Special of the week; Issue 14-70 "Great Decisions"
NDE are the national educational radio network presents special ops the week we continue with this series produced by w d e t Wayne State University in Detroit Part 7 in the 1970s. Great Decisions must be made in foreign policy. We talked with the Honorable William P. Rogers secretary of state. As long is the you started out with a present world situation then it's important for the United States to have the necessary and necessary military strength to be credible. And obviously if we were very weak or even weak of the use of the Soviet Union it would add to the instability in the world so as a practical matter. In present day reality. We must maintain sufficient military power to make it clear to the rest of the world that we would not. Permit any enemy
to take over areas of the world which are which would violate any of the treaty responsibilities which we have. For example I think NATO's contributed measurably to the security of the world and if we did not have the NATO's organization and not have sufficient military strength to make it clear to potential enemy that they can take over other countries in Europe it would be a very unstable kind of situation so in practical terms it's necessary for us to maintain military strength. That was the Honorable William P. Rogers secretary of state. We'll continue in a moment. Great Decisions 1970 today. The Middle East the seventh in this eight week series focusing attention on the most critical issues of foreign policy facing the American government and people today. These programs produced by Wayne State University in Detroit are designed to provide a deeper understanding of
international problems. Now here is your moderator dean of administration at Wayne State University Dr. Harlan Hagman. Mr Roger Davies deputy assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern and South Asian affairs. Mr. Davies the United States has attempted to maintain a policy of non-alignment being neutral in the Middle East. Is it really possible for the United States to hold its position neutrality. Short of actually was drawing from the area I personally don't understand what is meant by withdrawal or disengagement by the United States from the Near East. The United States has interests and an interest in the area that can't be wished away or done away with by policy decision. I was in the country there is a broad interest in the survival of a democratic progressive Israel which goes far beyond organized Zionist groups United States private institutions educational
cultural and philanthropic are deeply engaged throughout the area. U.S. disengagement would be far from a simple matter. I wasn't aware either that the United States government professed a policy of non-alignment. It is true we seek a balanced position between the claims of both sides. We are however aligned in the sense that we are firmly committed to use whatever influence we may have in the area to bring about a just and ensuring settlement of the Arab-Israel conflict. Our problem at present arises from the fact that some Arab governments are willing to support an imposed peace that is a peace based on what Arab sense is a growing Israeli feeling that Israeli security will require Israel to maintain an occupied Arab territory notwithstanding whatever commitments to peace and to Israel security. The Arabs may come up with some Israelis believe. I feel that the United States has not given proper
recognition to Israel's security concerns in our efforts to assist in providing a basis for negotiations. Both views are incorrect. I believe American policies are in fact balanced and that we can play a role in allaying the fears and suspicions of the parties which will be essential to getting the negotiator a process started. But today these are you suggesting that as a struggle goes on that will be necessary to have the big powers intervene. Does this mean that there's a likelihood that the United States and the USSR may like me be on opposite sides in the Middle East. I think that discussions among the great powers particularly those between the United States and the Soviet Union. Indicate a full appreciation of the need to avoid situations which might involve
outside forces. To this question I can only reply that both the United States and the Soviet Union seem to be in agreement on the need for a peaceful agreed binding settlement in the Near East. You think that Mr. Davies or that Russia would not care to risk war with the United States over the Mideast. Any answer to such a question would be at best subjective in my personal opinion. It would not Mr. Russell Barnes distinguished journalist and former foreign news analyst for The Detroit News. Mr. Barnes is there any way out of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Of course there are several ways out. One could be a war in which one of the parties would destroy it to destroy the other. And then there could be a peace employ imposed by the major powers. But if you are asking if there is a peaceful way out of the Middle
East Middle East conflict I don't think it's in the cards at the present time. Oh Mr. Barnes many people are afraid that the Middle East situation will lead to another Vietnam for the United States should we withdraw. Is there any way short of withdrawal from the Middle East for the United States to maintain its professed policy of non-alignment. Practically speaking I don't see how the United States can can withdraw politically. We are committed indirectly to Israel and I and I think in a live event of a showdown in the Middle East the United States would would come to the defense of Israel. But broadly speaking strategically we can't withdraw because the Western European nations are our allies and Western Europe depends on Middle Eastern oil for all its industrial and heating purposes. Now if you cut off Middle
Eastern oil from Western Europe Western Europe must come to the United States in the western hemisphere for its on oil. And that weakens our strategic reserves. So on all these conflicts out of there we have always had the priority of seeing that Middle Eastern oil is flowing freely to Western Europe because they are our allies and if they can't get their oil there we have to supply it and we do not want to weaken our reserves. So that's another reason why it's impossible for the United States to withdraw from the Middle East. But then there's the further consideration of course that the Middle East is the land bridge connecting Asia and Europe with Africa. It and Africa has been the target for the Communist nations for the last 25 years. So it's strategically it's to the advantage of the United States and the
Western world to keep that land bridge under control of the West. And then if you take a look at your map piece you see the water and air communication lines east west north and south passing through that area. Now you can't you can't look back at it in a war and modern times back even to the time of Napoleon. When the Middle East has become a theater in the war which is just another way of pointing out how important the area is strategically. So if we if the United States is going to be the leader of the free world and the defender of the free world one area one very important area that we have to watch is the Middle East which is another argument why we can't but withdraw from the Middle East. Has the Israeli position become stronger since the Six Day War. Depends on how you're figuring this militarily or politically or
militarily. It's become much stronger because Israel is a very small country it's about the size of New Jersey. They have no defense have had no defense in depth. But by picking up the Sinai desert to the south and picking picking up the Jordan Valley and these these other territories that that took took over after the Six Day War they've given themselves more room in which to maneuver. So they they have a far stronger defense chief on tears now than they had before. Now whether whether there are a stronger politically. Of course it is a it is a nother question. Because if as of the moment Israel now is virtually isolated in the world politically except for the United States. So it's arguable
whether Israel is stronger or no more politically than she was before. But militarily I think she is of course. And I think that the Israeli military tactics. During the recent weeks have strengthened her position. I think this raiding into Egypt. As far as the suburbs of Cairo and raid the raids into this into southern Lebanon and into Jordan I have been taken for for the effect of keeping the Arab the Arab armies farther back from the Israeli front two years and preventing them from from building up the positions from which they could take off for an attack on Israel. So generally speaking I think the Israeli military position is far stronger than it was before the Six Day War.
We returned to Mr. Roger Davies Mr. Davies. Would you care to speculate about the Russian objectives in the Middle East. With the caveat that these are speculations and certainly we are not privy to Soviet strategic thinking. I would put them as the following. The maintenance and expansion of Soviet influence throughout the area. Reducing the possibility of renewed warfare without at the same time taking positions at variance with those states it supports developing trade and commerce as part of its policy to become a global maritime trading nation. Developing ideological rapport with radical movements to prevent exploitation of these by left deviation ist or Chinese Communist heresies. And I think I would add. Turning pro western states away from their ties to the west in
general and to the United States in particular. And finally avoiding the risk of conflict with the United States and the West over near East issues. The Arabs have always been divided and therefore weak in spite of great numbers. Well the slogan Palestine for Palestinians unite the Arabs the Arabs have a great common heritage of culture and history while in fact there is great diversity within the Arab world. There seems common acceptance of the force of Arab ism and the destiny of the Arab nation. One of the new factors in the always complex and difficult Arab-Israeli question is the emergence of Palestinian ism as a force. I would define Palestinian ism as the concept that the aspirations of the Arab peoples who inhabited Palestine before the creation of
Israel must be satisfied in any settlement of the Arab Israel problem. As a matter of practical politics the larger number of Palestinians are found now in territories of Jordan or those controlled by Israel. Inevitably these two governments will have a major role in working out a settlement a limiting factor on both sides is the need to satisfy Palestinian aspirations in any settlement which is to endure. Mr. Davies could Israel ever accept a concept of a country which would not be necessarily all Jewish a country let us say in which Jews and Arabs might live together in some kind of accommodation. Again my personal view I think the answer to at least the last part of the question is No. An eminent Israeli Just after conclusion of the June war
responded to my question as to whether a binational state might emerge as a new and dynamic Palestine by saying that this would indeed be the most dramatic of developments in an area which has seen many miracles in the past. It would however require the liquidation of Israel as presently constituted. Israel is a state which is the embodiment of the Brit concepts and most Israelis are Jews who wish to remain Jews in a purely Jewish state. It is the United Nations has been working on the problem of the Mideast for some time with apparent success. Has spent much time there. What can the United Nations now do in the Middle East that has not done so far. The United Nations resolution on the Middle East
provides the basic context in which negotiation negotiate Tory efforts are being pursued. I believe that if the great powers in the United Nations can agree on guidelines which are compatible with the principles outlined in the Security Council resolution and forward to Ambassador yarning he can proceed in contacts with the parties to gain agreements in principle on the major issues of peace and withdrawal and that these agreements will then permit a more meaningful negotiation on the specifics of a settlement to take place. The distinguished journalist Mr. Russell Barnes. What do you think are the stakes
for Russia in the Middle East. If you read your history over the 19th century you will find that Russia under the is ours was always pushing toward warm water ports in the Mediterranean and in the Indian Ocean. Are they going to understand that if you look at the map. Because up until of recent times they had no outlet to the south. So the so the Soviets have simply taken over they all the old traditional Russian policy of trying to break into the Mediterranean and into the Indian Ocean and this Arab-Israeli conflict has given them their opportunity and they're there. They're there. Not there in the Mediterranean. Oh as a very strong naval power. Not yet as strong as the United States but rivaling the United States
in the Mediterranean. They're also in the Indian Ocean filling the power vacuum that was created there when the British withdrew. So for all intents and purposes and purposes it's at this time Russia is the dominant power in the Middle East and area. And there's nobody to challenge her position unless it's the United States and in the present temper of the American people. I don't Nazis see popular support for any strong line in the Mediterranean area to the extent and any way of sending ground troops in and really and really making it an active theatre comparable to Vietnam. But of course on the other side of this is the American position and the American ability to
challenge Russia in the in the Middle East in the Mediterranean and in India when motion is diminished by the fact that they were that the Russians have been able to pull the Arabs into their orbit. Because the Arabs consider that the United States is committed to Israel. So all therefore the Arabs are shifting. You know there are. That their support to the. To the Russians. So we are in a position of trying to struggle to maintain an American position on the free world position in the Middle East against the desires. The hundred million Arabs who occupy that area most of the Arab world has noted possibly for its
population Arabs outnumber the Israeli by many many times. Yet the Arab countries have never succeeded in becoming united on any under any one set of leaders or really in any one purpose. Do you see any possibility that the continuing attack on Israel will cause the Arab world to really become united to move as one. No I don't. You start with with the with a proposition that the Arab world has always been bitterly split. It's been split Strangely enough in a religious religious way because of the various branches of the Muslim religion and that but now beyond this you have the Arab nations basically split between the conservative monarchies. And what you might call such as South Saudi Arabia. And yeah
and of course Yemen has lost its monarchy. But the only conservative Arab countries as against the modern socialist countries such as Egypt and Syria are the two most prominent. But they are in the internal political relations between the Arab nations are so complex and so bitter that under no circumstances can I succeed can I see any possibility of Arab unity now they only issue that unites the Egyptians and the Syrians and the Iraqi and the Saudi Arabians and so forth is opposition to Israel and that that is down among the masses of the people and it's rooted in there. So it's so deeply that. It's
possible to fall for them to achieve unity in fighting Israel but I don't so I see no possibility of achieving unity upon the upper political levels. Which also means of course the military levels. Once again Mr Roger Davies Nasser has offered himself as leader of the Arabs in King Hussein as another figure with some influence over Arab movements. Are there other leaders of strength among the Arabs. And are there some emerging figures to be reckoned was should we say are the present Arab leaders helpless to negotiate in spite of their apparent leading roles. I personally do not believe the present leadership is helpless in the face of what seems to be an us. I believe that provided the
basic guarantee that they will not enter into negotiations having lost already the. Basic points which they insist must underlie any settlement that they will be able to move as far as any new emergent new leadership. The Arab nations are states in transition. They are moving from the past to the present. Undoubtedly the new leadership groups will emerge. I can't believe however. Their objectives in terms of the independence of Arab States the development of resources and the establishment of a peace which will not threaten what
they consider basic Arab rights will be different from those espoused by present leadership. The present air of action Mr. Davies against the Israeli seem most effective on the grill and the guerrilla level. Do you feel that the guerrilla movement can be controlled by the Arab states. The rise in the prestige and popularity of organization serves to remind the world that a just settlement of the problem of the Palestinians must be part and parcel of any Arab Israel peace. The acts of violence carried out by these groups from territories of states which are themselves committed to observe the ceasefire however is the primary cause of the spiraling of hostilities on the Lebanese and Jordanian borders. In a sense that violence in both directions hardens attitudes on both sides. These groups
practicing violence hinder progress toward a settlement. In my judgment however in the absence of moves toward an acceptable settlement which would restore. Most if not all occupied Arab territories and provide for a solution of the Palestine refugee problem. The governments involved cannot totally eradicate these activities by force without risking mass unrest and possible uprising of their people in the face of a belief that Israel will not divest itself of the conquered territories. And in that in the absence of meaningful negotiations the Fedayeen groups represent the only dynamic force on the Arab side. As such they enjoy increasing support from an increasingly frustrated and bitter people. We posed this question to Mr Russell Barnes. Do you feel that the efforts of the United Nations with Ambassador yarning have been
entirely fruitless. Has he succeeded in doing anything. I think they're going to completely fruitless. I think they've been completely fruitless for a very interesting reason. And that and that is that small nations such as Israel or small nations such as the Arab nations are able to defy the United Nations and the world powers. Principally because they are weak they're so weak that a big nation such as the United States or Russia or an international part of the United Nations can't send forces to try to slap down a little weak power such as Israel or the Arab nations. So you've had the practical effect of that. Israel has defied the United Nations and Israel.
From time to time has defied the United States. She can do it because because she is small and she is weak and she and she is determined to defend her position and nobody want wants to go to the lengths of trying to impose their will on her and and. The situation has been that she has said that she has going to fight to defend her position in the Middle East that she's not going to take dictation from the United Nations and she's not going to take dictation from the United States or France or Britain or Russia. And she's been able to make her position stick. So practically speaking the United Nations has been powerless to try to work out any settlement in the Middle East.
Mr. Roger Davies Mr. Davies from your experience in the Middle East studies of the events as they are occurring in the present time. What do you see as the probable courses of events in the Middle East in the 70s. I believe the 70s could be a period of great development for all the states in the Near East and North Africa. However without a settlement of the Arab Israel problem I fear that human and natural resources will be diverted to the sterile contest and be used to feed the feeling of hatred and suspicion on both sides. Consequently my hope and my expectation is that with the help of the United Nations the
- Special of the week
- Issue 14-70 "Great Decisions"
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- University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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- MLA: “Special of the week; Issue 14-70 "Great Decisions".” 1970-00-00. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. May 18, 2022. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-n58cm536>.
- APA: Special of the week; Issue 14-70 "Great Decisions". 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-n58cm536