INTERVIEWER: But I mean it appears wasn't there policy differences between the State department and the Pentagon about how to proceed, because you know there is obviously I mean there is an incident with Michael Pillsbury being furious about John Whiteheads forthcoming speech which actually gave US agreement to guarantee the Geneva accords. Whitehead is quoted as saying that he had to make 95% of the speech anti-Soviet to please who he called the evil empire people or hard liners. I mean there was obviously a division there. There were tremendous divisions in the town, what this masks is that there was a small group of people inside the department of state managing the diplomacy and the negotiations. There was a small group inside the agency who were managing support to the war. This furious debate that was going on around us in the town was sometimes a complication but frankly Michael Pillsbury and the speech that John Whitehead might make, never would have stopped Michael Armacost from directing the negotiators from dealing with the Soviets. On the other hand, I can only recall one incident in the entire time, I won't go into the details, I ran a program for a couple of years, and once was I ever asked to slow down or somehow affect the process of the war to support a negotiation process. And I certainly never, no I can say this with absolute confidence, there was never a request from that side of the government that was managing support for the war, to that side of the government that was managing negotiations of peace abandon, slow down or modify the search for a peace agreement. It was, well one of the things that you were finding in your interviews, is the experience of people who were on the periphery. In Afghanistan and in Pakistan people who were on the periphery who had no idea and no way to know how much stuff was going in and who was getting it, nevertheless have profoundlyheld and enthusiastically and emotionally expressed opinions about the distribution. And they have in the United States people who were engaged in a political argument on the edges of it, who had no access to information about how the management of the war, or the management of the peace process was being conducted, have despite their lack of information, deeply held and emotionally expressed views on the subject. In across the board, these attitudes from people who don't have information are in elastic information once they get it, but in fact they are pretty much irrelevant. They were then.
INTERVIEWER: What did you feel about Gorbachev, the arrival of Gorbachev in 85, he made pretty strong hints that he was willing to withdraw. Why wasn't his offer really taken up? I mean you've spoken
FRANK ANDERSON: There are two aspects of your question. Did the United States or for that matter the world believe Gorbachev and believe his strong hints. 2. and how did they behave. There was a great division inside the analytical community and this was just not the agency analytical community or the government analytical community and the academic community about what all this meant. I'll toss out an oversimplification that the people who were looking at this from the Afghan side, the analysts whose expertise was on the middle east and the analysts whose expertise looked at it from the Soviet Union side, while your on 1986 1987 began to diverge and the near east folk said the Soviets were losing this war and were gonna get out. That was a conclusion that was remarkably difficult for the Soviet based analytical and academic community to reach and to accept. It just didn't fit in the paradigm that had built up over the previous 50 years. So there was a difference. Still this issue of did if affect anything, it didn't. There was never a time, when anybody seriously, seriously said in terms of an instruction, there was a debate that goes on all the time. But there was never an instruction issue that said "slow down the war because we have an opportunity to pursue peace" , or an opposite instruction that said "Deny peace because we wanna seek victory in the war" . I to my memory I can't think of a single incident when any of the players who were actually involved, not those people who were outside, who were having debates in and outside of the press, or debates even in and outside of Congress by people who were not engaged in oversight of the program and therefore aware of it, were anybody who really believed that it was time to stop one side or the other. And in terms of Gorbachev's hints he had the first hint that he was really serious I think was February of 1988 when he said we're getting out, and it still took him more than a year to do so when he had always a very simple option. Instruct his forces to leave.
INTERVIEWER: But I mean we've heard from people that have validated the whole view that in 82 and 83 and when Andropov hinted about a withdrawal, the Pakistanis were keen and in fact the Americans had said it was Cogan who said really you know we tell the Pakistanis quite clearly that their interests, every body's interests are better suited by holding, keeping the Soviets in there. And you yourself have said that there was a change of policy, that this was a war that you could win. And then when the peace accords came to the point when they could be signed and aid could be cut off the Americans still wished to keep the options open of continuing to supply aid. You know it seemed like you know the Americans just did not want to be part of the true peace process with an end to conflict.
FRANK ANDERSON: I, I don't know what happened in 1982, 83, I was in Morocco, 87 to 89 what my, the totality of my experience was that there was a constant debate about whether or not we should actually cut off the supplies to the Mujaheddin. There was an ongoing effort to negotiate a peace agreement. I don't think that nevertheless when you actually sit back and look at the real behavior of both of the players. The Soviet decision to withdraw, was a decision to withdraw, the Mujaheddin didn't get in their way, we didn't get in their way, I don't recall ever having a discussion with the Pakistanis because there was never an issue at the time in which we had to tell them keep in this war. I personally was on the side that said, I don't think it's in our interests to let the Soviets get out of this with their army intact. Nor doing much in our interests to let the Soviets get out with their puppets armies intact in order to deny or delay a victory in the Mujaheddin, but that personal view aside, I don't think that anything we did, in anyway significantly affected, no even insignificantly affected the process of the negotiation of the Soviets' leaving because it the end they left on their time table for their peers, nobody negotiated the way that they got out, they just got out. war debt and no, I can say with absolute confidence, nobody ever issued an instruction to an official of the United States government that said don't negotiate.
INTERVIEWER: There is some very well documented stuff with Schulz and Shevernadze
INTERVIEWER: Okay with the build up to the Geneva accords, I mean what was your priority with regard to US interests.
FRANK ANDERSON: you have to understand that my priority and I was, I didn't play that big a role in this in a global context. I was in effect a supply sergeant. Our role was to obtain the means to wage war and then get them into the hands of people who were inclined to do so for this purpose with which we so much agreed. And the truth of the matter is that throughout this period we received the necessary funds to get a certain amount and we spent those funds obtaining, arms ammunition, food, boots, trucks horses mules and we went about getting them there. As a practical matter while the negotiations were going on, while the policy deliberations were going on that ran up to the Geneva Accords, nothing impacted on the rate at which we worked, significantly. We were not in a position to turn that tap open or close it, at one week to the next in order to support the policy side. It may or may not have been a nice thing to be able to do, but we didn't have that. Sometimes I'm certain that our, the diplomats would have liked us to deliver that capability to them but we didn't have it. Sometimes I'm certain in fact I know this to be the case, that the recipients of the Mujaheddin and the Pakistanis believed that we were doing that. If a number of tons went in one month and a lower number of tones of whatever commodity you wanna name in this went in the next month, they would inevitably decide that we had decided to cut them off, we were punishing in some way or we were abandoning them. When in fact what was happening, was simply the unevenness of logistics procurement system that said we were running around trying to buy this stuff and then gathering it together putting it on ships and getting it into Pakistan and then into Afghanistan and the that's never a straight line issue, one month they were gonna get a lot more than others. the effect of that was that our part of the war was really never seriously impacted by the process of diplomacy. We were certainly on the hot seat in the debate inside the United States government, because those people who were most reluctant to leave the Mujaheddin cut off in an agreement were I suppose understandably least willing to believe our estimates that Mujaheddin had all they needed to survive even if they were cut off. Have to argue that subsequent events, the fact that there is still an awful lot of violence a terrible amount of it that's gone on in the inter8 years has demonstrated that there was plenty of stuff in there. the practice of supporting that war as opposed to the politics of negotiating a settlement or the politics inside the United States of whether or not we wanted to move forward or go back or make a deal with the Soviet Union or just keep them out of there, or go for some version of unconditional surrender, in fact had very little impact on the day to day running of the program. Andthey couldn't. Moreover I would say that yeah with great confidence say that inside the United States government what was going on was far less turbulent than the debate outside. This was still a covert action. It was still the case that most of the people in the Congress didn't have all the information about it. There were established oversight committees in the Congress who had all the information, there inside the executive branch there was really a very relatively small circle of people who knew what was happening in the program. The interactions between the people who knew what was happening and the diplomats who in co-ordination with those people were negotiating and the Congress that was overseeing it, if you include that circle those people who were engaged and knew what was going on, was I think a remarkably smooth and co-operative arrangement. Now outside that was this vigorous almost violent debate that was being conducted by people who didn't know. And those people had huge fights about whether or not we were supplying more stuff to fundamentalists than to moder