Yuri Ivanovich







INT: Can I just stop you there - we've got the jet going overhead. If we can just pause for a couple of moments. Again, could I ask you to sort of phrase that in the sense of... I'll start again. Who do you think started the Cold War?

GM: People raise the question of who started the Cold War. Actually, the roots... of the Cold War were in the two wars of aggression that we fought with the Japanese and the Germans. There's no question that the estrangement between the two countries during the time we were allies was much greater than we... We didn't want to raise any serious issue until we had won those wars. But even before they were over, it became apparent that the Soviets were involved on a world conquest, not by military means necessarily, but by the expansion of the Communist socialistic system, and that this was so basic to their thinking that being an ally for us during the war was merely a minor detour to their world conquest in that way. ... Other people have analysed it in terms of their own inability to develop the economic base which other countries that they felt indeed that we were holding them back and that socialism was the wave of the future, and everything had to go... except its achievement. (Pause) [Lubrinin], in his book, points out that neither one of us ever really made any effort. I don't necessarily accept that view, because this is just the way he explains it, in terms of the... the actual position in the world, and the attitudes in government of the other, that... when both of us come in conflict with... say in a place like the Congo or a place like in the Belize, with Syria on their side, or in Afghanistan where we have... people in Pakistan helping the Afghan people, that we both thought we were doing the right thing from our viewpoint, and... created concentrations all around the world that urged the Cold War on, which could have been avoided. I myself don't think there was ... ever any chance of avoiding the Cold War, as long as Stalin and Khrushchev were there at least. Nixon made the most determined effort that any President made to try to understand and to try to have summit meetings which could push detente further and decelerate the Cold War. And why these efforts failed, and whose fault it was, looks differently to both sides. But I am convinced myself that, over a period of time, that the policies taken by our Government, no matter which political party, were very consistent in doing the best we could to avoid accelerating the Cold War to a shooting war, and that had we found receptivity in the Soviet Union without... (Hesitates) assuming... that... anything about the future of Communism, that it would never have been possible. I doubt very much whether... it could have been handled any other way. I think it had to run its course.

INT: What do you think was the most dangerous point in the Cold War?

GM: Well, I think it's generally thought to be that... that... I think people think the most dangerous point in the war might have been in the Middle East, when we intervened in the war, so that their stooge, Syria, could be saved. And... they threatened, in effect, that they would enter the war on the Syrian side, and we threatened that we might use the atomic bomb. I think this was probably the most critical area. Fortunately it was avoided. Of course, [Lubrinin] says that the Soviets never had any intention of fighting a war. And certainly we had no intention of starting the fighting of a war. And the fact is we didn't fight a war - excethat these two... wars by stooges,, Vietnam and Korea, cost us 100,000 men... 100,000 deaths, which is a costly thing. But had the Cold War itself become a shooting war, it would have been a great deal worse.

INT: Right, I'm going to cut there. Thank you, thank you for...


INT: ... right back to the beginning of the interview, and then I'd also like just to ask you once more about that weekend in February '47. Again, just that line you used when Isabel and I met you last time, about this was the weekend that started it , it was just a sort of lovely line to kick our programme off. So I'm just going to go back over those areas...

(B/g talk. Cut.)

INT: So could you just explain to me the sense of alarm, almost of panic, that was felt in Washington at the beginning of 1947 about the whole situation in Western Europe?

GM: Well, (Clears throat) here we had just fought and won a war, and suddenly we started discovering more and more that an ally of the war is now our enemy, and that they were pressing on all fronts. Soon after we kick the Germans out of Greece, they have Communist organisers in Greece; they have... votes in the millions of Communists... support by the millions of Communists in both France and Italy, and both of these countries came very dangerously near overthrow by legal means of the opposition governments. Had either of these countries gone Communist by vote, Europe would have been lost. These were very real dangers. The British thought that Turkey would... (Hesitates) and Greece would have been lost - Greece within two weeks. And the Americans... were slow perhaps in really understanding the threat of Communism. But when we did, we were really alarmed by it. And that's why the whole country, having disengaged from the war and wanting to go back to lead peaceful lives, were quite ready to start again. I'd just gotten out of the Navy, and... I'd been in the war for five years when, rather than returning to my business, I came back and... to get into Government to help out in the Cold War.

INT: And just looking then, finally...

(B/g talk. Then let plane go by. A bit of non-interview talk.)

INT: Just looking back again on those very dramatic events of that remarkable weekend at the end of February 1947, how important was that weekend in the long-term development of America's thinking, that led to the Truman Doctrine, the Marshall Plan and all the following?

GM: Well, we made decisions on that weekend which our nation had never made before, to give this sort of commitment to foreign people who were endangered. And I think you have to consider these two decisions the same, because the... Marshall Plan was a logical consequence of the Truman Doctrine, of which the Greek-Turkish aid was only the minor beginning. ... The subsequent creation of NATO was the third step that,... was taken as the increasing threat of Soviet expansion and domination became more apparent. I don't think we could have probably realised this much earlier, because we weren't used to having allies who turned out to be our enemies; but certainly, if we had not made these particular moves in time, the whole future of the Western world might have been entirely changed. Just like if... we hadn't saved... helped save England, which together meant that we were finally able to defeat Germany, might have resulted in a Western Europe dominated by Germany. These two things are very comparable. We don't see any impending forces that are capable of world domination today, and fortunately... I hope... and I don't think there's any possibility for this happening, because there's too much... spread of democracy throughout the world. The countries that used to start the big wars are all democracies now; they're all allies to our country.

INT: Right, I'll cut there. Thank you very much indeed.