Thomas E. Finletter

Sunday, March 11, 1956

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


Bill Beecher, Thomas K. Finletter, Ben Holman, Bob Holman, Ken Simmoninger, Paulette Singer and Marvin Sleeper


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About Campus Press Conference

This is not your run-of-the-mill 'student conference.'

"For the answers to these and other questions..." Each Campus Press Conference (1951-1962) begins with a slew of questions from the student editors of New York City college newspapers, delivered with the controlled seriousness of a teenager on the radio for the first time. Despite their endearing greenness, the student editors pose sharp inquiries to guests from the fields of science, finance, culture, and politics. 

With the country on the cusp of radical cultural and political change, these recordings offer insight to student empowerment movements, flower power, and hippie culture – a time when the youth of America began to realize their tremendous impact and ability to shape their futures. The passion and curiosity of young people is heard through interviews with elected and appointed officials and experts.

Notable guests include Jackie Robinson, Joseph Papp, Averill Harriman, and Senator Jacob Javits.


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