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And are the national educational radio network presents special of the week. This is the first of the series from w d e d. Wayne State University Detroit in the 1970s. Great Decisions must be made in foreign policy. We talk to is the Honorable William P. Rogers United States secretary of state. We are reviewing our presence in other countries over the world to determine whether they it's the size is necessarily consistent with present day realities. But in terms of our commitments and I'm speaking now about our obligations under treaties there's no intention at all on our part of the knitting or we now sing any of our treaty obligations in terms of our military presence abroad. It may be that we will we do side military presence in some areas as long as it doesn't upset the stability of the area just as we have done in the in
Thailand. But there is no tendency on the part of my policymakers and certainly President Nixon has no intention of entering a period of isolationism. That was William P. Rogers secretary of state. We shall continue in a moment. Great Decisions 1970 today. The Soviet Union. What course in the 70s. The first 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. Emory S. Swank is Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European affairs. Mr. Swank Does the apparent willingness of the Soviet Union to engage in disarmament talks with the United States indicated desire to establish
friendly friendly relations or a desire to protect our Russian and Western flank during a period of stress with China. But in Hagman I believe that that both of those intentions are are probably behind this move but I think that there is another fundamental reason why the Soviet Union wishes to engage in disarmament talks with us and that is because they see their self-interest involved in these talks. I think that for example if you look over the period of time that we have been negotiating with the Soviets under Saddam it's more than a decade. And one can draw up a rather interesting list of the areas where we have been able to reach agreements with them presumably because each country saw its own interests advanced. For example in 1959. We
agreed with other countries participating to exclude the use of the continent of Antarctica for military purposes. And then in 1963. We agreed with the Soviet Union and other nations to band a clear weapon tests in three environments. This was followed in 1967 by the reservation of outer space for peaceful purposes. And then most recently last year there was the signature of the treaty banning the spread of nuclear weapons the so-called Nonproliferation Treaty. And last year also we were negotiating in the disarmament committee in Geneva with the Soviet Union on a ban on the placement of strategic weapons on the seabed. And finally as you will recall from very recent developments in December we opened bilateral talks with the Soviet Union on strategic arms
limitations. I think that in all of these areas each side sees its own interests advance by limiting the area of military confrontation with each other. The really impressive list. How do you square the apparently friendly attitude of the Soviets and Helsinki was behavior in the Middle East and in the Mediterranean. Well disarmament is an area where we have interests in common as I have just just indicated in the Middle East however we are perhaps competitors for influence and I think this is the simplest explanation that our adversary relationship as it's called is evident in the Middle East. Our cooperative relationship is evident in the disarmament field. We are disappointed that we have been unable to enter
talks with the Soviet Union on limiting arms sales and deliveries to the Middle East we have proposed several times and the Soviets have always replied that they are unwilling to do this to enter such talks until Israel has withdrawn to the territories which are. It occupied in the 1967 war. We have had bilateral talks with the Soviets. They have also ended at least for the time being they suspended maybe a better word than end it here. They have also been suspended on a disappointing note as far as we are concerned. We are not. We thought we'd reach some areas of agreement of agreement with them. But this is proven not to be the case. However as you know the four power talks are continuing under the United Nations auspices in New York. The Doctor's a big enough present scheme as Professor of Public Law in
government of Columbia University and a former member of the Policy Planning Council of the United States Department of State. Will you ask Mr. Brzezinski if he thought Russia would risk war over the Middle East. I don't think the Soviet Union would risk war with the United States over the Middle East deliberately. I do not think the Soviet Union would deliberately risk a strategic nuclear war a central war with the United States. I can see the Soviet Union in the course of the next few years becoming more willing to have limited conventional confrontations in the Middle East especially as the Soviet Union becomes more confident that strategic parity carries with it localized paralysis for both parties to conflict who are conventionally inferior. And beyond that there's always the possibility of an intentional risk over which neither side has control. So the
situation in the Middle East in my mind is far from stable and it could be one which neither side in the long run finds it possible to control. Has another nations in the Soviet Union there seems to be a division between. I'd like to call hawks and those in government which seem to be gaining in power in Russia. As in other nations the division of political elite and the Hawks and dogs is an extraordinary misleading concept. I don't think you can divide political leaders into hawks and dogs. I know of no hawks in American leadership I know of no hawks in American leadership who are important and who really press for war either with the Soviet Union or with China or for that matter pressed for an intensification of the war in Vietnam for the sake of intensifying the war. The whole notion notion of hawks and dogs is extremely misleading. Now some people make different assessments of risks and
opportunities and most of the people differ on most issues. That's a person who may be somewhat more inclined to take a risk in the Middle East may turn out to be a person less inclined to run risks and vice versa. And similarly strew some good leaders some people whom we consider to be extremely hard nosed opposed to saw that intervention just about you. The same people may be from a much tougher policy in the Middle East and they may or may not be I don't know nor cases for a more cautious policy but not so that I really can't answer a question terms of hawks and doves. I would say the sort of leadership on the whole is a conservative relatively cautious and a highly mediocre leadership. Such a leadership can grossly miscalculate a political issue and undertake actions which unintentionally will be very dangerous once it's been suggested. Dr. Brzezinski that the invasion of Czechoslovakia really was
a return to a kind of Stalinism and all they are is that your belief. Well I would put it in somewhat qualified terms but fundamentally I'm not in disagreement with your way of putting it. In other words I don't think the Southern leaders deliberately are trying to restore Stalinism in the Soviet Union. But their lack of security their insecurity in fact their mediocrity their incapacity of dealing with domestic problems first has them step by step into actions. The cumulative effect of which is to turn the clock back in terms of the blog in particular Czechoslovakia their fears were all the graver and all the greater because of the rapidity of change in Czechoslovakia and hence here the actions they took in effect were standing is in character because they did
involve reliance on overt military force to subordinate a state which at least in terms of its own intentions was not desirous of ceasing to be a communist state but simply wanted to have a more humanistic more civilized form and more Occidental form of communism. In contrast to the Oriental Stalinists type of the Soviet Union inherited from Lenin we pose this question to Mr. Emery Swank. To what extent is the Chinese response to border incidents played within China to help unite the Chinese people. Help support the government of China. I think there's a an important element of internal concern in in the Chinese propaganda centered around the
border clashes. It's it's very difficult when you're looking at as inscrutable a group of leaders as the Chinese with whom our own contacts have been so very limited over a period of years to draw conclusions as to their intentions. It seems to was however that one of the main things that the Chinese have been looking for is. You might say a propaganda weapon to use against the Soviets in their competition for influence in the communist world and just generally in the world at large. And one of these things was the fact. Ancient disagreements over territory and it seemed to me anyway and I expressed here a personal view not an official one that probably it was the Chinese who may have initiated
the first serious clash. And the Soviets naturally reacted with vigor and certainly one cannot accuse either one side or the other in succeeding clashes and I would I would hope that these talks would lead somewhere. Because I don't think the Chinese are going to frighten the Soviets and I don't think the Soviets are going to give up territory. So what is it. In a sense is a dispute as I see it in which neither side can really stand to gain. What effect does the Chinese Soviet dispute have upon the Vietnam War for example or upon Japan's role in Asia or upon the Russian position with respect to Western Europe. But taking taking the first of those on Vietnam I think that the most
immediate effect on Vietnam has has been that some of the Overland shipments have been of military material have probably been delayed because of obstacles which the Chinese put in the way of such shipments. The as we see it I think that the Chinese and the Soviets are competing for influence in Hanoi. This is meant that Hanoi while counting on the support of both countries in terms of material aid engineering forces etc. has been able at the same time to pursue a relatively independent course of either great power. This is a bit advantageous for annoy and so looked at from this point of view you might say that the dispute has really not not given and given our side and the balance of advantage. Now turning to Japan I.
I think that the important thing about Japan in this day and age is the tremendous strides that it has made economically whether the government of Japan is ready to play a role in the economic development of Southeast Asia commensurate with it or with its abilities I think remains to be seen we have been encouraged to see that the Japanese government is playing a more active role. Relations between Japan and the Soviet Union have improved in recent years. I would hesitate to predict their future course but I do think that the Japanese and the Soviets see considerable mutual advantage particularly in the economic and trade field. Relations between China and Japan. On the other hand. Are does that a question mark I would say. And again I would hesitate to predict what course they would take the
Chinese have reacted very strongly recently. When I speak of the Chinese of course I'm speaking of the Communist Chinese to the agreements which were reached between Japan and US on Okinawa and they apparently see that agreement as press saging the Okinawa's ation of Japan and by that they mean the development of a militaristic Japan rather than the Japanese zation if one could use that word of Okinawa. On finally Russian relations with Western Europe I think that as long as there is a conflict of the present dimensions on the front tears with communist China the Soviet Union is not going to wish to embark on adventures in Eastern Europe. It will. We believe and prefer to see the maintenance of the status quo. Nevertheless life
itself as the Russians themselves are so fond of saying she's in somewhere. Means I think that or rather is is moving in the direction of closer ties between Eastern Europe and Western Europe. This trend may be maybe inevitable and there are great pressures particularly economic and technological for Eastern Europe to share in the tremendous strides forward which Western Europe has made in these in these areas. Professor Brzezinski spoke of Sino-Soviet relations. Is it true the interest of the United States to have a state of emergency exist on the Russian Chinese border or should we hope that the two countries will reach an accord. If I have to operate within the parameters of these two choices which I prefer not to. I would have to say that a state of emergency on the Sino-Soviet frontier is preferable to an accord and accord it would
imply a meeting of minds and some pulling off foreign policy perspectives and perhaps even efforts. If such an accord of a reached in the foreseeable future it could only be an anti-American accord. One has to ask oneself what would be the basis for such an accommodation. And I think it's an utter illusion to assume that it would be on any other basis except on an anti-American basis. I would have to be extraordinarily soft headed to assume that some sort of accommodation in the forseeable future would somehow be no interest. Now this doesn't mean that a grave state of emergency and then adding the word grave to your question is necessary in their interest. We don't want an eruption of violence between the soldiers of the Chinese. We don't want to see a problem between them to be solved by recourse to arms. We certainly do not wish nuclear warfare. But a certain measure of tension between the two I think makes it easier for us to seek accommodation with each. It creates a triangular rather than a
purely bilateral relationship and as such it introduces greater flexibility into international affairs and greater maneuverability for our policymakers. What are those signs. If there are any of improvement greater accommodation between the two powers and Russian and Chinese relations is the border dispute a diversion to hide deeper concerns. Well it is their version to hide deeper concerns Wellwood deeper concerns me. I should think that border disputes between nations are kind of fundamental. I don't know if you're familiar with the book the territorial imperative. It's a book which contains a great deal of basic truth and peasant societies particularly our border conscious peasant societies involve the transfer all on to the plane of international politics a fundamentally peasant outlooks and their immediate reality and possession of land. The sanctity of one's
own property is terribly important. If you read the Soviet in the Chinese accounts of their border disputes one is struck by a fantastic preoccupation with the sacredness of every square kilometer. So I think it's pretty deep and that sense I don't think it's a cover for some other concerns. The other concerns are important logical problems clearly important. I think different calculations different aspirations internationally are important as far as improvement in relations is concerned. In my view I think we ought to be prepared for oscillations for ebb and flow when the sun is solid relationship. There are going to be improvements in it. There are going to be changes in attitude. There are definitely going to be changes in the leaderships of the two countries in the near future. And this may result in one time or another and some improvement. But fundamentally the problem between them. To my mind is
not soluble. I think that the different aspirations different interests and fundamental national stability are a reality that's not going to be undone even by occasional adjustments. He's going to suggest to Dr. Brzezinski that Russia is very much afraid of the Chinese nuclear potential. Do you have any evidence that Russian that Russia may strike at Chinese nuclear installations and what the Russians might call defensive attack. Evidence would be too strong a word. But there have been hints Soviet spokesman have occasionally hinted of such a possibility. Victor Lewis who appears to be a Soviet agent journalist KGB provocateur has hinted of this publicly in Western press. Perhaps as a way of putting pressure on the Chinese. But in any case hinting that the Chinese
themselves have spoken publicly about nuclear blackmail emanating from the two imperialist centers in the world Washington and Moscow. And this seems to me to suggest that perhaps something was said to the Chinese leaders by the Soviets which could be interpreted as a nuclear threat. I rather suspect that one could see again as it did. They came in September of last year but the message she carried with him was implicitly if not implicitly that a direct military threat. And there have been some hints even in Soviet press concerning Soviet strategic power and its applicability to the signs of a conflict. Now this is not the same thing as a plan for a preemptive strike but it does indicate that the idea has at least crossed the minds of some leaders to what extent Dr. Brzezinski is Chinese response to the border incidents are calculated to unite the
Chinese people or the government of China. I think this factor is probably quite important. I think Place a major role not necessarily in motivating dispute but in providing some of the rationale for its specific manifestations. Once again Mr. strike you know the mutual interests Mr. Swank of the Soviet Union and the United States outweigh their differences now. It seems to me that despite. Continuing ideological differences between us. The world is rapidly growing smaller and the United States and the Soviet Union share a good part of the territory and produce a substantial part of the total gross national production of the world. They both have energetic peoples resources of a substantial character. And I would like to think
that between now and the year 2000 there would be an increasing collaboration between our two countries both with respect to problems which are you might say on a world scale such as overpopulation and pollution. And also in assisting cooperating in assisting the developing countries the gap between those who have and those who who don't have very much is steadily increasing or so we are told and so I think the evidence supports so that there could be given the right circumstances and the right attitudes by the leaderships of both countries there could be very fruitful and important collaboration between us over the next three decades. We concluded our interview with Professor Brzezinski was this question of the mutual interests of the Soviet Union and the United States outweigh their
differences. Is the danger of a communist take over the world still to be regarded as a major base for American foreign policy. I think the differences between the United States and the Soviet Union in terms of weighing them against immediate specific common interests and the differences are probably greater. I think there are more issues in which we disagree quite strongly than issues in which we are in basic agreement. But this has to be viewed in the larger perspective of the world which is much smaller than it was to me. And the fate of which is much more intertwined and used to be I think the effect of nuclear weapons has been such as to impose a sense of common restraint even on those who disagree. Thus in effect what I'm trying to say is that we probably in fact I'm pretty sure disagree much more than we agree but we do so in a context which
is quite different than it used to be in international affairs. In fact perhaps the best way to answer would be to illustrate what I have in mind by a hypothetical example. If the United States and the Soviet Union had exactly the same disagreements conflicts clashes that we have had in the course of the last 20 years. But neither one had the nuclear weapons. My guess is that we have. We would have gone to war. In other words the disagreements are more real than the agreements but for the first time they operate in a setting of extraordinary mutual rescreened which in a way envelops the disagreements in a kind of mutual realisation that we have a common destiny or a common fate. They know that one cannot die without the other dying as well. And this I think is a very important restraint. Now as far as the communist threat being the basis for American policy. Well that of course is that favorite whipping boy of our intellectual community.
I don't think this has been the basis for American foreign policy now for quite some time. We did after all start aiding Yugoslavia back in 49 when he was a communist state. We were the first to pioneer in cultural exchanges with the Soviets were the first to exchange heads of states visits with the Soviets. I think we were quite willing to help states such as India which were for a long time very critical of our foreign policy and still are. So I think the notion of America and leading a kind of anti kind of this crusade is a very simple one and a very popular one amongst the demagogues of our day. I think the reality was always somewhat more complex. Great Decisions 1970 program number one the Soviet Union. What course in the 70s our moderator Dr. Harlan Hagman dean of administration at Wayne State University had as his guest the Honorable William P. Rogers
secretary of state Dr. is a big Brzezinski professor of public law and government Columbia University and former member of the Policy Planning Council for the United States Department of State. And Mr. Emory S. Swank Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European affairs. Great Decisions 1970 as produced by Wayne State University in Detroit in cooperation with the Foreign Policy Association any RS special of the week thanks w d e t Wayne State University Detroit for this program. This is an E.R. of the national educational radio network.
Special of the week
Issue 6-70 "Great Decisions #1 of 8"
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Chicago: “Special of the week; Issue 6-70 "Great Decisions #1 of 8",” 1970-00-00, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed September 23, 2023,
MLA: “Special of the week; Issue 6-70 "Great Decisions #1 of 8".” 1970-00-00. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. September 23, 2023. <>.
APA: Special of the week; Issue 6-70 "Great Decisions #1 of 8". Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from