Galbraith, JK.



Nitze, Paul H

Tucker, R.


Interview with


Q: Was the Cold War necessary?

A: I've often asked myself two questions: one, was the Cold War necessary, and were, was there any opportunity earlier than it transcribed (sic) to work out some kind of a understanding with the Russians which would have been easier for them and for us? And having thought carefully about those two questions I've come to the conclusion that the answer is no to both, or no to the second and, and yes to the first, it was necessary. I can't imagine any circumstances under which we could have gotten along with Uncle Joe Stalin. I can imagine no circumstances under which we could have worked out our problems with Russia earlier than we did, or in a different way. I've come to the conclusion we did it pretty goddam well.

Q: What was the worst moment in the long Cold War?

A: I thought the period at (coughs) - of the Berlin blockade and just prior to the Berlin blockade. (coughs) During those years the political situation was dangerous in Italy and in Germany and many of the other European countries and in France, and there was a real danger that the Communists would win through propaganda, through agitation, through their political - schemes, plus their continuing pressure through the threat of military action. - It began to clear up. In about '59 I felt better about it, and by - '61 at the time of the Cuban missile crisis I was wholly confident that we had, if anything, overestimated Russian capabilities, that they were not as strong as we thought they were economically, socially or even militarily, and that they couldn't succeed and we had in fact won.

Q: Do you think there ever really was a real danger of nuclear war? ... Could it have happened?

A: It could have happened but I don't think either side wanted it to happen. Really it's the last thing in the world that we wanted, and I also think it was not at any time to the interests of the Soviet Union to have it degenerate into a nuclear, into a nuclear exchange. What could they possibly gain from that? Nothing.

Q: Nobody can gain anything from it. How come it was so important to everybody?

A: It was under the shield of the overhanging threat of a nuclear war that all these other things took place. And they've rather got their importance, they were all overshadowed by this nuclear danger which was in everybody's mind.

Q: What did the Cold War achieve?

A: The Cold War achieved the eventual triumph of freedom over tyranny, and that was a very important triumph. Thank God for the Cold War, and thank God that it turned out the right way.

(interview ends)