This episode is from the WNYC archives. It may contain language which is no longer politically or socially appropriate.
Finletter, co-Chairman of New York State "Stevenson for President" Committee, answers question.
Marvin Sleeper moderates.
Panelists: Paulette Singer, Bob Holman, Ken Simmoninger, and Bill Beecher
Every effort should be made to avoid war in the near east. This doesn't mean that we don't have any responsibilities there. The trend at the moment is unfavorable. We need stronger steps: we have a fire to put out. There's a basic wrong approach in near eastern policy, founded on the Baghdad Pact. Germans jumped over the pact. Saudis, Egyptians, and Syrians got jealous of the Western support of Iraq and accepted a Russian offer to exchange cotton for arms, particularly aircraft. We don't know how many have been delivered. Grave imbalance of power, which is going to give the Egyptians the power to destroy Israel overnight. Should make sure Israelis have appropriate weapons for defense. This doesn't solve the totality of the problem but puts out the immediate fire and the immediate danger.
While we must maintain the 1915 declaration, we should put it under the general jurisdiction of the United Nations and strengthen it to get at the real problems of the Near East - to develop economics of the area. Bi-lateral, open-ended pact between the US and Israel that would be open to other countries, including India, for the purpose of preserving peace among the people of the Near East and would be the basis for the economic betterment of the area.
This would not necessarily be Stevenson's policy if elected.
We made a mistake in overemphasizing military pacts in foreign policy in NATO areas. Russia is a huge air atomic power, and we have to have greater air atomic power to deter them from attacking us. Outside of the NATO area, military power is not the primary answer to the containment of communism. The administration has been insisting on the preeminence of military power. This sounds to them like colonialism.
When the Russians made a deal with Afghanistan recently, they did not attach any strings aside from being paid back; no military pact. The Russians think it's better to base these things on banking transactions, not to try to get political power over them. Attaching strings does more damage than good.
Aswan Dam: The best way to handle economic aid is to not say we won't deal with countries working against us, but to raise the standards of living of the people they are dealing with.
The price of advertising has elevated the importance of financing in the modern campaign. Something must be done in terms of legislation. Pending legislation for tax deductions for small contributions. Television is an enormously effective medium, but personal touch is the dominant force in politics.
Stevenson is running far ahead of the other democratic candidates. This election year, he's going to get above 51% of the votes.
It's natural that Eisenhower's approval rate is high now, but they haven't had any conversations about the campaign yet.
The President's heart attack.
Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection
WNYC archives id: 72281
Municipal archives id: LT7069
This is a machine-generated transcript. Text is unformatted and may contain errors.
The Republicans have adopted the peace and prosperity slogan. Are the Republicans injuring our military power and seeking a balanced budget what men are being considered as running mates for Mr Stevenson if you receive the Democratic presidential nomination do you expect the tense Middle East situation to explode into war for the answers to these and other questions listen now to the campus press conference in which college editors interviewed prominent personalities and news here now by transcription to introduce the members of the panel and their guest and your moderator modern sleeker award winning reporter for The New Yorker an all-American Here now is Mr sleeper Good evening and welcome to another edition of campus press conference I guess the saving of Mr Thomas K. Fing letter Mr fell out of has served in top positions positions in both the Roosevelt and Truman administrations from one nine hundred forty one to one nine hundred forty four he was special assistant to the secretary of state in forty seven forty eight he was chairman of the president's Air Policy Committee Mr Philip authored the famous fin letter report which is still considered a prime reference work on air power policy he has also served as minister in charge of the Marshall Plan mission to England and in one thousand nine hundred five he was in charge of United States delegation to the United Nations his last position was secretary of the Air Force under President Truman right now as Prime Minister just as politics is cochairman of the New York State Stevenson performed President Committee from the teaser question just as you can tell he's here to answer Corey's on presidential politics and here to ask those questions our campus press conference report is polite singer of New York University Square General Bob Holden of the Ford a man Ken SYMOND anger and Bill Beecher of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and how about the first question from you Bill Mr Fenn later do you think we should use United States foot soldiers in Israel in the event of war. Bill I think that every effort should be made to avoid war in the Near East and that at all costs we must preserve We must save our country from becoming involved in it but this doesn't mean that we have not got enormous responsibilities and then they are raised and I have some ideas about their Eastern policy on the way they want to carry this conversation on any further but I have some idea as well you think we're moving toward war away from war literally I'm afraid at the moment the tender is on favor of the trend is on unfavorable I think we need some much stronger steps than are being taken. Well for instance what steps would you well the first thing is I think we've got a fire to put out Mr Slater. As I understand it I think there's a basic fallacy basic wrong approach in on air Eastern policy it has been founded on the so-called Baghdad pact as you know the Baghdad pact or as it's sometimes called the northern tier pact is a treaty which the treaty arrangement of which the members are Turkey Pakistan Iraq Iran and the United Kingdom but with the United States although not a member vigorously supporting the pack now that this is this is I think part of the mistake in U.S. foreign policy of thinking we can defend ourselves against communism by a series of American military pacts and this particular bill that they're effective because it's an awful lot of trouble because the thing that we had to do and then there East was not at all to stop the advance of the Russian Red AMI but the seat that was a peace was preserved among the peoples of and their east the Arabs the present and the Israeli now instead of preserving peace is doing just the opposite because the Russians jumped right over the Pak seeing that the difficulties were more than the jealousies that arose because of the fact the jealousies were very briefly these. Are the the Saudi Arabians and the Egyptians and the Syrians got mad at this western support especially of Iraq and that created the jealousy there and the result was that the Saudi Arabians age and the Egyptians especially got angry and they accepted a Russian offer to exchange cotton Egyptian cotton for arms to Egypt and these arms are the significant things which are disturbing the peace of the world in the Near East and threatening the very life of the small state of Israel the arms as you all know are to compose be composed of Timex submarines but above all some very fine jet airplanes that the Russians are delivering make fifteen's which as you know is that wonderful fighter that they had in Korea which they gave to the Chinese and also ways to perve twin. Then jet bomber called the I L twenty eight now we don't know how many of these these planes have been delivered although there is a news dispatch I saw the other day saying that nine of them had been delivered well nine of them is not going to disturb the balance of power by the several times nine is going to start the balance of power and is going to give the Egypt the power to destroy the state of Israel overnight unless something is done well now excuse me for interrupting but do you think then that. The United States should contribute to the arms when they do I think that we have we have here a grave a disturbance of the balance of power in this area which as I say stated in very simple terms is going to give the Egyptians the power to destroy the state of Israel overnight with these new modern aircraft against which the Israeli have no defense I think we ought to. Ought to see to it that the Israelis are equipped with the proper defensive planes which in this case would be F. eighty six as of ours the so-called saber jets which are defensive planes and we ought to get them over to the Israeli as an emergency matter now I know the the the obvious objection to what I'm saying is that it doesn't solve the whole totality of the problem and I agree and I'm not suggesting that this or this is a tilt ality of the problem I'm saying only as this puts out the immediate fire and the immediate danger from then on we have to go and do some other things. So longer term longer term things so it has been said that the western Big Three are ready to intervene militarily in the Middle East in the event of war but it wasn't the three obviously I mean United States Britain France do you think this intervention if it if it comes to pass should be under the United Nations or separate from well now Bill what you're talking about is the I take it isn't is it not the Tripartite Declaration of May twenty five nineteen fifty whereby the United States Britain and France agreed or announce that they would not stand for any violation of the borders boundaries and then they're raised in either direction and the question is what they should do about that and also that in the conference with the Congress with anything it is said that they have agreed further in that regard that's right Bill what they did in the end they lead and as you say they even Eisenhower communique did announce that the U.S. stood by that that one thousand nine hundred eighty declaration and they said they were going to implement it and they remember the way they were going implemented was to insist on having some conversations immediately with the French when I got a criticism of that because I think it's terribly ill right to come along implementing it now better late than never I quite agree but this is not enough I want to just throw out this suggestion to you I want to suggest that while we must maintain the one hundred fifty declaration that we must see to it that it isn't forced I would like to follow your suggestion that we put it under the general jurisdiction of the United Nations but I would like to suggest also that we strengthen it and we strengthen it by a kind of a subsidiary pact which will get at the real problem that we have in the Near East the real problem and then they are raised to see to it that we preserve the peace within their east and that we develop the economics of the area very specifically I proposed this pact I proposed this this this nine hundred fifty declaration and I was not a treaty it has been ratified by our Senate I was and that's a weakness in it by the way I would like to propose a bilateral pact. But an open then pact between the United States and the state of Israel along the lines of the various pacts that we have all over the Pacific of this God but open ended by which I mean this that it would be open to membership by any state of the Near East and of course by Britain and France who are members of the one hundred fifty declaration and further that there would be an effort made to bring India into it because I think the model for us and the would be very important and I think in the should take its part in the parade and that of the burden of preserving peace in the area and this pact would be for the purpose of preserving peace it wouldn't be aimed at the fence the way the Baghdad pact is it would be aimed at preserving peace among the peoples of the Near East and also would be the basis for the economic development and betterment of the area now let's if Mr Stevenson is nominated and if elected would this be his policy why haven't the slightest idea Emmett's is that I can't speak for anybody but myself on this but if the idea has merit it will certainly be put forward to Governor Stevens and Mr Flynn a lot or according to your proposed project I think you also say that the United States should inform all matter Middle Eastern nations that it will deal with them on the basis of equal partnership freely given when you explain what you mean freely given Yes I did and then restrict that just to the Near Eastern countries can. I say I was criticizing in the you're quoting from a speech I made in Rochester I think and what I had in mind was this and I think that we have made a mistake in overemphasising militarism and military pacts in our whole and our whole foreign policy outside the NATO area now in the NATO area where you know what I mean the European states plus the Atlantic that it Garia the members of the NATO pack in that in that part of the world we are facing Russia and Russia is a huge. Our atomic power and we have to have huge air atomic power greater air atomic power than Russia in order that Russia will be deterred from attacking us but when you get outside of the NATO area that is to say in the Near East and South Asia and Southeast Asia and all and then in the Far East generally there I don't think that military power the is the primary answer to to to the containment of communism and I think the administration has been insisting on this preeminence of military power and the result has only been damaging because the countries of of all these areas believe that this is the old Western colonialism at work that we are trying to enforce our will on them through the force of arms and we are saying in other words to countries of Southeast Asia and to India look here you've got to be either on our side side you've got to either be with us or you've got to be against us and if we give you any economic aid you've got to sign a military pact with us and you have got to line up and fight against the communist Now this sounds to them like I can only allies and I think that we should better take a leaf out of the Russians book on this when the Russians go into some place say like Afghanistan or in that when the hard to do Burma they say look we don't want you people to sign up on a military pact that's all we want two people to be is to be independent and neutral we don't want you to line up against us but we're not asking that you sign a military PAC We are treating it was full partners we are not treating you as military satellites and that's what that phrase in my speech meant sir recently Mr Sack stache and said that he believes that military aid should be given to countries with strings attached now as from what you said I guess you think this is wrong give any comment on this yes yes I have I have strings attached businesses as is I think not a good principle now for instance let's look at the way our enemies act for a minute and the reason it's good to look at the way our enemies act is because they are. They are making hay and they Near East and Southeast Asia now for instance when the when the Russians made a deal with Afghanistan recently they did not attach any strings what they did was this they agreed to loan a hundred million dollars to Afghanistan and they for a line of credit which was to be repaid in various ways by buy goods to be delivered by Afghanistan and the only string that they attached to it was that they wanted the money to repay but they did not say we're going to send a lot of people to supervise the way you conduct your internal economy in Afghanistan they didn't say we insist on a military pact out of you now that's what strings attached means now the Russians for a lot of sweat seem to think that it's a great deal better that put these things on the basis of banking or commercial transactions and not to try to use political power over people not try to get both get political power over people by reason by by the money deliveries that we make to them I think there's a great question as to whether this business of attaching strings doesn't cause more trouble than it does good sir can I bring this then the particulars and ask you whether you think being honest they should finance the injection ass one higher than well as I understand it the the as one high damage is already receiving money early Duran's but are underway to receive it from the International Bank now you've raised the difficult question there again I don't think we want to get into a situation where as soon as the country starts to play with the communists always say well now we're going to give you a lot of money. I just don't think that's the best way to conduct yourself I think it's the best way to do that to handle this economic aid business is this a well we're not going to deal with countries that are working against us we are not going to maybe just because you fellows are playing along with the common as maybe we're not going to give you economic aid but if we are going to give you economic aid it is not going to be as I say was strings attached and the general purpose is to raise the standard of people's. The world why because it is good business for the United States it is not only humane but it is also in our self-interest that the peoples of all the world have a higher standard of living and they have now especially in some of the underdeveloped areas certain term in particular is I have a question about the breath of the open ended near East pact that you proposed how much money would you expect the United States or other Western sponsors to put into this pact Well I would