly. Yes but in a subordinate position. And I think he is a posh one with Germany in the early 1960's can perhaps be seen somewhat in this light and its failure because of the German fleet election for the American alliance has perhaps led him to follow another course which may mean that he's thinking now in terms of a balancing act of the Soviet Union at one end of your up and the other people in Germany between them and Great Britain. I wouldn't be surprised if it started moving more
strongly toward Britain indication anywhere. Would you would you accept that the girl's attitude towards For instance the Common Market and Britain's entry into it is relevant here. Yes I think that the Guard's primary concern is to achieve autonomy for Europe within that of course he would like to have the largest possible role for France and probably the leading role for France. And it seems and I think its tactics are highly elastic I think its objectives extremely extremely rigid. I think that originally he thought that he could lead Europe in a partnership with Germany. He seemed disappointed in that. I would expect him now to try to to encourage Britain to enter the Common Market. So so as to form a counterweight to what he
may consider it in two minutes president extensively asserted to him in his view I don't share those characterizations. Hired quite like to ask the professor what he sees as the possible outcome in terms of axes between Washington and Europe. I anticipate a very interesting triangle really to start with between Washington and Boston and London. I get the impression in London that that London would disfavor any heightened relations between Washington and Bonn at the expense of what the British refer to as the special relationship between London and Washington. On the other hand the does appear to me to be a tremendous jockeying for positions resulting from the calls moving data between these three capitals. May I may I for the most know Palin for my friend from the State Department that I represent a
minority view not do not reflect official opinion. I would think that there is a current of opinion that would like or that would favor a watching. If this is a proper word or two to rely on Barnett the European anchor of NATO polyphase there's a larger group that would like to create a Washington line grouping I believe that in the short term these groupings may be tactically buys in the long term stress of Washington by an axis is going to create serious problems in 1969 when NATO comes up for division and when then all anti-NATO and anti-American feelings can concentrate on the distrust and anti-German feelings gone the distrust for historic distrust for Germany. I don't think it's healthy for Germany to be put into leading a position considering it
division and all the other pressures on it. And recently we've had speeches from both Dr and hot the chancellor of West Germany which indicates that the West Germans are taking shall we say a more relaxed a more dogs like attitude towards Russia towards East Germany. Do you think there is much reality in this are these merely noises. Well I think that that the Federal Republic will be driven by the nature of its concern for a unification to reassess its view of the evolution of European development the previous notion was that there would be. Negotiating confrontation at the end of which in some way German unification would emerge. Seems to me now obvious that however German unification is achieved if ever it will be as a result of a political process including all of Europe and not simply a bilateral negotiation invented
documented and I think this will drive to a mini into considering a more flexible stance in its diplomacy and will in turn affect the nature of the ties that can afford and in fact the nature of any one sided ties with anybody. And it seems to me the healthy relationship for the federal republic is to be in close ties with both France and London and and and with Washington not to become a key point for for for a new grouping with NATO. You once wrote that political unity must proceed it cannot follow nuclear integration. Now as far as discussions have been going on nuclear sharing ideas do you think that political unity in the sense that you meant it is still possible. It is it is going to be very difficult. But it seems to me that the
approach by which one wants to integrate the operations for nuclear war without integrating or unifying I'm not so interested in the particular term unifying the diplomacy preceding that war is inherently contradictory and I would like to see Speaking as an American are pretty good on the effort of achieving a degree of common diplomacy in the areas where it is relevant rather than engage in all these highly technical schemes of who presses the button in the contingency that no one can imagine and where the assertions of statesmen prior to the event are less reliable than the British take to almost any other contingency that I can imagine. This doesn't seem to me to be very different from some of the French arguments on this. A common diplomacy. Yes in your OP. But would you say that a common
diplomacy as far as Asia is likely to be something which one should not even think about at the moment. And of course I'm referring here to the European anxiety is that a close relationship with the United States may lead Europeans into policies in which they don't really approve. Well I would have to say that of course I would like the greatest degree of calm and probably every part of that. But realistically I have to grant that in Asia it is highly unlikely that we will obtain meaningful European pored over the possible exception of Great Britain due to its historical association. In that part of the world and it seems quite conceivable to me that the attempt to to to forward a consensus where one doesn't exist will lead to to a misleading impression and will put excessive domestic strain
on all countries and I think the much permitted degree of dissociation within the alliance on issues where our allies do not agree with us. It does strike me here that there's a certain ambivalence really in the American attitude to this wish to to this wish for close allied support for instance in Asia. I would imagine that in fact Washington would be appalled if the German government actually upped its ante to the extent of offering contingent of frontline troops to fight in Vietnam I can't believe that any wooden body would accept that. In reality where is the the the support which Washington would like from Bonn. Could it could this could result from that if you really got what you say you wanted. Well I don't I think as a general proposition Truman troops should not be your side of the NE 2 area and it seems to me that the attempt to involve organically Europeans in
areas very far away. May may have very serious difficulties it is often said that in Bill that World War Bond resulted as a result of collective of the failure of collective security. This is in part true but it is also true that group of a hundred thousand from an alliance system it immediately generalized any conflict no matter how minor into a world wide one or at least an end to an all European one and we have to strike a balance it seems to me between having an aligned system which can act in unity in unison via united action is necessary and the danger of generalizing every conflict into a virtual divide one by structural necessities of the alliance and I would be very uneasy to admit troops appeared outside of Europe and I don't really think it would help anybody if other European troops appeared again but the possible exception of Great Britain which is not to say that that I would come to considered
necessary or desirable to have British troops in the. Do I take it from that then that in fact you would date you would disapprove of German troops being used outside Europe because they were German troops rather than that they were the cause they were essentially European troops without direct involvement let's say in Vietnam. Now it would seem to me that to use Truman troops in Vietnam would create a pretext for Soviet pressures on Central Europe and would organically connected defense Ultraman it with the defense of an area thousands of miles away. Secondly I think it is not. One has to remember the the historic memories here are to some degree relevant and the special problem of too many is that it is the most exposed country they have on that front two years are on the Iron
Curtain and therefore one should not. Invite crises in that part of the world unless they're directly connected with it. Concerned PROFESSOR MATT I ask you once we're on the subject of Vietnam it has been suggested that Europe has been relegated to second reason as a result of the United States involvement in Vietnam and its session called it what you will with China. Do you think there's any truth in the suggestion. And I'd have to answer that in two parts. I would say that on the theoretical level there is a general agreement that Europe remains the area of primary importance for the United States and that success and failure in the Atlantic area will determine the future effectiveness of our foreign policy. Even on a global basis on a practical level it seems to me that the attention of our top policymakers is.
Necessarily absorbed to a considerable degree in the problem if we had known and simply in terms of the amount of time that can give to Vietnam as against Europe it is probably true that more time has been spent on that problem than on European problems. But I think general philosophical point and I think the primacy of Europe would be recognized by almost every informed person. Don't you think that referring really to a remark you made a little earlier about the organic connection being established between Europe and and Viet Nam. It would be established if European troops were stationed in Vietnam. It does seem that the on the theoretical level level the connection between Vietnam and the defense of the West as a whole is not getting through to Europe and and this is. A very frequent complaint one hears from American officials. And do you see any
other way of establishing close connection between the one and the other. Other than by stationing physically stationing troops all in Vietnam. Well I think in inviting European troops to Vietnam had the additional disadvantage that it makes it very emphatically the wrong kind of war the one thing I think we do not need are additional Western troops that might evoke memories of colonialism and that would lend it would lend themselves to too to the presentation that the imperialist Paddon is reasserting itself. Any European troops would be token troops now it is true that the American view of the importance of Vietnam has not gotten through to the Europeans. There are many reasons for that why not their reasons may be very similar to the American attitude towards European problems people in 1939. I don't believe that anything
Britain could have said to us in 1939 would have convinced the American public that its interests were involved in Poland and and if Britain had made its actions in that crisis dependent on American approval. No action would have been forthcoming they all had the regular narrative leading but it made a bit more added to it involved. While I recognize this is a view which will hold true for the Kissinger it does seem that the United States government's request as far as we understand it here that Britain should consider sending troops to Viet Nam does mean in fact that the United States wants other nations to participate and one nation in particular which has a strong colonial background so that
it would seem to me that there is reason here why we are concerned in Europe about the American attitude towards Vietnam and and Europe's relationship to it. May I just add at this point that it does seem to me to boil down to the fact that the United States is now rather preoccupied with the threat which is posed by the People's Republic of China. And it seems to me that there is a great difference here between the European assessment of this threat problem and that of the United States I wonder whether you would agree with that. Yes I think I think there is a difference let me say incidentally that I on the first point I don't object to European support if European countries genuinely believe that their interests are involved. All I feel is that if we cannot put
it that excessive American pressure but respect do in order to obtain European support should be avoided and that is a matter that should be largely up to the Europeans yet there is a difference in the assessment of the nature of the cause of the Chinese Communist threat and I would believe that most Europeans are under the impression that in the foreseeable future Communist China is not likely to be a major military threat and certainly not a major military threat to European interests. That's why I resigned. Granted the full professor Kissinger to the to the prospect that Europe is unlikely to appreciate American policy either in towards communist China in particular or Southeast Asia as a whole. Well here here in Europe where I'm likely to appreciate the extent of the threat which the Americans claim exists that. Yes I'm afraid I'm resigned to it. For the immediate
crisis that is before us. It also illustrates to me the need for having discussions of this kind of problem long before these specific crises arise. If we had had more general discussions over the years of how be it said Chinese development I'm not saying we would have agreed but we would be in a better position to understand maybe disagree today to try to have a debate like that in the middle of a crisis where one country's prestige is already very deeply involved is not very conducive to the most dispassionate kind of debate. I'd like to move on if I can now to disarmament. You once wrote that we must be dedicated both to military strength and to arms control. Would you still agree with that. Oh yes I think that the control of these weapons is one of the most important tasks before us. Maybe the most important.
Well what single step do you see as the most urgent and also could be achieved to get some real progress into Solomons. The most immediate one before us is of course the problem of nuclear proliferation. We may well be at the larger point where this can still be effectively controlled from now on almost any additional nuclear country is likely to trigger a chain reaction. For example if India gets nuclear weapons the target for me to see how Pakistan could be kept out of the nuclear club if its trailor the United Arab Republic obtained them. Hard for me to see how the opponents can be kept and then that will peek back into Europe and other countries. So I would think nuclear proliferation is the most immediately urgent problem. Now I put to you and this is I'm afraid will have to be my last question Are you an
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- A transatlantic forum produced in cooperation with the BBC with Professor Henry Kissinger of Harvard; Charles Douglas Home, defense correspondent for the London Times; Wolf Mendel of the War Studies Department, Kings College, London University.
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