INT: What do you think of Khrushchev's view and what was he actually up to in that kind of period?
JA: I'm sorry, what was...
INT: What was Khrushchev's view of that whole thing, what did he think of that?
JA: Yes. I read Khrushchev's memoirs several years after this particular event and I got a shock in that Khrushchev in his memoirs said, we chased the Americans out of Berlin, they ran, their infantry troops and their Jeeps forced their way across Checkpoint Charlie into the DDR and we came to the immediate aid of our East German comrades and we mounted a tank force and we rushed it up to the American Checkpoint and the Americans saw us coming and they ran and went back into the Western side. I've often thought about this. At first I thought that this is absolutely preposterous, of course, but I guess it's all in the eyes of the beholder. Who's to say that when the American force led this State Department civilian vehicle into East Berlin that they didn't have... Let's assume that they probably had a contingency plan also. This was the third time that this old scenario had been played out, so I'm sure they had taken some plans to something, made preparations, and it probably took them twenty minutes to roll their tank force up to Checkpoint Charlie. So, while it appeared to Khrushchev that we ran, I can that we didn't run, we didn't suspect that the Soviets would respond, however, we were prepared in the event that they had mounted such an operation, we had our troops in reserve and that's why, when nothing happened in ten or fifteen minutes, we dismissed them and sent them back to the garrison. But the Russians were prepared, they were definitely ready to respond to our actions, because they could have never been there in fifteen minutes after our forces had crossed in and withdrawn, they had definitely taken some action to move with prior planning.
INT: What did you personally kind of feel at that period regarding the war? When you actually went up there for the first time to have a look at it, what did you feel?
JA: I didn't fear anything, because I'm a professional soldier and we...
INT: (Interrupts) Feel, sorry...
JA: Feel... OK. My personal feeling was you become engrossed with the action as it develops. It was one of I hope that this doesn't get out of hand and you have no way of knowing how far it's going to go. I was certainly cognisant of the fact that it was dead serious, because I knew the instructions that our troops had, to defend themselves and in the event that someone opened fire, we were to respond. And it was again, it was a shock, because it was unanticipated. It was sudden, it was serious and I felt that I hope that we're able to respond throughout NATO appropriately to the extent of the threat and not knowing how serious the threat could become or how far it would escalate or how many more troops were prepared to back up the small segment that was there, my feeling was one of apprehension, it was one of concern that it would and could very easily get out of hand.
INT: Thank you very much.
INT: Mr. Atwood, we would like to answer the last question and that's very much looking at what the Soviet thought the Americans were up to and clarifying the position the Americans actually had and what they thought about the wall.
JA: The wall was a measure instituted by the DDR regime to isolate its people. And the fact that they moved several metres within the territory of the DDR to the wall, not only the American sector or the British sector, not on the middle of the line, they very carefully, purposefully moved on to DDR territory. There was never a recommendation made to tear the wall down, there was perhaps a lot of wishful thinking over the decades of people who wanted to see the wall torn down, but there was never a consideration by the military or the State Department to... consideration, yes, perhaps, but a decision or implementation or serious planning to tear it down, no. I know for a fact that President Kennedy came under some serious criticism by the press several months after the wall was erected and he sent instructions to Berlin that the files be searched to determine whether or not there was ever any recommendation made by the State Department or the military that the wall be torn down. And the response was negative and the search turned up nothing and there was never a recommendation from the higher powers to take action to tear the wall down. Wishful thinking, yes, but it was not proven. It would have been a hostile provocation and an attack into the territory of the DDR and it would have very well precipitated a crisis within itself, so it was certainly wise not to make such a recommendation, as much as everyone wanted to see it go down.
INT: Thank you very much.
END OF INTERVIEW