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Oregon educational broadcasting in cooperation with the Foreign Policy Association presents United States foreign policy demands of the next decade. On the occasion of its 50th anniversary the Foreign Policy Association of the United States organized a traveling foreign policy conference. This is the first of a series of seven programs developed from that conference based on the theme demands of the next decade. These programs are designed to stimulate the thinking of an armed form the American public about some of the issues to be faced by the nation during the coming decade.
Our guests on these seven programs may be considered among the most distinguished group of foreign policy experts ever assembled for such a task. Today's program is subtitled. Within the Western alliance. Future programs will consider such topics as the communist world projections Asia projections Africa and projections. Latin America. Joseph C. Harsch debuts our program series with today's topic within the Western alliance. Mr. harsh is a commentator and correspondent on the ABC News staff in Washington D.C.. He has broadcast and written from Berlin and the Pacific and from London as senior European correspondent for NBC. Author columnist and lecturer Joseph C. Harsch wrote the book's pattern of conquest. And the curtain isn't iron. He has written for The
Christian Science Monitor for 37 years and currently does three columns a week. Following Mr harshest prepared lecture he will respond to questions. Joseph C. Harsch within the Western alliance. I think the most important thing to notice about Western Europe today is that the United States has for about three years been looking away from him. We have roughly now for three years been specializing in Southeast Asia. I almost feel and it's necessary to remind people where Western Europe is just it. Well do I need to it is a peninsula loosely associated with a cluster of off shore islands lying to the north west of Thailand and attention forgotten. Now while we have been specializing in Southeast Asia to overstate a little bit France has taken charge of Western Europe and
Russia of the Mediterranean Sea. We have not lost all our ability to influence events in other parts of the world. We still are have one country solidly aligned with us in the Middle East and vice versa. But in Western Europe it is difficult anymore to say that there is a solid alignment between the United States and any of our former allies. There is a residual of the nature of the lines. There are still ahead of us and the machinery left over from the great days of. Of the Cold War but the machinery has become rusty the fabric has shrunk. And the question the immediate question is how much is going to survive the present period of a strange month between ourselves and the Western Europeans. Let us go across the line country by country first and just see where each one stands. The most important single fact about
Germany is that it is reached the natural time of release from penance for past misdeeds. The Germans ever since World War 2 have played a passive role in Europe. That period is coming to an end now. As a new generation takes over the leadership of the country made up of people who are neither guilty for the sins of their fathers nor conscious of any reason to feel guilty. The Germans are ready to step forth with earned self respect on the world stage. They are doing so at the present moment their chosen first partner is friends. And their latest new friend is Rumania. Turned to France itself. France has recovered fully from the indignity of defeat in World War 2 while the more sophisticated Frenchmen are embarrassed by the posturings of the most anachronistic figure of the century. But they also recognize that in fact he is the top figure of Europe today whether French hegemony
in Europe can survive the departure of Charles to go on for other lands to conquer does remain to be seen. But as of today is the plane not some people do think that when he goes the result will be chaos and another period of great weakness for France. But the plain fact of today is that Charles De Gaulle is the most influential single person living between New York City and the Ural Mountains. Some would say between the Pacific Ocean and the Ural Mountains. Britain is just going through the painful experience of having to give up an empire in order to gain economic health at home. The renunciation of empire is complete. Whether it will produce the intended reward of economic affluence back in Britain remains to be seen. Among Britons at the moment. Confidence in it happening under the leadership of Mr Harold Wilson seems to be declining. Meanwhile the renunciation of empire is in
fact ending the once vigorous lively special relationship between Great Britain and the United States. But I think relatively few people have realised or noticed is that the last remaining area in which that special relationship was exercised. Was in the area of intelligence gathering. The last time historically when you had to close an active partnership between the United States and Britain was in the Korean War the there was a very active and effective British participation in the United Nations side in that war which gave considerable meaning to the structure that had been built up in World War Two of constant can consultation between the two countries. In fact at the end of World War 2 you had a combined and general stuff of the Armed Forces of the two countries we
were as far as military or affairs were concerned virtually one nation that has been gradually pulled apart bit by bit. The last time it was exercised on the field of battle was the Korean War. It was very heavily damaged by the Suez crisis because in that crisis rightly or wrongly when the British fleet with the troop transports were headed through the Med towards the eastern Mediterranean an American fleet part of the Sixth Fleet came happened across the bows of the British fleet. It has never yet been disclosed. As to whether the maneuver by the American fleet was intentional or accidental whether it was done to try as a sort of a last warning to the British not to do what they did. The fact is that throughout the British armed services there is a widespread belief that it was on the verge of being a hostile act on our part towards them. There has never
been really close intimate military collaboration between the two countries since then. The special relationship has survived in two areas. Among the diplomats it has survived in that during the period of World War Two. Most go almost say all of the young men who are at the top and middle levels of the British and the American foreign services work intimate in the posts leading together all over the world so that there's a vast interlocking relationship of personal friendship. A young British Foreign Service officer posted to the embassy in Washington instantly know how often people in the state department of the upper and middle levels but sent this personal relationship was built out of the partnership of World War Two. It does not touch those who have come into the two services since the war so that the closeness is a
declining condition or rather of a condition that is moving up with the age groups and eventually disappears when the age group of men that served together during World War 2 have all retired. The last special area of active collaboration was then has been in the field of intelligence gathering to use am I a five not too accurately but merely as a label because James Bond has made MIT five a phrase that we all understand. Actually MIT 5 does not do the intelligence gathering it's another branch of British intelligence. But if we say CIA on am I five you all know what I mean. And I say that in spite of the fact that both CIA and my five had their defectors which have been embarrassing to each in turn they have of greatly value each other because they were the only two intelligence services that covered the whole
world. And that reflected the interests of governments interested in affairs throughout the whole world. But as of a month ago as you know the British government has elected to abandon to give up all of its responsibilities and its military positions East of Suez. This doesn't happen instantly and it is a gradual cutting down of phasing down and out. But the announcement of the intent to pull back has been made and that is just as good as the actual pullout because once a great power has announced that it's giving something up it has instantly lost the effective power to influence events in that part of the world. So the announcement by Harold Wilson that the British were withdrawing from East of Suez. Has. Given everybody knows that human nature will take its course in those areas. This announcement came as a terrible disappointment in Washington. We had know that the British
economy could no longer sustain the burden of world power that it had been carrying up to the time in fact still is caring to some extent. But we had not expected them to pose a whole thing apart to dismantle everything. It was the profound hope of Washington that they would not cancel the entirety of their order for F-111. They did cancel along with our profound hope that while we knew they were going to announce a considerable withdrawal from East of Suez that at least they would not announce a withdrawal from the Persian Gulf. They proceeded to announce a lot. It was everything it was phrased in terms of Britain turning away from overseas empire to continental Europe and it meant to us two things A that the British were giving up their role in parts of the world that interested us. In other words that there was no longer
going to be a common interest in say the affairs of Malaysia or the affairs of India or Burma or Ceylon or anything like that up to this time whenever we in the British got together we had a common interest in discussing the welfare of a given area of the world the problems of the area. The moment they announced the withdrawal from East of Suez it meant there was no longer that area of mutual interest for discussion for exchanges of ideas for exchange of responsibility. But even more than that it meant that the British government no longer being interested in the whole world is not supplying its intelligence gathering services with the means of continuing to be actively interested in the events of the whole world. CIA has relied quite heavily on the British for information about events inside China. They have always maintained a diplomatic mission in
China as you know. We have not recognized China since the Communists took it over so that we have no intelligence gathering network inside China except such Chinese as Jews who work for us there are a potential slate which isn't quite as good as having some of your own people there. So that they've been valuable to us. In all those parts of the world where we're not represented there's been a great deal of exchange of very lively and active exchange of information between our intelligence services. All these years. Now this is bound to come to an end now because the British are no longer interested in any part of the world except Europe. They pulled out of everything else they're handing it over they're going home. Now let's briefly the rest of Europe. I think it can be dismissed as simply is this to say that it's rich it's getting richer and daily less meaningful in terms of power in the world. Right now it's really of the other European powers is getting rich faster than any of the others and plays a role ro by
protesting America's war in Vietnam. Only miles away. I think the biggest single factor about Europe today was underlined within recent days when the leaders of the West German government went to Paris. To pay court upon the man who is in truth if not by title The Emperor of Europe. Some Britons had clung to a lingering hope that the Germans when they went to Paris would lay down the law that in effect they would tell the Emperor and stern Germanic terms that he must admit their fellow Anglo-Saxons to his empire or that they the other Germans would pull out. The Germans when they went to Paris did no such thing. They renewed their allegiance they bent the knee. A futile loyalty to the Emperor in Paris so that Britain is today left suspended like Job's coffin between France the United States and the wreckage of what once was the world's greatest empire.
She has no place to go. She is not welcome in the Common Market. She has considered repeatedly the idea of joining us. There is no indication that we would like to have her join us. She cannot turn back to the last empire and is forever gone. The greatest single question mark over Europe is what future there will be for Britain. I do not know the answer. It is only within recent weeks. It is only since devaluation of the pound that the British themselves have been brought to a full stark realisation of the fact that Empire and Commonwealth are gone that the gate of Europe are closed to them and that they are not being invited to merge themselves into a customs union with the United States they are desperately coldly alone at this moment. Now there has been a lingering wistful thought that somehow all of this
will change one day soon. When General De Gaulle is gathered to his fathers any such thinking however overlooks the simple biological fact he is only 77 years of age. You must remember that most of the post-war years were spent and were marked by a remarkable affinity between Charles de Gaulle and Conrad under an hour. They had enormous respect for each other and a certain sense of rivalry. Conrad Adenauer held power into his 90th year and Charles De Gaulle is only 77 that he will be guarding the portals of continental Europe against the British until he's the age of 90 is not offensive full idea. You may be sure that if he says he physically able to do so he will. In other words the exclusion of Britain from the Common Market by friends is not a mere whim of a passing Statesman which will be
undone as soon as his place is taken by another is a firm deep policy by the most influential single man in Europe today. In fact I think you might almost say in the whole of the western world who intends to hold office at least as long as his friend Conrad either now or did which would give him another 13 years. And even if he is not still mayor at the gates of Europe keeping the British out. I'm not sure that it is going to make a great deal of difference. And the whole relationship of the Western nations to each other has profoundly changed over the last few years. That old intimacy of mutual need and mutual trust which was born in World War Two and marked the relationship during the Cold War days was itself weakened by the Cuban missile crisis. It could have recovered from that in fact it did weaken by the crisis. Perhaps I should explain that to the Europeans.
Cuba was not a just a a reasonable reason for having a nuclear war or threatening the survival of the human race while to us it was absolutely vital that a hostile power not obtain a missile base under our own front doorstep. The Europeans saw it differently. They merely saw it as a very small island inhabited by people who for the moment were making rude noises. And we didn't like. But after all we were big and strong and should have been able to sustain it without a panic reaction. To quite different points of view add that among the British particularly Bay Cuba it was to them a market and there was a deep feeling that one of the things that lay behind our reaction about Cuba was a not altogether worthy desire to steal a British market for American manufacturers. This was quite serious. May I say that at the height of the Q At the time when we were trying to pressure the British into stopping
selling buses to Cuba to Castro's Cuba. Some of the very best informed and best thinking able people in the British foreign office were perfectly convinced that what this really reflected was a Detroit ploy for gaining from Coventry a market for British buses. That put a strain because Europe could not feel it its vital interests either individually or collectively were in gauged in that crisis. However John Kennedy handled it with such restraint and such success. And couldn't and became such a symbol of restraint and responsible leadership in the world. But after the Cuban missile crisis there was a sort of twilight a revived trust between Western Europe and the United States. That of course has now been I think you can say totally washed out by the
Vietnam War however vital of that war may seems to us seem to us it does not seem a vital to anyone in Western Europe to them. Vietnam is a long long long way off. It doesn't touch them a tall. I suppose the most active interest that any European country has in it is France. Because of the economic benefit that she is obtaining from our war there General De Gaulle is now enjoying the luxury of drawing our gold into his coffers through Vietnam at the same time able to denounce us for what he regards as stupid and stupid military policy. The Fed the the flow of gold you know into the French Treasury does come mostly by way of Vietnam. The money that is spent by American soldiers in the shops of one kind in another in Vietnam all funnels back through the Bank of France because the bars in the
brothels and the tea shops and everything else are all owned in the last analysis by French capital so that the dollar bills go back to Paris and in Paris the dollar bills are then presented for payment for Knox and that's how our govt goes over to France. The French are making a good thing out of it. But. Other than that well the British benefit from the Vietnam War and one way to. There are markets in the United States have improved. They have been a number of cases where American manufacturers have been occupied with war orders to the extent that some particular market has been filled by British going as it otherwise would have been filled by American goods so that there is a dichotomy in their attitude towards it. They have benefited in a slight extent but there isn't a European country and European government or very many European peoples of any time who seriously believe that the outcome in Vietnam makes any difference to
them. There is lip service to the American cause in Vietnam still coming from Number 10 Downing Street and full devotion from the editorial offices of The Economist in the writer's street. We lost the Daily Telegraph last week. The Express in the Daily Mail is staunch and loyal through the Cuban crisis are now concerned with other matters elsewhere in Europe. There is only profound disbelief in the right to sickness of our cause and a profound desire to avoid any entanglement in it. Someday of course this war will end and when it does I think Washington will look anxiously back towards Europe and want to know what can be done to repair the damage that has been done to our relations with our former friends and allies in Western Europe. During this period of our specialization in the Far East. I can only say that when we do turn back and look I think we will
find that during the period of our preoccupation there has been lost. I do not say because of our preoccupation because you can never prove that a post hoc is a propter hoc. I do not know that if there had been no Vietnam War that these things would not substantially have happened. I do know that while we have been preoccupied in Vietnam there has happened a change in the relationship which I would say has relegated to the pages of history. What we used to call the Kennedy grand design. Europe today is a collection of second rate powers revolving in individual orbits. I'm interested in the outside world and not very much interested even in each other. A year ago they left the rescue of about 11000 of their own nationals in the Congo entirely to us. We tried to get them to help us in the rescue operation and they simply would not have anything to do with it. There is now a remarkable flow of Russian power into the Mediterranean
and there's no sign yet of the European countries being seriously anxious about it or getting together to do anything to try and counter it. They simply are not concerned with these matters. The concept of a united Europe marching in friendly company with the United States into a sounder safer world is has gone by the boards. It is I don't think it's any longer possible to rescue that greatest post-war policy design of the United States. Three years ago the trend was in the direction of a united Europe a strong and fine and cooperative Europe in friendship with us. I would say that it's gone now and that there is no possibility of ever putting of that clock back. What we will do when we become worried about Europe again I do not know. I only know that
when you look at Europe you no longer see the familiar pattern of a group of nations moving towards unity. You see a group of nations moving away from us unity rather than towards it and away from us the happy association of the Cold War days. I think it's finished and I do not know when we will see it again. I'm sorry I talk so long I didn't want to give you ample time for question and answer. That is more than I'd intended to say as a beginning. Now go to it who wants to start off.
U.S. foreign policy: Demands of the next
Within the Western Alliance
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KOAC (Radio station : Corvallis, Or.)
Oregon State University
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Recorded speeches from the 1968 Portland, Oregon, conference sponsored by the World Affairs Council of Oregon, Foreign Policy Association, and Time magazine. This prog.: American Broadcasting Company News commentator Joseph C. Harsch discusses NATO and other western alliances.
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Producing Organization: KOAC (Radio station : Corvallis, Or.)
Producing Organization: Oregon State University
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University of Maryland
Identifier: 68-4-11 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:49
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Chicago: “U.S. foreign policy: Demands of the next; Within the Western Alliance,” 1968-02-20, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 16, 2024,
MLA: “U.S. foreign policy: Demands of the next; Within the Western Alliance.” 1968-02-20. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 16, 2024. <>.
APA: U.S. foreign policy: Demands of the next; Within the Western Alliance. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from