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