tv Book Discussion on JF Ks Forgotten Crisis CSPAN March 13, 2016 8:30pm-9:01pm EDT
the fact that we see the establishment reacting so negatively to that illustrates how affected they are by it. >> host: we been talking about the presidential level what about others. >> guest: this is a familiar situation with the local level. in arizona there's there's a gubernatorial race between two partisan candidates who try to run as independents. for example incumbents are not promoting their partisan identity as much as they used to. they're not putting up the local or advertising of logo. >> host: thank you for being our guest here in book tv. that is going to wrap up our coverage here from the tucson festival of books, we want to thank everyone involved at the festival. we want to thank the university of arizona. 400 authors were here this
weekend, today festival, about 100,000 people from the tucson area tennis festival. they did a wonderful job job presenting books and authors, and ideas. it's very accessible and easy to get to at the university. we appreciate all of their help and the fact that they let us come here and set up, we also appreciate hearing from you are callers. thank you for watching. >> everything you have seen today will be read broadcast beginning at 1:00 a.m. eastern time tonight. thank you for joining us. [inaudible] >> this is book tv on c-span to, television for serious readers. starting shortly bruce riedel reports on the indian more. that at nine we discussed race and the obama presidency.
primetime continues at 10:00 p.m. with conservative blogger krystal wright. she was on "washington journal" to discuss her book. we wrap up book tv on prime time with the leaven with a look at professional and private relationships between mohammed ali and malcolm x. that happens next on c-span to book tv. first, here's bruce riedel. >> my -- on behalf of the entire staff by at least welcome you. i am pleased to welcome bruce knight for his book jfk's forgotten crisis. in the book, bruce shares the gripping story of the conflict that really has escaped history's attention. it really still resonates today, it is that of today, it is that of the indian war. he drives on documents and details decisions made by jfk to
stem the tide up an all-out war and explains how this regard crisis is still influencing the world. we are so glad he is here with us to share his new book. please join me in welcoming bruce riedel [applause]. >> thank you very much for that introduction. i think think all of you for coming out tonight. i want to begin by taking you back half a century. on the morning of october sixteenth, 1962 george about it, john f. kennedy's, john f. kennedy's national security advisor arrived in his office in the west wing of the white house. on his desk, as there was every morning there is a file prepared by the white house situation room of the most important top-secret documents that he had to see before he saw the president that day. two documents were notably important on the 16th of october.
one was a memo from the state department, from the bureau of intelligence and research. in that document the state department warned that the situation between china and india, on their board in the himalaya mountains was deteriorating rapidly. there was a very good chance that a war was going to break out between china and india. the document document also won the president that if that happened, and it would probably be the loser. the united states might be called upon by india's a prime minister to provide assistance and support to stem the chinese invasion. it also warned that if he did provide support to india it would alienate our ally in pakistan. the other document that morning was a report from the central intelligence agency. summarize the results of a recent overflight over the island of cuba.
the cia discovered a day before the soviet union was in the process of putting intermediate range ballistic missiles in cuba. they had the capacity to hit almost every american city east of the mississippi river. it was a global game changer by the soviets. in retrospect, one of these crisis is well known. we have all seen movies about the cuban missile crisis, we have seen books about the cuban missile crisis. there is an industry of studies about the cuban missile crisis. and there should be. the. the cuban missile crisis was the closest we came to armageddon and the cold war. john f. kennedy was dealing with an issue which if he dealt with it wrong meant we would not be here today. the apocalypse would have occurred. in fact, we now know 50 years later it was even more dangerous than people thought it was then.
the cia back in 1962 estimated there are six - 8000 soldiers on the island. in the island. in fact, there are 50000 soviet soldiers on the island. the cia thought the soviets had only brought intermediate range ballistic missiles, in in fact, the russians had also brought with them tactical nuclear weapons. they surrounded the guantánamo naval base with what were called fog missiles. the commander of the soviet forces on the island had the authority already delivered from moscow that when the first american bomb dropped on cuba, he could provide nuclear weapons into the guantánamo naval base where there's 5000 marines. just as that was i was an important it should not completely overlook the other crisis. the the china indian war. china and india are the tools worlds biggest countries by
population. by the 1960s they were the cutting edge of competition between democracy and communism. in many ways they were where the whole cold war was going to be fought out. kennedy had campaigned in 1959 and 1960, one of the planks he campaigned on was the united states wanted india to win this competition. the state department memo was impressive. a few days later the war began and the chinese immediately began overrunning the front-line indian positions. within. within a week of two india was in a very serious position and look like it was going to be defeated. as the state department they very reluctantly asked the united states and the united kingdom for assistance. by the end of october, 1962, united states and the royal air
force were flying a massive airlift of weapons and equipment into india. six, 707's were landing every day at new delhi international airport. from their american c-130s were taking equipment to the front lines in the himalayas. then the chinese stopped. they paused for a week. then they started again with a larger offensive. at the end of november, this offensive threaten to overrun all of eastern india. if you think of india, there is a a little deck part that sticks out between bangladesh which was east pakistan at that time, all of that look like it was going to fall into chinese hand. it was unclear whether the chinese would stop there. there was some in india that that the chinese would march all the way to calcutta and take india's second-largest city. on november 19, 1962 the crisis
came to its head. they said to kennedy to letters, the first letter arrived just before a national security council meeting. the second letter arrived during the meeting. the american ambassador into delhi had already previewed the second letter. the second letter was a cry for immediate assistance. in it, they said we are on the verge of going under. the whole world was going to feel a communist giant march into a democracy and destroy. i am not sure india will survive this catastrophe. that he came to the punchline. he said he immediately needed 12 squadrons of american combat fighter aircraft with american pilots and two more squadrons with american bombers to be dispatched to india to join the war.
in this letter they are asking the president of the united states for 350 combat aircraft to be deployed immediately to india to defend indian airspace while india began bombing raids into thai bet. it was going to be a slippery slope. once we went into india, we were going to be at war with communist china. the president that night decided he needed time, he could not make this overnight. he did two things. first, he dispatched a u.s. navy carrier battle group to the bay in order to demonstrate american support. secondly, he left that night to an air force base to fly direct to india to assess india's need,
he is not well remembered today but is an icon of american diplomacy. he is the maid man that franklin resin -- fdr sent to moscow in 1941 to see whether the soviet union was going to be able to survive the nazi invasion. he did something else as well, that he had been doing since the beginning of the crisis, he sent another message to pakistan same do not even think about it. from the beginning of the crisis the pakistani military dictator had been sending signals that he was unhappy that america was supporting india and he therefore wanted to be compensated as he like to say for pakistan's neutrality. compensation met give me kashmir.
kennedy refused to give into the black male. he sent repeated messages to the pakistanis that if you enter this war, we will regard you as part of the enemy, not as part of the alliance. the 20th of november was sheer panic in new delhi. the right and the memoir that it look like india was going to disintegrate. all indian aircraft, private and public work commissioned by the indian air force, martial law was declared as much of northeast india. india began moving troops from the pakistan front, that night, for no explanation china unilaterally stop. the chinese ceased and announced within a month it would draw back to the lines they had
started. we do not know why china did that. chinese records are not available today. we get a lot of records about what the american government thought but chinese archives remain sealed. they credited john f. kennedy for convincing the chinese to stop. he said it was america's resolve and kennedy's determination not to let the chinese when, manifested in the airlift and the deployment of the aircraft carrier battle group that persuaded beijing to stop and not let this crisis continue to go further. this of course leads us with a great, what if? what if the chinese had not stopped that night? with the united states find itself at war with communist china? remember, 1962 only nine years
before we had been at war with communist china and korea. we fought a war in korea with communist chinese. here it was essentially asking us to go to war with china again. we will never know. it is a what-if. in my judgment, kennedy almost really would have said yes. i make that make that judgment for several reasons. first because he really did believe that indian democracy was crucial to the united states in the global balance of power. second, because it ambassador who is a personal friend and one of the people closest to the president would almost certainly have recommended it. third, because just one year later in the fall 1963 the united states air force, the royal air force, and small squadrons from the royal australian air force and royal canadian air force deployed into indian for military training
exercise which is exactly what they had asked for one year before. we we actually practice going into this war. the conflict between china and india ended in a cease fire, unilaterally on the 21st of november, 1962. the conflict is not over. china and is not over. china and india have never settled their border dispute. this border dispute remains the longest on settled border dispute in the world today. neither party agrees to wear that border should be. there have been hundreds of meetings between the chinese and indians and they have not succeeded once in moving forward. our big trip between partners with each other today, the likelihood of another china, indian wars probably low. i wars probably low. i would not say the same of an indian, pakistan war, that, that i think is a very serious reality. so that dispute continues to this day.
in addition that has led to two other things. access between china and pakistan. china and pakistan had barely in any interaction with each other before 1962. it is the alliance between china and pakistan begins. today that it's very strong, they call it the all weather alliance. it's kind of a snob at the united states. we are not all weather, they say it is all weather. taller than the than the himalayas and deeper than the ocean. just this year they signed agreements with which led to agreements and $46 billion in chinese investments and pakistani infrastructure. they also have a secret nuclear collusion. pakistan and china have been secret nuclear partners since the 1960s. china gave pakistan the design
for its nuclear weapons force. today, pakistan pakistan has the fastest-growing nuclear weapons program in the world. faster than any other country. this has led to a triangular arms race, probably the most dangerous arms race today. between china between china and pakistan on one hand and india on the other. just two years ago, india proudly announced that it fired an intermediate range ballistic missile that allowed it for the first time to target beijing with nuclear weapons. the crisis that was averted in 1962 remains a problem to this day. john f. kennedy's forgotten's story of the crisis, mostly from the american point of view. it also has several other back stories which i'll be happy to talk about in q&a like the role
of the first lady. it was very important in this issue. and the role played by the cia and tried to sponsor rebellion and type at. me finish with one other word about sources. this book relies upon letters that have only been declassified in the last couple of years between kennedy and nehru. for more than 50 years, years, the indian government denied these letters even existed. in some ways they are very embarrassing. india in its moment of greatest need had to ask the united states to bail it out. the letters are declassified and this is the first book that takes advantage of looking at these documents and death. with that, thank you for your attention. i'll be delighted to take questions if i can i will come up with answers. [applause].
>> john f. kennedy never went to india and pakistan during the thousand days he was in office. he had gone to india in the early 1950s and mrs. kennedy actually recounts what happened. she did not go with but it is a great anecdote. she said that when the then senator, john f. kennedy got to new delhi and they requested a meeting with the prime minister, the u.s. embassy told him the prime minister's attention all failed quickly and that if the prime minister's attention was failing he would look up at the ceiling and start playing with his pencil. within two minutes of the meeting with john f. kennedy, according to jackie, nehru was nehru was staring at the ceiling and playing with his pencil. it was not a very good start to their relationship but it got better. mrs. kennedy did travel to south
asia during the 1000 days of the kennedy administration. she went in spring 1962. just a few months before the crisis. it was the first time i first lady had traveled by herself outside the united states in the age of television. eleanor roosevelt traveled during the second world war but there is no television. truman and eisenhower's wives never travel by themselves overseas. when i say by herself, that is a bit of a misnomer. her sister went with her, the, the secret service detachment of about 25 people. they needed a boeing seven oh seven to get there as well. her trip was a spectacular success. she was hailed as the queen of america and india and pakistan.
she excited the crowds not just in india and pakistan but because of television, she excited the people back in the united states of america. in pakistan, she also got a gift, he heard that she was a horsewoman, she loved hearses, she loves riding, she loved jumping, so, so he gave her a 10-year-old gelding. she let immediate instructions back to the white house that the horse was to be given vip treatment and flown home on its own airport and there is not going to be any silly rolls about checking the veterinary background of this horse. it was to to be shipped immediately to her farm. it is the horse that drives riderless during the funeral and over to arlington park.
it is a unique reminder of the role that pakistan and india played in the kennedy administration. the other thing she did what she was a hostess, she hosted both nehru and another to a state visit to the united states. the state visit was unique, only once in american history has mount vernon, george washington's home venues for a state visit. jackie wanted to use mount vernon. she had just come back from a trip with her husband from verse i in france, and austria, we do not have any -- but she wanted to do something equally as grants. in june 1961, mount vernon was the site of a very special summit between -- and jfk.
a few months later nehru came, it was in november. if you had mount vernon for the pakistani, what you do to out do that? so? so they took nehru to jackie's home in newport, rhode island, hammersmith farms. it is called a cottage but if you have ever driven around newport you will see their idea of a cottage is most different then many others. it became a complete failure. nehru was becoming and getting old and age and was tired from the fly. he answered most of kennedy's request with short answers. then it got worse. after the stop in newport they came down to the white house to have an official dinner at the white house as well. someone at the white house staff failed to properly open the flu in the fireplace in the east room and the meeting began with smoke
spreading throughout the white house. it was not a good start to the relationship. mrs. mrs. kennedy in this regard was a crucial partner with her husband in the american engagement. it was both india and pakistan in the early 1960s. >> i'm wondering if this documents shed light on the cia involvement in their fight against the chinese? >> let me back up a little bit. in the 1950s, pakistan was called america's most allied ally. we actually had more treaties an alliance with pakistan then we did with any other country in
the world. pakistan was a member of the central treaty organization, a, a member of the southeast asia treaty organization. we were firmly embedded with pakistan. the eisenhower administration like pakistan because it was clearly with us in the cold war, where india was much more neutral. the cia as a result developed a close relationship with pakistani counterpart in the 1950s. one of these relationships was the famous you to. a u2 aircraft was based and that's where they took off to fly, the famous mission that was shot down began in 1959. there is a second secret operation, that was to support the tibetan resistance. 1950, china move troops into type at. the story of two weathertight
bed as part of china are not, if you go to a library there are bookshelves full of books are going both sides. i'm not going to go into that today. from the the type button standpoint it was clear-cut. the country was invaded by the chinese, their way of life was attacked by china in many ways. their spiritual leader, the dalai lama was forced into exile or went into exile. what few people know is when the debt dalai lama went into exile it was a cia team of trained thai patents that helped him get out and cross over the border into india where he remains to this day. the cia was also providing military support to type button rebels fighting against the communist army. that support was provided by an airbase in pakistan, in what is today bangladesh.
at the time it was these pakistan. if you think about the geography, where can you get time but easily from? bangladesh or east pakistan was very close by. the ci a train to some of the operatives in the united states, some some were trained at the cia training facility and camp parry in virginia. most were trained at colorado. the logic of that was, colorado was as close to type but in terms of geography acclimates as you can find anywhere in the united states. i don't know if that is true or not. that was the logic. they are trained at the u.s. army facility that had been used to capture german soldiers in world war ii. there train their blood to east pakistan and parachuted into type at. in many ways it was a crazy operation. there is no possible way thai patents, with all the american support in the world, were going
to actually defeat the chinese people's liberation army. john gilbert thought the whole idea was crazy. he even called it unsanitary. i'm not sure why he picked that but that is one of his arguments. the operation continued after the eisenhower administration into the kennedy administration. the documents that i alluded to about relationship with naral and kennedy do not speak to it very much, officially the indians were out of the loop. i am increasingly convinced that the indians must have been aware of at least part of what was going on. after all, they are immediately next-door. they were not involved in the operation at this point. we do have fortunately to very good accounts of the operation written by cia officers involved in it and got them cleared by