E. Howard







INTERVIEWER: And I'll confirm that from the point of view of the Sandinista pilot we talked to in Chile and Darashenkov. But, when you think of in general terms of the cold war in Latin America, Dr Kissinger played quite a big part, both when he was working with President Nixon and I believe the commission that he chaired in the early days of the Reagan ... do you remember how his attitude and his mind and the way he viewed the situation in Latin America, affected people like yourselves and your colleagues, I mean some people revere him and others don't, but he was probably at the Apex of a lot of the American attitude towards the Cold War. Do you remember in when it, as I believe it was 82 that he, he toured and they wrote this report, can you talk to me about that?

JOHN NEGROPONTE: 82/83, well Dr Kissinger played an invaluable role and it goes back to the issue of building consensus. It was a bit late, but it was helpful nonetheless, because his commission was broadly representative, it had very prominent Americans from all walks of life, business, academia labor politicians and the consensus of that group, focused on the need to bolster the Central American economies, their educational system and so on and so forth. So he played an invaluable role in building a bit of consensus, or helping building some consensus around our policies, and in helping us get some resources. They actually called the legislation afterwards. The Kissinger, the Kissinger Bill or the Kissinger legislation, that got some more resources for our programs in Central America including a very useful scholarship program to bring Central a lot of Central American students up to the United States on exchange programs. So while I don't think Kissinger was central to the strategy his commission was extremely supportive.

INTERVIEWER: He, we he was interviewed for this series, and remarking when we asked him about Chile he thought he was quite critical of some of the agencies and the way that political parties had been funded there. Do you think that, that he'd learned a lot from the Chilean experience, the 70 - 73 period and that that had shaped him in the way he dealt with future problems in the area?

JOHN NEGROPONTE: I really don't know, I really don't know.

INTERVIEWER: there, there's something I want to ask you because we ask all our American government interviewees to try and do this for us, is could you tell me, what you how you perceive, What is the Monroe Doctrine, this is for an audience that doesn't know what it is. Or the majority of our audience, certainly the British audience we say, when we talk Monroe Doctrine we have to at some stage define it. How do you perceive that, what is the Monroe Doctrine to you?

JOHN NEGROPONTE: The Monroe Doctrine to me? It's a strain of thought in American Foreign Policy thinking which believes that foreign powers extraneous to the Western Hemisphere should not establish any kind of political or strategic foothold in the hemisphere. The Americas for the Americas.

INTERVIEWER: Very good. Now if I may say so, that is the shortest definition we have had so far. Very good. Now as the cold war is over

JOHN NEGROPONTE: And I believe it is a doctrine in part upon which our commitment to the inter-American system is based.

INTERVIEWER: The cold war is over, America has won, but the scars in some parts of Latin America are still being healed, it was quite a, fought at quite a cost both financially and in human victims, looking back over the scan of it, do you think that the danger is over, given that the Soviet Union has collapsed, could there be future communist insurgencies, or the threat of communist domination in that area?

JOHN NEGROPONTE: I think the conditions that permitted these insurgencies to arise, still exist. I think the poverty, the inequality, all that still needs a lot of work. I believe that what distinguishes the past from the present situation is that in the past they were exacerbated by this cold war conflict and the situations are difficult and complicated enough as they are without outside powers coming in and fuelling the conflict on either side, so that I think that under the present conditions of a more general peace and a less polarized world there is probably a better opportunity to address these problems, and they must still be addressed and that depends on the quality of the political leadership in these countries and a whole host of other factors. So it doesn't mean that just before the cold war is over, those conditions of poverty and inequality have been erased.

INTERVIEWER: And do you think there is anything negative in terms of, is there are results negatively for the United States, I'm thinking of increased migration, drug problems that may have been caused by the cold war in Latin America?

JOHN NEGROPONTE: I don't think that any of these conditions are worse as a result of the end of the cold war, I think that however these conflicts did create migrations and various other kinds of tensions in the hemisphere that caused people to want to come up here. But I do think that basically the fact that the cold war has ended improves the prospects for addressing the serious economic and social problems of the region.

INTERVIEWER: Thank you very much

JOHN NEGROPONTE: I hope there were a few nuggets in there.

20 seconds atmos


INTERVIEWER: Tape roll 10841 continuation of the interview with John Negroponte. The cost of the cold war in Latin America is quite enormous, both financially and in human terms, how do you react to the body count as it were looking back from both your period of office serving in the region and your general commitment to the service as it was, do you think it was justified?

JOHN NEGROPONTE: Well there was great suffering, perhaps if one could have foreseen what would have happened in the Soviet Union and in Eastern Europe in the late 1980s and the early 1990s, perhaps one could argue that some of this conflict may not have been necessary and that maybe these things would have turned out the same way without all this conflict. There certainly was a lot of deaths a lot of suffering a lot of refugees, a lot of population movements. On the other hand I think equally if not more compelling case can be made than had we not done something to stop communist regimes from being established in the other central American countries, other than Nicaragua say that they had been established in El Salvador and then in Guatemala and possibly even Honduras during the 1980s, if we hadn't taken the steps that we took I think the immediate suffering could have even been considerably greater, through population movement, the loss of human freedom the degradation of economic conditions it seems to be that when these communist regimes take over if you look at the example of Vietnam or of Cambodia or of Nicaragua, that even in conditions of peace they don't seem to be able to figure out how to support their people and the human suffering is enormous, but I think on balance if you look back at what we did, I think a goodcase can be made that there was actually less suffering in Central America as a result at least of what the United, the actions the UniteStates took than there would have been if we had just folded our arms and done nothing.

INTERVIEWER: Thank you very much.