Toward a new world; Pacem in Terris, Johnson & Vietnam, part one
They institute on world affairs the Institute on world affairs held each year on the San Diego State campus brings together statesman scholars military leaders and businessmen from all over the world. The purpose of this institute is the understanding of the problems and challenges that face man gained through knowledge and discussion. This year's theme was toward a new world and here to introduce this session speaker is Professor Minos generalise director of the Institute. X. The person who is most responsible saw the organisation and even the creation of this of these conferences is today's speak. Dr. Fred Warner. Dr. Neal has been a participant in the deliberations of this institute for many years so much so that when we considered him a member of our faculty here.
A man who's had lengthy experience in the academic and the practical. And in the field of authorship. He has studied in Michigan. Where he received his Ph.D. He was an even fellow and a little fellow at Harvard University. He studied it Kahlo University in University of Paris. He subsequently is taught in various institutions at George Washington University at the it called politique in Paris. University of Colorado at Michigan and various universities in Eastern Europe while he was on leave the UCLA and he is presently professor and chair of the program of international relations at Claremont Graduate School. Practical experience includes as foreign correspondent for The Wall Street Journal. He's been a consultant on Russian affairs for the American Department of State and she's a research priest in
Europe. You listen to the president of the University of state of New York assistant to Dr. James Collins in the committee of the Present Danger 951 consultant to the Twentieth Century Fund on the Yugoslav project and as I mentioned the special consultant for the patch human terrorist convocation that just took place. He's been also given many of his many other recognitions too lengthy to list time limitation. I do not introduce need to introduce him to you but it certainly is a pleasure to do so. My friend and colleague Dr. Friedman and. Generalise ladies and gentlemen it's always a pleasure to try to. Especially since Professor generalises co-opted me remember the faculty. And I appreciate the chance to share with you some views this morning. And
well appreciate even more having your reaction to criticisms and questions. About when I get through. As I have done in the past speaking down here thus far with. My skin intact. I intend to call a spade a spade as I see them. Certainly talking about the future it would seem to me that coexistence is high on the list if not first place. We have to man in particular. Nikita Khrushchev and Pope John the 23rd to thank for focusing our attention on the idea of and the necessity for coexistence. Now coexist thing is something that no sane person could be against. And it is what we are doing now. But coexistence I think implies something more than our present
highly uncertain sort of Damocles life replete as it is with so many suicide bent scissors wielders trying to chip away at the hair. Coexistence means I think a situation in which the foreign policies of the major powers are attuned to the need for working out arrangements to assure that our coexisting continue. Even this of course is not anywhere near enough or anywhere near what we want for the future. But it is a necessary and a vital first step. If there is going to be a future. Obviously or so it seems to me the biggest threat to coexistence now is to nearly everything else is the war in Vietnam. It is quite true that the United States wants coexistence. But fuel in the world will take us seriously as long as we are in Vietnam.
Perhaps this is unjust since the Americans honestly do not see themselves as doing anything to threaten co-exists. But it is the fact nonetheless. It is also true that coexistence involves not only the United States but other countries also and we do not always get the kind of cooperation that we should have from others. To the extent that we are an offender by no means are we the only one. But as the most powerful of the country and with the most often expressed desires for world leadership all responsibility is very great. And as Americans it is our job to be concerned first with our own country and its policy. Now in such a discussion there is a danger I think of over focusing on the war in Vietnam. This is not because anything favorable can be
said about this cruel misguided and tragic example of American military intervention obviously. Or so it seems to me almost nothing favorable can be said about it. But because Vietnam as bad as it is is only symptomatic with of what is wrong with the US foreign policy. The war in Vietnam is the result of foreign policy concepts and practices that began with the Truman Doctrine although their roots are much deeper and despite occasional signs of change that never fully materialized. Have continued down to this day. It would not advance us much further on the road to peace security and common sense if we merely exchange the war in Vietnam today for another one. Very much like it somewhere else tomorrow. Yet having said this I think it's necessary to add that the war in Vietnam is particularly senseless and dangerous. Even within the existing general concepts of American foreign policy defense of freedom intervention against
aggression domino theory opposition to communism containment of China and or the USSR. Our position in Vietnam does not stand up. Neither freedom nor aggression as most people understand these terms are really issues in Vietnam. Communism can no longer be spoken of meaningfully as a single or even as a dual system of power or ideology. And it is quite likely that the best instrument for keeping Chinese influence out of Southeast Asia if this is what we want to do is hold the man whose country we are attacking. In addition one must mention our inability to win. Restrained as we are hopefully by fear of starting world war 3 from using our total destructive power. We have repeatedly been unable to do what we have said we're going to do. And this can only lend credence to the paper tiger thesis is
wrong with his ideas. Perhaps even more important than these considerations are the dangers inherent in the Vietnam War most of which are commonplace to all of us. The threat of world war 3 is obvious and in the course of blundering into it we may succeed in promoting what everybody else has failed to achieve. The rapprochement of Moscow and beaking. Meanwhile the two best hopes for peace a US obviate detente and the United Nations are in consequence being dissipated. The inevitable coming to terms with China inevitable. That is that the world is being made vastly more difficult and the United States once the shining hope of peoples the world over is losing the last residue of support and respect from all but our most sink of phatic client states. American pretensions to leadership of the free world have always been somewhat overinflated. But now chiefly as a result of our policy in
Vietnam. They are rapidly becoming empty delusions. Indeed the increasing isolation of the United States reflecting Thus far more perplexity and fear than hostility on the part of others. Is one of the most critical aspects of the whole affair and whether official claims of wide international support mean that the White House and the State Department have hypnotized themselves to the point where they really believe it or whether they are just trying to fool the American people or both. It's hard to determine. One other danger must be emphasized the impact of Viet Nam on American society is already serious and bids to become more so. It is dividing a people badly in need of unity. Forcing neglect of our most pressing domestic problems and undermining respect for institutions on which the common weal depan. If there is as some believe a deep malaise in American society the war in Vietnam is aggravating
it to a point where doubts are beginning to appear in the minds of many. For the first time in history about the American future. Thus the first creative initiative involved in getting from coexisting to coexistence must I think be that of getting out of the Vietnamese maelstrom. Even this however would seem to depend more on overall foreign policy orientation than on the specifics of it now. Presently it also depends upon President Johnson. There are at least three schools of thought about President Johnson in regard to beat now. One is that he is concerned only with his political power and image and would like to get out but afraid of the internal political repercussions seems sees himself boxed in by public attitudes he helped to create. A second is that the president really believes that he is fighting a holy war that is necessary to save America
and the world from communism. A third is that he is just incompetent and confused out of his depth in the intricacies of international politics and totally unable to control events. Maybe there are elements of truth. And all three viewpoints it seems to me however that the president is a sincere believer. This is what makes the problem so difficult. It is also what leads to such things as the credibility gap. The president is so convinced as I see him of the wisdom and the necessity of what he is doing that he convinces himself not only of the certainty of its success but of the evilness of all who oppose him. Short run misinformation in the interest of long run truth. Not only is the US justified but does not even seem to be misinformation or even clear evidence of loss of public support that which the president's political ear certainly is attuned is scouted by a combination of attitude
one that the American people really must see that the president is defending their best interest to in the end our policy will prove itself right and thus have popular support. And three right is right and if one has to go down defending it so be it. But as in the Alamo above all no surrender. The creation of such a world of illusion around a high executive guarded from reality by a bureaucracy composed of sycophantic and like minded people is not new especially in regard to foreign policy where the histrionics of nationalism filter the light of reality through a strange prism. It is more severe I think than it has been in the past. But in part because of the great growth of presidential power if one surveys the
American political scene especially in regard to foreign policy in this century it would seem to me that the enormous increase of de facto presidential power and handed of course by the enormous increase of American power as a whole is the single most obvious and important development. A But it's not no. And the creation of such a world of unreality. And it can never be successful because it precludes a re-evaluation of basic premises and creates a frenetic activity to solve problems by working harder than ever at wrong approach. In this way do irrational foreign policies develop. And get mired down. And the more irrationality the more vigorously that foreign policies are pursued. One cannot speak of the fall of President Johnson in any individual sense I think for one thing the witch's brew of it
now did not originate with him. He only has made the poison in it more deadly. Yet at the same time it is his responsibility as the head of the government and its director of foreign policy and he is the initiator of present policy. Now if the president had really if the president had really ever been willing to accept honorable compromise and beaten them. I am convinced without any possibility of doubt he could have done so. The mechanics of getting out of the war at least until last spring were not too difficult. Of my personal knowledge I know of at least three and possibly there were more specific offers from North Vietnam to negotiate. If the United States would first stop the bombing.
One was without an early 966. One was via the Canadians in the summer of 1966 and one in which I was directly and personally involved was in the winter of 1967. Let me tell you a little about that one. For the much human terrorist convocation to which Professor generalise referred we had a planning conference in Geneva may one thousand sixty six. In the course of which it was impossible even though we were talking about planning a conference on coexistence. And which we weren't talking about would who weren't interested in focusing on big now at all to get away from Vietnam in any way whatsoever. Everybody kept talking about it. The Americans as well as others. We had four senators Supreme Court justice a number of others. And and about the State Department and on the last
day of the Russian representatives particular mistiness amps of who was the former chief deputy editor probably and is now head of the Soviet Institute of World economy and of national affairs an advisor to the Central Committee on Southeast Asian question a very important man. Suggested that perhaps the center should try to arrange a small meeting a small private meeting with the Vietnamese in advance. North Vietnamese South Vietnamese and others. With the Center for Study of democratic institutions. We all demurred at this on the grounds that it was too ambitious an undertaking for a small organization like the center but the Russians persisted and even agreed to assist. So we went ahead with it. What happened was what we were as in all these things that we we are not asking permission but at least advising both the State Department the White House about them. They both advised the senator that they wished we would go ahead
and have finally after several exchanges back and forth there was a response from Hanoi which was not at all unfavorable. Indeed inviting personalities from the center to come again with the approval of the State Department in the White House. My colleague in Santa Barbara Mr. Ashmore and Mr. Baggs a consultant to the editor of The Miami News and Ambassador company of Mexico went to Hanoi in January. Of 1970. And they brought back very interesting. Ideas involved and which was not only offered to negotiate of the bombing were stopped but they're a pretty good indication from the man himself that there was an understanding in Hanoi that something else was necessary although they wouldn't do anything else publicly. The idea that that was sort
of discussed and I think that's the first time I think that said about it I did it was that sense that they wouldn't do anything publicly about it. And the State Department wouldn't do anything publicly about it. Also. That you know Hanoi would tell the center which was then relayed to the State Department to the American government that we would not use the bombing stopping for a military build up during a period of negotiations then negotiations would would proceed. This was this was duly reported by the White House and the president and after a great deal of discussion and conversation a reply indicating the possibility of some kind of acceptance. It was sent back to library.
I think it was mailed quite understandably or at least I thought so at the time. Perhaps understandably anyway. Sadr was enjoined to keep this extremely secret not even to use telegrams or cables. We had arranged with the North Vietnamese diplomatic establishment in non-plan Cambodia to receive such communications and passed them on. The communications in general of the North Vietnamese are very liberal very slow and don't have a very sophisticated diplomatic communication system. Plus the fact of Whenever they do anything they obviously have to or don't do anything have to consult with a riot he of other sources including the guy who although they're very close to him exercise a great deal of influence over them certainly are separate as well as speaking as well as Moscow.
And the reply and they and they as a as a result of a of a of a proposal of the satyrs of the State Department or the White House which is what it amounted to will be at the site it was not received in Hanoi until the 15th of February. Now in the mean time totally unbeknownst to any of us and it may well be totally unbeknownst to the people we dealt with in the State Department who were on the highest level except for the secretary the president undertook his own letter to Holcim it on a completely different track increasing the ante above what he had previously said it was and what we had told them. The North Vietnamese that he said it was we were not advised of this. It interfered with and disrupted and prevented any possibility if such it ever existed and it seemed that it existed that an agreement could be reached. And as you know we escalated again the bombing before the man had replied to the letter the president.
Now I'm unable to explain it. Since I don't want to impute to the president deliberate sabotage of a serious peace effort I'm simply unable to explain it. It's the kind of thing which underscores a credibility gap which creates the most extreme kind of. Almost psychiatric distrust of the Americans in Hanoi and distrust and fear confusion about the Americans on the part of all other foreigners and nobody there have been many different official justifications offered for our Vietnam policies. So many that one loses track. But at one point it was said that the purpose of our bombing was to bring Hanoi to the conference table despite the administration's refusal to go to the conference table with a noise
which I think is the more correct way to state situation. This may once have been the objective of our bombing. If so then why did the administration not take advantage of what it could well have declared was a success for the bombing policy. And they go see a big I like Lancer I think is that the administration then realized when confronted with these things at various times that it had little or nothing to negotiate about. That is to say their relate is no meaningful negotiating position in the American government. What would have to be negotiated is a cessation of the fighting in South Vietnam and the formation of at least an interim government. Everybody outside of the White House and State Department understands that this would require some kind of coalition involving the National Liberation Front and probably exploiting the key to the group. And maybe they understand in the White House the State Department too. But such a solution
seems to be exactly what is unacceptable to Washington. Why. One reason may be the official American conviction that the Vietnamese that the Vietcong do not exist is a meaningful separate separate entity. Almost nobody else in the world believes this but I'm inclined to think that our people again have really convinced themselves. Our recent appeal to the nonexistent and regarded prisoners of war can be put down I think to irrationality rather than to insincerity. But over and above this in Washington the belief is in official Washington at the highest level that any coalition government in South Vietnam would risk the country going Communist which of course it would risk it at least and that is to say American policy is based on the idea that the risks presumably to American security of Vietnam going Communist are greater than the risks of even an indefinite American intervention and or
escalation. And I think a a considerable percentage of the American people probably agree with this idea although it may be becoming smaller. Such an idea seems to me to be based on three major misunderstandings together they reflect an attitude of moral superiority widespread and unsophisticated innocence about the world. And lack of a sense of history and of tragedy which is the product of our comparatively short history isolated experience. Such are the characteristics indeed of an isolationist minded nation. No matter how widely the nation participates in international affairs the first understanding is about communism. For all our intense preoccupation with it more myths remain that have been dissipated. Having misunderstood Savi at idiology in regard to what we call world communism we wrongly assumed it to impel
military aggression for world domination. This is not in the ideology. When as a result. Of the war began against it the Soviet Union extended its influence. Into Eastern Europe. We saw this is proof of our assumption while Stalin's post-war policy was in fact cautious and almost entirely defensive. We set out to contain savvy at aggression when there was no military aggression we concluded it was because of our containment. And even today there is still no appreciation of the fact that Stalin not only did not encourage the great revolution. But opposed it and the success of the Truman Doctrine in saving Greece from communism is regularly cited as justification of our Vietnam intervention. I think one cannot understand this present situation or unless one has
a clear idea of what happened then. The facts of the Greek revolution were almost the opposite of what was assumed in Washington and what is that was so quite honestly on their part. Far from having started the Greek revolution supported Stalin in pursuit of his essentially isolationist policy in the immediate post-war period was opposed to it not of course because he didn't want communism to triumph and greets. If it could do so without jeopardizing the U.S.'s RS position but because he didn't think it could do so at that point there's every evidence that Stalin lived up to the agreement Churchill made with him in 1040 form that Great Britain was to have a predominant influence in Greece and Churchill himself testified to that in Greece as in Yugoslavia and in a lesser degree other places. Opposition to the Germans during the war was carried on by a coalition of nationalist and revolutionary forces. And once the Nazis were defeated
the true groups turned on each other for entirely Greek reasons which had little or nothing to do with the Soviet Union. That the Greek communists played a leading role among the great gorillas is clear and they had at one point a small Soviet military mission with them. But if the Soviet Union played any political role there at all during the war it was to urge restraint and non revolutionary activity on their Greek comrades in order better to get on with the war against the Germans. The political military organization of the Greeks the grillers was undertaken by the Yugoslav communists under the direction of Soviet as our movement of a temple and a bully and Montenegrin activists who were still in the government. But none of age was pushing for the revolution and the guerrilla war at the same time. The Soviet advisers demurred following the Churchill Stalin agreement on spheres of influence in 1944. The SA Viet advisors
- Toward a new world
- Producing Organization
- San Diego State University
- Contributing Organization
- University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
- AAPB ID
- Episode Description
- This program presents the first part of a lecture by Dr. Fred Neal, Claremont Graduate School.
- Series Description
- Lectures recorded at San Diego State College's 25th Annual Institute on World Affairs. The Institute brings together world leaders to discuss issues in politics, culture, science, and more.
- Media type
Producing Organization: San Diego State University
Speaker: Neal, Fred Warner
Speaker: Generales, Minos D.
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University of Maryland
Identifier: 68-9-4 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
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- Chicago: “Toward a new world; Pacem in Terris, Johnson & Vietnam, part one,” 1967-12-28, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed February 4, 2023, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-00003n74.
- MLA: “Toward a new world; Pacem in Terris, Johnson & Vietnam, part one.” 1967-12-28. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. February 4, 2023. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-00003n74>.
- APA: Toward a new world; Pacem in Terris, Johnson & Vietnam, part one. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-00003n74