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Greetings from West Germany. This is Crocker snow speaking from the studios of Radio digest more cologne a city with a world famous Gothic cathedral. September is the month of Munich famed and beery October Fest a beguiling misnomer somehow characteristic of the robust capital of Bavaria while the October fest was in full swing in the city. So too was another more serious occasion. The 12th annual congress of the Atlantic Treaty Association. This is a kind of friends of NATO's organization. It was first activated in the mid 50s to alert public opinion to the fact that nature was and remains more than simply another military alliance. The delegations from the member nations are private citizens with no official capacity. Try to keep a close and hopefully influential eye on NATO's developments. The recent meeting in Munich was the first ever held in the federal republic.
A large part of the week's discussions general sessions and working group meetings centered upon the French withdrawal from NATO which has taken place over the last 18 months. What the delegates attack fully referred to as the French initiative maleo below Zeo secretary general of NATO addressed the delegates on this problem during the opening plenary session in Munich's spacious Maximillian a.m. immediately afterwards in the crowded chambers. I asked the NATO's secretary general if he considered the so-called Natal crisis at an end. It depends very much. On the idea one of the days when I was running one means by way of NATO. Mike I just wanted to come some percent of the pain should decision. We should say that you can eat at the
present not over the course of the other nations have not yet taken over the major national City to face whatever measures have to be taken into account and I am sure they will be but it would take some time trying to name it didn't play out in very practical sense I would say that the process of evolution and adaptation of get on which is a concept. Of Defense moves over one of the conquering guys is in a deep dive sand connected with the general political situation and the purposes of NATO's adventure in Ames and so on support. I would also think that night but asserting very strongly that it is these protests over that they should in devolution of icky and. Necessary
process of all living voters and potential actions anyway. Why certainly not. First thank you general because I say that one true fact. Thank you. Yeah they're gonna need to activate it. I was already thinking I don't think any of you know mon Leo Blasio secretary general of NATO another official present at the opening day of the Atlantic Treaty Association meeting. Was your Kimi Unica a German Foreign Service officer on loan so to speak to NATO's where he is assistant secretary general for political affairs. Speaking in fluent English learned during 12 years of studying and teaching in America. Yannick a re cited the background and effects of the French action. The speech raised several interesting points in your speech today.
You dealt at great length with the question of the sovereignty of nations of the 14 nations now NATO and 15 and you don't with this and I got the impression that you were perhaps regretful but at least realistic that nations still demand this sovereignty and that. They require it is. Is this a correct assessment of what you were saying. I think so because the fact is that NATO is an alliance of 15 sovereign states and the word sovereign by definition means that there is no authority above the sovereign state. Therefore whatever a state a member of such an association does does out of the full strength and plenitude of the power which it possesses as a sufferance sovereign state and therefore it is possible for each state to follow if it so wishes. A selfish policy. There is no principle which hinders it. Except of course the principle of enlightened
self interest and the principle of restraint or the recognition that we are all all selfish and pursue our own national aims regardless of other interests and needs and that we in the long run do harm to ourselves. The principal however is still the one prevailing in international relations. And as I pointed out there is an attempt now being made to pool their sovereignty in a very particular experiment namely the experiment of the common market in Europe. But it presupposes that the nations participating have a high degree of similarity of interest and cohesion among themselves and I think that the NATO member states are too diverse to achieve this cohesion and at this point in history it would take longer and more has to happen in the development of
international relations before we realistically can expect nations to give up the principle of sovereignty. It is not too soon however to limit. By your own decision this full use of the sovereignty and to apply restraint. Of course all of this applies to France and the French action the French initiative as it has been called in withdrawing from the military and of NATO. And this is behind a lot of the discussions here at the Atlantic Treaty Association meeting. Now I'm interested in your point during that you made during your speech that the French really acted within this framework of national sovereignty within a framework recognized by all of the other member nations and the fact that that they did really act in a legitimate manner as as the thing has developed that this is really what is what has frustrated and is frustrating the other member member nations.
It is frustrating to the other member nations because of them emanations have been willing for the past few years not to use their rights to the full extent. And it is precisely the policy of the present French government to use sovereignty to the hilt regardless of the present international situation which to my mind is a situation which due to technological economic and physical reasons demands and ever increasing degree. Into dependence or rather of the recognition of interdependence so that we are no longer living in an international situation where the full use of sovereignty can be applied and can be enjoyed without doing harm to one's partners. Certainly one of the real virtues of the Atlantic Treaty Association is the
opportunity for an exchange of views to trade perspectives. For example Gordon Hawkins head of the Canadian delegation at the Munich meeting speaking about the special Canadian angle toward the French question. It is perfectly true that one hears here very often. The remark that Canada has of course been pro French and its general attitude because of Quebec and its very legitimate because of the difficulties between French Canada and the rest of the country and because of the increasing amount of bilateral relations that Canada has been establishing with France we have been prone to take a different attitude towards French actions in the last year or so. But this I am perfectly convinced is only a very small part of the explanation of why we and I took both of the Canadian government and I think of the civilian groups that make up this delegation. Taker are the more
cautious for your situation and it seems to us that any arguments about advancing the European community or even advancing the Atlantic community must be very bizarre and unnatural. If you are not going to prepare the way at every conceivable point for close French participation and that to encourage or commit yourself to a line of policy that excludes the more firmly then need be from discussions and your arrangements. This seems to us to be a rather unprofitable one. There's a figure of speech which I think has a German origin that if you're going to pull out the. Plug in the situation at least make sure that the wall socket maintains it's maintained in good condition and I think this is the kind of commitment that we feel now as I say I think this does inevitably spring to some extent from our special relationships within Canada
and as between Canada and France but much more basically than that is a conviction that there is no point in talking about Atlantic Alliance Atlantic Assembly's Atlantic communities unless you prepare the way at every stage for the greatest possible involvement of France even allowing for the range of political and military difficulties that exist at the moment. We've both heard a lot of talk here about the fact that the so called French initiative has caused quite a reassessment of NATO and its objectives and that it is necessarily meant that. NATO's should develop into more of a political role than it has hitherto and yet I for one have not heard any concrete proposals at all I wonder if you have. No I haven't and it seems to me very hard to think of the ways in which the alliance can assume a more concrete and purposeful political structures without France in the sheer geographical historical and economic effect
to it. Thinking of it in this way seems to me to be very apparent. And then if you're going to talk about the possibility of common political institutions to make the nuclear threat continuously credible and so on. You must talk about this with that with France in mind and with the possibility of fronts returning. And that if you are going to move on from NATO's being a military alliance which I think it still should be to something more imaginative and contemporary and attractive to the progressive mind then I think you must move into the economic rather than the political sector. You will recall that after the last Brussels meeting there was within the communique an agreed statement of that NATO's consul and its committees should consider. Ways in which more enlightened and valuable relations with the east in economic terms could be
found and explored. I gather this is going on slowly that there are a lot of difficulties in it but it seems to me that if one could while continuing NATO's a military alliance use it also as a base from which to consider the possibility is of of detente of some detente in economic terms that one would give to the alliance an attraction which it certainly doesn't have for the generation that's 35 years and younger at the present time. Gordon Hawkins head of the Canadian delegation at the recent Atlantic Treaty Association meeting in Munich. His temperate views concerning the French withdrawal from NATO were not particularly popular ones at the meeting. Generally speaking the French action was panned. Even the French delegates hasten to pledge their firm commitment to the alliance and to disassociate themselves from the global Scholls. They were of course representing no official French
views only their own. One highlight of the conference was an address by West German defense minister hostle on the subject. Security today and tomorrow a man in a precarious position at the moment. Due to the recent resignations of three top ranking dispair generals von hostle touched briefly on this and his government's determination to allow non-NATO French forces to remain in Germany. The theme of the Atlantic Treaty Association annual meeting was the present state of the Atlantic alliance and the nature of the Communist threat. Aside from the obvious preoccupation of the various delegations with the French withdrawal from NATO precipitating as it did the NATO's crisis this theme was an appropriate one. The meeting served as a sounding board for the different national interpretations of the alliance today although the body itself the 88 has no actual voice in NATO affairs.
It does have an important function to fulfill. Joe Hakim Janica a NATO's official explains just what that is. Nieto feels that function. All of these is to enlighten public opinion and our feeling in the ATO is that association of democratic states these states and thereby the airlines need the support of public opinion. And you cannot have the support if people do not understand the problems and the complexities of a modern defensive alliance. And it's the task of these association to provide this information to the public. I believe you also made a point in your speech that the the other member nations other than the United States should make some sort of an effort in the future to offset the overbalance as it were of both American troop commitments and American economic commitments to NATO could you amplify this a bit.
The fact is that the United States carries the lion's share as it were of the defense burden in the NATO's alliance. And the Europeans who are always asking for more say in the direction of the alliance can really only support this claim if they are also willing at the same time to increase relatively speaking their share in the economic burden of the defense. Costs the men put into the field and the part of the gross national product devoted to the common defense during your conclusion. You implied in fact you stated that the Communist threat which really necessitates NATO and has necessitated NATO will be as great as ever in the future in the in the conceivable future discernable future by that that it will probably be harder to discern particularly for public opinion. And this is
perhaps a bit contrary to much of the academic in the so-called enlightened opinion in America at the moment. As you probably know there's a great feeling that we really can work with the Russians at the moment if if the Vietnam conflict would resolve itself and so forth and I wonder if you'd talk just a little bit more about this. This ever present communist threat for various reasons the intentions of the present communist leadership. Friendlier or less hostile let us say toward the west then in Stalin's time. But as we know and intention is something which can be changed overnight. It can be changed by a change in government from one day to the next Mr Khrushchev disappeared without anybody knowing about it beforehand. Or it can be changed by the government itself. Mr. Khrushchev was making great efforts in his
day to win the friendship of the public opinion in the West. And yet while doing so he placed a mortal threat against the United States by trying to smuggle his rockets into Cuba. Now that would be one very reliable test of the good intentions. If these good intentions were accompanied by a real and visible reduction of military capabilities because military capabilities take years to build up and once they are there and they are maintained it means that they pose a potential threat. However if the Soviets wanted to prove their good intentions all they had to do is reduce their capability. There is nobody in the western world no military authority which would deny that
the military potential rocket Arsenault the naval power the conventional power the satellite power armament. Its quality is being reduced behind the Iron Curtain. On the contrary. And the Soviets and their allies boast about the continuing build up greater efficiency greater modernization standardization of the armies of the Soviet Union and of the Eastern European nations. If these capabilities were sensibly reduced then we could take this as proof of the good intentions because capabilities once reduced cannot be restored overnight. It takes in modern armaments technology years to rebuild and this is also at the same time the reason why we cannot afford to reduce our
defense capabilities because should intentions on the other side change overnight. We would not be in a position to re store our own capabilities equally in equally short time. You know Hakim Unica Natoma assistant secretary general for political affairs. His notion of the continuation of the Communist threat was consistent with the general attitude at the Munich meeting. There was little starry eyed idealism floating about as outgoing president of the association Lord Gladwin made clear during his valedictory address. He disposed of the theory that Russia is no longer a threat and that if America goes home a peaceful and united Europe will result with the words of all the neutralised illusions. This is perhaps the most absurd. Where will be the center of the strange union. Are we all in Western Europe culturally more akin to the Russians
than to the Americans. Do we really find Lennon more sympathetic than Benjamin Franklin. The American delegation was the largest at the meeting. It was composed of professional diplomats academics businessmen and financier's general Norris north star and former supreme allied commander in Europe was present at the start as was Neil McIlroy one time Secretary of Defense under President Eisenhower. Mr. McElroy here at this Atlanta Association conference that we've been attending for the last few days we've heard much about the so-called communist threat. It's been redefined and so forth and I'm wondering if you how you recognize the Communist threat of today in comparison with the communist threat posed when you were secretary of defense. I think that in relationship to make the Communist threat is really the Soviet threat and it's the belief of
most of the people here and it includes myself that the Soviet objective is not different today from what it was 10 years ago. Even though the degree of strong arm pressure being used by this audience at the present time is on a reduced basis it seems clear to me and it seems to be the opinion of the other allied countries who are represented here that the citizens of the various NATO countries must not be deluded into believing that the threat is substantially reduced. Now what difference do you recognize in both the present status and the future concept of NATO in relation to this communist threat of course with the time with the period when you were secretary of defense under President Eisenhower. Well my time was between 57 and 59 and it
included the Sputnik period and its sequels. And Mr. Khrushchev. Table thumping period with the boot. The changes the significant changes would be large and the area of those connected with the withdrawal of France from NATO. I don't believe that anything major happened in the meantime. In addition to the withdrawal of France with the exception of the fact that they conduct a ruler's in Russia has changed from one of extreme aggressiveness to one of reasonableness in the terms in which they construe that
term. I wonder if you would perhaps explain if you could the apparent preoccupation of the various national delegations here at this conference with the American role in Vietnam. I think from the standpoint of the countries other than the United States and NATO alliance the interests vary interests in the United States activity and Vietnam are twofold first. There is the obvious possibility that the requirement on the United States in Southeast Asia and perhaps even in China depending on developments there. What do they need to a reduction of the proportion
of the United States effort which can be applied to Western Europe. Of course beyond that I think quite properly than a token countries being world wide powers themselves in a somewhat abashed sense than the United States is must be concerned with the threat to peace anywhere in the world. It would be difficult. Any occasion where two major powers came into serious conflict for the rest of the civilized world to stand aside and not be involved in some serious way. Former Secretary of Defense Neil McElroy Now the president of Proctor and Gamble while at the recent Atlantic Treaty Association meeting in Munich the conference itself was essentially a passive one. The association has no actual authority. The delegates act in a private capacity as
interested and influential observers discussing present and projected Atlantica Alliance problems. The association is not without problems of its own however as the head of the Canadian delegation Gordon Hawkins points out the problem is that when you've been doing this for 12 or 13 years as if you were a founder member or as many of the present individuals you still feel very loyal to the organization as it was originally brought into being. So that in a sense neato itself can undergo some pretty vital changes and look to new direction of its own life and yet rely upon support in such an organization as this upon those who took the view that night it was a great thing 12 years ago. I'm personally of the opinion that if an organization like the Atlantic Treaty Association is to continue to serve a useful purpose it must come up to date with neato in a sense because
my around the funky perception of the whole scene is that within the close her counsels of neato there's a great deal more thinking about possible new directions for the alliance. Then there is among many of the civilian groups that support it. And until we bring those two into the gear again I'm afraid that the Atlantic Treaty Association is going to look to the outside world as a slightly antiquated thing and I say this out of no kind of disrespect for those who have been mustering public support for a great period of time on a subject about which you can't really get a great deal of warm blood stirring. And they've done a noble job of the public opinion forming. Nevertheless we've got a new function I think to perform within the association. To me having observed the first two days I get the impression that the group and what it advocates is is quite conservative by. At the contemporary use of the word I've heard a lot about the so-called communist threat how it may be
different but it's still the old threat. And this runs contrary to the war against the grain of much of American academic opinion at the moment. In general I've gotten the impression that it's a fairly conservative outlook on. Both the nature of NATO and the nature of the world within which NATO finds itself. And I wonder how you feel about this. To me who have been observing the same activities over the past two years I finally do exactly the same conclusion as you do this. I think spring partly from what I've just said that inevitably there is a sort of a heritage that one's living with that the attitudes that first supported this organization this organization persists while the direction of the organization is changing. And I think one's going to live with that. And one mustn't be over depressed and certainly not too caustic about it. At the same time I do agree that there doesn't seem to be written into the purposes or the activities of the
organization an awareness of the changes in in the possibility of new East-West relations. You're not allowed to say detente here because this this means you're putting too optimistic. Term to a difficult situation. But you don't see written in any of the forms of discussion or the decorations and so on the view that we must consider in detail the way in which new approaches might be made to East-West relations in economic terms for example. The supposition is that the possibilities are not great. And I agree with you I think the president prevalent thoughtful view in North American and indeed in parts of Europe are that there are imaginative possibilities here which we ought to be looking at while maintaining all kinds of problems suspicions about what lies behind it. Gordon Hawkins head of the Canadian delegation to the Atlantic Treaty Association Conference held in Munich. Although his views about the association
Crocker Snow Reports From Germany
Atlantic Treaty
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Manlio Brasio, Neil McElroy, Gordon Hawkins, Joachim Jaenicke.
Crocker Snow Reports for Germany is a series of reports and dicusssions about West German news and culture.
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Chicago: “Crocker Snow Reports From Germany; Atlantic Treaty,” WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 20, 2019,
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