September 30, 2022

1943. Ukrainians Persevere in the Wake of Destruction

A "Desert of Destitution"
"Residents of the liberated city of Stalino (Donetsk) read 'TASS Windows,'" September 1943 (source)
(For more, see the complete 1943 Moscow reports.)
Bill Downs

CBS Moscow

September 6, 1943

The Russians tonight hold two-thirds of the Donbass and are moving westward at the rate of fifteen miles a day—so fast that the Soviet Union's richest coal country should very soon be completely in the hands of the Red Army.

The coal capital of Stalino is the only major Donbass city still held by the Germans, and the Red Army is only four miles east of there. Tonight's communiqué announces the capture of four big railroad and coal centers in the Donbass network, leaving only the western fringe of this vulnerable fuel basin in German hands.

The other big victory announced by the Soviet high command is the capture of the railroad junction of Konotop in the northern Ukraine. Konotop is 128 miles on the railroad east of Kiev. Now the Russians are advancing on an even bigger railroad junction: Bakhmach, seventeen miles west of Kharkov. Five railroads run into Bakhmach. It is the first station on the eastern edge of the Kiev railroad network.

We can assume that the Germans are firing and blowing up every building and mine pit and peasant's cottage in the path of their western retreat. The Ukraine tonight is scorched earth wherever the Nazis pass.

I saw examples of this earth scorching when I was in the Ukraine the day before yesterday traveling along the path of the German retreat from Belgorod to Kharkov.

The damage is so extensive that the occasional house that was new—unburned, without shell holes and not charred by fire—such scattered houses seemed almost to be showplaces. They stood out like the pyramids in a desert of destitution.

The most indestructible thing about a Ukrainian cottage is its big peasant stove. They are immense things as high as the house itself—sort of an enclosed indoor fireplace. Today their chimneys finger the horizon like the skeletons of peacetime.

But the people come back. They always come back, no matter how badly their homes are wrecked. Tonight they are sleeping in nearby haystacks, or in dugouts in the ground, or on the ground itself. They'll get up at dawn and start rebuilding the stove—and eventually build a house around it. The Ukraine has been kicked around and shot up and burned, but it is far from dead.

Now there is a rush to get the houses built before winter. Neighbors are helping neighbors. Not everyone is going to have a warm house by the time the first snow falls, but there will be enough shelter for the people who are left—the people who were not sent to Germany—to give the Ukraine a new lease on life.

It badly needs it.

September 23, 2022

1943. "Davies in Sovietland"

Ambassador Joseph E. Davies Visits the Soviet Union
US Ambassador to the Soviet Union Joseph E. Davies stands alongside Joseph Stalin and Foreign Affairs Minister Vyacheslav Molotov in May 1943 (source)
From Newsweek, May 31, 1943, pp. 50-52:

Davies in Sovietland

The arrival of former Ambassador Joseph E. Davies in Moscow was an event of importance in the Soviet capital last week. In the following dispatch Newsweek's Moscow correspondent, Bill Downs, gives the unofficial side of how Davies was received.

Joseph Davies arrived in a big cargo plane at the Moscow airdrome. He came with the cold spring rain which was out of season compared with the warmth of his greeting. When Davies poked out his head Admiral Standley shouted up the doorway: "Hello, Joe." Davies replied: "Hello Admiral. God bless you."

He climbed down the awkward ladder immediately and shook hands with the embassy officials and with fat V. G. Dekanozoff, who was Molotoff's representative and who could pass for one of the seven dwarfs—but not Dopey, for he is one of the smartest men in the Foreign Commissariat.

There was a great deal of good-humored lining up for the Soviet Film News photographers who were sent to make this the biggest greeting of any foreigner since Wendell Willkie. American and Soviet flags flying side by side at the entrances to the airport hangars stiffened in the breeze as the party drove off to the luxurious Soviet guest house at No. 8 Ostrovsky Street, where Willkie also had been billeted.

Davies agreed to meet the correspondents in a half hour. To do this he made a special trip to Ambassador Standley's residence, settled down in a chair in the library, and proceeded not to answer the questions. He explained that he had nothing to add to the President's statement concerning his mission.

Davies agreed to talk off the record—but did not say anything to throw light on his mission. Instead he dwelled mostly on his impressions of his trip from America to Russia. Then he went into an emotional talk about his visit to Stalingrad. He said: "I watched the reactions of the crew of my plane. No one said much; then someone said: 'Those dirty sons of bitches, I could tear them apart with my own hands.' That is how we all felt."

Davies next explained how, wearing a top hat and striped trousers and other diplomatic paraphernalia, he had once laid a wreath on the tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Belgium and how an Ambassador uncovers and lays the wreath on the tomb, steps backward, and bows his head about two minutes. He went on: "I followed that protocol at Stalingrad. It was very impressive. When I bowed my head before the common grave across the street from Marshal Paulus's headquarters, a curious crowd that gathered also bared its head. The silence lasted longer than two minutes, and it was very impressive."

Then Davies remarked: "I made a few extemporaneous remarks there." A correspondent asked: "Do you remember what you said?" Davies answered: "Not exactly, but my secretary happened to be there and made a stenographic report of what I said." There was a pause and Davies continued: "I wonder if I have a copy with me." After another pause for rummaging in his pockets he said: "Here it is." And out came five typewritten copies of his speech which were passed around.

However, all is not sweetness and light for Joe Davies's second mission to Moscow. The crew of his Army plane now are interested only in "getting him home." These men say they are thinking of writing a book called "Second Mission to Moscow." They all agree it would make fantastic reading. Davies is not well and brought with him a physician, Dr. Arthur F. Chace of New York, one of the world's outstanding authorities on internal medicine and president of the American Academy of Medicine.

However, Davies's trip augurs well and portends success. The Russians at least know where they stand with him. They operate on a principle which he himself quotes, saying that the Russian officials told him: "If you find any faults with us, you tell us—if you find something good, you tell the world."

September 15, 2022

1944. Entering Caen After the Allied Bombing and Liberation

"Why Did You Bomb Us?"
"A British soldier carries a little girl through the devastation of Caen, 10 July 1944" (source)

Below are brief accounts from Bill Downs and war correspondent Al Newman, both of whom entered Caen shortly after Allied forces took the city. More reports from Downs in July 1944 are featured here. From Newsweek, July 24, 1944, pp. 29-31:

Why Did You Bomb Us?

Bill Downs, Newsweek and CBS correspondent, was among the first few reporters to enter Caen after the British captured it. He cabled the following eyewitness story of the broken city, which once had 50,000 inhabitants.

A British colonel poked his head into a trench and said: "So you want to go into Caen?" We poked our heads out of the trench, looked at each other, and said with some doubt: "Yes."

"Well, go ahead," the colonel said. "But at your own risk." Continuing that kind of talk is bad for morale so we climbed into our jeep and headed for a mile of highway under German shell and mortar fire. No one liked the idea too much, but we had been waiting four hours to go ahead.

The jeep picked up speed. After the first quarter of a mile we relaxed—a little.

Down the hill was Caen proper. We came to an area which had received part of the 2,000 tons of bombs dropped by the RAF two days before. It looked as if someone had picked up the whole area, dropped it, and then come along with a gigantic finger and poked holes in the ground. White limestone dust covered everything, even the leaves still remaining on the shattered trees. Someone might have played a bad joke with dirt whitewash. We walked down the hill past the ruins of houses with their curtains flapping lifelessly from shattered windows. Parked beside a filling station with three leaning pumps was the remainder of a car. It looked like an oversize pepper shaker, there were so many holes in it.

This street once had been the beautiful approach to Caen. Ancient trees lined both sides of the avenue. In peacetime it was called the "Rue de la Délivrande."

The following day we were able to drive in from the west. There it was the same old story of destruction on the outskirts with damage tapering off as you reached the center of the city.

All Caen civilians who wish are being evacuated to camps near the beaches. Many of them since the invasion have lived in the Lycée Malherbe, the boys' school in the center of the city run by priests of the Church of St. Etienne. For weeks families slept on straw on the floor. There was no water, no light. But the Germans respected the asylum of the church and didn't bother the people. All in all, about 6,000 stayed here.

It was a different story for those who chose to live in their homes. German restrictions tightened when the Allies invaded. Then, following the big RAF bombing, SS troops ran wild through the town, beating civilians, breaking into stores and homes, and taking what they wanted. Liquor was their first demand.

What Price Deliverance: The people cannot understand the reason for this terrific bombing that preceded the final attack. "We waited four years for you to come," they say. "Then two days before you liberated us you bombed us." There has been no count of civilian casualties from this raid but preliminary estimates say that they may reach 2,000, maybe more.

The military argument for this tremendous attack is that the day after it was made the Germans began pulling men and equipment out of the Caen defenses. How many Germans would have defended the city and whether it would have been fought for house by house are questions that cannot be answered now. Many correspondents here have taken the line that such bombing is actually unnecessary, harmful to the Allied cause, and militarily useless. My belief is that it is impossible to tell in the case of Caen. The fact remains that Caen has been liberated.

Another Newsweek correspondent, Al Newman, arrived in Caen on Bastille Day, four days after Downs' visit. Newman sent this contrasting description of the town:

Before the cathedral, the Place du Lycée boiled with people. It took no second glance to tell that this wasn't a Bastille Day celebration but a panicky, tearful throng of refugees waiting for trucks to carry them to Bayeux. The dimly lit nave of the cathedral was thickly spread with straw, and hundreds, looking grim, scared and hopeless, lay there.

In the adjacent Lycée Malherbe, where more refugees huddled, relief workers buzzed from group to group. There were French Wacs brought from England for just such emergencies and local civilian Red Cross workers. American civil affairs officers answered questions, took notes, and shepherded refugees into trucks, saw to meals and supervised burial of the dead in mass graves behind the Lycée.

That was Caen's Quatorze Juillet observance.

September 11, 2022

1943. Soviet Summer Offensive Repels German Forces

"Guns, Tanks, and Chopin: A Look at the Russian Front"
Soviet anti-tank riflemen during the Battle of Kursk, July 20, 1943 (Photo by Natalia Bode – source)

From Newsweek, August 23, 1943, p. 28:

Guns, Tanks, and Chopin: A Look at the Russian Front

Bill Downs, Moscow correspondent for Newsweek and CBS, was among the group of reporters taken to the Orel front last week. Since the Russians seldom allow correspondents—or any other foreigners—near the front lines, the following eyewitness account by Downs is one of the first to be published on the present fighting in the Soviet.

Lt. Gen. Peotr Peotrovich Sabennikoff, 6 feet 4 inches tall and only 49 years old, stood in the tent of his field headquarters last Thursday and told us some amazing things about the Russian summer offensive. Suave of manner, with an almost wistful blond mustache, the general was often forced to interrupt his talk by the noise of groups of bombers and fighters speeding to the front, only a ten-minute flight away. Here are the main points he made:

Machines: The Soviet Command prepared the Orel breakthrough with the heaviest artillery and mortar barrage in history. "Compared with 90 guns per kilometer at Verdun," said Sabennikoff, "the Red Army had desyatki more barrels." The word desyatki means "tens." This is the closest Russian word to the English "dozens." It meant that the Russians had concentrated more than 1,900 barrels per kilometer around Orel. Note that the general specified "barrels," not guns—multibarreled weapons permit an exceedingly heavy mobile concentration.

Sabennikoff said the artillery opened up paths of attack 6 to 8 kilometers deep in the German lines, although in some instances the artillery and mortar preparation extended 30 to 40 kilometers from the front. The general declined permission for correspondents to see one of these battlefields. "There are mines all over the place," explained Sabennikoff. "I don't have sappers available yet to clean them up. I wouldn't risk a walk over such battlefields."

Sabennikoff said that American and British tanks were used in this offensive—British Churchills, American Grants. He praised the speed of both tanks but said the Grants were too high and were hit frequently. "Our tank men still like the Russian 34 best," he said. The foreign tanks were mixed in with the Russian tank groups, so there was no opportunity to weigh them as separate tactical units operating independently.

Concerning the defeated German forces, the general knocked down the flood of reports from the front that the Nazi "summer Fritz" or "total Fritz" (inferior type of soldier) was being used in large numbers on this front. He said the German command had concentrated crack troops on the central front for the summer offensive: "I have seen plenty of them. Very few are over 30. Most are well-trained, tough men in their 20s."

However, he said there were indications of cracks in Nazi morale shortly after the Russian offensive began: "We had been watching the Germans for a long time. When they finally struck against Kursk, it was just what we wanted. We began a concentric offensive on July 12. Our attack forced them to dissolve their reserves which were badly placed in relation to our attacks. Then I noticed that men began to surrender. At no time did this happen in great numbers—but the fact that it happened at all is indicative. The Germans I talked to said that the fall of Mussolini had a great effect on them. However, we captured an order telling the German soldier to stay in his trench and resist to the last bullet. Most Nazis are doing that."

Sabennikoff knows what he is talking about. He is a representative of the Supreme Command, and commanded the army group at Orel which first entered the city from the east. He was the first general in the town. Now he is chief of the Orel garrison from which this dispatch is written, only 25 miles from the front lines.

Scorched Earth: We reached the general's headquarters after fourteen hours of a backside-slapping ride from Moscow which gave all the correspondents a spanked-baby feeling and engendered a great personal hatred for the Lend-Lease ¾-ton Dodge trucks officially known as "bucket-seat ammunition carriers." They are sturdy and made the trip without a growl from the gear box, but it was like trying to break in a mustang with a wooden saddle. Sabennikoff's headquarters in the valley of the Oka River are camouflaged in a group of trees. The correspondents slept four to a super-comfortable tent with a Red Army girl as orderly. Ours was a youngster named Dora who had been in the army since 1941.

I have seen scorched earth in other sectors of the Russian battle front, but nowhere is the destruction so complete and so calculated as that now being carried out by the Germans as they are pushed back toward Bryansk. Every village is literally razed to the ground. All brick and stone buildings, whether important or not, are blown up. Wooden houses are burned.

Everywhere were trenches, foxholes, pillboxes, and gun emplacements. Along the main Mtsensk highway there were few signs of fighting. However, you could tell no man's land by the fact that for several kilometers there would be absolutely nothing but field on field of weeds. But up to the Russian lines the fields were cultivated—yellow with ripening wheat, rye, and oats.

Accordion: The most impressive moment of the trip came after midnight one night when I stood on a height above the Oka River. The moon was just rising. To the east in the distance, Orel lay quietly as if resting from its ordeal, but to the west on the horizon there was suggestion of light from the fires of burning Russian villages. A rocket slowly curved skyward in the distance—it seemed to climb barely half an inch into the horizon. Then from the darkness came the roar, the full-throated roar of hundreds of bombers from Soviet airfields somewhere in the rear. They made more noise in the next ten minutes than anything I had ever heard before. It was a steady throbbing that literally shook the ground. The Russians like to bomb from low heights where they can see the target. A sentry with a tommy gun standing nearby looked at me and grinned, stopped a minute, and then walked on.

Down in the men's barracks nearby the roar of the planes was followed by some tuning up on an accordion. Over Orel in the distance there came a big shuddering boom—another delayed-action mine going off. The accordion began playing a Chopin waltz. The sentry came back and grinned again.

September 9, 2022

1943. "Russian Orthodoxy's Offensive"

The Orthodox Church in Wartime Russia
"1943 meeting of the Bishops' Council of the Russian Orthodox Church" (source)
From Newsweek, December 27, 1943, p. 70:

Russian Orthodoxy's Offensive

One of the most remarkable occurrences of the war has been the Soviet Government's growing leniency not only toward religion as such, but specifically toward its onetime archenemy, the Russian Orthodox Church. For the developments on Christmas, Bill Downs, Newsweek and CBS Moscow correspondent, has sent the following dispatch.

Two significant events in the spiritual life of the Soviet Union occurred last week. Yemelyan Yaroslavksi, former leader of the anti-religious movement and a faithful old-time Bolshevik, died. The press made no reference to his atheism; others referred to his "scientific writings." Long lines of people filed through the while marble Hall of Columns in downtown Moscow to pay homage to one of the most popular Communists of Russia—a man, who represented the tenacity of the religious feeling he could never quite stamp out. On Dec. 6, Yaroslavski's ashes were buried in the Kremlin wall behind Lenin's tomb.

The other event was the announcement in the newly founded Journal of the Orthodox Church and Moscow Patriarchy that a system of religious schools would be established throughout the Soviet Union in order to train priests and clerics to carry on the Orthodox religion. This is proof of the Soviet Government's sincerity and good faith in giving the official go-ahead which resulted in the episcopal assembly of the Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow last September. That was when the Metropolitan Sergius was elected Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia.

From the historical point of view, there is nothing hypocritical or devious in this shift of attitude toward the Orthodox Church. Briefly, the situation is this: Before the revolution, the church was one of the wealthiest institutions in Russia. Its corruption was notorious, and its subservience to the czarist government—which employed the church as a weapon—made it an enemy to the revolutionaries, who were also inspired by the atheistic concepts of Marxism. Hence the Soviet Government included most church land and property in its declaration of common ownership. the official attitude was that the church, with its ritual and dogma, must not have a chance—either by interference or tradition—to act as a brake on the progressive drive of the new Soviet Government.

Sergius the Patient: Thus the Orthodox Church, while never completely obliterated, went into a decline. But the wise leaders like Sergius (who retired to a Volga village near Kuibyshev and continued to preach the faith) accepted the complete break of church and state. They knew that the old-time Russians are one of the most deeply religious people on earth—people who would keep their beliefs.

The patience and good judgment of these men were rewarded when war came. Their church began to grow as one of the spiritual forces of the Soviet Union's fight against Fascism, since church leaders have left no doubt which side their God is supporting.

Thus the Orthodox Church takes the offensive. To faithful churchgoers, working and sowing to keep the Red Army in the field, the resurgence of their religion is another indication of the justice of their cause and God's. And although the Orthodox Church now emerging will be maintained only on the basis of a complete separation of church and state, the movement now under way is more than a temporary wartime arrangement. The establishment of ecclesiastical schools is indicative of this.

• The program of religious studies will follow that of the formed seminaries. That means it will constitute one of the most rigorous courses in the world. Students will get such things as the history of the Christian and Russian churches, Christian apologetics, canonic rights and the Constitution of the U.S.S.R., hymnology, the reading of Greek texts and the history of Catholic, Protestant, and Anglican churches.

• Studies will be free. Moreover, money will be provided for those who need support and dormitories for students living out of town. Also, no candidate will be accepted until he is 18, which means that men entering the priesthood will first have a Soviet education.

• The study period is reduced from a prewar six or seven years to two or three years. (The course at the highest school in the land, the Orthodox Ecclesiastical Institute in Moscow, will take three years; at secondary schools in the dioceses, two years.)

September 7, 2022

1961. Interview with Secretary of State Dean Rusk

Secretary Rusk Discusses Foreign Policy


This interview with Secretary of State Dean Rusk aired on the CBS program "At the Source" on June 29, 1961. The text (including the footnotes) is adapted from a transcript printed in the Department of State Bulletin, Vol. XLV, No. 1149, pp. 145-151 on July 24, 1961, and has been altered slightly to reflect the audio:

Secretary Rusk Interviewed on "At the Source" Program

Following is the transcript of an interview of Secretary Rusk on a Columbia Broadcasting System TV program, "At the Source," on June 29.

ANNOUNCER: It is at this desk that some of the major decisions of our time are made. The CBS Television Network takes you to the office of the Secretary of State in Washington, D.C. We are "At the Source"—the physical setting in which Dean Rusk, the Secretary of State, thinks and works and acts on important questions of foreign policy.

In an informal and spontaneous discussion recorded earlier today, Secretary Rusk meets with chief CBS News Washington correspondent Howard K. Smith and CBS News correspondents Bill Downs and Paul Niven. Now let us join their discussion "At the Source." Here is Howard K. Smith.

SMITH: Mr. Secretary, you've had a long and varied experience as a subordinate in the State Department, and now that you have had 5 months as the head of the State Department, have you learned anything you didn't know then?

SECRETARY RUSK: Well, when I was one of 10 Assistant Secretaries back 10 years ago, I thought then that life was fairly complicated and busy. It's no less so today. I think the thing that I did not appreciate 10 years ago is that the Secretary almost never has the fun of dealing with a simple question; those are handled by his colleagues down the line. Most of the questions which come to the Secretary's desk and go from there to the President these days, given the pace and complexity of our relations with the rest of the world, are, shall I say, most interesting and usually complicated and difficult.

DOWNS: Well, Mr. Secretary, we who wander around this big building, which is your headquarters here, have sort of a saying that if you are pessimistic 100 percent of the time, why, 99 percent of the time you're right. But there must be another side of the coin. Hasn't something ridiculous happened to you since you've been in—something funny?

SECRETARY RUSK: Oh, I think there are a number of amusing things which happen along the way. It might be a little embarrassing to spell them out here, but there are always unearned dividends in this job—some perfectly ridiculous event occurring somewhere that no one could have predicted, with not grave consequences, but which adds to the gaiety and enlightenment of the world scene. No, there is fun in this job, too.

West's Commitment in Berlin

NIVEN: I suppose the least funny aspect of life today for you is Berlin, Mr. Secretary. It's now 2½ years since Khrushchev said he was going to sign a peace treaty with East Germany. Have our contingency planners in that time made a tentative decision as to where we draw the line? Do we let him sign his peace treaty with East Germany and wait for the East Germans to stop our trucks, or do we resist the peace treaty itself?

SECRETARY RUSK: Mr. Niven, the President yesterday in his press conference made a very important statement on this question,1 and I don't suppose it would be well for high officials to make fresh statements on almost a daily basis on such a serious question.

But let me say this in direct answer to your particular question: The essence of our commitment there—of our rights—and the basis for our concern about the future in West Berlin is the right of the three powers—the United States, United Kingdom, and France—in West Berlin—our obligations and responsibilities to the people in West Berlin, and the commitment of the West to the security and freedom of West Berlin. Now there are a great many questions which have been discussed and talked about—formulae, proposals, counterproposals—but this is the essence of the matter: We are there by right, not by sufferance. We have obligations to ourselves and to the people of West Berlin, and we do not accept the notion that those rights can be terminated or that the security of the people of that city can be endangered by the unilateral action taken by someone else.

SMITH: Mr. Secretary, a thing that bothers me—and I think bothers a great many people—is the thought that we may be prepared to be firm against an all-out, all-at-once warlike threat in Berlin. But the possibility exists that the Russians won't give us such a challenge. Instead they will try to shave away our rights in installments so small that none will seem worth fighting about.

Are we prepared to face the possibility that they will attempt first to grant East German puppet police the right to police our traffic, then delay the traffic, then harass the traffic? Are we prepared to meet that threat?

SECRETARY RUSK: Well, this is one of the problems which will have to be thought about, considered, planned for in our discussions within our own Government and with other governments. In a situation of this sort the Soviets would probably try to create an ambiguous situation because these are more difficult to handle and deal with and to explain publicly.

DOWNS: What do you mean, sir?

SECRETARY RUSK: Along the lines of Mr. Smith's comments, that is, to leave it uncertain, to let whatever action occurs occur with hesitancy or with concealment or with indirectness, because the underlying issues are simple and direct and these must be understood by our own people and by peoples in other countries and it is important to keep the ambiguities cleared away so that we know exactly what the issues are.

DOWNS: Well, if we agree that freedom is not negotiable in Berlin, what is?

SECRETARY RUSK: Well, since 1946 the Western Powers have made a series of proposals for a permanent settlement in Germany and in Berlin. Now these have taken a variety of forms over the years. Most of them have had to do with the self-determination of the peoples concerned.

This is an instinctive American reaction to the way in which you go about settling questions of this sort—ask the people themselves what solution they themselves want. And in the long turn of history this also may be the wise course in looking for a permanent solution because history is full of situations where the absence of self-determination has led to ambitions, appetites, revanchist ideas which in turn disturb the peace.

NIVEN: Do you expect this crisis to unfold according to any kind of a timetable, Mr. Secretary?

SECRETARY RUSK: The timetable, of course, depends upon all parties here. Mr. Khrushchev has indicated that he expects to take certain action by the end of the year. That does not mean that he might not raise one or another part of this question before then. That also does not mean that everyone else would wait until the end of the year to address themselves to it. So I think that it is safe at this time to say, Mr. Niven, that the Berlin question is going to be with us as an active question on our agenda both before the Government and the American people for the next several months anyhow.

Discussions Among Governments

NIVEN: Is there a hint there that we may try to beat him at his own game by proposing negotiations?

SECRETARY RUSK: Well, I think there is no question that there will be discussions among governments about Berlin, including discussions with the Soviet Union. In the first instance, for example, we will be replying to Mr. Khrushchev's aide mémoire2 on the subject. When you raise the question of negotiation, this to some people implies a particular form or forum or way of talking. What I am saying is that undoubtedly this question is going to be discussed—but under what circumstances and in what way it will be reached—in the course of discussions among governments now going on.

SMITH: Mr. Secretary, Winston Churchill once said that, if the Allies had made it perfectly clear to the Germans before either world war that they would fight and just where they would draw the line, there wouldn't have been either world war. Would it not, in view of that, be an act of wisdom to let the Russians know exactly what we would not permit—for example, if we would not permit their East German police to take over the stamping of our traffic papers into and out of Berlin?

SECRETARY RUSK: The issue mentioned by Mr. Churchill is a central one in relations between a dictatorship, or an authoritarian form of government, and the democracies, because it is relatively easy for a highly centralized regime to underestimate the political processes which go on in a democratic society.

We debate vigorously among ourselves; we differ with each other. We have all sorts of internal quarrels as we sort out our political arrangements on a democratic basis, and, indeed, in our discussions with our friends abroad there is considerable public discussion of different points of view on important questions among thriving democracies.

Now, there is a temptation on the part of an authoritarian ruler to think that this is a sign of weakness and lack of unity. Indeed, a miscalculation on this point, an estimate that democracies would not do what in fact they would do, is a source of danger. So there will be a number of points of clarification of purpose and procedure and issue, aimed at the avoidance of this kind of miscalculation.

SMITH: These will be made public, will they?

SECRETARY RUSK: Public, and I presume in the course of intergovernmental discussions, yes.

Question of German Reunification

DOWNS: Well, Mr. Secretary, Walter Lippmann this morning said that it is the unstated policy of Britain and France to preserve the division of Germany as it now is. We, at the same time, are calling for reunification of Germany. Is that not a dangerous division of policy or opinion on the part—between us and our allies?

SECRETARY RUSK: The Western proposals on Germany and Berlin over the years have been on the basis of agreement. And the record there is filled with proposals to give the Germans a chance to decide on such questions as unification.

Now, when a new approach or a new move is made, such as was made in the Russian aide mémoire that was delivered to us at Vienna, you can expect all the governments directly involved to review the entire history of the situation, consult with each other, and decide how to move from here.

I myself am confident that there will be unity and agreement among the governments directly concerned and that disunity is not going to be the problem.

DOWNS: Someone said that the art of diplomacy is to avoid dead ends. Do you think that both sides have avoided a dead end at this stage of the game in Berlin?

SECRETARY RUSK: Well, I think it is important not to come to the dead end but to explore every possibility of working out a tolerable peace that is consistent with the vital interests of our own country.

NIVEN: Some people have interpreted Mr. Khrushchev's speech yesterday as an indication that he is in a diplomatic hole that he got himself into and that he is almost appealing for help from the West in getting out of it—that this was a much more moderate speech than some of its predecessors. Do you agree, sir?

SECRETARY RUSK: Well, appraising a particular speech is sometimes a little hazardous. Of course we read a speech of that sort with considerable care and interest, but in view of the record of the last several weeks I think one would not wish to leap to conclusions too quickly on the basis of a single speech. After all, those of us who have to make speeches from time to time know how easy it is to say things a little differently and without necessarily implying too much by it. But this will be given very careful study, of course.

Nuclear Testing and Disarmament

SMITH: Mr. Secretary, Berlin is topic A in the world. Can we talk to you about topic B—nuclear testing and disarmament?

Have you any theories as to why the Russians, who seemed to be interested in reaching a treaty to ban nuclear tests with us for several years, suddenly this year seem to have lost interest in it?

SECRETARY RUSK: There may be several reasons which move them in that direction.

I think Mr. Khrushchev, in his aide mémoire on the subject,3 and in some of the things that have been said in speeches and other places, made it quite clear as to what one of the reasons is. They have made, it seems to me, a far-reaching and fundamental decision about their attitude toward international organizations and international arrangements on such things as inspection and control. Their experiences in the Congo and their estimate of the effect of the actions taken by the United Nations in the Congo upon their policies in that country led them to say that "we are not going to subject the interests of the Soviet Union to decisions made by somebody else." 

Now, this is essentially the origin of the so-called "troika" formula—that in these matters there will be a Communist, a capitalist, a neutral, and that each one of them would have a veto on action taken.

Well, now, obviously, this would lead—if this is the principle on which the inspection machinery is organized and operated—obviously this would lead to self-inspection or to an ability to bar effective inspection and control and that would be unacceptable for the rest. I think it's also important to bear in mind that for the Soviet Union secrecy is a very great strategic advantage, as they see it. Their communications on the subject of disarmament, nuclear test control, suggest that they look upon international inspection and control as a form of espionage that effective control discloses secrets within the Soviet Union.

Well, this is for them a serious step. But for the rest of us it is a vital step, because we find it difficult to see how you can proceed down the path toward disarmament unless you have reasonable assurances that none of us will be, as Aristide Briand once put it, dupes or victims in this business.

So we have been discouraged, although not surprised. We have been discouraged by the attitude of the Soviet Government in the recent nuclear test discussions in Geneva. We had hoped that we could get that agreement, not because this represents a major step in disarmament but because it was a most significant first step and it would have established the principle of inspection and control and given us some experience in the actual operation of a system of inspection and control. This would then open the way for further steps in the disarmament that we all would like to accomplish, if we can find a way to do it consistent with our security.

Question of Resuming Testing

DOWNS: Well, Mr. Secretary, right now there are calls on Capitol Hill and elsewhere in the Government to resume testing. From the diplomatic viewpoint, do you think after a 3-year moratorium that the damage it would do to our prestige and power among the neutrals, whom we have been trying to woo the most, is worth the military gains that we would get out of resuming testing?

SECRETARY RUSK: Well, this is a very serious question which must, of course, preoccupy the mind of President Kennedy. And he commented on it yesterday.4

I think that when we balance up these matters we will find that, in the first place, the world does understand that there is on the table at Geneva a reasonable, workable treaty5 submitted with bona fides looking toward the suspension of tests and the establishment of a genuine test-ban system. Now, I don't think we should assume that, because people in other parts of the world as well as our own people would hope that progress can be made on these matters, that they would not fail to understand that the rest of the world has a vital interest in the steps that the United States may have to take in the protection of its own elementary security.

NIVEN: Mr. Secretary—

SECRETARY RUSK: So this is a matter for the future and has to be; this is something that the President will have to decide in the weeks and months ahead.

NIVEN: Mr. Walter Lippmann has raised the possibility that Mr. Khrushchev may want tests resumed because Russian scientists need them more than we do at this point. Is there any feeling in our Government that that may be true?

SECRETARY RUSK: That is the kind of question which will have to be examined, but I think that it would not be useful for me to comment upon where the advantages might lie in the circumstances. This is something that has to be judged on a highly technical basis involving many classified elements, and I think any observation on my part would be beside the point.

U.S. Policy Toward Cuba

SMITH: Can we turn to Latin America? I would like to ask you what exactly is our policy towards Cuba?

One of your spokesmen has said, ". . . Communism in this hemisphere is not negotiable." Then, what do we do about Castro?

SECRETARY RUSK: Well, there are two main things that it seems to me must be done and which are in process.

One is that we must do everything that we can to insure that Cuba is not, itself, exploited as a base for the further penetration of forces and elements from outside the hemisphere into other countries of this hemisphere; that is, any attempt to use Cuba as a base for agents or arms or whatever it is into other countries will require the immediate and energetic attention of all the governments and countries concerned.

I think, secondly, that the members of the Organization of American States do more than ever now recognize that this is something more than a bilateral question between Cuba and the United States, that it is in fact a problem for the hemisphere, that it is a potential disturbance to the peace of the hemisphere, and that the OAS, itself, should give it very serious thought and attention. We are developing our diplomacy and our discussions with other governments along both these lines.

Sino-Soviet Penetration

SMITH: Well, this penetration is, however, going on, is it not? I understand that the other day—one day this week in Montevideo—five tons of Mao Tse-tung's writings on guerrilla warfare were confiscated, and it's thought that they came via Cuban channels to Montevideo.

SECRETARY RUSK: I think we must recognize in this country that the Sino-Soviet bloc has made a very serious decision that it will try to press its opportunities beyond our alliances—jumping over the alliances, going around the alliances—in order to make as much headway as possible in the so-called underdeveloped parts of the world.

Mr. Khrushchev has indicated that—his great interest into these parts of the world include Latin America—in the underdeveloped countries; since 1954 they have been putting more and more resources into economic and cultural relations, and they have been building up their propaganda very rapidly.

Now, we believe that they will make an effort, a serious effort, in Latin America with all the propaganda and other resources at their disposal. We feel that the primary protection against this kind of attempted penetration is the mobilization of the energies and interests and the loyalties of the people of Latin America in their own economic and social development, because, if the peoples of this hemisphere show that they are on the move, along the lines of President Kennedy's Alliance for Progress,6 if they are ready themselves to take their own futures in their own hands and can move to build up their own education, their health, their productivity, that this is the way that societies become impervious to this sort of penetration. Now there are other things in the propaganda field, in the cultural relations, in broadcasting, many things which we can do more strongly than we are now doing. These require funds, and funds are not always easy to come by.

DOWNS: Well, Mr. Secretary, without getting into sort of washing dirty linen on the CIA and the rest of it, have you found that the Central Intelligence Agency's involvement in the Cuban fiasco gave us a black eye pretty well all over the world? Have you found that it dictates policy any place else other than it did in Cuba?

SECRETARY RUSK: I don't think that I want to comment about a specific agency and a specific episode. I am reminded of a statement made earlier that as far as that particular event was concerned, there was something in it for everybody. (Laughter.)

But, no, I think that policy of the present administration in our foreign policy is made by the President and the Secretary of State and his key advisers.

DOWNS: Well, let me ask you another one, and let me quote you—I've got it written down here, "Rusk's law."

There has been some discussion about whether or not there are two State Departments, one in the White House and one over here in this building and in your office, and you wrote back in Foreign Affairs a year ago, "No department or agency can be coordinated by a parallel department or agency." In other words, if you have got two agencies working on the same problem, you never get together. Do you think that's happening?

SECRETARY RUSK: Oh, I'm sorry that I have to suggest that is a misquotation. That was a law to which I was objecting in this article. That is, I do not myself take the view that it should be considered infra dig to defer to a companion agency.

Now, that coordination is something which ought to be worked out by the assignment of central responsibilities to identifiable individuals and departments who, in turn, have the responsibility for coordination with their neighbors. And we do need to work toward a simplification of the arrangements by which we come to our decisions, and I think the present administration has been doing that.

Handling of Latin American Affairs

DOWNS: Then you find no objection to the Presidential task force under Adolf Berle, or any conflict with the new Assistant Secretary of State, Mr. Woodward?

SECRETARY RUSK: When the new administration took responsibility on January 20, there were a great many urgent jobs that had to be done quickly. For example, the book which my colleagues in the Department kindly prepared for me, entitled "Major Issues Facing the New Administration," was a looseleaf book some 3 inches thick. Now, there were several things in the Latin American field which needed to be done promptly. For example, the program under the so-called Bogotá program had to be presented to Congress, and quickly, to get the program moving. This could not have been done in the time available through the normal machinery of government; so that task force took that on. The Brazilian financing was a part of it. Some of the steps we have taken in Bolivia was a part of it. So that task force, during this period of getting started, has done some extraordinarily helpful and effective things.

Now, as we settle in and we get our new arrangements set, the normal procedures will more and more, of course, take over.

NIVEN: But I think you might agree, sir, that Secretary Dulles was perpetually vigilant to see that there was no great influence on President Eisenhower in the foreign policy field from anybody except him, whether it be from Dr. Milton Eisenhower or Harold Stassen or anyone. Is this something every Secretary has to watch out for?

SECRETARY RUSK: Well, how these procedures work is, of course, a matter of interest to any Secretary and to any President. But let me just comment that Washington, to me, is a city which is filled with quiet diplomacy but a good deal of local gossip.

Actually, the President is in full charge of his office and of foreign policy, and he has used the Department of State and the other departments as he needs them to help him in this job. There is close and friendly contact between his personal staff and the departments concerned.

After all, with the abolition of the old Operations Coordinating Board, it would be expected that certain members of his personal staff and the staff of the National Security Council would be more active in the liaison field than before. But let me assure you that this is not a matter which has struck into the actual operations of government in the way that some of the reports would suggest.

SMITH: Mr. Rusk, are you in favor of Secretaries of State traveling a great deal? (Laughter.) I understand you have traveled more than Mr. Dulles in an equal period of time.

SECRETARY RUSK: Well, there were three slated meetings of foreign secretaries that were facing me when I first took office, and I felt that I ought to go to those meetings and get acquainted with my colleagues from other countries. Then there was one unplanned meeting at Geneva over Laos.

I still think that the principal post, the habitual post, of the Secretary of State ought to be at his desk in Washington. I have discussed with some of my colleagues among the foreign ministers the problem of organizing a sort of trade union of foreign ministers to create tolerable working conditions for ourselves.

SMITH: Excuse me, sir. I'm afraid that's all the time we have.

On that thought, I would like to thank you very much, indeed. We all have a national, nonpartisan interest in wishing you the very best of luck.

SECRETARY RUSK: Thank you very much, Mr. Smith.

⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯

For text, see BULLETIN of July 17, 1961, p. 107.

An aide mémoire was handed to President Kennedy by Premier Khrushchev during their meeting at Vienna June 2-4.

3 For texts of a Soviet aide mémoire of June 4 and a U.S. note of June 17 in reply, see BULLETIN of July 3, 1961, p. 18.

4 Ibid.July 17, 1961, p. 106.

5 For text, see ibid.June 5, 1961, p. 870.

6 For texts of an address and a message to Congress by President Kennedy, see ibid.Apr. 3, 1961, p. 471.

August 29, 2022

1952. "McCarthy Cries Again"

Collier's Magazine on Senator McCarthy's Attacks on the Press
Cartoon by Sam Berman in Collier's, August 2, 1952
Editorial from Collier's, August 2, 1952:

McCarthy Cries Again

A couple of years ago Senator Joe McCarthy buckled on his armor and, like a twentieth-century Don Quixote, set out to slay the dragon of American Communism single-handed. His intentions seemed noble as those of the good night. But also like the good knight, who attacked a procession of monks and a flock of sheep under the impression that they were brigands and ogres, he got a little confused about the targets of his sallies.

Thus it has come to pass, as his crusade continues, that anyone who takes issue with him assumes the look of the Red dragon itself. Disagreement becomes lies and crookedness. An adverse editorial comment is automatically a "left-wing smear." And the senator charges treason against a countryman as recklessly as Don Quixote charged the windmill.

Mr. McCarthy has had a busy time of it, because there are a great many people who approve the purpose of his crusade, but object strongly to his methods. There are many publications which feel the same way. One of them is Collier's. Another is Time. And we at Collier's feel just a little discriminated against because, so far, the senator has ignored us while singling out Time and accusing it of "twisting and distorting the facts about my (McCarthy's) fight to expose and remove Communists from government."

This charge apparently grew out of a Time cover story on Senator McCarthy. The senator had earlier attacked it as a "vicious and malicious lie." But recently he employed a new tactic which was definitely not cricket.

Backed by the prestige of his office, he sent a letter to "practically all Time advertisers," according to his own statement, which, while it did not come right out and ask them to take their business elsewhere, suggested that they were doing their country a disservice by their continued support of the magazine.

Since some of these advertisers were "not aware of the facts," the letter stated, they were "unknowingly helping to pollute and poison the waterholes of information." Still swimming along in his aquatic metaphor, the senator said that "it is much more important to expose a liar, a crook or a traitor who is able to poison the streams of information flowing into a vast number of American homes than to expose an equally vicious crook, liar or traitor who has no magazine or newspaper outlet for his poison."

The source of the senator's "facts" were an article from the American Mercury and a reprint from the Congressional Record. On the basis of these, the gentleman who complains about distortions and smears virtually accused Time's editors of dishonesty and treason in so many words.

Naturally Mr. McCarthy anticipated some criticism. "I realize," he said, "that bringing these facts to the attention of Time's advertisers will cause some of the unthinking to shout that this is endangering 'freedom of the press." But, he added, "To allow a liar to hide behind the cry 'You are endangering freedom of the press' is not only ridiculous, it is dangerous."

To this we can only answer that when a man hides behind the cry "You are a liar" before anyone has accused him of endangering freedom of the press, he must be feeling rather insecure. And when he tries to intimidate a critical publication by seeking to alienate its chief sources of revenue, he is something less than courageous.

Senator McCarthy has set himself up as the final authority on loyalty and Americanism. He insists that his accusations are not to be doubted, and his judgment is not to be questioned. Yet, a few weeks after he wrote his letter to Time’s advertisers, he testified in Syracuse, New York, that the Washington Post and the New York (Communist) Daily Worker "parallel each other quite closely in editorials." And when he was asked whether he would consider the Christian Science Monitor a "left-wing smear paper," he replied, "I can't answer yes or no."

Those are the statements of a man who is either woefully unperceptive or wholly irresponsible. And when such a man asks that his wild-swinging attacks be accepted without question, he is, to borrow his own words, not only ridiculous but dangerous.

We are not concerned that, on the basis of this editorial, the senator may now add us to his company of "left-wing smearers," or that he may also warn our advertisers of the danger of supporting another publication which pollutes the waterholes of information. What does concern us is the real danger of Communist infiltration in government, and the fact that this danger is too serious to be obscured and clouded by Senator McCarthy's eccentricities, exaggerations and absurdities.

August 4, 2022

1961. Under Secretary George Ball Discusses Kennedy Foreign Policy

Interview with the Incoming Under Secretary of State
"President John F. Kennedy (at lectern) addresses delegates to the White House Conference of Business Editors and Publishers in the State Department Auditorium, Washington, D.C. Secretary of the Treasury, C. Douglas Dillon, sits behind President Kennedy; Under Secretary of State, George Ball, sits at far right," September 26, 1962 (Photo by Abbie Rowesource)

From "At the Source," a monthly interview series made by CBS, which aired on October 26, 1961: 

GUEST: The Honorable George W. Ball, Under Secretary of State for Economic Affairs

CORRESPONDENTS: Howard K. Smith, Bill Downs, Stuart Novins

You are AT THE SOURCE.

Appointed by President Kennedy shortly after his inauguration, veteran international lawyer George Ball is primarily responsible for the development and conduct of US foreign economic policy. Yesterday, however, it was reported that Under Secretary Ball had risen to become the No. 2 man in the State Department. To obtain a comprehensive understanding of the critical problems and objectives face by Under Secretary of State Ball, he was interviewed by CBS News Correspondents Howard K. Smith, Stuart Novins, and Bill Downs.

MR. SMITH: Mr. Ball, a columnist wrote about you and said "George Ball, whose gift for decision and dispatch long ago commended him to President Kennedy, has become the No. 2 man in the State Department in all but name."

Is that so?

MR. BALL: Well, I'll tell you, Mr. Smith, I normally believe what I read in the newspapers and I particularly believe what columnists write; but this story doesn't happen to be true. Mr. Bowles is the No. 2 man in the State Department. He is the Under Secretary of State. I am the No. 3 man, I am the Under Secretary of State for Economic Affairs.

Now I think to the extent that there may have been some misconception of this, it arises from the fact that Mr. Bowles has been away a great deal, I am away from time to time; when one of us is away, the other pitches in. We all have so much work to do in the Department these days that with the Secretary, Mr. Bowles and I consider ourselves as available for whatever task may come along. The result is that I haven't confined myself strictly to economic matters and he hasn't confined himself strictly to political matters.

MR. DOWNS: Well as Under Secretary for Economic Affairs, Mr. Ball, you are in charge of the New Frontier's revolution for rising expectations. That has almost become a cliche in this Administration. Just what does the phrase mean, "revolution of rising expectation?"

MR. BALL: Well, it is a rather vivid phrase, isn't it? It is a phrase that suggests a situation which is a very complex anatomy I would suppose. After all, there are about three billion people in the world. One billion of those people live in countries that have per capita—where per capita annual income is fifty to a hundred dollars, really fantastically low. Now, in the last few years, as a result of the wars which have broken the old social and political fabrics as a result of the increases in technology and communications, these people are breaking free from the old systems. Whether they have lived under colonial arrangements which have been shattered by events, whether they have lived in countries which have simply been dormant for hundreds of years, they are now beginning to want and to feel that they are entitled to enjoy the kind of rich life which the people in the industrialized, economically advanced countries enjoy, and they are going to get it. If we help them, they are going to get it faster and probably are going to get it in a way which will insure their freedom and independence. If we don't help them, they may get it in ways which will insure that the frustration of some of their expectations, their delivery into systems which will mean tyranny and oppression and possibly that they will be swept into the vortex of the communist orbit.

MR. NOVINS: Mr. Ball, in that connection you made a speech recently before the Foreign Press Association, and in it you emphasized our commitment to the United Nations and our commitment to this revolution of rising expectations.

Why is it that we don't use more than we do—the U.N. channels for our assistance? Why don't we—

MR. BALL: Well, to some extent it's done through the special fund which Mr. Paul Hoffman administers, which does a great deal of pre-development survey work, the technical assistance programs under the specialized agencies of the United Nations. It's a mixed arrangement which we have for the administration of aid. The great part of it goes directly on a bilateral basis from the United States, but there is also the World Bank to which we subscribe, the International Development [Association], the Inter-American Development—all kinds of different administration.

MR. NOVINS: Well, are we concerned, Mr. Ball, that we are not going to be able to put strings on our aid if we do it through international bodies?

MR. BALL: Oh, no, that's not the problem. Actually, in some ways international bodies can take tougher lines than when aid is provided bilaterally.

But it's simply a matter of the requirements of a given situation. For political or other reasons it's much more desirable to provide aid on a bilateral basis. In some countries the multilateral provision of aid becomes more effective.

MR. SMITH: Mr. Ball, could you interpret for us the President's famous statement to the effect that we will give attention and consideration to the needs of countries that share our view of the world crisis. Is that a new principle?

MR. BALL: No, I think that that has been somewhat misinterpreted. Actually the President, I think, in his last press conference clarified that phrase to a considerable extent.

What the President said in his last press conference, and what he said repeatedly, and what we've all said, because this is the view of the Administration, is that we are interested in providing assistance to these countries and exporting capital to help them. Our interest in seeing that they are able to reach a point of economic development in an atmosphere of freedom which will assure both their political and economic independence.

Now, this doesn't mean that they have to copy our pattern of organization of their society, or that they have to share our views.

What we want them to do is to be independent, because we are convinced that a viable independent society will be a society which will resist the pressures from that—

MR. SMITH: Still, we are not happy about Mr. Tito's speech at the Belgrade Conference of Neutrals, are we?

MR. BALL: We have always known that Mr. Tito was a communist—there has never been any question about it. The only difference between Mr. Tito and some of the other satellite countries is that Yugoslavia is not a member of the bloc, that it pursues different means to the long communist objective.

But, at the same time, it maintains its independence, and this is the important thing.

MR. DOWNS: Well, Mr. Secretary, you have also said that the Free World and America are not providing enough of this aid.

How much is enough?

MR. BALL: There is no measure that is enough. I mean, this task that we face is a fantastically great task. Obviously the resources of any country, even a great country like ours, are finite. We can only provide a certain quantum of aid which we hope will enable countries, by self-help, by mobilizing their own energies and resources, to make ultimately a breakthrough to the point where they can be independent and self-sustaining.

MR. DOWNS: Are you saying that this is a great big international gamble for civilization, or something like that?

MR. BALL: It's a great gamble in which not only the United States but all the Western Powers are engaged. Actually this is a cooperative effort now, and we have made great strides in bringing this about.

MR. SMITH: Is it sufficiently cooperative? Your predecessor in this, in your job, who is now the Secretary of the Treasury—

MR. BALL: I just had lunch with him.

MR. SMITH: —tried to get the other allies to share in—

MR. BALL: We have been continuing this effort with some considerable success.

MR. SMITH: And you are satisfied with what they are doing?

MR. BALL: We are never satisfied, Mr. Smith. But we are certainly aware of the fact that they are making a much larger effort, many of them; that we are now enabled to tie together the things we are doing in a cooperative effort and to eliminate duplication and to insure maximum effective use of resources in a way that we haven't done before.

MR. NOVINS: Mr. Secretary, let me take advantage of the fact that sometimes in the absence of others you slip into the political field.

On August 13th the East Germans started to build a wall. Why didn't we knock it down then?

Mr. BALL: Well, you know, the wall, in many ways, Mr. Novins, was the great symbol of the defeat of Soviet policy. If the Soviet policy had been successful, they wouldn't have needed a wall, they wouldn't have needed to engage in all these exercises which they are engaging in over the whole Berlin situation. But they haven't been successful. They couldn't stand the out-pouring of thousands of people a month away from their system, escaping from it, so they had to build a wall. Now, they built a wall in East Berlin. You can see the difficulties of trying to break the wall down. It stands as a symbol of the defeat of their policies.

MR. NOVINS: Well, we are told that in West Germany there is more concern about the fact that we did not break it down than there is about the fact that the East Germans built it.

MR. BALL: Well, we have developed, with our allies, we are in the process of developing a whole strategy of meeting the problem of what we might call the kind of Berlin offensive which the Soviet Union has mounted. The wall is one aspect of that. This policy is an elaborate policy—it calls for response to particular moves. These moves are all well worked out.

Now, when the wall was built—this was something where you have to make a judgment—is this—do you want to move tanks through this wall and smash it down at the risk of a war which would be immediately exploited?

We had to determine the point where we make the ultimate stand. And this was a case where in the long run I think the construction of the wall is going to cost the Soviet Union a very great deal in terms of showing to the world—

MR. SMITH: Now, many people consider that the building of the wall was a blow to us. You consider in fact that it is a blow to the Russians?

MR. BALL: Well I think it has both effects. I mean it has certainly caused a good deal of concern and dismay. At the same time it symbolizes their defeat.

MR. DOWNS: Well, George, doesn't this bring up the whole problem of—is aid the answer? When the Russians started testing and started throwing around these super bombs, immediately our neutral friends sort of allied us with raw power, although we have not used power as such in that way. Maybe if we took all of this foreign aid and put it into super bombs perhaps we could achieve our goals more rapidly. Do you think that—

MR. BALL: No, no. You know the policy of aid which we follow has been extremely successful. The fact is that the Soviet Union has made almost no gains in the past few years in the form of bringing within their orbit new nations. They have invested a great deal of money, they have spent a great deal of effort—

MR. DOWNS: Cuba?

MR. BALL: Cuba is one of the few exceptions I would think.

MR. DOWNS: Laos?

MR. BALL: Laos is undetermined as of now. But, if you think of the magnitude of the effort they've made, they've also engaged in great foreign aid programs, many of which have been quite frustrating to them. But the significant thing that we have succeeded in doing is in giving these countries the ability to be independent.

Now, when they are independent they may adopt a course of neutralism, of being disengaged from the cold war struggle itself, they are concerned with their development, they may say things which we don't wish them to say which—views that are unpopular with us, but they stay independent which is the significant thing in the sense that they are not—do not become simple tools of the Soviet Union.

MR. DOWNS: We have been fostering and supporting the idea of a common market which is now going to become a major competitor of the United States. Isn't our policy in this sense self-defeating?

MR. BALL: Well, actually I think that the development of the European Common Market is one of the great successes of our policy, just as some of the things that the Soviet Union is doing now are symbols of the defeat of theirs.

After all, if you think of Western Europe as it existed for hundreds of years, states which were engaged in warfare, in always being at one another's throats, three times in 75 years France and Germany were at war. Now we have something which is a very old dream which has been brought into practical reality, the beginnings of a kind of United States of Europe. This is the way that many of the Europeans think about it. I think it is about to be enlarged if the present negotiations are carried on into a state of modern dimensions. Now you say it will be competitive with us, it will be a great market for us. Of course we are not afraid of competition. If Western Europe becomes healthy, economically healthy, we will prosper by it.

MR. NOVINS: Mr. Secretary, could we take that one step more. The NATO Alliance as a military alliance is from an economic point of view negative. I mean it doesn't produce.

MR. BALL: Well, it's not intended to be—

MR. NOVINS: No, of course not. On the other hand the Common Market is something that is a positive factor. We belong to NATO. We don't belong to the Common Market. What would be the United States attitude toward an expansion of the NATO Alliance into something more like an Atlantic Community that would involve economic activities? Would we be part of that?

MR. BALL: Well, the NATO Alliance is specifically a defense alliance, directed at defending—

MR. NOVINS: But it's there.

MR. BALL: —against exterior menace. The Common Market is not by definition a defensive arrangement. This is an arrangement where people living next to one another are joining together, pooling their economy, so to speak, in order to become economically stronger. At the same time they are building a structure of institutions which gives them the beginning of a kind of political integration. Just as in our country we gathered together 50 states in a common market, if you think of the United States as a common market of 50 states, then you could think of Europe as a common market of what may become 15 or 16 or 17 states.

MR. NOVINS: What I am reaching for, Mr. Secretary, is what the United States attitude is, or is likely to be, toward something similar to what Senator Fulbright talked about, a concert of free nations, and I mention NATO only as something which exists and which—

MR. BALL: Well, I think politically that we can go very far in strengthening the bonds that tie to us to the nations on the other side of the Atlantic.

MR. NOVINS: In what direction?

MR. BALL: We can, and I think we must—we have already, through the OECD, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which has just come into being. It's an extension of the Old Organization for European Economic Cooperation. We are a member of that, as Canada is, and we are working with the Europeans on developing common economic policies and on working together toward providing aid toward underdeveloped countries, and working together to help solve some of the difficult market problems in the world.

Now, this is practical cooperation in the Atlantic Community of a kind we haven't had before in the economic field.

MR. SMITH: In this connection, the Congressional Quarterly, which is much read in this Capital, had a piece recently which said that the Berlin crisis is hiding the fact that there is going to be a crisis over America's foreign trade policy. The powers wanting protectionism are getting so powerful in Congress that we are going to face a fight over whether we can continue the liberal trade policies of the past.

MR. BALL: I have perfect confidence that in the face of the new trading world which is emerging, which is a world of marvelous opportunities for an America which is willing to seize them, that while there may be the appearance of a great deal of protectionist sentiment, once the dimensions and the opportunities and the possibilities of this new emerging world are understood, that we will adopt a liberal policy, a liberal trading policy, as we must. After all, our country has a very large favorable trading balance in the world, and even though our total balance of accounts may be adverse, our trading balance, our merchandise balance, is favorable.

It would be the height of folly for us to turn in on ourselves and be fearful of trading with the world and become protectionist, and I don't think we ever will.

MR. DOWNS: Mr. Secretary, if we could look south of the border again, there is the Alliance for Progress which is the Kennedy Administration's most ambitious thing that they have initiated.

Will this Alliance, do you think, be able to meet the challenge of Castroism? It hasn't, so far.

You were talking about reforming not only economies, but reforming governments, so that one junta or dictatorship of a small family or group of companies, does not run a nation.

Is this the United States' business? Can we do anything about it? It's been the pattern there for centuries.

MR. BALL: It's a very big concept, Mr. Downs, the Alliance for Progress, and it includes many different kinds of activities. But what it chiefly provides for is arrangements whereby we will help these countries to try to bring about the sort of reforms which are very long overdue, reforms which mean the breaking down of old rigid caste systems and their society, social structures, where a decent distribution of their resources can be obtained, where there could be such things as farm cooperatives developed, or there can be credit provided for self-help housing, where the poor worker in these countries can have a chance for the first time in his life.

Now, there is bound to be a good deal of resistance to this, because we are undertaking something of very, very great importance.

MR. DOWNS: A very touching thing, because this is exactly what Khrushchev is trying to do to the United States.

MR. BALL: Well, this I would hardly admit. I mean, what we are trying to do in Latin America is with great consent of the Latin American people, and this is a significant thing. There is enormous enthusiasm for the Alliance for Progress in Latin America, because the people feel that this provides them with the opportunity that they have needed over the years, and what we are doing is providing them the chance, through their own efforts. The emphasis here is on self-help, as it is in the other efforts that we are making in that direction.

MR. DOWNS: Well, what becomes of companies like the United Fruit Company, the banana republics, dollar diplomacy, the old oil cartels—

MR. BALL: There will be no difficulty about a place for American private enterprise in the new Latin America. In fact, there will be far more security in societies which themselves are secure than under dictatorship arrangements, where a few dominate the many and can be overthrown every other night.

MR. NOVINS: Mr. Ball, if, assuming that you had an ideal economic regional plan for South America, and assuming that it could be implemented under ideal circumstances, as an expert on economics how long would it take before we would see any results?

MR. BALL: Well, you'd see some results from any kind of effort in a short time. Efforts are all—

MR. NOVINS: Reckoning points—breakthrough points.

MR. BALL: A breakthrough may take quite a long time in Latin America.

MR. NOVINS: Is there much time?

MR. BALL: And it must be done on a monolithic basis; it will be done. One country after another will begin to emerge, to develop, to change its own structure toward a democratic tradition, to develop its institutions, to develop the base of a strong economy. We will have successes some places, we will have failures others. When I saw "we," I'm not thinking just of the United States.

MR. NOVINS: Oh, no.

MR. BALL: I'm thinking of this working together of the United States and the Latin American states.

MR. NOVINS: Is there time for that, Mr. Ball, in view of the threat of communism, the threat of Castroism, if that is separated from communism—is there time for this? Are we doing long-range planning that there is no time for?

MR. BALL: The long range is always upon you sooner or later, you know, and actually this is a situation which you don't solve by short-term measures. If you try to solve it by short-term measures you will defeat yourself. We have to work here over a period of time. We have to build soundly; we can't improvise. This can't be a jerry-built business. We throw our money away and nothing will come of it if we do, so that what we have to do is to work on the assumption that, with the understanding and new spirit of the Latin American people, we will be able to achieve these—

MR. NOVINS: Are you satisfied that they are moving fast enough in the reforms you are talking about?

MR. BALL: I'm never satisfied, Mr. Novins.

MR. DOWNS: Well, you brought up at one point in one of your speeches, Mr. Secretary, the fact that one of the problems of instituting those reforms is that you have things like a population explosion where you barely keep even, that you don't achieve a revolution, or it's very difficult to. Now, it brought to my mind—is it possible and is this job really too big for us without regimenting whole societies, whole nations, down to the point of their breeding, how many children they can have.

MR. SMITH: I am sorry to interrupt. I'm afraid we have almost run out of time. I wonder if we can save your answer on that and cover that area in just a moment.

MR. DOWNS: Mr. Ball, can you achieve these reforms without absolute regimentation of everything?

MR. BALL: Well, if we were to regiment anything we would defeat our own ends, wouldn't we? The whole point of what we are attempting to do is to bring about a development and a transition or transformation, in effect, of the societies of many of these countries by their efforts. So we assist this, to bring this about in the conditions of freedom without regimentation.

MR. NOVINS: What will we do with a country like Paraguay?

MR. BALL: Well, Paraguay is an example of a country with very minimal resources, which is located rather disadvantageously, which suffers a great many problems.

MR. NOVINS: Also a dictatorship.

MR. BALL: At the moment it has a dictatorship.

MR. SMITH: Tell me, is it possible that Castro is a help rather than a hindrance to this, that his existence will frighten some conservative governments into reforms?

MR. BALL: I would suggest that to some extent this is true, that certainly many of the governments are aware and disturbed—aware of the potential of Castroism and disturbed by it—and that they may be prepared to take actions which otherwise they would be reluctant to take.

MR. NOVINS: I wonder, Mr. Secretary, if you would feel that it's not entirely cynical, the comment that is made by some of the Latin Americans that much of the foreign aid they are getting now they can thank Castro for.

MR. BALL: No, I don't think that's a fair statement. As a matter of fact, the attention that the United States is now giving to Latin America was overdue. And I am certain that Castro or no Castro, that when this Administration came in we would have turned our attention and concentrated a great deal on Latin America.

MR. SMITH: Thank you very much, Mr. Ball.

July 15, 2022

1943. "Should Newscasters Voice Opinion?"

The Editorial Debate at CBS
"Caricaturist [George] Wachsteter takes this view of the CBS-TV political commentators at work" (1956). Featured are Walter Cronkite, Edward R. Murrow, Robert Trout, Bill Downs, Eric Sevareid, Charles Collingwood, and others
From Newsweek, October 4, 1943, pp. 86-88:
Should Newscasters Voice Opinion?
CBS Says No; Commentators Object
Ever since radio went commercial, a major problem has plagued its news commentators. Unlike newspaper columnists, most of them are hired or sponsored by advertisers; if a commentator's opinions disagree too violently with those of the sponsor who is paying the bill, that commentator is likely to find himself replaced by somebody else when his contract expires. Hence one of the most frequent complaints against radio—chiefly from leftist sources—is that opinion on the air tends to agree with the views of big business as represented by a fairly small group of advertisers.
In the last three weeks that problem has flared into a wide open public discussion. On Sept. 13, James L. Fly, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, castigated an unidentified "so-called news program" for "peddling ideas from company headquarters" and tending "to get away from the news of the day to the philosophies of the particular sponsor."

Even before that the discussion had started. On Sept. 9 Paul White, Columbia Broadcasting System news director, told an Associated Press meeting in Chicago that CBS policy barred any opinion on any news programs, including those of commentators. A week later White and CBS were verbally paddled by H.V. Kaltenborn, NBC newscaster who is himself notoriously fond of air-editorializing. At a New York luncheon of the National Association of Broadcasters and the Association of Radio News Analysts, which Kaltenborn founded, he stated: "No news analyst worth his salt could be or would be completely neutral or objective." He did admit that it was "altogether too easy for timid broadcasters to go too far in catering to the sensibilities or special interests of a squeamish or powerful minority."

Last Monday CBS brought the whole issue out of the radio newsrooms and laid it before the public. In full-page advertisements in New York and Washington newspapers, the network reemphasized its policy: "We will not choose men who will tell the public what they themselves think and what the public should think" because "without such a policy it is easy to see that a powerful and one-sided position on serious issues could be created for a small group of broadcasters . . . freedom of speech on the radio would be menaced."

Ostensibly the ad was intended to free CBS, at least, from charges of peddling its sponsors' political ideas. Instead, it prompted some newspapers and commentators to accuse the network of everything from gagging free speech to kowtowing to the demands of "wealthy businessmen and Republican National Committee members" to "give our side a break." (White called this "utter fantasy.") Probably the loudest shouter was Walter Winchell, who frequently scolds the Blue network for trying to censor him on his Sunday-night program. In his syndicated newspaper column last Tuesday, Winchell found that "the air ain't as free as it used to be. It's subject to the whims of CBS and its highest mucky-mucks."

The climax came last Wednesday. Cecil Brown, CBS newscaster who took over the network spot vacated when Elmer Davis became head of the Office of War Information, announced he was resigning from the Columbia staff. And he made his letter to Paul White declaring that the CBS policy was intolerable because it "is not . . . intended to make CBS reporters neutral . . . but to make them creatures of your own editorial opinion of what constitutes the news."

Brown's resignation also climaxed his private fight with White. In a broadcast Aug. 25, among other things, Brown had remarked that "any reasonably accurate observer of the American scene at this moment knows that a good deal of the enthusiasm for this war is evaporating into thin air." He also criticized the President and Prime Minister Churchill for "failing to dramatize what we are fighting for."

Two days later White sent him a memo hinting his resignation would be acceptable. "I have looked over your 'analysis' of 11:10 on Wednesday night," White wrote, "and have found it to be, in my opinion, nothing but an editorial . . . the entire 'analysis' was a statement of what Cecil Brown thinks, of what Cecil Brown would have done had he been President Roosevelt, disregarding the very obvious truth that the people did not elect Cecil Brown but did elect President Roosevelt." As for the "evaporating enthusiasm," White angrily went on: "That statement is made at a time when all production records are being broken, when the largest sum of money ever to be sought by our government is going to be invested in government bonds by the people themselves, and at a time . . . when American military morale was never higher." White's memo was written only a few days after the Johns-Manville Corp. had informed CBS that it would not continue to sponsor Brown beyond September.

For the moment no other network showed any sign of joining in Columbia's "neutrality" crusade. But behind that crusade loomed the larger issue of the relations of broadcasters with the Federal Communications Commission.

Obviously, CBS's policy could be an answer to Chairman Fly's strictures on big-business bias in news broadcasts. And it would be an especially timely answer. For within the next two months Congress is expected to order hearings on the pending White-Wheeler bill which would modify the FCC's power to regulate network activities. At that time it would be up to Fly to prove that the networks need regulating. If he can't prove it, that would please the majority of broadcasters, who would like to see his authority limited.