INT: How popular was the war at the very beginning? I know you were to leave the States.
INT: You left the States soon after the start of the war but.
INT: But thinking of those first few days, few weeks, was there any sense amongst ordinary Americans that now here was at last an opportunity to get back at the Reds?
NB: I don't I don't think so. I think there was, great interest in the fact that there was an invasion of this magnitude taking place. Most people didn't even know where Korea was so they didn't relate to it really and, some people who knew something about it thought that the defence against the invasion, was a very good step. Others thought it was utter folly. So, compared to the Vietnam War, the repercussions of the Korean War were minuscule.
INT: There was we were talking about the time of the Alger Hiss trial. McCarthy was in the very first stages of
NB: (overlap) Yeah, well I don't think that there was any connection at all between the attitude of the American public on the Korean War and their attitude toward the McCarthy hearings and the Hiss trial and so forth. The McCarthy hearings and the Hiss trial had to do with finding traitor Americans inside the government structure and that was not an issue at all in Korea, so I don't think anybody ever made the connection.
INT: Right, I'd like to move on now through the first stages of the war. You're in Tokyo, very much
INT: Part of the well, very involved in the progress of the war. What can you tell us about the view and the debate about crossing the 38th parallel in the advance north in October 1950?
NB: Well, that, when I arrived in, I arrived in K in Tokyo, in I would say early September probably of '45 and at that stage, the North Koreans had the Korean War practically won. They had taken over the whole of South Korea except for the Pusan perimeter which was a hundred mile line protecting that little piece and spirits were very low in in Tokyo among the military and civilians both and so at that time, there was no talk about going north of the 38th parallel. They didn't think they were ever gonna get back to the 38th parallel. And then came the Inchon landings in September and there the re-capture of Seoul and the cutting-off of hundreds of thousands of North Korean troops who were in the South and it turned the war around. Then they started talking about and I think probably the prevailing view among the public was that they should go ahead and chase the North Koreans as far as they could chase them, but it was very different from the attitude later about the Yalu. That was a different question.
INT: I was going to go on to that, in fact. What was the view amongst the military men who you mixed with about the march on the Yalu, getting to the Yalu, crossing the Yalu?
NB: Well, the ones, friends of mine in the military, the ones I saw fairly regularly, were very worried about it. MacArthur had been had been assured by his G2, his intelligence commander, his intelligence officer, that the, Chinese would not come into the war, and on that basis, MacArthur approved it and it turned into a great, fiasco of course. But none of my friends in the military were in favour of crossing the Yalu. They they weren't against going to the Yalu but they weren't in favour of crossing it or attacking across it because China was not in the in the war, officially.
INT: Can I go on to talk for a bit about General Douglas MacArthur himself. What was your view at the time particularly post-Inchon of his strengths and weaknesses as a commander and his suitability to be running the Korean campaign?
NB: Well, the view I held of General MacArthur, from my first contact with him -- and this was a view that was confirmed after I became his deputy political adviser and so on -- was that, at the time he was appointed to be the commander or the Supreme Commander Allied Powers after the Japanese defeat, he was the best possible choice for that job. For one thing, I don't think there was any other American general who had the overbearing self-esteem of MacArthur which enabled him to think of himself not as the equal of the Emperor, but as better than the Emperor, and this was you know, this is a very hard thing for Americans to do. But that's the way he felt. At the same time, he continued to show considerable respect for the institution of the throne of Japan and for that reason, he became a national hero. The Japanese, instead of being offended by the way he would make the Emperor come to him, they admired it, and then, as long as he was respectful of the institution of the Empire, the Emperor. So all through the occupation, the Japanese would gather outside MacArthur's office at 5 o'clock -- which was when he left the office -- and they'd be out there and they would cheer, clap for him and cheer and they just wanted to see him so that and when he left finally in, April of '52, on his way home, in shame as it were, he made a triumphal procession out of it. You know, the road to the airport was lined with Japanese including hundreds of Japanese schoolchildren waving little American flags and it was a triumphant moment for him.
INT: I'll come back to that in just a second, Mr Bond. You actually said April 1952. And it was
NB: April, no.
INT: .April 1951.
NB: '51. yes.
INT: It was '51 that he was.
NB: Yes, that's right
INT: So '51. I'll come back to that at the moment but just sort of sticking with the chronology of events, I mean, you said that he was absolutely the right commander for the occupation of Japan.
INT: And he by brilliant strategy he turned round the Korean War.
INT: Almost overnight.
INT: So were you therefore a supporter of him, in favour of his command of the of the UN forces in Korea?
NB: No, I never was, I didn't think that he should go from the Supreme Commander's job to being a UN commander. I thought that it should have been somebody new and then I was also troubled by, MacArthur's weakness in the choice of his associates. He tended to surround himself with people who left much to be desired in the way of ability and, experience and he suffered from that, I was a afraid of that and I didn't have any doubts about his ability to do it because he was a brilliant military strategist except that one of the people around him that, I would put in that category were his G2 who advised him that the Chinese would not come in.
INT: And what was his attitude to you and your colleagues as political advisers?
NB: Oh, he never called us political advisers. He never used the term. The Office of the Political Adviser was a term used by the State Department but never by MacArthur or by the military. We were part of his headquarters and subject to all of his slightest whims and instead of being called the Office of the Political Adviser, we were called the Diplomatic Section and from his point of view, our main function was to act as a buffer between himself and the fairly large diplomatic corps that was accredited to him. he didn't want to bother with them. He didn't have anything to do with them and if anything came up, any problem, he would send it to us and we would have to have to handle it. He also did not believe that the State Department had any right to be doing anything in his occupation that this was a military operation and that the State Department had no acceptable responsibilities, acceptable from his point of view, no legitimate responsibilities or rights in doing anything. So we were prisoners of MacArthur. We couldn't communicate with the State Department through RO [?] and we didn't have codes, that were not read by the military.
INT: Let's cut there for a moment. Would you like another glass?
BREAK IN TAPE
INT: Did you think at the that the dismissal of General MacArthur was justified?
NB: Yes I did, absolutely. I thought it was long overdue, not only because of what finally, made it happen but for other reasons - that he had outlived his usefulness and it was time for him to go.
INT: How did that come about? I mean, did in your view, did MacArthur regard himself as a subordinate to the President, his Commander-in-Chief?
NB: I think he regarded himself maybe as subordinate to the President as he did to the Emperor of Japan which meant that he felt he was better than both of them, bigger than both of them.
INT: Sorry, I'll just stop you there for a moment. Can you just move your hands down, I'm sorry about that, it's just obscuring your mouth. Just I'm looking at the screen down here.
INT: So did MacArthur regard himself as a subordinate to his Commander-in-Chief, the President?
NB: I'm sure that MacArthur would've admitted that under the Constitution, he was subordinate to his Commander-in-Chief but he didn't act that way. He, felt that the Commander-in-Chief, particularly President Truman whom he did not like very much, didn't understand the problems, the military problems, and therefore that his point of view could be disregarded. I don't think he was trying to be disrespectful to the President but it was.
INT: And again, could I just ask you to describe for us, in April 1951