INT: Did Eisenhower and in fact the entire administration particularly within the state department regard the communist world as a monolithic entity or did it perceive opportunities to perhaps exploit tensions between the Soviets and the Chinese for example.
BACKGROUND CHAT AND PAUSE ON TAPE
INT: I'll come back to that question, how monolithic did you and your colleagues in the state department and within the Eisenhower administration generally believe the communist world to be in 1953, was there a perception for example of, potential splits between the Soviets and Chinese.
RB: Well the first Eisenhower strategy paper which was it's called NSC162/2 was quite explicit on this. And the position was that as things stood, there was a close working relation between the Soviet Union and China partly based on common interests and partly based on ideology, but the proposition also was that, over a time there was going to be tension between the two because their interests were not parallel, because the Soviets tended to treat the Chinese as sort of smaller brothers and the Chinese were not likely to, like that and the assumption therefore was that some split ultimately would take place. The strategy was to force them together in the mean time, not to try to pull them apart, the belief was that, efforts to woo the Chinese would be futile and that they would simply pocket whatever you did and then go on as before. But that if you pushed them together, the Chinese would make more and more demands on the Soviets for help, which the Soviets would get more and more annoyed at and which they would not be able to meet. And this in fact I think took place, for example in connection with the Cromoy Matsu crisis, I think the Chinese feared the Americans, as they were kind of threatening, vaguely but threatening, to use atomic weapons, called on the soviets to say, well will you give us atomic weapons or support with atomic weapons, and I think in both 54 and 58 the Soviets said, well no we're all for you, we're with you, we're behind you but no, we're not going to provide, we don't want to get in to a war with the United States. And if we supply, nuclear weapons they can only come from us and that will get us right squarely in the middle. And I think the Chinese felt that they'd been betrayed, well this is was true also in the economic field the effort was to cut off imports by the Chinese of things that they needed, not because they wouldn't be able to get them because they would be able to get them through the Soviet Union, but again it made them dependant on them and resentful and also irritated the Soviets and, so the assumption was that if you kept pressure on to make the, make the Chinese feel more dependant and then not satisfied, that this would be the way by which the split would occur. I think again that's what happened, I think in 58 they were so mad at not having been fully supported, with respect to Cromoy Matsu, that that was the beginning, in my opinion of the split, which became, much, by 1960 the Soviets were withdrawing a great many of the people whom they had supplied for industrialisation and for other things because the split was beginning to be real.
INT: We've spoken about Eisenhower and we mentioned Dulles in passing, who in the Administration, Eisenhower or Dulles, was actually setting policy.
RB: Not the slightest doubt on that it was Eisenhower. Completely in charge. Dulles was a trusted advisor, he was frequently, he was always listened to, he was frequently agreed with, but Eisenhower made his own decisions without any question, everybody in administration knew this, Dulles made a point of the people understanding this, he would never take a decision, he would never make a major speech, without clearing with Ike, and Ike didn't just clear it by saying, whatever you say Foster, he would go over and he would write on the document, for example as far the text of the speech, he would write his comments and he'd say, I suggest that you would do this or you do that, in fact the famous speech the Eis... That Dulles, that Dulles made to the council of foreign relations, in, January of 1954, which caused such a confus... law, mount of agitation because of the assumption it was saying we're gonna use nuclear weapons for everything. The sentence which caused the trouble was actually written in by Ike, he didn't mean it to be read the way it was read, but he wrote it and that you ought to be prepared to use nuclear weapons, instantly, against aggression. Well people read, understood that to mean in any case of aggression, Ike only was thinking about Europe and he was simply trying to re-enforce the deterrent with respect to Europe by saying, we intend to respond, full up with all the power that we've got, at once in the event of major aggression in Europe. But he was the guy who wrote that in, and, I'm simply trying to make the point that he, systematically went over all these things and satisfy himself that they were saying what he wanted them to say.
INT: Was there any occasion when there was a difference of opinion between the two men in relation to policy towards the Soviet Union or the satellites.
RB: Well yes, because there, there was a certain difference in emphasis but, they both shared I think, ah virtually identical picture of the Soviet Union and the Soviet threat, they both thought the Soviet Union was hostile, they both thought it was expansionist, they thought, both thought it was therefore dangerous to the West it seems to me they both understood that the long term containment policy would only work if one) you were able to avoid a major war and two) you were able to maintain the alliance, which would provide for containment. But here I think their emphasis or concern, took a different tact, not because they disagreed but because of different emphasis. Eisenhower became absolutely, concerned about avoiding nuclear war and he, he was pushing effort, any efforts whatever to mitigate that danger, small steps if necessary, just almost anything which would begin a negotiation, because he really believed that both the West and the Soviets shared a common interest in not having a holocaust, a nuclear holocaust, and he wanted to bring the Soviets to believe that and recognise that, I think he did by the time of Geneva, but the trouble was that moving from that to steps to re-enmitigate the arms race or whatever reduce them was quite, but that run up, ran up against the distrust and all the other things, well anyway that was a primary interest that he had in maintaining the conditions necessary for long term containment. Dulles was particularly concerned about the other side, about maintaining the alliance and maintaining the allies, the co-operation and cohesion among the allies. So when you, when you had one of the first things after that of St, for example the peace speech that was made which was all for the chance of peace, the chance for peace. There was a real difference of opinion here between the two men as to how theygo about it Churchill was pushing for a summit meeting without any agenda and Dulles was absolutely scared to death of this because he thought it would immediately create, divisiveness among the allies, he thought that if, would not be prepared to gender, people would have no common position on what the Soviets had tried toase and so he was very much opposed, he first, in the first instance someone opposed to a speech. Eisenhower was, also did not think well of Churchill's idea, but he wanted to test the, whether the new leaders might possibly have some interest in trying to mitigate the Cold War, I don't think he had any idea that we're gonna liquidate it, but maybe that they might do something as, in the directions I said, of, reducing the risks, which existed of possible war and so on. And so he was determined to have a speech and Dulles of course finally conceded, yes, we'll have a speech but we don't make any proposals for actual meetings because we weren't prepared for it (unintelligible) be decisive with an alliance, and so the speech he gave was one which focused really on three things, it seems to me which were not incompatible with the, what Dulles felt important but was also his, in line with his own, Eisenhower's own view in the first place he laid out what he thought would be necessary for real normal relations, that is to real settlement and so that was the whole works withdrawal from the satellites, arms control, ending of expansion and all the rest. second he made a very heavy pitch for arms control, he explained what a terrible waste of assets and resources all around, and having this arms race, how risky it was and essentially urged that there ought to be, he was prepared for a radical tie up to arms control. But third recognising that that was not in the cards in the early time he said, let's take small steps, let's take some, something action of some sort which we can do so we will begin negotiations with the Soviets. Now I don't think, I think Eisenhower was so determined to try, in that direction, that he didn't say well are they going to do it o