INT: To what extent do you think that visit to the United States eased the situation over Berlin, temporarily as it turned out?
AG: Oh, I've no doubt that it did and er I... I think that er... the conference that was set up er for May of 1960, the summit that broke down because the U-2 affair, would have continued the negotiation and Eisenhower, I think, er like er... Prime Minister Macmillan and the French and the Germans, understood that er the er Soviet Union really had a problem and the East Germans had a problem in er the flight of er people into Berlin and I think er they would have been prepared to discuss that, to look to see whether some other solution could be found in what Khrushchev had proposed, which was simply to er walk away and leave it. But we felt that the Soviets had entered into a... a commitment, accepted an obligation in the agreements that were reached after World War Two as to the status of Berlin.
INT: At that summit...
AG: That never was.
INT: Well, it had a fixed date and Khrushchev walked out...
(INTERRUPTION - SIREN)
INT: General, can you tell us a bit about Eisenhower's attitude to a summit? Did he welcome it?
AG: Oh, Eisenhower very much welcomed the summit. In fact er he thought that a great deal had been accomplished at the summit in er 1955, when we really opened er dialogue with the Soviets and moved toward a greater measure of civility in our relationship. He saw this as a step in the process that he was working toward to reduce the militarisation of the confrontation and to move toward er dialogue and negotiation. Also at er... at Camp David, he and Khrushchev had er come to some pretty definite conclusions about the possibility of reducing the level of armaments and er the... the military er burden that each country was er bearing. Khrushchev told Eisenhower, he said, my generals come to me and tell me what the United States is doing and now we must er rush to catch up. He said, does that happen to you? And Eisenhower said, all the time, that's what I have to deal with all the time.
INT: So quite a spirit of détente?
AG: Oh yes. Er I think they... they saw good possibilities of...of future negotiation.
INT: Had there been a complete blockage in negotiation, how did Eisenhower assess what military options were open to him and his allies?
AG: I think er the idea of er showing gradually the danger to the er Soviets, er in case of disorder or any hostility, any conflict in Berlin, they would be confronted with the question er is it worth it? Er as the allies took er further... took steps to move troops to er probe er the possibility of sendinadditional er forces int... into Berlin. And they... they on... be confronted with the question of whether they wished to see this er break out into actual er conflict.
INT: How much was discussed at the time, '58, '59, on the nuclear options? Was that raised at all?
AG: It was not in any specific way at all, but of course it was constantly in the background and er Eisenhower had made clear that er his view was that if there were to be actual conflict between the United States and the Soviet Union, it would move quickly to large scale, all out conflict, where everything would be drawn into it and that was the... that was the danger, that was the risk, and he wanted the Soviets to ponder very carefully, as I myself put it in later years, what is there West of the Iron Curtain for which they were prepared to er see the destruction of um the Soviet Union?
INT: (Starts mid-sentence) ...of the programme about Stalin. This is June the sixth, 1996 for the Cold War series. In the... during the Hungarian crisis in 1956, to what extent, as far as the United States was concerned was the Suez Crisis a distraction from what was going on in Hungary? Or would you say it's just a coincidence?
AG: The two er issues were being dealt with quite separately, but there was er an interconnection. Er, at one time during the Suez affair, the Soviets had er threatened to take action against our allies and we received er word that er... about this and Eisenhower authorised his press secretary to make a statement that regardless of what had happened in er... up to that time, er we would stand with our allies in case there were... should be any attack, he didn't exp... expect any attack, but er we would stand with our allies. Er now it didn't... the fact that we did not have a united front with our allies, I think may have had some weakening affect in er our ability to exert influence and pressure on the Soviets in what they were doing in er... in Hungary. But essentially, with the exception of a few connections of... of that kind, they proceeded separately.
INT: So you don't think there was a big (unintelligible)?
AG: I... I did not see er sitting where I was, working with Eisenhower, I don't think we saw a big interplay.
INT: Now in November 1956, the Russians threatened to drop acid bombs on (unintelligible) or Paris after the British and French attacked the Egyptians. What was Eisenhower's response to that threat?
AG: When was this?
INT: Well, I'm told that on the fifth of November 1956...
AG: (Interrupts) Oh I think that's when Eisenhower was responding to er... I think the statement was made by Khrushchev, as I recall, that the rockets will fly and at that point Eisenhower got word from er... He regarded that as bluster and nonsense, but um he got word from General Grunther, who was er the (unintelligible) at that time that er our European allies were deeply concerned about this and it was in response to that that he made the statement that an attack on our... our allies would find us standing with them.
INT: And that was the end of that?
AG: We thought that... we thought that was the end of that.
INT: Did Eisenhower see the Russians at that time as a legitimate and established world power or did he think that this was going to be a temporary phase, that the Communists' rule in Russia was a temporary and rather illegitimate venture?
AG: Eisenhower always felt that er ultimately er, but we couldn't define ultimately, er this attempt to maintain totalitarian control would break down. And it was for that reason that he wanted to keep, as he put it, keep the hope of freedom alive in the Easter... Central and Eastern European countries, the so-called satellites, er that had been er set up under er Soviet er domination. Er with regard to the Soviet Union itself, he felt that the Communist er ideology and attempt of the Communists to maintain totalitarian control would be bound to crumble er in... in due time, but nobody could say just how soon that would be.