NER Washington forum; United Nations Ambassador Arthur Goldberg
Our size our resources our technology our ideals all of these combined to make us a world power and give us commensurate responsibility. The voice of United States ambassador to the United Nations Arthur J Goldberg. This is Annie R. Washington for a weekly program concerned with significant issues in the news. I'm national educational radio public affairs director that Sussman on April 23rd ambassador Goldberg resigned his post as this country's representative to the U.N. His resignation takes effect at the end of the present U.N. session. Recently he spoke before the National Press Club in Washington. His talk touched on a wide range of world problems. On this edition of The NPR Washington forum we present the ambassadors talk and excerpts from the question and answer period that followed when I last wrote to the Press Club a little more than two years ago. The major theme of my remarks was the one issue that even
then concerned me more profoundly than any other and has continued to do so ever since namely the search for a just and honorable peace in Vietnam. That concern of mine of course was only a reflection of a national and international concern for during my nearly three years at the United Nations. The struggle in Vietnam has been the first of our American priorities and the source of our deepest English and perplexity. Today my reappearance before you takes place in the light of the momentous development with respect to Vietnam flowing from President Johnson's statement of March 31 I cannot overstate my wholehearted support of the action the president took on that occasion. It was a giant step towards peace. His decision in all its aspects was an
unparalleled act of patriotism and political courage. It deserves to achieve his expressed goal the unity of the American people in support of this nation's pursuit of peace. I do not think you would be helpful for me on this occasion to make any comment on the substance of the Paris talks. I do wish to say however that these crucial talks could not be in better hands than those of Avril Harriman and Cyrus Vance who are two of our able US negotiators. It is already apparent from the reports we all read in the press that the journey ahead will be difficult and frustrating. It may well be marked by hopeful starts and discouraging setbacks but the door to peace has been thrust ajar. Whatever the discouragements it must not be permitted to close.
If I thus limit what I say today concerning Vietnam I do not wish to imply that public debate on the conduct of the war or our peace efforts should or can be stifled in this presidential year. My attachment to the principle of orderly Democratic debate on important public issues is a principle guaranteed by the First Amendment is too deep rooted for me to believe that such restraints can or should be imposed even in time of war. However it would be well for our adversaries to realize that such public debate does not diminish the constitutional power and duties of President Johnson and his administration to conduct our affairs until another president succeeds him next January 20 and they should
also realize that among those presidential aspirants who may be joining in this debate one of whom will be our next president. There is not one who would seek to end the war in Vietnam on terms other than those of a just and honorable peace. That is the common ground within the boundaries of which our national debate on Vietnam. During this election year I will and should be conducted. Nobody has any cause to fear such a debate. There are no quislings in the contention for the American presidency. Today I should like to look beyond the end to make some observations about American foreign policy in a somewhat longer range. I do not offer these observations in any mood of false optimism that peace is just around the corner.
Rather I offer them in the belief that it is timely to look ahead to the day which will surely come and the sooner the better. What an honorable peace will be concluded and some portion of the national attention which is now so concentrated on Vietnam will be free to turn to other matters of the highest and pressing importance within the limits of my time today of course. I can treat this subject only in the broadest terms. I hope as a private citizen to amplify these observations and subsequent statements and thereby perhaps contribute whatever I can to peace and progress in the world and to the ravening of injustice and hope. In so doing I shall be faithful to the advice of para Klees who in his famous funeral oration said of his fellow citizens in Athens we regard a man who takes no interest in public affairs not as a harmless but
as a useless character. As you all know some of those who discuss our foreign policy today point to our tragic frustrations in Vietnam and conclude that we Americans should give up trying to act like a world power should return to isolationism and turn arise inward as we did between the two world wars. I find no merit in that view. Our size our resources our technology our ideals all these combined to make us a world power and to give us commensurate responsibility. All right actions are brought and those of others who have the profoundest consequences for American national security. And it is only realistic to face this fact. But the same realism also requires us to remember that our national power great as it is is not unlimited and that our interests and responsibilities are not unlimited
either. Our power does not permit nor do our interests require that we directly involve ourselves in every problem that may have international repercussions. America has no choice to be a world power but it is under no compulsion to be a world policeman. President Kennedy put his finger on this point when he said the United States is neither an efficient or our mission. We cannot impose our will. We cannot right every wrong or reverse every adversity. There cannot be an American solution for every problem. As we look beyond Vietnam therefore we should begin by rejecting the illusion of isolation in a fortress America and the opposite illusion of an America that is all powerful and all lines we must follow a course that lies between isolationism
and intervention. We must stay on the sensible middle ground that of a great and responsible world power whose foreign policy seeks to foster a world environment congenial to our historic national purpose of life liberty and the pursuit of happiness and in pursuit of that unchanging aim. Our task now is to appraise those American foreign policies which in many cases were conceived to meet circumstances that have changed or are rapidly changing. My own appraisal leads me to the conviction that the course of policy promising the greatest benefits in the near future both for our own national interests and for peace of the world would be to pursue a detente with the Soviet Union and its eastern European allies and to begin to seek a modus vivendi with mainland China. These results will not be achieved solely by our actions but they will
certainly not be achieved without our action. I advocate this course of policy in full awareness of the immense difficulties that it presents among the great obstacles it faces is the fact that the Soviet Union is far from the United States in its conception of world order and Peking is even further. The Soviets while not forsaking their almost religious faith in the ultimate triumph of world communism that here as a practical matter to the old fashioned idea of an international order in which the major powers settle the affairs of the world in a manner convenient to themselves much as the Concert of Europe did during the century after the Congress of Vienna. The American conception on the other hand is that which has found expression in the charter of the United Nations largely of our creation.
It is a concept of a diverse community of nations great and small all living together in mutual tolerance and in respect for each other's rights and settling their differences by peaceful means. In such a world the weak are not at the mercy of the strong for even the most powerful nation is subject to the restraints of long. These two conceptions will not quickly be reconciled. Yet even in the absence of such a reconciliation there are many practical points that which we in the Soviet Union can cooperate to our mutual benefit and not at the expense of the legitimate interests of any other party. Let me now specify some of these the very first priority in pursuing a detente with the Soviet Union. Is the treaty a nonproliferation of nuclear weapons to which I earlier referred. This treaty is now being debated in the United Nations General Assembly. It should be
promptly and overwhelmingly endorsed by the Assembly and promptly and overwhelmingly endorsed and ratified by the United States Senate. This treaty is of crucial importance. I say this not only because of its intrinsic value in preventing the further spread of these terrible weapons into the hands of more and more nations but also because it carries with it great hopes for the creation of a favorable atmosphere in which to achieve at long last. Other important limitations measures both nuclear and non-nuclear between the Soviet Union and ourselves. I have in mind particular particularly steps to forestall the widespread deployment in anti ballistic missile systems on both sides systems whose economic cost is fantastic and beyond belief and whose other good contribution to the security of either side is likely to be zero
or even a minus quality. Next in our search for day time we must begin to reassess European policies. Born of the Cold War we should seek sensible and practical mutual reduction of troop levels and Iman's deployed in Europe by the United States. The Soviet Union and their respective allies in NATO and the Warsaw Pact. We should seek to eliminate restrictions on trade travel and investment between this country and Eastern Europe. We should encourage and make our peaceful contribution to the growing liberalization of Eastern Europe. Being careful how ever not to interfere in ways which could only defeat rather than accelerate this trend. And we should have. You're seeking to impose our conception of how Europe should be organized and integrated but should be content to let the nations of Europe fashion their own future according
to their own ideas as indeed they're in the process of doing. I do not share the fear that those countries who like ourselves are dedicated to democratic ideals are ready to sacrifice these ideals in this process in the light of their own experience in the past generation. In all that we do in search of detente in Europe we should continue to be alert to the possibility that apparent changes in Soviet policy in that area may prove to be only changes in the weather rather than enduring changes in the climate. Therefore we should not be too hasty to abandon alliances that have proved their value however much they need to be reviewed in the light of changing circumstances. Next I come to the Middle East a region in which detente between the Soviet Union or ourselves is equally essential.
Instability in the area presents a potential threat to international peace and security which we have tended to forget because of our preoccupation with Vietnam. But which was suddenly brought home to us and six dramatic days last year. Fortunately for the world a direct confrontation between the Soviet Union and the United States was avoided. On that occasion but no one should suppose that we and they are pursuing parallel courses in that area. It would be a major contribution to peace in the Middle East if both parties could agree on one basic principle confirmed by 20 years of tragic experience including three warnings namely that the just and lasting Middle peace in the Middle East cannot be imposed on the parties but can only be arrived at and secured by agreement among the parties in the making of which the parties themselves will have to be engaged as
an earnest of their will to encourage such an accepted and agreed settlement. Both parties should agree upon and implement steps to limit the arms race in the area. As President Johnson suggested in his speech last June 19 the United States I can tell you has been striving both inside and outside the UN for such arms limitation. We cannot do it alone and we must therefore persist in our efforts to persuade the Soviet Union that its national interest also lies in the same direction. In Asia I think we must all agree now. We must seek new ways without abandoning old friends to bring about a relaxation of hostility between mainland China and ourselves and most other Asian nations. We can best contribute toward that am by supporting the desire of most Asian nations to achieve primarily by their own individual and regional efforts greater security stability and
growth. With this goal in mind we should give our help and encouragement to those Asian nations that show the will and capacity not only to remain independent but also to take on an ever increasing share of responsibility for the security stability and growth of the region. And this same general good goal should guide our policies in other areas of the world particularly in Latin America and Africa and Latin America the United States has a particular responsibility rather than geography. And in the long tradition of good neighborliness which impels us to continue to expand and enhance this type of cooperation in the case of Africa all ever I must tell you quite candidly something more will be required for we will not command the full respect or friendship of African nations until we offer more than words to prove our moral abhorrent of the
races cancer in southern Africa. We must take. We must take peaceful and practical steps within the capacity of our government to help stop the spread of that cancer. And with all reasonable speed to eradicate it from the great African continent our own domestic experience of course serves as a caution against unrealistic hopes for a quick easy or cheap prognosis. But it should remind us that black Africans will not wait indefinitely or quietly for the day when skin color ceases to be the criterion for determining their rights and opportunities as human beings. Now the policy direction which I have just outlined here are all intended to meet practical and essential needs which we face in the very unstable world community of today. I believe all of them are necessary and relevant to reducing instability and promoting peace. But I would not be true to my convictions if I did not add.
That we must for our own survival look much further than this even a true detente with the Soviet Union and a modus vivendi with mainland China. That greatly beed to be desired and worth the great efforts involved would not be the ultimate solution of the difficulties of our world. Why is American a former colleague of mine at the United Nations a career ambassador Ambassador Charles Yost in his book The insecurity of nations has written the nature of the modern world as such that it will not tolerate the Pax Romana Pax Britannica Plaxo the Attica or Pax Americana. I would presume to expand his list by adding that the nations of the world would also not long tolerate a Pax Americana. So the etiquette and even if I would the American people would mount our own revolutionary ideals our dedication to the right of all men to fashion their own lines would
not permit us to seek to impose peace and stability on the rest of the world either alone or in conjunction with any other great power. I profoundly believe that nations including our own will never know real security until they acknowledge some impartial and effective international agency designed to keep the peace. Control national armaments negotiate peaceful settlements and advance human rights and facilitate social and economic progress. Now it must be acknowledged that the United Nations is not yet such an agency. Thus far the members lack the common will to make it so. But despite its weaknesses it is still the best instrument for peace among nations of the world possesses. There is no realistic alternative to it. In our country and its own interests cannot afford to slacken its support
of this world organization which is so much our own creation or to diminish our efforts to make it more effective. The World Order which I advocate and which I believe the American people would support would extend impartially to east and west north and south. White and black rich and poor old and new it would still be imperfect and it would still depend on the readiness of the stronger nations to put their power at its service as distinguished from putting their power at their own service. But it would embrace in a spirit of equality all the races and cultures of the world and it would address itself to the real problems of mankind from which so much conflict Springs poverty inequality and the deprivation of human rights. In that respect. It could and I believe one surpass
even the hundred years piece of the Concert of Europe which was based on the subject of half the world's people and which when it finally fell apart brought us to the worst century of wars in the history of mankind. In a world in which survival is still an open question. As I see it we have no choice but to persist in the effort to organize such a system of international order and security one which will extend the benefits and restraints of the rule of law to all people and all governments. Those words are not mine. They're the words of a great soldier statesman George Marshall. As a private citizen I shall do all I can to further that effort. Ambassador Arthur Goldberg at the National Press Club. The ambassador was then asked to give his opinion of the Poor People's Campaign.
Talking as a private citizen. I think what is involved in Resurrection City involves something that all concerns us very deeply and that is the fundamental problem of our country. What is that fundamental problem. This is a poor people's campaign. That is the slogan that is used. But we ought to look behind the slogan behind the slogan. It is the fact that we suffer from the sickness and evil racial discrimination. My own opinion has been that the ride Commission Report has understated the dimensions of the problem and that is not a new conviction of mine. I wrote about it in the Supreme Court. It is a sad fact of American life that while we have the Declaration of Independence
proclaiming Oh man to be free and equal the black men were excluded from that decoration and they were excluded from our constitutional guarantees until the Civil War and then of course we had the 13th 14th and 15th Amendment which purported to give them equality. But these amendments were gutted by a regrettable decision of the Supreme Court in Plessy and Ferguson. It was only until 1954 that the court first and now the legislature and executive have taken steps and they have been very giant steps to redress that grievance. But seeking to redress a centuries. Old discrimination is not an easy task. And we must do it. We have the capacity to do it and we are all being tested because
poverty illiteracy is a disease. If you look at the faces in Resurrection City are the product of racial discrimination. And we need to do more than adopt laws. We need to change the hearts and minds of our population to rid ourselves of this cancer which unless we cure it will consume a song. The ambassador was asked what he thought of the fact that fonde often spoke in support of a unilateral bombing halt in Vietnam. Did the ambassador feel the public statements of the secretary general were harmful to the U.S. position at the Paris talks. I said at the outset of my talk that I did not propose to comment on the substance of the Vietnam situation I shall here tonight but I'd like to say a word about the secretary general and his comments. Secretary General of the United Nations is not an official of the American
government. He is elected by the world body which now comprises one hundred twenty four nations. When he has an election was up at the U.N. There was a great contest between our conception of the secretary general and that of the Soviet Union the sunand Union would like the secretary general whether alone or in trying to be a glorified clerk of the United States took the position that the organization needs an executive who has strong executive powers and who can conduct the affairs of the organization as a strong executive. Now if we really believe that and I think we must then we very often I hope not too often will have to suffer from the attitudes that a secretary general takes that we think is unfair and reasonable and should not be taken.
But as I said earlier about our room war debate we are not powerless in the matter. We have what in us in circles is called the right to reply. We don't have to agree with the secretary general when he makes these pronouncements and on many occasions we have not agreed with the secretary general. But I would think it be very important to preserve the role of the secretary general has an independent and courageous man who will speak out on important issues affecting peace and security. Finally Ambassador Goldberg was asked to describe his most memorable moments in public service. I suppose the thing that would stick up or stick out most in my mind would be one of two I will eliminate the Supreme Court because that would require comment on opinions which I do not think is appropriate. I was was the most memorable event would be being
sworn in as a Supreme Court justice that I would and I would say but didn't my other two offices secretary of labor is that famous famous engagement between President Kennedy and my friends in the steel industry. As U.S. ambassador to the UAE it would be three o'clock in the morning when under my presidency which is fortuitous. So it's rotates every month. We stop the war between India and Pakistan. This has been any Iara Washington forum a weekly program concerned with significant issues in the news. This week we've presented comments by outgoing ambassador to the United Nations Arthur J Goldberg. I'm an E.R. public affairs director of exciseman inviting you to be with us again next week for another edition of NE our Washington forum. This program was produced by W am U.S. Pham American University Radio in Washington D.C. This is the
- NER Washington forum
- Producing Organization
- WAMU-FM (Radio station : Washington, D.C.)
- National Association of Educational Broadcasters, WAMU-FM (Radio station : Washington, D.C.)
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- University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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- Episode Description
- United Nations Ambassador Arthur Goldberg, speaking at National Press Club on Vietnam, the Paris peace talks, the Middle East.
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- Discussion series featuring a prominent figure affecting federal government policy.
- Public Affairs
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Host: Sussman, Vic S.
Producing Organization: WAMU-FM (Radio station : Washington, D.C.)
Producing Organization: National Association of Educational Broadcasters, WAMU-FM (Radio station : Washington, D.C.)
Speaker: Goldberg, Arthur J.
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University of Maryland
Identifier: 67-24-65 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
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- APA: NER Washington forum; United Nations Ambassador Arthur Goldberg. 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-500-707wqz94