Galbraith, JK.



Nitze, Paul H

Tucker, R.


Interview With Clarck Clifford


Q: I'd like now to move into some very - almost too big questions to ask really. Was the Cold War necessary?

A: Unquestionably.


- The Cold War, which was the name given to foreign policies, started in 1946, at the conclusion of the Second World War. Very quickly it became apparent that Stalin intended a worldwide Communist plan of aggression. He took control of all of the states on Russia's borders. He set up a - what became known as the Comintern, which was a Communist cell in each important country in the world. And this was to be his plan, and it had to be combated. And it was combated. The United States offered a three pronged plan. First was the Truman Doctrine, which saved Greece and Turkey and gave hope to the world. The world and freedom might be saved. The second was the Marshall Plan, and we spent any number of billions of dollars in building back the economies of the European nations, and they came back wonderfully with that help. Then came the third leg on the stool and was - that was the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. It, in very simple language, said to the Soviets if you attack any one of our allies you're attacking the United States, and it means war. Just that simple. It was Stalin's decision to make. And when that threat was made it had a particular emphasis in it, because at that time we had the bomb and they didn't. But even after they got the bomb, the idea of attacking one of the NATO members, there were 14, and starting a war with the United State, was very unappealing to the Soviets. They'd cto have an enormous respect for America during the Second World War as a production of our economy, the way the rose to that occasion. So I would say to you, and I would say to the public that the five years following the Second World War, 1946-1950, was one of the proudest periods in the history of our country. Because in my opinion the United States under Truman's leadership saved the free world.

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

A: It would take more thought than I can give to it now. I can - I know that the President was deeply disturbed at the Berlin blockade. That was a tough moment and it was a tough decision to make. Right at the very beginning he began to be tormented by actions of the Soviets. They agreed in one of the postwar treaties that Azerbaijan would become an independent nation and had the possibility of developing into a prosperous and productive country. He began to put the pressure on Azerbaijan in such a way that it appeared it was inevitable that the Soviets were going to go in and take Azerbaijan. The United States and the British and the French got together, they sent notes that were really stiff, and Stalin decided it was not in his best interest to go ahead with that plan, so he let it go. He had much bigger plans later down the road. The most significant reaction I would have to the Cold War is it started as a concept of containment. We wanted to contain the Soviet Union so it wouldn't begin to spread out and occupy Europe. From containment came other valuable results. The organisation of cooperation between the European countries and the United States. And Stalin's plan of world domination was stopped. He was confronted with too many problems at each turn of the road, and the plan - I give President Truman so much credit for it - the plan that President Truman put into operation in 1946 and what caused what became known as the Cold War, it existed until 1990, when the Russian system began to collapse. And that's what President Truman had hoped for all the time. And during all this 50 year period, 1946 to about 1996, the plan that he laid down basically was followed by every other American President and it kept peace in the world.


Q: One final question. What was the effect of the Cold War?

A: Effect in different ways. The economic effect of the Cold War was damaging to the United States, because as the leader of the free allies we spent a fortune on military strength and both army and navy. Billions and tens of billions of dollars, which did not go unnoticed by Stalin. Diplomatically it probably helped cement the free nations of the world, because maybe for the first time in history so many nations were working together against a common threat. From the standpoint of what shape the world was in when the Cold War started and what shape it's in after the Cold War ended - I think that probably the greatest result from the standpoint of the American people is a basic sense of pride about the leadership that America gave to the world. They came to recognise the leadership as presented by the Truman Doctrine, the Marshall Plan, NATO, and interestingly enough, 'cos of some domestic problems, when President Truman left office, end of 1952, his rating with the American people was quite low. But each passing year his reputation has risen in the United States, and in a poll taken some time ago he is included now in the three greatest Presidents the United States ever had.

(End of interview)