Dilemmas of power; 7; Lt. Gen. James M. Gavin
A. BJC FM in Baltimore. In cooperation with the Maryland Center for Public Broadcasting and Johns Hopkins University. Present the annual undergraduate student project. The 1971 wilderness Eisenhower symposium an 11 part series of featured speakers presenting formal addresses by informal question and answer session. This year's topic. Soviet American relations or the lemmas of. Today's program Lieutenant General James M. Gavin United States Army retired and former ambassador to France. We'll speak on the Atlantic community and relations with the Soviet Union.
General getting back to Eisenhower LADIES AND GENTLEMAN Good afternoon and welcome to the NSA Eisenhower symposium. James Gavin enlisted in the Army at 17 years of age and from the ranks won a competitive examination to West Point. A paratrooper responsible for the initiation and planning of Arab one of during World War 2. He led four paratrooper assaults into Europe. And the airborne invasion for D-Day. General Gavin became the youngest American division commander since the Civil War. In 1051 general Gavin became first chief of staff for allied forces of southern Europe and later commanded the U.S. Army's 7th Corps in Germany in 1054 general Gavin became chief of plans and research and development for the Army. His critical concern over the policy of massive nuclear retaliation at the expense of a more flexible strategy led to
his resignation from the Army in one thousand fifty eight. General Gavin received his B.S. degree from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1909. Holder of several honorary degrees among them has received a degree of honorary Doctor of Laws from Dartmouth College New York University and Babson Institute in 1961. General Gavin was appointed ambassador to France by President Kennedy a capacity in which he served until the fall of 1062 when he returned to art of the little corporation where he is presently president and chairman of the board. The author of four books his most recent book is crisis now. And incisive an forward looking examination of America's problems both domestic and foreign. An articulate critic of the conduct of the Vietnam War and of the course of American foreign policy. General Gavin wrote in crisis now the rest of the world is changing. Much of it seeks ways to cooperate and live
together. We on the other hand appear to be embarked upon a role of using power for power's sake a course of action that may bring World War 3. We justify this and the neglect of our domestic condition by pointing backward at the communist threat of the early 1950s the world in 1984 prophesied so vividly by George Orwell. Seems to be already with us. I'm behalf of my co chairman Abrams Kronk's Bergen-Belsen block and my source you chaired Helen Bernstein and Cecile Strauss. I take great pleasure in presenting a man of commitment and a man of insight. Lieutenant General James Gavin. Mr. Vassall. Dr. Eisenhower ladies and I'm delighted to be here this was my first visit to the John Hopkins campus and I couldn't be on a more pleasant
auspices today I'm going to for a change here to my subject and talk about the dilemma our dilemma as a power. And in doing so I'd like to talk a bit about power and the nature of power itself. In this very uneasy world in which we live and talk about the world itself in which this power will be applied. The world of today and the immediate future tomorrow and then talk about a strategy for the application of power and then deal with the subject of dilemma if there is or is not a dilemma. When commencing a talk on a subject of this nature these days the Soviet Union and the United States into the limits of power was very much inclined to begin with. Quoting to talk. Of well over 100 years ago. And if you recall he envisioned the world in which the destiny of the world would be swayed by the United States or the Soviet Union.
Little did he see the emergence of Japan as a very powerful nation on this planet. Nor indeed the emergence of China with a population of over 800 million people in a very forceful way. Nor indeed the tremendous growth of the European Economic Community. Still growing day by day and a community of great potential now and talk in terms of power and applied power on the planet and finally no one could have foreseen the potential of Africa while the outcome of the role of Africa in global affairs depends very much on what happens in the Middle East. What happened to the North African states of Libya Tunisia Morocco Algeria much of what happens to them will depend upon their relations with the Soviet Union or with the West. But these all represent blocks of power that have come into
being since that famous observation of the hundred and fifty years approximately ago. Now let's talk a bit about the power itself. There's always seemed to me that in a democratic society power must begin with the people their aspirations their hopes their beliefs their convictions moral power if you will. It must begin with a country's capacity to meet the very basic needs of its people their material needs physical needs. They must be given opportunity for employment and opportunity to provide for their own economic power if you will. The power must provide security for people a feeling of security a feeling of protection from threats by outside forces police power if you
will. And then finally it has always seemed to me that true power must have within it a competent vision. I could drop the book of the prophets and say quote without vision the people shall perish. Unquote. But I don't think it is necessary for people who do aspire they do have goal. They look well ahead and deed to human will differ some other forms of animal life in this respect and that he can foresee and plan. They like to probe the future for answers of today. So I see these as the components of power power that frequently gets out of balance in its application. For example I recently read an article in Limone that very good French newspaper
in which the author asked the question why is it that man has been able to provide 100 pounds of TNT for every human being on earth but not 10 pounds of grain. Good question and deserves a forthright answer. When I say much more power itself I'd like to talk about the world in which this power will be applied today and the immediate future. What kind of world is it really. While we certainly are in a very very rapidly changing world and that's the most overused cliche of our time but let's put it this way a Greek once said I can control a crowd as far as I can cast my voice. And that was considered to be the definition of a village and indeed we live in a global village I was interested in that I talked to Norman Cousins about this some time back and in a issue of the side of the evolution not long after that was the cover
titled The global village we live in a small community in which one's voice can be cast from any point into any other almost instantly. But it has in it. Frustrations have a very profound and serious sort in that the average person who watches television let us say news morning and evening knows more about what is going on in this world today than the head of state did a generation or two ago. And yet what can we do about it. It isn't enough to say elect someone to Congress and they're going to change the laws in two years and not three years and I were going to bring about change. No that isn't enough at all we really need citizen participation. I think we're on the threshold of realizing that this is important to understand a kind of a world in which we're talking about the application of power. And when I say realizing that I'm talking about citizen feedback. A system whereby through community on Tenet television the recipient of the information whatever it may be a speech by the president by member of Congress or
anyone for that matter for or against any issue can then in turn create a reaction that will permit the listener to indicate by a device on the television set his reaction to it for or against. Very much related in an interesting way in our society to biofeedback in our in our persons which is now a very contemporary and exciting phenomena to deal with citizen feedback. Well now there's another aspect of this globe to the concerns me and that is the very great mobility of our society on the globe. As a matter of fact during the past week I was in Paris Brussels Teheran Persepolis Shiraz Estefan and back characteristic businessman travelers for whatever reason can travel now at considerable mobility. And this too is very much going to affect the world of which we are part and which we are considering the application of power. Finally in talking about casting one's voice I
was talking about this to a friend in Cambridge some time ago and he said. But don't you realize a Greek once said I can control the crowd as far as I can throw a stone. Well today ladies and gentleman man can throw a stone from any point to go to any other and expect one of these thrown back very promptly too. And this in itself gives a dimension to our lives for we live under constant threat of nuclear extermination. For if nuclear weapons were to be used everyone on earth would be affected indeed everyone in this room been affected by tests conducted so far. But everyone would be affected and hundreds of millions of lives lost. This too is a dimension of the kind of world in which you're going to live. Some years ago indeed I was responsible for the nuclear weapons program for small weapons was a part of the army for some years
and some years ago. I became very concerned about this problem and it seemed to me at that time that a policy of massive retaliation to time and place of our choosing. The rich source of weapons the recourse to nuclear weapons as being the only answer to the problems that would threaten our society or threaten vital aspects of our policy would be grossly inadequate. Indeed quite sterile and unresponsive. I was convinced we had to develop a much more flexible policy and on the basis of that I did leave the federal service worked closely with Sen. John F. Kennedy and with many others we would help him be elected. But at that time I became convinced that mere stockpiles of weapons were no longer an answer to our problem. Now this sounds quite simple to say it now but 15 years ago to have said that the traditional time honored custom of stockpiling weapons in time
of peace for you time of war no longer was a valid one that the measure for determining the outcome of differences among peoples would not be that of how many bombs as a nation they possess compared to nation B. Indeed the very possession of the weapons themselves that possession might in itself make more difficult finding solutions to our problems. And so in dealing with that. I wrote a book War and Peace in the space age in 1058 And at that time I rather tentatively postulated the theory that was Hiroshima. All of man's military affairs had come to a profound change that no longer could a nation count upon the magnitude of its stockpile it was a sure indication of its certainty of victory of victory in combat or survival. Indeed the very language used by the military had changes in strategy no longer was merely moving about armies air
fleets. Please see so as to have them optimized in the proper location in the event of tactical battle. No it seemed to me then that a strategy what it is what it traditionally has been. Then we were living in a different condition entirely. May I say a word about this. Perhaps I should apologize for burden you with the discussion of strategy but you must understand it if you were to share my views in part on our South-East Asian involvement. The word strategy comes from Greek discredit this was the office of the commander who commanded both. The Navy and the army. The Greeks came to the conviction that the Admirals couldn't command the armies and the generals couldn't command the Navy so therefore they credited create a new office. So the overall office was that of the Stratus. And since that time it has had that character definition in that it has been that thing above and beyond ordinary tactical forces which would
ultimately determine the outcome of conflict. Applied to present day affairs it means this. It consists of that area of human endeavor in which a nation applies policies that will bring a certain victory if war curves. Tactical battle comes what you're doing. But even with tactical battle doesn't come it will surely win also dusts we would have been doing that a successful national strategy. How then does that apply to our situation today. Well I might say and I might say a word about the Southeast Asian involvement because I was deeply involved in it I went to Vietnam in nineteen fifty five and talked to Mr. DMN at the time as well as a number of the other principal figures. I worked closely as chief of plans of the partly army with General Ridgeway at a time when we were considering sending a landing force into Haifa and Hanoi.
At that time General Ridge and I talked about it some when it seemed to us that it was an open ended commitment with Red China really for the whole man after all fought for us in World War 2 against the Japanese. We know he did not have the resources with which to wage a war against us so we were really going to war with Red China in an open ended commitment it was indeed and we probably could win tactical battles day in day out until the strategic drain of our nation would be so great that we would then realize the magnitude of our air rage we had the courage to go to the present President Eisenhower and President Eisenhower made it one of the great decisions of all time and decided not to go into Southeast Asia. The dilemma to us has been today that more people most people confuse tactical Goodwin's tactical battles and winning them with the outcome of what is happening there. Ladies and gentlemen we could win tactical battles in Southeast Asia for an indefinite period of time if we are willing to spend our lives our wealth in doing that very
thing. But ultimately strategically we would be in a very difficult position. When I appeared before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee chaired by Senator Fulbright 965. So I surprise I was four to five hours before that committee discussing this very subject. And I said at that time that if we were to continue there in Southeast Asia all of Italy our economy would be very seriously endangered. Our society would be torn apart by what we were doing and we'd have to sooner or later face the necessity of changing the whole course of action. Unfortunately this is the way it has worked out and force it from the viewpoint of our own condition. And today our economy indeed is in considerable trouble. Having just come from abroad I can assure you that whatever popularity we may have enjoyed abroad is certainly diminishing rapidly and people abroad see us as exporters of depression. Furthermore our domestic condition is appalling in my opinion in many respects and by that I refer to our need for housing better education better national health
care and what we're doing about man and his environment. We only have a decade or two before we'll be in a very critical condition with our environment finally and I would like to relate this to word of vision when I talked about power. We must constantly probe the future for answers to our problems of not necessarily the future but of today. Research in developing simple language but it's much more important than just research and development is dealing with problems of cancer and of our environment and many things will yet face our children and our grandchildren beyond today that we do not know how to deal with now. So I would therefore in summary based the survival of this nation in a strategic sense upon three things our domestic condition our economy and what we're doing about our future and the extent to which we jeopardized by ill thought out pursuits of tactical lose of tactical victories any place in the world to that extent we are failing our society failing our future generations.
It is strategic nonsense. Well now I did want to mention a bit the problem of Southeast Asia because I think this is very basic to understanding the dilemmas of power and the uses of power. And I categorize it not wanting to use military turn but because I think it is necessary to understand it this way in terms of strategy and tactics. What then are the dilemmas today to come to the important aspect of this subject a dilemma presumably is a choice between two UN satisfactory answers. Do we have a dilemma how to divide our resources among the many demands that are being made upon us both domestic and foreign. Should we continue our military expenditures at the present rate because our intelligence experts tell us that the Soviets are doing the same thing continuing a time honored traditional pattern of annoying phrase
or should we now devote a much greater portion of our national resources to our domestic condition our economy and our future. I don't know that anyone has the answer to this problem. You would have a Soviet speaker here I hope later in this program Mr. yob I thought I distinguished and able citizen of Soviet Union I've discussed this problem with him and he is today of the United States for hours. I am convinced let me put it this way. Prior to World War Two in the military establishment the belief was that all new technology all new discovery must be examined at once for its military usefulness. I don't overdo this with analogies of why this is important but we wanted no needle guns to surprise us such as occurred in one war. We wanted no technical surprises. So all had to be exploited. The abundance of new knowledge coming out of the cornucopia of research was so great that by World War 2 midway through World War Two with nuclear weapons
radar new types of aircraft missiles and so on and so on. It was suddenly realize that this was more than man could exploit and I was a member of the weapon systems evaluation group right after the war. At present Eisenhower sought to evaluate the various systems. Then the view was the important thing is to get the weapons. Money doesn't count. And we didn't realize really I think until about the 1950s that money does count because the changing world in which we live. Money is a commie and economy is the area of strategic survival. And this lesson I don't think has been fully learned yet. And what I'm saying to you is that in this considering this dilemma of the use of power and application of power one can very easily spend far too much of our resources on military weapons systems at the expense of our survival. This is a new phenomena in this society have been and one must therefore use judgment and care and selectivity.
Therefore in dealing with the Soviets and their power that they choose to give weapons priority one above all else. But whatever you want to call it anything and just constantly exploit new technology. I think the wisest thing we could do would be not follow the pattern of what they are doing but think through where we are going and the meaning of these things we are doing and be highly selective and careful in what we do do for our power begins with our people their aspirations their hopes their accomplishments their security and to jeopardize that in needless pursuit of all sorts of new technology that might potentially give us weapons would in itself be a military disaster. Well I therefore say to you that we should not feel that we have a dilemma that says to us we must make a choice between guns or butter to keep up with this with the virus. Shouldn't the Soviets none at all.
We must think through ourselves and I don't think the decision is a particularly difficult one. We have got to be much more hard nosed about how we go about things how we go about evaluating things. I'd like to say a word or two about the Soviet system. I've been to the Soviet Union on three occasions and I spent many many hours discussing with them their problem and they do have problems. I spent three hours last January with the chief of the state planning committee the growth plan. And we had a long long talk and he said to me you know how do you get the Western nations to how do you get managers to produce more for less. I never have a manager come in to me and say Next year I'll take less rubles I'm going to give you more how do you do it. Well I didn't know quite what to say to him and I said well I remember they had put all their factories most of them anyway after the war and I said well if you have a fact it was 25 years old and just turning over and just barely getting things out raise it to the ground put in a whole new investment will take some capital investment to fully automate it and you'll be in the
red for a million roubles or two for a year or two but then you really go on in very high production of modern equipment. And his eyes are bigger saucers and he turned a translator and he said do they do this in the West. And they said yes they do. And then for the first time I realized that when you build a factory in a Soviet Union is like building a post office in the United States it stays forever. No one would dare recommend tearing it down. I only cite this one little example. Let me try to do it tell you a few anecdotes to give you a dimension of the Soviet problem today. For example to say men talk to me said No next you're going to produce a million color television sets and I said well why don't you just make perhaps two hundred thousand and try different type console's different sized small portables and large ones to put on tops of tables and find out what the market wants what is it the people want. How do you know what their bodies is all I know what they want to get out of the great big black book it was a big book they said here last year I made Sony radios and I bought Sony radios and my Sony dish pans a box only dish because I know what they want and then he got rather philosophical he says
well you know but I was in a factory the other day and I should tell you first of all he was talking to me. Every citizen of the Soviet Union is entitle to three pairs of shoes so I was in a factory and I went to a girl working on a machine that I said is right I think you want. How are things going to look things are going pretty well but I need some more shoes. And he says well how many pair do you have she said. I have three pairs. Well what's wrong with that. She said well some days I wear my red dress I like wear my red shoes. Some day that wear a blue dress I like to wear blue shoes. So he turned to me then he said but you see how absurd these people can be. And as we went to the translator said Don't you believe what he told you about shoes last year they allowed 10000 pairs of shoes in here and now nobody would buy Russian shoes or waiting for the next shipment of Italian shoes. I'm not going to be labor these the many aspects of the Soviet system do economy as a rigid very bureaucratic rather top heavy with planners and so on. Quite inflexible in many ways unresponsive and they're having a difficult time and I would hope they can
solve their problems if one were to believe the US issue of current news and current U.S. News World Report. All the satellites are more and more inclined to capitalism now but in any event having very serious problems and I don't see for the first time this five year plan the ninety five year plan coming out they are putting a high priority on consumer products rather than capital goods. So I see them having a very serious problem and indeed if they continue to spend at their present rate on military weapon systems I would see their society Visa V ours go downhill at a pretty rapid rate despite the abundance of vast weapons systems in the various arsenals that we should keep our eye on the targets we are seeking and not to worry too much about what they are doing well now. The point I wanted to make with you is that in my opinion there's no real dilemma. There's no real choice between two and satisfactory solutions. The really is one solution and that is to
begin with bringing our engagement in Southeast Asia to a halt as rapidly as possible. Then reorder our priorities in our domestic condition and give priority to taking care of our environment. Education for all of our people adequate health care where the only western nation of any size without an adequate national health care program housing and so forth. Next get our economy turned around on a full peacetime basis. And finally keep probing the future to an adequate national research and development program. And finally I add this thought gratuitously because it troubles me very much grant amnesty to our young men abroad our young men abroad and being this way and bring them home to restore some normalcy to our society. Well ladies and gentleman. You've been a very kind and attentive audience. I hope that in coming to the conclusion
that we have no dilemma we merely have opportunity opportunity Arriva judgments of what to do with this great nation's resources to the end to peace and normalcy will be restored to our society. I think these are the greatest problems we have not the nations outside of our borders who in my opinion are prone to make mistakes as any people on earth do you no good to talk to you thank you very much. General Gavin wants a tank question to facilitate this. Please limit yourself to one question and do not touch the microphone. Questions will be taken alternately from the microphone. I would like to remind you of our next event a debate between Professor Klausner and Dr Richard Barnett. A.
Governor how would you say that about abroad particularly in Western export of inflation and that sort of thing has affected the relationships between Western Europe and Soviet Union. How the relationship between United States and Western Europe has affected their relationship with Soviet Union. Yeah well we're certainly right in the midst of seein this right before our very eyes and I would certainly urge everyone to follow closely the current events beginning with Mr. Brown's visit with down to the Black Sea. Have we ever seen Soviet statesman travel as much as we have in the last few weeks Mr. Causey going all over down to Canada Cuba and he before that in Algeria Mr. Brezhnev traveling about they are now launching a diplomatic offensive to bring about a conference on European security to be held in the summer of next summer at which time they hope to bring about every duction of forces in Europe. And
every direction really have a commitment to an arms race. So I had an opportunity to talk to Mr Could she get with my colleagues and start with conference in July and he spoke vehemently about this subject we ship we've got to stop spending so much more money on arms in a race and get back to doing things for our country. Well now anyway they are making the most. Powerful diplomatic initiative that I've ever known in in their history and to bring the Western nations of Europe close to them in a large measure they're succeeding quite well. We're becoming less and less popular. I know this for a fact. People feel that we're exporting our own recession and while they did not approve of our involvement in Southeast Asia they never thought in Europe that it would come to hurt them it is known. And they're very unhappy about it. So I think that the Soviet prospects for closer more intimate more fruitful relations with Western Europe probably have never been better than they are today.
How do you view the future impact of think tanks such as authored the little and the Rand Corporation in development a future defense and economic policies. How do you view the future impact of think tanks such as out of the little and the Rand Corporation in development a future defense and economic policies. How do I see the impact of Arthur and Rand in developing an adequate economic policy for the United States and defense policy on defense policy. Well we're both quite different management consulting and information. I wish you were here to speak for themselves. We do a research and engineering lab so computerization of process and then manage because all the labs were about 90 years old in our defense but it is a very very small fact I don't know how much it is but can't be more than our total government budget and about 23 24 percent of our total volume and of that the
fast must be 2 or 3 percent so we don't contribute very much. I don't know what ren does really I really can't speak for them but we don't contribute much to the defense policies programs of you know stays. We're prepared to a faster but we work with civilian industry. General what is your opinion of the draft as it stands now and would you be in favor of a volunteer army. Well you've asked two questions. The draft is on the books the law of the land and I think must be obeyed. This is my personal feeling about this. I realize it's not a popular answer festa way I feel about it. I've written an article about a month ago for supporting an all volunteer army. I very strongly believe in an all volunteer army and I've had some exchanges people about it. A writer recently said an all volunteer army would be an army of misfits minorities and unemployed.
I don't know when I enlisted in the army. I enlisted a week after my 17th birthday is as a private. I was just out of 8th grade. And enlist in the army in the army and gave me four months to study if I could make it to send me to West Point I managed to make it by staying up all night studying. But anyway I thought the world of the all volunteer army to first place an all volunteer army. You don't have to. And these are regulars the hard core of the basis for expansion of the event of trouble. One doesn't have to pamper to their whims. You just tell them what you want done and you see to it that you get it done. We had a very high quality all volunteer army before World War 2. It provided a cod rate for the expansion that enabled us to expand rapidly to meet the forces of Hitler in Europe and the forces in Asia. The all volunteer army in the Philippine Islands provided forces that defended the 10 months beyond what they were expected to do and I know because I was in the Philippine Scouts for two years in one thousand thirty six seven eight. And the gates report and Mr. Thomas Gates was asked to look into an all volunteer army and he made a report
recommending the all volunteer army. But the parameters that he was given in my opinion were quite rigid and he was not allowed to consider force cutbacks cutbacks in the force that we have only what should we have in our all volunteer army what could be done about it. So he recommended a significant salary increase in my personal opinion we should cut back our forces and tailor them to reality. Never in the history of this country and I don't know what other countries have we ever had a field army complete field army station and I formally hostile nation 25 years after the end of war. President Eisenhower had recommended reducing the Army in Europe to a corps of two divisions. I have publicly recommended this time and again I think Mr Mansfield at one time was going to cut them in half. Certainly this is a minimum force reduction. Now therefore if you could cut our forces to reality reduced our commitment to Southeast Asia by cutting the forces in Europe and then doing other things to make a life a little bit more pleasant I think we could easily have an all volunteer army I'm very much for. We'd have a
much higher quality army and an army that would provide the core for cod raise and keep people in the event of an expansion if we need it. Thank you. I recall a few years ago you advocated the maintenance of American military on clouds in Vietnam. In retrospect do you still consider that to be a proper application of power. Yes. Well let's clear up the record a little bit on that. First place I knew General Westmoreland Well I was with him in World War Tony's chief of staff the second Airborne Division at one time I must say during the first years he was over there I don't know when he went over but in 63 64 65 I was quite worried about conditions that then prevailed in the military since if a Tet Offensive had been launched against his forces in 1963 or 64 I think without question they would have been driven into the sea or American forces.
We had as many as 35 ships tied up in Saigon harbor in the Mekong they couldn't get the one loaded didn't know what they had all kinds of problems. Well finally we had air bases warehouses the locomotives all of facilities of mandala just tickles power Denning Cameroon Saigon and one other. I felt that his troubles were behind him. No I opposed the war in the very first place with Joe Ridgway and President Eisenhower back in 55. At the time when I finally decided we had stabilized this at last we had 200 35000 troops I believe in that in nineteen sixty five. And I wrote a letter to John Fisher the editor of Harper's not to write to him for publication but because we've been writing for some years I've written for Harper's and I was just exchanging ideas and he said it is something we could do now now that we have these powerful enclaves our forces are not in jeopardy Everything's under our control. It is something we could do to bring this to a halt and then initiate a withdrawal action and out of that
came hours and hours of hearings before the Foreign Relations Committee and the opponents of which said what I recommended was retreat to the coast and begin where it's safe for us. So it's been interesting to live with. But that's the story that's the way it is and that's what they're doing today. I think our forces are considerable safety jeopardy involved they're well protected we have good place in which we can to use power and they're in good shape and the quicker we get them out of there the better. General would you please comment on the recent forced resignation of Colonel Herbert would you please comment on the recent forced resignation of Colonel Herbert. I guess forgive me the word was a strange one to me. I don't want to be a bottom I don't want to follow is all I know is what you know you've read in the
papers for 15 years since I was in the Army and I don't know what his problem is it seems to me from reading about it. It's as much a person only Prozone as there's a problem with the services. I rather suspect that he's going to find life a little difficult when he gets out of the service to go I don't know a thing about the pros and cons of his situation whatsoever terribly sorry. Several times during your speech you have alluded to the wise decisions of President nice and har it with respect to military decisions however it was under his leadership during which you had massive retaliation as a policy right. With the change of administration you have the concept that we can handle bushfire wars and bread and water at home at the same time. I would like you to. For you to comment and contrast the fallacies in both.
Well now let's get a few things straight I referred to President Eisenhower twice the first time and recounted my visit in 55 and we recommended against getting involved in Southeast Asia and then I rather write referred to the same incident a moment ago. Now I thoroughly disagreed with massive retaliation and person Eisenhower and I parted ways on that too. We were good friends but this was the policy of his administration I simply couldn't live with it. I could spend a great deal of time on this subject with you but you have to think these things through for yourself. It seemed to me that. When we arrive at the new look in late 1954 this is exactly what it was fifty three and this is exactly what it was. Mr. Humphrey secretary the treasury foresaw our country getting very serious financial trouble. The sector defense Mr Wilson decided with Mr Humphrey that the thing to do is to use the big thing we had to big a bigger bang for a buck. That was the slogan Mr Wilson met out in Radford out in Hawaii and I asked him if
he could become chairman of the Joint Chiefs and support such a policy and he said he could despite the fact about Radford testified before Congress a couple years early and said that he thought a nuclear bombing was immoral and many things about it is I forget the exact wording of his testimony. So from that moment on in 1054 those of us in the Pentagon seeking to bring into being a weapons systems that we thought might serve flexibly with some response of this to our needs. We were in a dilemma and we had the dilemma then. I've always felt that the weapons in our arsenal should be as flexible as the concept of democracy itself. You would not give a policeman every policeman a machine gun to gun down people for ordinary traffic violations because he that was a lot of power and he could dominate with that which power you've got to give him the screech number of weapons to make punishment commensurate with the crime. This was what was wrong with massive retaliation. I think enough people don't think about these things though Mr. Kennedy did. Raf I'm
rather biased but Mr Kennedy he reviewed the book I wrote for the reporter in 1958 we had long talks about a flexible response and if we had adhered to a policy of a flexible response with some sensitivity to what strategy today is I think there's no question but that we could have stayed out of Southeast Asia and could have kept our domestic condition in good order and good shape and response of taurine. Now the question is Would Mr. Kennedy have gotten involved in Southeast Asia the extent of his successor President Johnson did. I don't think so for a moment. No I take that position because I'm uniquely privileged to do it. I talked to was late as a week or two before the assassination when I went to Paris for example. We were about thinking of sending troops to Laos. One branch of our government is recommending supporting me and Mr. Candy called me back to Paris to talk about he said if I take their advice I'll end up sending a couple of divisions to Laos. Why don't you go back to Paris and talk to Princeton. So one of whom I have
been talking to the kindness of we'll call him that to the Russians Yes and to ho Sherman's forces and so I did and I had altogether about seven meetings with him and Mr. Herman conduct of negotiations Geneva and we agreed that we would support a policy of freedom neutrality and independence for Laos and would not commit forces. From my discussion of Mr. Kenny we never would have been involved to the point we are anywhere near today. I know he sent up to authorize 10000 trainers up the time of his death. But I believe this to be so we would he would have not become involved in Southeast Asia. So I think there are strengths and shortcomings in both policy massive retaliation if it were a massive nuclear war yes but it was totally inadequate to deal with minor conflagration which we must have had 50 since that time. On the other hand flexible response to obviously as it has done in Southeast Asia just greyness tactically to where we were in strategic trouble of a great sort. If we didn't understand what we were doing.
General Gannon do you think the shall we make this the last question yesterday. Since the 1960s Khrushchev speech when he banged his shoe at the United Nations and 61 when I put up the Berlin Wall. Do you think the pression have regime now is adopting out a softer line toward the west as compared to Khrushchev and that we do you think will have to worry about any more buffer wars with the Soviet Union. Well let's talk about both people dressed up in a period before the Foreign Relations 65 I said that I thought it did it did to me. Was one of the great decisive moments in history because in my opinion it was an intelligent sensitive man who knew that the Soviet Union could not emerge on top of the victor as it were. Unless we could begin to provide for its people. And he tried to provide adequate agricultural programs to try to get to for a huge fertilizer.
He was quite flexible his dealings with us and this was the first son of the emergence of this sort of sensitive leadership in the Soviet Union. A country that was to lead down the road to disaster by Stalin and Stalin was a disaster to both peoples ourselves in the Soviet Union. For he is strictly responsible directly responsible for Korea which caused most Americans to believe we were dealing with an international communist monolith that if we didn't stop the 30th we had to at the 17th parliament which is utter nonsense. So crucial it was a very significant moment when he came into power. And his his demeanor. And that's what we'll call it was to me a great tragedy. Now Brezhnev is something else in my opinion. The Soviet Union has not one iota changed attitude towards the west. I think it will pursue its own goals in its own way. I do not think it's going to experience any internal revolution despite the Zokora papers and all the other things that go on Seoul leaches problems and so on. I think you're dealing with a country in which 5 percent of the population
control the country. Think about this. When I went over this time for this visit I took two teenage daughters with me. 117 119 and the reason I took them was I wanted to see rushes with their eyes and they couldn't believe it at first they didn't quite believe what they were saying and after a while they just couldn't believe what was going on. The degree to which country is this country is on a very tight control and one is going to happen today a citizen feedback that I referred to a moment ago. What is going to happen when there are state controlled televisions all over the place and every home on every street corner and a fire station. If you don't have one you'll have 900 for beyond a question probably had by 1974. No we're dealing with a very tough ruthless powerful people controlled by 5 percent of the population. In the interest of the country but their particular interest as they see it and the brothers Brezhnev as a spokesman for that group. I expect nothing less from him than I did from his predecessors except for Khrushchev who is a very sensitive and different kind of a man. I think Brezhnev was looking out for the Soviet Union the Communist
Party. And we better look out for ourselves. Thank you very much. Thank you General. I'm Tom to lead producer of the dilemmas of power television series and with us following his address and question answer session is Lieutenant General Gavin thank you for joining us sir. So let it be. General given if you had the opportunity to how would you change your view was formed let's call it an order and of course I'd respond first of all it's a situation such as the station bring that to an end as promptly as possible. I would certainly be answered in poverty reducing and certainly reducing our commitments and your to the end that we could do more for our condition back home which is a known
very serious trouble. This would tend to get our dollar imbalance back in order too. I think these are very important. As for foreign policy its policy itself. Generally speaking I have little to complain about our foreign policy and what and I think policy itself is quite alright. It's the execution of their lack of it because of the way we allocate our resources. So I'm saying there's a real compelling need to reorder our priorities and what we are doing and I would give first priority to our domestic condition the next the state of our economy and the next take a hard look at what we're doing about the future in the way of research and development but it's investment not cut back we have many things more aggressive medical research research in the area of our environment and so on and then I think a bit more about what we can allocate to our endeavors overseas. GENERAL Well how do you envision our diminished rule in world affairs as it would apply to the European community or the community of the world at large.
Well I don't know if our role is necessarily going to be a diminishing one there's a change taking place in the world and it's quite apparent if you travel abroad after the war the Germans all want to be thought of as European and the French with Europe in other own nationality. More and more to the forefront Nationals was quite rampant and the scenes were replaced and commoners who really are of the globe in this sense then too we are running into conflicts and at the moment I find a broad song fear that we are exporting our own recession and the diminishing regard for us. These are the problems of trouble you and do it with other nations and that's quite serious I think the emergence of Japan is a very important situation and I see that will emerge in more than you know or probably only in military affairs as well. The situation of China and Russia troubles me was a fascinating one. At the
present time the Japanese room number one trading partner with the Soviet Union they are seven point six million dollars a share. I would be a bit surprised to find fellow political partners because of their common enemy and China has the military a Throughout the history of this country had a major influence on foreign policy and specifically in the last 50 years. Well perhaps in recent years illustrate the point was that it all started when a Planning Group in Washington not so long ago he said The trouble is every time we come up with a problem in Washington probably global affairs the Pentagon has a solution for it just doesn't. The Pentagon has far more higher educated men and they go for masters and doctorate degrees on the much larger scale. I wish the State Department lawyer so I do believe that their influence is perhaps a little bit. Do we have a foreign affair. But this is not because they want to I believe it is because they happen to have the ability to
influence. General you mentioned it in your address. That now is the time for the average citizen to provide a feed back to the government. You think it is actually possible for myself and you to have a major effect on the policies foreign or domestic in this government. Yeah well whatever started to proceed back you know is a system whereby your television buttons can be put on there was government subsidy or whatnot whereby let a site present next we're going to talk about a new economic policy on Sunday night. He couldn't ask for a vote or indication of how they looked upon his views or he could say that three weeks from now I will then talk about like at that time to get an expression of public opinion in the meantime. Several people of different views will also talk and people would be able to indicate if this isn't a vote is just an indication of a view with no guarantee of following the exact order. It gives you a sense of participation in the distance what is very badly needed now. People sealed the government goes on doing things not always telling the truth but what's it
doing. And they have no way in the world to intuit what happened. General you indicated that in the Soviet Union 5 percent of the population control population some two hundred twenty five million people. Is that not true here in this country as well as other countries in the west of this area. No I don't think it's true it may be true in other countries that only the Congress party controls and it is 5 percent of what our presidential candidates are selected by a convention of a very small group of even a party. When our electoral process. So you and I could aspire to be president of the police try to work within the framework of one of the parties and try to get elected to a delegation going to the convention. I think that everybody in this country has an opportunity to influence what happened. Millions are disenfranchised in general and the president has indicated that the trips to Peking and the trip to. Moscow will not be
simply goodwill What do you think he hopes to accomplish in each one of those trips. Oh goodness I really don't I don't. I would agree they're not just going to be sightseeing trips and something substantive will be done. I was supposed to talk about Southeast Asia and bring some stability to the fringes of China and of course in the Soviet Union we have the matter of reduced tension in Europe and the present policies of the Soviet Union bringing about a reduction in troop levels. There are many things to talk about. I don't the Pacific I have no idea what it will talk. Do you feel that nuclear intimidation by the superpower is still a factor. Could could we be intimidated by nuclear weapons from you know our policy. Well we can sit where perhaps until everybody is to some extent at least to the extent that we are willing to consider other such courses of action. Given the trouble arising I think as long as the bombs are on everybody more or less could The Mouse That Roared concept exist in a smaller country who is this is the bomb have
an intimidation factor. Well I don't I don't think so I don't know. Just pretty thorough. General how would you feel that the money that has been spent in Vietnam once Vietnam becomes a war should be spent should be spent at home should be. You know spent elsewhere. I give first priority to reorder the priorities of who we really do need a national health care program. This is very critical even of the point going into in great detail here. We have serious focus on fire we're not dealing with yet. We have educational problems in my opinion we have housing problems. I would put first priority on the domestic conditions. The move of the Soviets toward more consumer goods does that indicate that they are less likely and less interested in the confrontation with us. No I don't think that those two are related I think to move toward consumer goods stems from a growing awareness caused in part by the Polish upset of last year that the people need more consumer goods at a variance in discussion with us over the long Bruce one
of the songs over here next year because over us I brought my daughter Sara he said although I can't do that i wouldn't happen to go over and see all of you have you would understand that because we don't have those things. They got to do more for the people. General in light of the selling of the Pentagon on CBS Colonel Herbert. The Army has found itself in disrepute generally among the average citizen. What could the military do to redeem itself create itself better images. Well let's not use wars in which they see their better army or not. And perhaps we could make it a better I mean I think there's no one more committed to making a better always and people in charge of the Army and the Pentagon have been deceived in as recently as two weeks ago to talk about the problem. The army is the mirror of our people talking that mirrors our society. And this shows a pause that we have a society I don't think I was any better only worse in our society itself. Thank you General Gavin for taking time out following address book with this time to what
you have been listening to Lieutenant General James M. Gavin the former ambassador to France speaking on the Atlantic community and relations with the Soviet Union on our next program the Hopkins symposium will present a debate on disarmament pace and extent. W BJC FNB in operation with Johns Hopkins University and the Maryland Center for Public Broadcasting as presented the 1971 Milton S. Eisenhower symposium Soviet American relations the dilemmas of power. The executive producer and editor is Thomas original theme music by Donald Schwartz for a printed copy of this program send $1 to dilemma's of our transcript. Number seven Maryland Center for Public Broadcasting. Owings Mills Maryland 2
- Dilemmas of power
- Episode Number
- Lt. Gen. James M. Gavin
- Producing Organization
- Johns Hopkins University
- WBJC (Radio station : Baltimore, Md.)
- Contributing Organization
- University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
- AAPB ID
- Other Description
- This series presents a variety of lectures on Soviet-American relations. The lectures are followed by informal question and answer sessions.
- Politics and Government
- Media type
Composer: Schwartz, Donald
Producing Organization: Johns Hopkins University
Producing Organization: WBJC (Radio station : Baltimore, Md.)
- AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 5491 (University of Maryland)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
If you have a copy of this asset and would like us to add it to our catalog, please contact us.
- Chicago: “Dilemmas of power; 7; Lt. Gen. James M. Gavin,” University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed May 18, 2022, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-v698bm3g.
- MLA: “Dilemmas of power; 7; Lt. Gen. James M. Gavin.” 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-v698bm3g>.
- APA: Dilemmas of power; 7; Lt. Gen. James M. Gavin. 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-v698bm3g