Elsey, George

Kane, Jim


Lunghi, Hugh

Roberts, Frank



Q: It's difficult for us now looking back. What was the actual climate? How did it affect things? Can you give me any example?

A: It certainly had, the McCarthy charges on spying, espionage, disloyalty, certainly contributed to the problems of the Truman administration, and coupled with the general concern over the Korean War, the lack of our ability to bring that to a successful and early conclusion, all of this contributed to the plummeting of Truman's public opinion, in his public opinion polls where he was down in the twenty percents by the time he left office.

Q: It was a successful campaign.

A: It was a successful campaign.

Q: Was the Cold War necessary?

A: Was the Cold War necessary? Well first of all we have to define what the Cold War was. What is the Cold War? When did it start? You might say it started with Karl Marx, Das Kapital. We could, you could say it started at the end of World War One when the United States and other countries put troops into former Russia to suppress the Bolshevik revolution. When did the Cold War start? The Cold War's in the sense of some resistance to Russian or Soviet expansion and the carrying out of the Communist ideals has been underway for over a century. Now was it necessary? Yes. If by the Cold War we mean the events since World War Two, it was necessary, otherwise we definitely would have had Soviet continued expansion taking over most, if not all, of Western Europe; moving into the Middle East; causing problems not only with India but other countries in South East Asia; Africa is a basket case in itself in many ways, tragically, and there would have been fertile grounds for Communist subversion and take-over there. All of these things were prevented, sometimes prevented with great cost to blood and treasure, but nevertheless were prevented by the resistance of the United States and other Western countries to Soviet Communist expansionism.

Q: ...Was it really so that the United States was willing to go to an atomic war, bacteriological war, simply because of arguments with a Communist regime which was in the end nothing. How would you answer that question?

A: Well, that question assumes that the United States would have been ready to go to an atomic war. I don't accept that assumption. President Truman made it clear after the dropping of the two bombs that ended the Japanese war, after scientists world-wide became aware of the damage done by nuclear weaponry, he was determined never to use the bomb again. No other American President ever has seriously considered using the bomb. I don't - so I can't accept your premise that we were prepared to use bombs to stop Communism. We would use conventional weapons, yes; the bomb, no.

Q: But the whole of the American defence policy, millions of dollars, leading up to Star Wars, all predicated on perhaps the need sometime or other to press the button. No?

A: You have to be prepared to press the button if your opponent also has the same weapon.


Q: Wasn't the whole of America's defence policy ... on the basis that under circumstances, yes, the nuclear weapon would have to be used? Is this not so?

A: If your opponent has a weapon, you have to be prepared to counter with the same or a comparable or a stronger weapon. The Soviet Union had nuclear energy, had atomic weapons: we had to be prepared with nuclear weapons to ensure that nobody used them. Nuclear deterrence.

Q: What was the worst moment of the Cold War?

A: One of, certainly one of the most dangerous moments was faced by President Kennedy in the question of Cuba and the Soviets moving missiles into Cuba. That I suppose was as closer time as we ever came to a real - the threshold of a possible war with the Soviets.

Q: As a man who was quite close to things, certainly in the early years of the Cold War, did you ever have sleepless nights? Were you ever really worried about the situation?

A: No. No, how can you make anything of that unless I repeat your question.

A: I was never worried in the time that I worked with President Truman or in subsequent years that we were ever on the brink of a major catastrophe. Worried? Yes. Scared? No.

Q: What did the Cold War achieve?


A: The Cold War, if by that phrase we mean the resistance of the United States and its colleagues in the West against the Soviet Union, the Cold War achieved an uneasy balance for a half century with no major outbreak of wars - troubles here, there and elsewhere, but no major struggle comparable to Worlds War One or Two. And by the continued strength and the continued economic as well as military strength of the West forced the Soviets to realise the failure of their system, with the result that Communism and the Soviet system as we knew it collapsed and the former Soviet Union broke up. We don't yet know how that's going to work out. It'll take us another perhaps half century to see how that works, but at least we have a totally different world now than we had when the Soviet Union was throwing its weight around, flexing its muscles and thumbing its nose at the rest of us.(End)