tv Henry Kissinger Discusses President Richard Nixons Foreign Policy CSPAN November 26, 2016 12:31pm-1:23pm EST
gentlemen, ted heath and i -- we were friends. i met him before he became prime minister and we have stayed in contact through the rest of our lives. when i was invited to give this speech it became evident that the house in which ted heath lived was close to where i was stationed when i was here with the 84th infantry division of the united states. where i was near winchester.
all this occurred before i was henry kissinger. it is not a known fact. i visited salisbury several when i was in winchester. and so i have a great feeling for where ted heath lived. i thought what i could do here is to describe our interaction with ted heath when he was prime minister. what the issues were. that sometimes we agreed. and occasionally we did not
agree. but we obviously respected him as one of the important figures of our time. and with a vision for europe that is historic. so when the tories won the 1970 election, richard nixon was so elated that he called me on the telephone nearly every hour to update me on the status of the returns. in terms of our hierarchy, of course, it should have been the other way. part of nixon's enthusiasm for
heath was the comparability of their rises to office. heath was the first tory prime minister to be selected by the vote of the conservative members of parliament rather than by consensus of party eminences. both heath and nixon were admitted into the the establishment, not defined by it. this awareness shaped it in important ways, their combination of remoteness and high analytic skill. in each case, these qualities were combined with an
extraordinary knowledge and love of music, which evoked in him unexpected episodes of personal warmth. i intend this comparison with nixon as a tribute. of the 10 presidents who honored me by allowing me to participate in the conduct of foreign policy, some tangentially, others more intentionally. nixon was the best prepared and in his impact on the international system perhaps the most transformational. to the nixon administration, as to its predecessors, the wartime alliance was still personal.
we expected the division by which winston churchill had planned for britain's imperial preeminence into partnership with america. held together by intangible ties of shared history and buttressed through informal arrangement between leaders. in its uprising, british diplomats occasionally augmented the traditional diplomatic interestsf balancing with an element of paternal guidance. if necessary, evoking a sense of guilt if we deviated from our
less sophisticated partners. the intimacy between two governments had enabled a succession of british leaders of both parties to transform the wartime alliance into an atlantic partnership. ted heath continued this tradition in the management of geostrategic agencies. -- issues. relations with the soviet union were closely coordinated. in the middle east, both leaders inherited an undeclared egyptian air battle along the suez canal. the syrian invasion of jordan followed in 1970.
while terrorism made its first systematic appearance. finally, the outbreak of the 1973 middle east war imposed a new emphasis on diplomacy. in all of these crises, two of which included partial alerts of u.s. forces, close cooperation with britain and between the president and the prime minister was a key element of american policy. it was when heath undertook the delicate passage of britain to europe that issues arose in the operation of this special
relationship which were inherent in the nature of the troubles -- problem and not in the policies of the individual leaders. the objective of the north atlantic treaty organization was the common security of individual states based on the shared definition of both threats and strategies to deal with them. the emerging european sector, however, slow to express its specifically european identity, by way of institutions which would over time merge into a supra national entity. the simultaneous quest for both european and atlantic integration were therefore not
always easy to recognize, to reconcile. international developments compounded structural issues. the nixon administration inherited a war in vietnam from which it sought to extricate itself at a pace that did not undermine the american position as the guarantor of alliances. some of our european allies urged more rapid withdrawals to provide relief from their own domestic pressures. the nixon administration sought to overcome the domestic obsession with the vietnam war by putting forward a new concept of world order.
it opened to china and engaged in negotiations with the soviet union, especially on arms control. these openings, especially to china, needed to be conducted with a minimum of external consultation to avoid a paralyzing domestic debate. for heath, who was pursuing his own opening to china, the secrecy and suddenness of our policy implied a sense of unnecessary preempt.
in the end, he achieved the same goals by a decisive move along the same path, and china policy will stand as a monument to heath's incumbency in office. these differences might have strained some relationships were it not for the mutual respect and admiration felt by those responsible for its conduct, including on the ministerial level, sir alec hume and peter garrity provided extraordinary inspiration. having said all of this, the role of the statesman is to take
society from where it is to where it has never been. ted heath will count among the important statesmen of this period. because the britain he inherited as a key figure in the pro-european wing of the conservative party, and later as prime minister, had been ambivalent about its absence. between developing closer relations with the united states, reimagining the commonwealth, or entering europe unreservedly, it had rejected the truman plan and the european defence community. even churchill argued that if
the unified europe he advocated was forced britain to choose between europe or the open sea, it would choose the latter. heath rejected the inevitability of such a choice. he was ever mindful of the fate of harold macmillan whose entry to the common market, and had branded it an anglo-saxon trojan horse. he managed britain's entry into europe in a way that combined a dramatic adaptation of traditional british politics with determination to preserve britain's national interests. his successor, harold wilson,
anchored the outcome among the public by a referendum that indicated its approval. in 1975. heath welcomed this event with the following statement, "i have worked for this for 25 years. i was the prime minister who let britain into the community. so, i'm naturally delighted that the referendum is working out as it is." over the succeeding decades, a political european union was built. and the essence of both the atlantic relationship and the special relationships were preserved.
but now, four decades later, the global context has changed. profoundly. facing the issues of time in a new and even more complex form. then the challenge was how to maintain atlantic unity under the conditions of approaching nuclear parity. the threat was from the soviet union and the soviet bloc. today, the threat is far reaching, ambiguous, amorphous, and posing new forms of danger. new capabilities of technology have emerged in multiple aspects
like cyber and artificial intelligence, from which an agreed strategy does not yet exist. they are accompanied by forms of international conduct unimagined a generation ago. global upheaval within the continents from multitudinous cultures and remedies are not always in alignment. the most significant global questions then become what comes -- what concept of world order can lead to stability? can you establish criteria by which the fashion a common design? should the atlantic alliance
concede it to reach -- concede cieve itsh -- con reach as global? what is the relationship of the european union to the creation of world order? or will the world devolve into regional spheres of influence which combine their relations unconstrained by the system? and if so, how will it be possible to avoid an even more cataclysmic outcome than the two world wars of european heritage? in these circumstances, brexit, which was at first seen as a primarily british domestic issue, has taken on a more
general significance. on what level will it lead to new negotiations on british relationships with europe? that relationship needs to be close and organic. such an outcome is in the overwhelming interest of both countries, of both parties, and of world order. and america's interest is to encourage that process of linking europe and britain and to help the process if temporary dislocations occur. in a deeper sense, the resolution of brexit will
redirect the issues of 1973 into new structures. there will be three elements. the european union, britain with a special negotiated relationship with europe, and the u.s. as the custodian of common security. how can europe forge a sense of unity and maintain a sense of diversity? how can the articulation of a european identity be combined with the atlantic partnership? can a monetary union be maintained without a common fiscal policy? and how can a common strategy
emerge from such a structure? what is important to understand about the present world is that for 300 years, the world has been organized on principles first developed by europe. the idea of the nation-state, the notion of sovereignty, the concept of a rules-based system. in the operation of the system, europe, britain, and the united states have played a decisive role. and whatever emerges out of the present negotiations should keep
in mind that in order to restore world order and to act on the principles that led to its greatness, europe and america must not drift apart. they need to resist the siren calls of their respective neutralisms, and powers all around the world should not be tempted to exploit the disputes of the atlantic community or the disputes in europe. in the structure emerging from brexit, britain could perform its historic and global role, contributing to a world order
that is stable and forward-looking through an atlantic partnership. the question of how to forge european unity while honoring diversity that inspires loyalty and creativity is not a bureaucratic, but essentially a moral and political task. permit me a few personal words. i first met ted heath before he became prime minister. and i stayed in friendly contact with him until his death. he participated in a discussion group that i chaired under the auspices of the aspen institute which met in the united states
and iran in 1978 and in germany in 1980. my last encounter with ted heath was at catherine crane's funeral in 2001 which he attended on his own as a token of friendship, because of their common service. when he retired from parliament in 2004, i wrote to him to tell him how much i admired his service to the cause of freedom and to the relationship of britain with europe. he replied, telling me that on
the big issues he and i had always seen things in the same way. i was proud of this note. i admired ted's integrity, his courage, his devotion to service. and strange as it may seem, to those who knew ted only as a leader, his capacity for personal -- he performed great services for europe and the cause of freedom as an essential bridge between each country's past and the future. his is a legacy worthy of recognition. as britain, europe, and america, hopefully together, face the challenges that lie ahead.
[applause] mr. major: there are many people in this room tonight who knew ted heath extremely well. i think he was by any yardstick a statesman, but i think as we all know, ted could be prickly. i remember douglas heard telling me on one occasion ted was dining at downing street with a lady on either side of him that he totally ignored. douglas, being a good private secretary wrote a note that said, "prime minister, please speak to the women on either side of you." to which ted replied, "i have." [laughter] that was the end of their conversation that evening. but what ted did do was engage on the very big issues. you have touched on a number of them this evening.
let me turn to something that was implicit in i think what you were saying. when you were secretary of state and ted was in number 10, we spoke of the international order and we knew exactly what the international order was. i'm not at all sure to many of us that we are quite as clear these days exactly what the international order is or what it stands for. and i recall a quarter of a century ago now, george bush senior referring to a new world order emerging. again, i am not sure entirely what that world order may be. i welcome your thoughts, given what you had to say about the atlantic relationship and the importance of utilizing the prestige both the united states , and of europe. dr. kissinger: the world order which i studied at university
and in which i grew up was based on the nation-state. and it developed in europe as -- at the end of the 30 years' war in which the doctrine of sovereignty emerged as a companion and ideas of international law that laid down certain rules of conduct. at that time, at the end of the war that had been fought in part about the religious beliefs within societies, it was tacitly agreed and explicitly agreed that intervention of the domestic affairs of other states was not a subject of
international policy, but international aggression consisted of the crossing of borders or the violation of borders of established states. the european accords periods in which this was violated such as during the french revolution. but the basic structure of the international order when i was in office and heath came into office was essentially based on the nation-state. and the principal elements of security were still the state of europe, plus russia, which has
-- which was at the fringe of that international order through -- at the fringe of international order. china was only beginning to 1970's, countries , just beginning their international role. for all of its, crisis, was under a conflict between various states, some of them radical, some of them less so. the current situation is radically different. there are major countries that feel they did not participate in
the creation of their system, to are therefore not obliged respect it. there are states emerging that are states on principles of legitimacy. they are not based on the nature of their domestic structure. onein the middle east, heard relatively little about .he countries that was a contributing elements. now, the nature of the structure of the domestic itself becomes an issue of international insecurity. we are also dealing
of extraordinary scope. far beyond what we experienced. in our period, we were deeply concerned about the catastrophic impact of nuclear weapons. them wasuse of essentially confined to two it turned out to be more or less correct -- that the damage they would do ticket -- that would do to each other was so catastrophic, they would not take action. but now, nuclear technology has proliferated to many countries and new forms of technology have emerged like cyber or artificial
intelligence which create totally new concerns. and in that world now, formerly peripheral countries have enormous dislocations. and formally dominant countries have not necessarily defined what their role is in these new circumstances. we have of pupils in many continents simultaneously -- we upheavals in many continents simultaneously. it is a totally new challenge. and this is why i paid such attention to what can be done within the atlantic region at least to get a coherent view.
but this is a sketch of the difference between the period in was in office and i was in office and the challenge we face today. sir major: let me pick up a part of that then and a bit most relevant to those present this evening, the atlantic alliance. what do you think the atlantic alliance actually means in practice today? do you think it needs refreshing? is it working well? on the waycerned that europe has sharply different views from the united states? you once asked a very famous question -- what is the telephone number of europe? do you know what it is today? dr. kissinger: i know what it is today but i may not like what it
says. the fundamental challenge for the atlantic alliance is to define what it is trying to do. what is it trying to prevent? and what is it trying to achieve? and what is it that we will achieve only as allies? are we obliged to do without allies? our allies should understand that it is a dialogue that has yet to take place. sir major: how do you think in present circumstances we can bring the collective will of the united states and europe closer together then it at present appears to be?
britain plays an active role in trying to evoke an answer to this question, it will play an extremely important role and in order to get an answer, it cannot we that the united states prescribes all of the answers thenurope passively criticizes. in a well understood alliance, we would know -- we would come to some conclusion of how to resolve issues like syria and not continue to do things that morethe situation difficult rather than resolve a. sir major: if you look across the major -- middle east, you see the most extraordinary
complication of relationships. where would you begin were you secretary of state today -- where would you begin to unravel in anaos that is syria effort to bring an end to what we see happening, the destruction of a nation and the deaths of huge numbers of people will happen to because in the wrong place at the wrong time, in the midst of the run dispute? dr. kissinger: in the present inucture of the middle east, the agreement in 1990, it was based on the concept that there would be a british --. the spears would be constant -- the spheres would be constituted
as states but not in a -- not in concept.ean there were religious groups. together in a put way that facilitated the management from the outside. , which has a shia majority was governed by a sunni minority. syria, which has a sunni majority was governed by a shia majority. and that worked tolerably well as long as britain influenced the situation and where the .ajor custodians of the region
with the decline of british and french power, and in the absence of any other outside power, these states became extremely them thend to apply to principle of the system, made the situation more complicated. iraq, we removed the sunni roller. -- ruler. and we thought this would lead to democracy. it led to a civil war, not democracy. proposed that the shia leader be removed. that this wasg the will of the people but the didle of these countries
not want to be governed by any of the other principles that existed there. and so that started the civil war. libya -- the same thing happened. the issue is can we salvage the situation by finding a coalition government? essential thatis the region quiets down. beyond the tactical management of the situation into hopefully, some consensus with our allies as to a solution that
is more likely to bring and it takes peace into account some of the elements that i mentioned here. because i think a pure tactical management of this crisis will guarantee that it gets worse and worse. questions.coming to who would like to ask dr. kissinger the first question from the floor? a dr. kissinger, you played remarkable role in stabilizing the world. you left it in a much safer place not least because you made this great contribution by developing detente, it translating common interests into rules and developing detente on many fronts. having left the world a safer place then in the mid-1970's and
comparing it with the world now, would you say it is a safer place now, still, or a less safe place? dr. kissinger: the world in which i worked in policy was more dangerous in the sense that if something went wrong, it would be catastrophic. the world now is more complex. term,erefore, in the long more dangerous. because there are means at the disposal of more people that do not have to take sense of the limits that existed then and it could lead to complications. if you look at the
couldr problems, you assume that the damage to both sides in a nuclear war would be would upgradet it. but now that so many countries have nuclear weapons, and they get them from a major country, they can affect the balance between major countries and major countries can be tempted to intervene. much as when world war i started. in modern technology, it creates opportunities for pressure that
you can use to manage it. if you look at the history of world war i, the crisis that led was no different from 10 others that had been solved the previous decade. 1914, it wouldf not automatically evoke a of a global crisis. in theould add at least world that i know best, at the end of that world, the that are trained to react instantaneously and not do may benge thinking
less good custodians of extreme vulnerabilities. so, i think we need -- we live in a more dangerous world. even though the immediate consequences. and this is why we need more long-range thinking. >> is there one final question? at the back. >> i am formally of the financial times. ago, i had a long conversation with hans dietrich denture, the former foreign minister in berlin on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of britain joining the european community. and the one question i asked him is why was germany always so
much more enthusiastic about british membership of the european community then france? and he did not hesitate at all. it was because we were convinced that if britain was in the european community, america would trust us but if britain was not, they would think it was all a terrible plot. if,ou think that if britain european union, america will trust it last -- will trust it less? the basis of the relationship was created before a european community. i did not like the argument during the brexit debate that britain would go to the end of
backede if it were not by europe because we have a historic relationship. thatlso, because i hope britain would play a role in emphasizing the importance of the atlantic relationship. i would hopenking, that from these discussions will that has closen links to europe but also conscience of an atlantic relationship.
and so, i would not think it is necessary to make that choice. but i do think that britain -- that britain's greatness was developed in a period before there was a european community. and so i think britain can rolenue to play a major within the development that i have tried to explain. kissinger, sir john, on behalf of everyone i would like to say how much we have enjoyed tonight. it has truly been a memorable occasion thanks to your participation. thank you. [applause]
>> and cuban officials say december 4 is the date for the former cuban president fidel castro who died last night. he led the revolutionary force that overthrew the government of batista and became the youngest leader in latin america. here is a newsreel looking at his rise to power. ♪ >> one million machete building peasants jammed the square in response to the call of fidel castro for the celebration of the sixth anniversary of his july 26 revolutionary movement. it is perhaps the biggest mass demonstration in the hemisphere.
the unpredictable castro dons a in aall uniform to pitch benefit for his of agrarian land reform funds. this new president tosses the first ball, and the first ball. you really have to be careful. viva fidel! years many cubans, the before 1959 were hard. cuban peasants rarely owned the land they worked so hard to tell. cubans, thee poor proletarian mob, suffered as though they were almost unaware there was another way to live. when fidel castro is ready to sierra madre,e
his appeal is to the middle class. it is the knowledgeable who form the advance army of the revolution. but the poor are there to listen. many believe, few doubt that the revolution is a success. is ao's brother raul communist spirit his close associate che guevara participated in the revolution of what a mullah. few cubans, even in the middle castrobelieve that fidel will turn communist. at first, he promises free elections. he acknowledges many of the rights of citizens. but the elections never take place, and the government quickly becomes an instrument of coercion.