tv Conversation with Henry Kissinger CSPAN May 22, 2016 6:30pm-8:01pm EDT
>> voices crying for peace and light. your choices will make the difference to you and to all of us. ondo not be afraid to take cases where a new job or a new issue that really stretches your boundaries. >> and the specter of living in your parents basement after this graduation date is not to be your greatest concern. >> watch commencement -- commencement speeches to the .lass of 2016 in their entirety from business leaders, politicians, and white house officials. former secretary of state henry kissinger defended his role in the vietnam war. after the fall of saigon and america's withdrawal he calls
the 1970 five saigon evacuation one of the saddest moments of his life, but insisted he has no regrets. lbjinger sat down with presidential library director -- as part of a three-day conference in austin texas that organizers call the vietnam war summit. then took questions from the audience. we will hear first from several introductory speakers, including >> it is my honor and privilege to introduce henry kissinger. he was a relatively young ,rofessor at harvard university and i was a low ranking member of white house staff. in july, 1967, dr. kissinger was a top secret channel for president johnson. through french intermediaries, with north vietnamese prime
minister, and the aging ho chi minh. through dr. kissinger, president johnson offered a bombing halt, if a secession -- cessation of bombing would lead to productive discussions between the united states and hanoi. president johnson even proposed a direct meeting between dr. kissinger and hanoi's representatives. and as a good-faith measure, president johnson unilaterally halted bombing in the vicinity of hanoi. the north vietnamese response was entirely negative. and i quote. we can neither received mr. kissinger, nor comment on the american views as transmitted through this channel. in a very highly classified meeting in the cabinet room on
october 18, 1967, president johnson, secretary of state and, secretary of defense robert mcnamara asked dr. kissinger to make one more attempt. the north vietnamese response, and i quote, there's no reason for us to talk again. what we soon learned was that hanoi was planning a massive, all-out assault throughout vietnam. a sledgehammer blow designed to shatter the north vietnamese army and to hopefully drive united states out. hanalei launched its offensive. massive thanore the cia or our military leadership than anticipated.
president johnson and all of us around him were -- the north vietnamese attacked 36 of phenom's 42 prevention capitals and five of the six largest cities. thousands were killed. but the united states forces prevailed and won every single battle, including a massive -- le despite his best efforts, the kessinger parish channel was killed as well. in my opinion, no two men -- so would have honorable peace in vietnam as did dr. kissing good kissinger. dr. kissinger and president presidentadvise
johnson at the ranch just a few days before his death that what they thought would be an honorable peace agreement was about to be signed. the peace agreement was violated by hanalei and completely disregarded within months of its signing. people, especially , antiwarar activists activists everywhere, especially on american campuses and the american congress and the american press. it had all of the lord it could take. united states troops did not lose the war. literally won every engagement. after eight long years most americans had lost the will to fight. the price had come unacceptably
high. they never seem to lose their well to continue the war until they had reunited. i know there are men and women who continue to disagree with henry kissinger. yet i will assure you that he and lbj also wanted peace as , and honorabled peace that would stop the war and permit the people of south vietnam to remain free from communism. and from totalitarian rule. how do i know? i know because i was there. i know because i took the nose of their conversations. i read the transcripts of their telephone calls, sometimes
without dr. kissing her. i served as a link until president johnson died. they both wanted an honorable peace. dr. kissinger won the nobel prize. it after you see presentation, a video after he negotiated that peace treaty with reagan i will introduce him to you. thank you. >> the united states is seeking -- we had many armistice peace that we have loss.
therefore it is our firm intention in our relationship to the democratic republic of to move from a hostility to normal sanctions, but -- hostility to normalization. and to cooperation. we believe under conditions of , we can contribute throughout into china to a realization of the humane aspirations of all the people of china. and we will perform our traditional roles of helping people realize these aspirations >> ladies and gentlemen
please welcome the former secretary of state, henry kissinger. dr. kissinger, welcome. it is a privilege to have you on the stage. peoplethe things i think don't realize is you are not only the national security to president nixon but also a part-time consultant to president kennedy and president johnson.
any living person, i think you saw all the principal commanders of chief around vietnam. each of thosebout men and what categorize their position on the war? : first of all let me say what an honor it is for me to be here. and to participate in a needed to which is heal wounds about vietnam. i want to congratulate the library for organizing this and providing the opportunity. it is symbolic that secretary kerry is coming here tomorrow .ight he was walking around with plaque is outside the white house.
the point i want to make is we and hecome good friends came to my 90th birthday party -- and it was out a pity we did not have an to talk rather than in that each other time. in that spirit, he and i have worked together when he was chairman of the foreign relations committee, and i greatly respect his efforts now, it's very meaningful to this conference would end with his speech by this distinguished leader of america now.
now, to answer your question. in the kennedy administration, vietnam was at first a relatively peripheral issue. the dominant concern about indochina in the kennedy administration was the future of laos. because they, in turn, have received the advice from president eisenhower in the transition that the future of laos might determine the future of vietnam. then, as the administration went on, there was a document that the chinese produced, who was these -- the successor to mao, sing the whole world is going to
be characterized by the struggle of the countryside against the cities. in the kennedy administration tended to interpret what was going on in indochina as part of that process. in those days, we had only a few thousand advisors. but the number was increased to about 50,000. in the kennedy administration. but it was not yet a central obsession of american foreign-policy. then, lyndon johnson inherited a situation in which the government of vietnam had been overthrown, the north vietnamese had infiltrated the regular divisions, not just guerrilla forces. if i could observe -- lyndon johnson thought he was carrying out the spirit of the policy that had been started by
president kennedy, when he ordered the intrigue of forces. and then gradually, as the administration went on, the president who all his life and been known as concerned primarily with domestic policy was engulfed in a division of the country that, in a way, has lasted to this day in its perception of foreign-policy. and i must say, he was anguished person.
because he wanted peace. with his notions of peace were that you made a compromise. and that is the one thing that the north via minis --vietnamese were never prepared to do. i became involved, because the normal attempt to achieve negotiations had all been blocked. i was at that time a professor of harvard with no standing in the hierarchy in washington. i attended a scientific conference in europe, and at that conference, there were two individuals who talked to me.
because they knew i had been in vietnam for a few weeks. earlier that year. at the invitation of the ambassador. one of these two people have been the host of ho chi minh, when ho chi minh lived in paris for a year. to negotiate peace with the french. he offered to go to vietnam and call on his acquaintance on behalf of peace for the united states. i called up secretary mcnamara to tell him about this. secretary mcnamara discuss the matter with president johnson. and amazingly, president johnson entrusted a professor at
harvard, which was not the constituency that most favored him, with being an intermediary to two frenchmen that no one had ever heard of before. they were sent off with a message from president johnson, to ho chi minh. then outlined the circumstances under which you would prepared to make peace. and they were relieved -- they were received by ho chi minh. and they came back with a reply which, after six years of negotiations, in various administration's, we learned, was a typical north vietnamese
vague reply that basically rejected the proposal, but made it sound as if maybe there was something. so they brought back that reply. i won't go through all the details. but i was sent back with another message. none of this happened that i ever saw a vietnamese negotiated. i just visited these frenchmen, and they went to the vietnamese. after a while, we realized that they were stalling. i mention this only to show the dedication of president johnson. to achieve an honorable negotiated peace from the very beginning.
president nexen have the problem of how he inherited the war. there were already 500 plus troops in vietnam. he had the same issue as president johnson -- how you end this war? and have you withdraw these troops without leaving to a collapse of the whole structure in indochina? and as some of our allies in the rest of south asia were telling
us, the collapse of the whole structure. you can ask me questions about individual decisions. they were taken, and president ford was president in the very last phase. of the war. i want to say the very end, when it was obvious that we were talking only about the evacuation of the last batch of civilians that were stuck at the airport in saigon, i called him and said we have to transmit the evacuation of saigon. if you read that phone conversation between him and me, he realized that we had to leave. but he wanted to squeeze out another 12 hours to see whether we can rescue a few more people. so all the presidents were haunted in their way. each of them were dedicated to finding a peaceful solution.
each of them have the dilemma of how do you relate american honor to the ending of the war? that was the dilemma. there was nobody who wanted more , there was nobody who wanted to escalate the war. they all wanted peace. but the question was, under what conditions can you do that without turning over the millions who had relied on the word of previous presidents but committed themselves? mr. updegrove: let me go back to john f. kennedy. there is widespread speculation that had he not been assassinated, president kennedy would have reversed course and withdrawn troops from vietnam,
despite any evidence to that end. is there anything you saw from president kennedy that would suggest that over time, he would have withdrawn our support for the war in vietnam? dr. kissinger: i have never seen the slightest evidence of this. it is possible to say that he might would have done this. but all the moves of the kennedy administration while kennedy was alive were in the direction of increasing our commitments. and not diminishing it. all based on the belief that it was as simple a problem -- a simpler problem that it turned out to be. i've never seen as piece of
paper that would indicate this, and all of the chief advisers of president kennedy who were taken over by president johnson when he became president were unanimous in both presidencies. in supporting it, until things got very difficult. and then, divisions appeared. but i have never seen them -- i know of no evidence. mr. updegrove: lyndon johnson was a domestic policy sage. he knew how to get deals done, he knew instantly what to do. there are many who think that he was out of his depth in terms of foreign policy. what is your view of johnson as a foreign-policy president?
dr. kissinger: president johnson was saddled with the war from the first day in office. see can't really judge -- so you can't really judge the foreign-policy tendencies of a president who was swallowed up, in a way, by the war. without any question, johnson was a master in knowing the nuances of domestic policy. and he did not know the foreign leaders as well as he did the domestic constituencies. and so it didn't come as naturally to him as it did with domestic policy.
but on the foreign-policy issues , other than the war in vietnam, he had a very good relationship with our allies. and our enemies, he was very eager to come to some agreement with the soviet union, but everything was so overlaid by the war in vietnam. i thought president johnson was a formidable individual. of, and some ways, it was a personal tragedy that he spent so much of his life to achieve that office, in order to be compelled to do the things that had not been his major focus. but i thought he was a strong figure, and i felt great respect and affection.
mr. updegrove: it is long been alleged that richard nixon's campaign tampered with the peace process by sending an emissary to the south the minis -- south vietnamese. what is your view on that? dr. kissinger: i have no personal knowledge if whether that contact actually took lace. -- took place in the way it has been alleged. but assuming the story is essentially correct, i do not believe that whatever nixon did had any of the consequences that have been alleged. you have to remember, this aspect of our relationship with the vietnamese -- the vietnamese
allies were always in a nearly desperate position. they needed our help is an essential component. so when the peace process was going on, they had a tendency to agree to provisions we put forward on the theory that the north vietnamese would obvious that take them. in 1968, we experienced what nixon then experienced four years later, that when the point came actually to undertake negotiations, they would have to assume responsibility for the outcome.
then come the south vietnamese leaders felt it necessary to demonstrate to their own people that they hadn't just been forced by the united states to do this, and so they started a debate about something that i am sure president johnson in his day -- and i know, president x thought had already been settled. one of the key issues was actually to sit down at the table, and that of course then reduce the necessity for the south vietnamese to sit down at the same table with the people who have been fighting to overthrow them.
from the south vietnamese communist side. so, when that issue arose as a consequence of the negotiations, the president doug in and started a debate about the way the negotiations would even start. we faced exactly the same thing in a different way for years later. with the north vietnamese, without the south vietnamese had agreed to each of the terms when we had discussed them. but then when they were actually put forward, we went through six weeks of controversy about nuances.
that would have happened whether nixon wrote his note or not. secondly, some delay between the announcement in the sitting down was, in my opinion, inevitable. but there's one other thing to remember. it's often alleged that peace could have been made if somehow they had all sat at the same table. it was absolutely no chance of this whatsoever. because on november 3, two days after these announcements were made, the vietnamese made changes that they never changed for the rest of the johnson administration and the rest of the next administration, which were united states had to
withdraw totally, and former coalition government noted by communists before any negotiation could take place, about anything else. so the johnson administration officials, at that time was of the position of the north vietnamese had to withdraw before any withdrawal of american troops could even take place. those conditions were maintained for the rest of the johnson administration. and they were the principal obstacle to the failure of the negotiations in the next administration, until the vietnamese were defeated in the sequel to the tet offensive, where johnson mentioned, because the one thing that the next administration would not
concede, it said that we would overthrow and allied governments that had supported the united states in reliance on promises made by a other presidents. and as soon as the north vietnamese agreed that the existing government could stay, which was at the very end of the nixon administration, a settlement was achieved. i mention it only because america should not torture itself on the view that it could have had a settlement earlier, if their president had been more willing. they could not have had settlements except for just selling out, which no one would have supported.
mr. updegrove: bob halderman, president nixon's chief of staff, said in a 1978 television interview that nixon had no intention of quickly pulling out of vietnam. he aimed to explore the rivalry between china and the soviet union to improve relations. vietnam was an expedient where america's bona fide intentions and motives were being acted out. nixon believed that america had to negotiate from strength to prove its willingness to fight, vietnam became that place. how do you respond to that? is that characterize, and view, nixon's position on the war? dr. kissinger: it characterizes part annexes position on the war. this can be interpreted by
professional critics of nixon to mean that he fought so that he could do some other things. that was not what he thought. he thought that if america is credited by abandoning its commitments in vietnam, he could not do the bigger things that were needed in order to make the war in vietnam fit into a global perspective. and so in the sense that he said this is not only about vietnam, it's about trying to create a world order in which the amounts can no longer occur, in that sense, it is correct. mr. updegrove: you say in your book, "ending the vietnam war," that the dominoes theory was real.
the domino effect would have played out. what would have been the consequences of not waging a fight in vietnam? dr. kissinger: look, the problem of any foreign policy is that you have to make a commitment on the basis of assessment. you cannot prove true when you make them. they depend on a judgment, and you can always come up with a counterfactual argument. a person who has a great influence on our thinking, and i believe also some extent, on president johnson's thinking was the prime minister from singapore. one of the great men i have met. he inherited a sand bar with a per capita income of $60.
and turned it in 20 years to a significant country with a per capita income of $55,000 without any natural resources, based on the dedication and quality of its population. he was convinced, and so were many others, that if the amount collapsed, at the time that president kennedy and johnson made vacancies, that the whole south asia would be engulfed, and that the same thing within half an in indonesia, malaysia, and he maintained that opinion until his death.
and he was not a cold war in the abstract, he was a judge of what it took to keep his little country security. mr. updegrove: do you agree? dr. kissinger: i agree with that. i think that the presidents who made the major decisions had a reason for making them. mr. updegrove: in his 2015 book, the last of the presidents men, bob woodward writes of january 1972 memo that you wrote to president's updating him on the military situation in laos. president nixon wrote a handwritten note on that same memo, which read k, meaning kissinger, we have had 10 years of total control in the air in laos and vietnam. the result equals village.
there is something wrong with the strategy or the air force. and yet, that before, that before coming in a cbs interview with dan rather, residence and set up the bombing, the results of been very, very effective. i think their effectiveness will be demonstrated. publicly, president nixon as saying the bombing is effective, privately to you he is saying that they have done zilch. dr. kissinger: he wasn't saying -- one of the curses of modern activism is -- modern archive is anism is collected and treated as if it were a legal document. here are these presidents, on 18 hours a day. they are under constant pressure. they write a note to their
advisors and frustration that it's still going on. and next and had a way of exaggerating his comments. i can tell you here that woodward called me up with this. he said what to do do when he received it? i said i did nothing. he couldn't believe it. why would i do nothing? because i have worked with president nixon for 10 years. or eight years. and when you got a message like this, i have a tendency after a while to wait to see whether they would be a follow-up. and if you think about it, this would be the normal way -- on the worst assessment of the air
campaign, you cannot possibly say that it achieves nothing. you can say it may not have achieved everything that he wanted, and that you have to break it down into the biggest components were. , and i think probably nixon might have slightly exaggerated what he said publicly. and he surely exaggerated his frustration in a handwritten notes, probably late at night. i think one ought to analyze these documents that are floating around from that point
of view. i mean, what was the context in which the comment was made? mr. updegrove: nixon is a very enigmatic person. you write often that he would say one thing and mean another. you had to judge when he was saying -- dr. kissinger: he didn't mean another. i had a very clear idea of what he wanted. you have to understand it, you cannot survive security advisor, you have only one constituent, and that the president of the united states. and you must be absolutely straight with him. and the most important thing is security advisor can do, and
must do, is to tell the president the options he has. sometimes he has to save the president from ill considered first moves. and if you abuse that, utility, [indiscernible] and nixon, it's not generally known, hated personal confrontations. and so, therefore, in face-to-face confrontations, it was like it was possible that he expressed himself ambiguously. but, if you in any written excerpts, you can absolutely rely on what he was saying. if you look at his record, he knew he was a very strong
president. and sticking to his basic convictions. and he took in or mostly difficult decisions, and there was no ambiguity about them. but it was better to discuss them with him in writing, then as a face-to-face conversation. and one will find in going through the archives, which are now available, that most of the key decisions when i was security advisor were based on memoranda, and not on conversations. the conversations played a very important role in creating the mood, and establishing the general context. but when a precise decision was
needed, it was best to do it in writing. which i think is a good way anyway, in relations with these presidents. mr. updegrove: tom johnson mentioned your commitment to the peace process, and the fact that you, in 1973, along with your north vietnamese counterpart, won the nobel peace prize. there are many who alleged you are a war criminal due to the systematic carpet bombing of laos and cambodia. why was that bombing necessary to our strategy in winning the war? dr. kissinger: well, my now, and in my 90's. i've heard this. i think the word war criminal should be thrown around in
domestic debates. .domestic debates. it's a shameful reflection on the people who use it. let us look -- what was the situation? first, there was no carpet bombing. that is absolute nonsense. the situation was as follows. in the johnson administration, the north vietnamese moved four divisions into the border areas the vietnam and cambodia. on cambodian soil. an established base areas from which they launched attacks into vietnam, and the divisions were put there in opposition to the cambodian government. , the cambodian government told
them that if we bombed those areas and didn't kill any cambodians, they would close their eyes to it. the lbj administration decided not to do this, because we were already under pressure, domestically. and for other reasons that don johnson may know better than i do. but then, when nixon came in, they can have already before he assumed office sent a message to the north vietnamese that he was eager to resume negotiations. in the third week of the nexen
presidency, they started an offensive in which every week, up to 500 americans were killed. and many of these attacks, more than half of these attacks came from the areas that were occupied by those four divisions inside cambodian territory. and after we had suffered 1500 casualties, nearly as many as we suffered in 10 years of war in afghanistan, nixon ordered an
attack on the base areas within five miles of the vietnamese border, which were essentially unpopulated. so when the phrase carpet bombing is used, it is, i think, probably much less than what the obama administration has done in similar base areas in pakistan, which i think is sanctified, and i believe what was done in cambodia was justified. . when we eventually wiped out the base areas, the casualties went down by 80%. and so those were the decisions are in and i would bet that sooner or later, any presidents would have had to do it.
because this is one that if you fight and permit base areas from which the killing units are sustained, then you are in an absolutely hopeless position. i was security advisor, i strongly favored it. but i had just come in. it does not matter, i was certainly strongly supportive of it. it was correct. it was in the american interest in the civilian casualties from this bombing along the five mill street was justified. we have to ask ourselves another thing. the argument against doing it
was that cambodia was a neutral country. but a country that has four divisions on its soil is not actually a neutral country. and the leader of cambodia told the johnson administration that he would in a way, welcome this bombing, when we actually did it , there were press inquiries, and he told them in a press conference, i don't know what goes on in the part of my country in which no cambodians live, and which is occupied by
the vietnamese. if any cambodians killed,, i will protest. he never protested. mr. updegrove: towards the end of his life, robert mcnamara stood on the stage after publishing a book and expressed regret over the war, and how it was waged. he said the war was futile, and that his conduct was wrong, terribly wrong. have you any regrets on any of the actions you took in vietnam? dr. kissinger: no. you always make tactical mistakes. i believe that the american president, and those of us who worked with him, were acting on their best judgment. at the time.
and i think that mistakes were made, in the cause of discussion the vietnam war, one should discuss how one can learn from these. i'm proud of the service, and i must say, bob mcnamara was a really good friend of mine. i have huge regard for him. but one should not tell -- it's cheap to me cap -- it's cheap to
me, after hundreds are dead after was decisions. mr. updegrove: what is the biggest lesson we can draw from the war? dr. kissinger: the biggest lesson is not just from the war in vietnam it. the dilemma of american foreign-policy in general is we have left behind two great oceans. the lucky part of the country has lived in the center part of the country, where the consciousness of foreign dangers inherently could not develop in the same way it had to in asia and europe, where peoples are being pressed together. therefore, americans have a tendency to think that peace is the normal condition among
people, among countries. and when there is war, or when there is instability, it is sort of an accident. sort of unusual, would you can remedy by one set of actions. after which you can go back to a condition of great stability. but most deep international conflicts are caused by circumstances which have a long time to develop. we have been involved in five wars since world war ii. which we, in effect, lost. we ended each of these wars with a wide public consensus. it was an 80% support for everyone of these initial actions.
but then, after some time, the people say we have to end it. you need an extra case and strategy. well, the best extrication strategy is just to get out. but you can also call that defeat. so, if you enter a war, you should not do it for objectives that you can sustain. and if you cannot describe objectives that you can sustain, you shouldn't enter it. secondly, you have to distinguish -- you, as a country, between those things you will do only if you have
allies, and those you must do because your national security requires it. regardless of whether you have allies or not. so, you have to make that distinction. and we have to learn that this applies to almost all the ministrations. not to get into these conflicts unless you can describe and aim the you are willing to sustain. unless you are willing in the extreme to sustain it alone, or to know when you have to end it, those are lessons in how to learn also from vietnam. we also have to learn to moderate our domestic debate.
because in the course of the vietnam war, what started as a reasonable debate about whether we were engaged in the process that we could master was transformed into an attack on the moral quality of american leadership. and when one teachers -- one teachers the people that is basically patriotic for 20 years, that they are criminals and fools, then you can get a political debate becomes more and more violent. and we suffer from it in some of our current political debates. that is one lesson we should draw from the vietnam war.
it also means we should moderate the argument, but make them deeper. mr. updegrove: based on that view, how would you assess the war in iraq? dr. kissinger: the war in iraq? well, i want to be clear, i supported -- i had in mind different kind of war. i thought we would withdraw after saddam. more of a bush one type of war. we failed to make in iraq, and maybe in syria, that we failed to make this analysis, which goes back to my original point.
we look at these countries as if they were one unit. and then we see a ruler that is oppressive, and we say let's get rid of this ruler. and the people of iraq with people of syria have a democratic government. and can restore stability. but what has happened in iraq and syria was at the end of world war i, the european victors organized a group of tribes, religions, ethnic entities. one of them was syria, the had a majority of sunnis. in a minority of she is. which in syria, recalled a la whites.
and in iraq, it was the opposite. they had a minority of sunnis, and a majority of she is. in each case, the american the american president said let's give it up and we will have bash. guy,tting rid of the top produces a conflict among the various minority groups who are then fighting for preeminence. that when wearn get into nation building, in such a war we have to engage in nationbuilding. i think we did not understand
the complexities of nation in several administrations. that's how i would assess the war and iraq. it is something deeper than we assessed at the beginning. dr. kissinger has graciously consented to as -- answer questions from the audience. i asked please that you ensure that your question, and not a statement and you be as brief as possible in asking that question. ignore thesible to election as a plays out. interviewn a 2014 with scott simon of npr, that
you think hillary clinton would make a good president, might you intended to support the republican nominee. i'm not going to get into the -- laughter] that 2014air to say was a long time ago? are you still inclined to support whoever the republican party nominee is? dr. kissinger: i haven't made any pronouncements. i insisted on, answering questions. i wanted to give the audience a chance. [applause] dr. christian >> me several
weeks ago and said i want to take questions for the audience. i will take any questions that they offer me. i at u.s. the question again briefly and then a civil manner. this german on the left. kissinger in 1962, they comes on the vietnamese to honor lossutual station of --laos. in your agreement you had expectations of the north vietnamese moving their troops out of cambodia and laos, that didn't happen as expected. you are quite right.
administration that they should laosan issue of blouse -- using some american troops to achieve this. that would be less complex country in which you would achieve this incentive. administration was not willing to put in forces, but threatened that it might. there was a neutralization agreement, and that was broken by the north vietnamese almost immediately. laos into a supply routesnd all the supply went through laos.
1972, the nixon administration, we had a lot of practice in violating those agreements. we would face with near certainty that the congress , nod vote to end the war matter what action would be taken. secondly, we believe the provisions of the agreement if we could enforce them, what also protect the other two countries. that south vietnamese forces that existed could withstand all those attacks. and we would have enforced the
agreement if there was an all out attack. destroyed that possibility, then the congress legislative prohibition against any attempt to enforce this. so, we will not know what might have happened. but you are right. that these agreements were made, in 1972, degraded.an -- had it goes back to the point i made must -- if we end the war, also make sure that the
domestic base can be sustained. possibility of the administration, but the opponents also have to understand that if they achieve their objectives by undermining all confidence in government, no strategy --. i am a vietnamese-american. dr. kissinger, it is widespread that you essentially agreed to arrange for china to take over in 1974.ail islands on whose behalf did you do so. the concern in asia and the pacific ocean, what advice would
you give president obama and secretary -- secretary of state kerry? thank you. dr. kissinger: a much sure i fully understood the question. agreed in 1974 the china would take over -- that the understood security advisor had arranged so could take over the parasail islands in 1974 so that we don't lose that area to russia. today, what would you suggest is due on behalf of the national do youy of the u.s.,
on four which point of , they areentioned either closer to vietnam been to china. to the issue. the chinese claim to these islands hundreds of years ago a chinese emperor caroline in the pacific and said everything on that side is china. chang kai-shek party claimed, the vietnamese also claimed these islands. position with respect to the islands has been that we do notly take a position of sovereignty of these islands.
assaulted me soldier. i spent 10 years in prison. thanks to the very agreement int you signed with hanoi 1973. assured my president that you would support to help our defend our country to the north vietnamese if they invaded. but you did nothing. .he result is the vietnam i expected just into the question. what do we learn from vietnam war that we would never betray any allies. thank you. i have great:
sympathy for these questions from the vietnamese. right to think that to ad promised support number of administrations. including the one in which i served. collapsing, its convince tole to pass any additional funds. areae talking about 1975 atre were 35 other nations sign up to the agreement when it was made in 1973. we appealed to all of them, and
none of them was willing to act. it was one of the saddest moments of my life, and all of .s and the day the evacuation of saigon was on of the saddest moments of my life, and for all seen the had been dedication of the vietnamese, the dedication of those people who served their, a little of , i have sympathy for you. i hope no other american leader has to answer similar questions. about the failure was a big
division in our country. without that we could not manage it. >> yes sir? >> [indiscernible] is it working now? one 94 infantry, after the after lbj refusing to run again, after walter cronkite, there was peace with cost tens of thousands of casualties. would have been better to skip and get the casualties are earlier? dr. kissinger: what was the question? >> given the fact that peace with honor took such a toll, and
terms of human life, would it have been better to just withdraw? cambodia, thef extended time of the u.s. later 69 and 1970 sustain casualties. should we have just withdrawn? like you. -- thank you. at kissinger: if you look the american political debate, there was no one -- if you look position of the democratic party, at that time, nobody inind that 1969 and 1970 recommended unilateral withdrawal. the position of the
that theation was vietnamese troops had to address first.- withdraw and six months after that, american withdrawals would start. unilateral withdrawal in the middle of a war, declaring we cannot stand the consequences of this war, i don't know anybody who recommended it at that time. two years later, we were talking incidents of withdrawal and a few casualties. but of course if you lose a war,
the war on drugs was issued under richard nixon. the long-term of it, we have more people in prison in china, 70% of our prisoners are not violent. do you think the war on drugs was worth it and do you think it should be continued into the , or should we look at it as a failure or a victory? anykissinger: i don't think statement i could make would be enough. but i want to make one other point. my observations are directed at
them american audience. i have great sympathy for the vietnamese, who are in this audience. perspectivee, their has to be different. not because of any action the administration and which i involved in. it is a historic tragedy that america found it'salso divided, and could not solve it still messed up -- domestic debates. they could not come on the war would on asult which bipartisan basis, that's a
>> we should learn from. you have major mark on history. what will history say about henry kissinger? dr. kissinger: i have no objection about this. i have had the good fortune of being able to come to the united peoplewhen many of the germany. i grew up in i have always been deeply grateful to this country, and i know what it represents to the peace in the world. lucky at being able as my profession.
>> we are not only grateful to you, dr. kissinger, for being our honored guests but for in worldour country war ii. out there,y veterans including yourself. i would ask now that you stand and be recognized by this audience, please. [applause] thank you for your service, dr. kissinger. thank you for your time tonight. thank you all. [applause]
>> interested in american history tv, visit our website, c-span.org/history and see our upcoming schedule or to wash a program. american artifacts lectures in history and more at c-span.org/history. each week american artifacts takes viewers into archives, museums and historic sites around country. next we visit the dirt some -- dirksen senate office building with don ritchie to learn about the building's namesake, former republican leader everett dirksen. >> this building was named for
senator dirksen would then the toublican leader from 1959 1969. who was a popular figure in the united states at the time. voice to tear with a deep , a terrific order in the old-school style. he won a grammy award for a record that he did just reading patriotic sheet music and patriotic speeches. it was quite popular at the time. theren through the years, gallant,men, brave, who have died so that others might be free. dirksen, as a popular person
who also represented bipartisanship. he was a minority leader in the senate. operated with 35 or 36 senators, which out of 100 is a small minority. if the senate was going to stop a filibuster, they need dirksen support. any number of major occasions, the civil rights act of 1964, the nuclear test ban treaty, once dirksen agreed to whatever the compromise was, then enough votes would come on board to prevail. everett dorcas and, even though he was the minority leader was an extremely important leader at the time and it is fitting to name this building after him. senator dirksen likes to say
that he was a man of principle. one of his greatest principles was to main chain flexibility. he was a very agile senator. a man who understood that you have to compromise in order to build consensus. in the united states senate, compromise is essential for passing any kind of legislation, getting some kind of bipartisanship is important, because rarely does a majority party have sufficient votes to be able to pass something entirely by itself. always majority leaders have got to persuade the minority to come on board. coalitionome kind of always being built. that is one of the reasons why the u.s. senate wanted to commemorate senator dirksen by naming this tilling after him. -- this building after him. you can watch this or other american artifacts program at any time visiting our website, c-span.org/history.
monday on the communicators, we broadcast from a conference in boston known as the internet and we interview sec chair tom wheeler about the cable industry, sets cap boxes and net neutrality. as you look at things you see the evolution of the nature of television, the x lows in a video alternatives and you see increased talk about smaller bundles and how that changes the relationship with the consumer. use the alternative pathways to differenter over types of devices. we have the potential to be best era ever for
>> and those who deliver. the communicators, monday night at eight on c-span two. on sunday, may 29, on the presidency, c-span's american history tv will air a portion of the lbj presidential library vietnam war summit held in april. the program focuses on the president who dealt with the growing american presence in vietnam. this weekend, we look back at lyndon johnson in the fall of 1967 and 1968 as the vietnam war dominated his presidency. three-car kyl films. first, a film created by the white house naval photographic unit highlighting his activities in november of 1967. this video was provided by the lbj presidential library and is nearly 25 minutes.