Averell Harriman

Wednesday, September 29, 1965

This episode is from the WNYC archives. It may contain language which is no longer politically or socially appropriate.

From card catalog: W. Averill Harriman [sic] talks about what he saw and heard in Moscow, concerning their views on Soviet- US relations, Sino-Soviet relations, disarmament, Vietnam and other world problems. He also tries to prove that Vietnam is a case of North Vietnamese agression [sic] and not civil war. Questions and answers.

Harriman talks about his conversations with Chairman Alexei Kosygin. He told Kosygin the US would not allow North Vietnam to take over South Vietnam by force. Kosygin told him the Soviet Union continues to support North Vietnam and sees the US as an aggressor. The Kremlin's desire that the US and the Soviet Union control nuclear weapons. Brief reference to Cuban Missile Crisis (as a result, the Soviet Union no longer uses the threat of nuclear war as a weapon in the Cold War). Soviet Union sees the status quo as a world in Revolution. Kosygin is a true believer in the philosophy of Communism: it is the way of the future. Anyone who tries to stop that trend, the liberation movements, are trying to stop the inevitable trend of history. Moscow's interest in China. Compares a new article by Marshall Lin Biao (?) to "Mein Kampf" because it reaffirms the believe it is their responsibility to force a people's war. Convinced their methods are invincible. Violent words towards American "imperialism." A conversation with Josip Broz Tito, who believes "Red" China is dangerous, vicious racism. Working to reduce Chinese influence in Africa. Developing a freer open system, not capitalist, he wants to work with the West and Moscow. No agreement can be made with the Soviets as long as the Vietnamese situation is progress. Talked to Khrushchev about peaceful coexistence. Soviet Union support of Latin American Liberation movements, guerrilla warfare. Full support to freedom fighters in Cuba. Bolsheviks. Allure of Communism to underdeveloped countries. Stamp out subversion when it starts. Situation in Africa. Vietnam is the only Asian country under strong Communist attack. A victory in Vietnam will convince the communists it's possible elsewhere. Threat is not indigenous. We have to convince North Vietnam that they cannot succeed.

Questions: Vietnam, upcoming elections, chain of command of Soviet government, China and Soviet Union are both threats

Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection

WNYC archives id: 70936
Municipal archives id: T669


W. Averell Harriman


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About Overseas Press Club

Comprised of both speeches and question-answer sessions, this news program brings together foreign correspondents and public figures from culture and politics.

The Overseas Press Club (1940-1967) contains voices from the past that help us understand their time and place in history. What sets these talks apart from others like them is the presence of a live audience of foreign correspondents — reporters with international perspectives and questions. The resulting sessions have a distinctly different dynamic than would those with an audience of American journalists of the period.

Speakers include the German writer Günter Grass talking about his fascination with American prize fighters; a fiery young LeRoi Jones (later known as Amiri Baraka) telling his audience "where it’s at with Mr. Charlie"; James Farmer on the civil rights movement and where it should be going; David Halberstam on the trials of covering the war in Vietnam; Josephine Baker on the focus of her later years, her adopted children; and Herman Kahn on being pushed to the nuclear edge.  Other notable speakers include the actor Alec Guinness, Richard Nixon, and a gaggle of early female pilots competing in the air race known as the Angel Derby. 

With presentations ranging from rambunctious and spirited to contentious and political, this collection provides invaluable access to the language and nomenclature of America's burgeoning global culture.


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