Harrison Salisbury discusses politics and his journalism stories

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Harrison Salisbury, journalist and author, talks about some of the major stories he has covered, which he chronicles in his newest book, "A Time of Change: A Reporter's Tale of Our Time." Salisbury also answers listener questions. Beginning of program is discussion on Central American military involvement, and subsequent local protests. Mr. Salisbury is a Minnesota native, and U of M graduate.

Read the Text Transcription of the Audio.

(00:00:01) Mr. Harrison, Salisbury is with us for the hour today. It's certainly a pleasure to welcome you to Minnesota Public Radio. I'm delighted to be here Harrison Salsbury was last heard on these stations. I believe back in December when he was at the national Press Club in Washington where the president of the Press Club proceeded to spend 10 minutes introducing. Mr. Salisbury. Now, all of that was very Justified given his credentials in his Laurels over the years, but I think we'd rather hear from him today then hear about him. So I'll simply tell you that Harrison Salisbury grew up in Minnesota. He went to the University of Minnesota where he got his start in journalism in World War II, he was a foreign correspondent for the United press and joined the New York Times in 1949 and won a Pulitzer Prize for reporting on stalinist Russia. He's covered scores of Major stories from the Civil Rights Movement the United States presidential elections behind the scenes in Hanoi, and of course China, he writes about some of his experiences. In a brand new book, which is called a time of change a reporters tale of our time. I want to ask you a lot of things and give our listeners a chance to ask you a lot of things about the stories you've covered over the years, but I'm just compelled given what's happened in the Twin Cities area the past several days to ask you about the demonstrations that have been going on here and and the u.s. Involvement in Central America. Do you see any parallels between what's happening now and what happened during the Vietnam era? (00:01:31) Well, there are certain General parallels. I don't happen to think that the current involvement is going to go very far. I really expect that the American forces that were sent down there. So unexpectedly will be with equal unexpectedness brought back here on the other hand. If the response is what really interests me more the spontaneous reaction across the country doesn't only Minneapolis, but right across the country it's about people out into the streets for the first time since Vietnam and there is a very strong sense of deja vu the same kind of slogans the same sort of fear. (00:02:06) It's (00:02:07) obvious that a lot of people fear a repetition of Vietnam in Central America. I don't expect that to happen. I haven't believed that it would all along but this certainly has been a fear in the minds of many people ever since the Nicaraguan question became a sort of a front-burner issue and with mr. Reagan pushing it very very strongly and with equally strong opposition in Congress largely among the Democrats, but including some very distinguished Republicans as well. So it shows that this is a this is a live wire. It's a sensitive cord in American public response and that of course sends a message to legislators and presumably to the president as well. (00:02:51) Why do you suppose this will not erupt into another Vietnam. What are the what are the differences between Central America in late 1980s and Vietnam in the 60s? (00:03:02) Well, I tell you one perhaps the simplest way of explaining That is that in Central America. You do not have a large comparatively. Well organized a nation with which is located adjacent to very large substantial Supply Nations such as China and Russia. You have a small Central American Republic which while it is a communist oriented is not all that. Well organized has a has a very definite Contra movement of its own in addition to the one which is a more or less important from the outside its neighbors are in some cases supportive in some cases very neutral. There is a strong central American feeling of unity, which is against escalation of this war which really wants very much to have peace which is not sympathetic to the military moves of the United States are many such considerations which are different and Don't see exactly how this can be turned into another Vietnam. I'm not saying it couldn't because who knows I mean events can happen with great unexpectedness in the foreign field and I'm not one to say never because too many times never is turned out to be tomorrow, but it doesn't feel that way to me. (00:04:24) All right, let me ask you about one other thing here before we open the phone lines to listener questions and get on with some other things totally unrelated to this. But again based on on the fact that you grew up here in Minnesota and have it a chance to watch it from a distance to a certain extent over the years. We have had in the state of Minnesota at least for serious presidential contenders Harold stassen. We have had Gene McCarthy Hubert Humphrey and Walter Mondale. None of them ever got the brass ring. Why not? You suppose (00:04:59) well, and I would add George McGovern and no he didn't grow up in Minnesota, but he's a very very close neighbor sure they represent. While they are diverse in their opinions and certainly stassen is not the same as the others but nonetheless, he was a young energetic very Progressive Republican when he has started his son his failed attempt for the presidency. They resemble they represent a certain vein of political and economic and social mobility in this area. Minnesota is and the areas around it to some extent Wisconsin shares it to some extent The Dakotas do it is perhaps a legacy of agrarian spirit and Bulgarian progressiveness. It is perhaps a legacy of the of the liberal almost socialist beliefs brought here by very large numbers of our forefathers from Scandinavia from Sweden and to some extent from Germany and you also have a New England strain in there which Which while it might be thought to be rock-ribbed Republican is in many cases has a reformist history. I believe that these factors produce strong young political contenders very popular in the domestic and the area and from which they come but they're unable to project their image out over the country for many different reasons frequently. They are against the mainstream of American public opinion. I happen to like that myself being a Minnesotan. We are sort of beginners. We don't like to be in the mainstream, but if we're going to be presidents or be elected president, well you have to you have to join in I think Walter Mondale was perhaps closer to the mainstream, but for some reason or other he didn't he didn't take fire is in in the big arena. It's a close question and a difficult question. Well, I've I've thought of her many years. I don't think that he will go on you're a candidate after candidate without one coming along who will catch the mainstream spark and go on into the White House, but we may have to wait for another generation. I don't know. Do you see any (00:07:21) among the Minnesota politicians that you might be familiar with (00:07:24) today? I don't see one on the scene today. I don't see Governor pitch making it the two senators durenberger is is a very able senator in the Republican side, but he's not in the mainstream of the Republican party, which is a is rather typical. I don't see any of the Congress Congressional figures people have said that the mayor of st. Paul may have a whack at it some day it does. I don't really think that's likely but he's a very able man Minnesota has many many able politicians. They are more honest than the general run of politicians I think and maybe that's a (00:08:03) handicap. Here are some salisbury's with us and we'll talk about his book during the hour. It's called a time of change and reporters tale of our time. I want to open the phone lines now for your questions for him in the Twin Cities. You can call us at two two seven six thousand two two seven six thousand in the Twin Cities elsewhere within the state of Minnesota 1-800-662-2386. Our toll-free number one 865 to 9700 and in the surrounding states, you can dial toll you can call us on your own nickel at area code 612 2276 thousand I do hope I'm not going to dominate the conversation you because I know that a lot of you want to talk to her since Aylesbury, but I hope that some of you will ask him about his time behind the scenes in Hanoi. There's some great stories here in the book and I hope that some of you will will think to ask him about that. Let's take our first question or here. Go ahead. You're on the air with Harrison's (00:08:54) Ellsbury. Thank you very much. Mr. Salisbury. I'm calling from st. Cloud where you recently dedicated our library a few years back. Yes, I did. My question is about the soviet-american relations right now. I have a basic feeling that a great historic opportunity is being missed because we although we have Gorbachev. We also have the Reagan Administration and that feeling is tempered by the fact that after all the Reagan Administration has come across with this INF agreement, but in spite of spite of that and I do have some nagging doubts that the Hardline has maybe been productive. However, my basic feeling is that the historic opportunity to transform the Soviet American relation. It is being missed on long as Reagan is President. How do you feel about (00:09:40) that? I'm not so sure that it's a curious thing. But one must give his predecessor. Mr. Nixon his do. Mr. Nixon was not my favorite President in domestic affairs and indeed. He lost the confidence the country but in foreign policy with the exception of Vietnam, which is a very large exception his foreign policy was very well informed. Executed and it hit to the very important targets of the day after all. He's the man who opened up our relationship with China ended that long and an unnatural isolation. And he's the man who working with Leonid Brezhnev created a body of treaties and agreements which came to begin an atmosphere which came to be called the taunt which gave us the best and closest relationship. We had with the Soviet Union since World War Two. We now have mr. Reagan who is certainly a strong if not stronger in his anti-communism than mr. Nixon and he is a man who started out by calling the Soviet Union the evil empire and now you find him having gone through a really remarkable and major negotiation with mr. Gorbachev coming out with a very long step forward in control of nuclear weaponry. In fact in abolishing a whole class of Weapons he's now engaged behind the screen smokescreen of all kinds of moves and countermoves in in places like Afghanistan and Nicaragua and Central America in putting together with mr. Gorbachev act to which is to be an even more important abolition of a whole family of nuclear weapons. I don't know whether he will achieve that but the the prognosis at this moment is good. The preliminary work has been good. In fact, it had been a great deal had been done before they ever signed the first treaty at this very moment. We have mr. Schultz. Mr. Schaben Ozzy Consulting on this topic in Washington. I believe there will be a summit meeting in Moscow. Mr. Reagan will go there and I have my fingers crossed of course because well Ike was going to go there one time and you got disinvited after the U-2 incident. But nonetheless I agree that the time is ripe for a move and I see good prospects of it. As a matter of fact again behind this smokescreen of headlines. There is more going on now and soviet-american relations. And in any time I can remember since the Nixon era all kinds of cultural exchanges are happening of a magnitude. We haven't seen in a long time and all of this bodes. Well, of course, there are danger signals, they're still there and they always will be no doubt, but I'm not a pessimist at this moment. (00:12:39) Here's another questioner who's been waiting for a chance to talk to Harris and Salisbury. Thank you. You're on the air (00:12:44) now. Thank you. I don't want to make a comment for us because I find that Chinese such a situation very very well, but timely right now particularly since but I do want to ask question after the freshness like in Soviet Union the they are destroying the Virgin lands Amazon The Virgin lands are being destroyed by China. I think isn't going to do it from what I heard that Ambassador. Say the other day. I'm so I want to get to this one thing here that right now is very curtain and that's a pan of me and situation if we can close the bank's down and control the lives of the people down in Panama over which we are no longer supposed to have control of what's to prevent foreign money that has come into this country. Well, which we have a deficit now and which is controlled by foreigners from doing and if they gang up on us they can do the same thing to us. (00:13:50) Well, I suppose in theory that's possible. It's always possible for all our friends and all our enemies to withdraw all the money they have in this country causing economic catastrophe here, but economic catastrophe for them as well because after all their money is here, it's an investment it's here because they get a good rate of interest or they wanted here to buy up one more segment of American industry, which I think is rather pernicious but nonetheless is profitable for them. I do not believe that your question relates to a plausible scenario. It's true. We're putting economic pressure on Panama. We're very big country. There are very small country. We have enormous and economic power. I'm not impressed with the results. We've secured this far but perhaps in the end. We may topple this gangster who's running Panama. And so what else is new? I wonder if we'll have a better man in his place. That's what I wondered (00:14:45) 15 minutes past. The are Harrison salisbury's with us today. His book is called a time of change a Tale of our time and we'll put you on the air with him next to go there. Hello. Yes. (00:14:55) I am a Central American person living in the United States and I have a question for your guests. Yes, please. I am very confused. Sometimes when political content contenders and a lot of American people that reduce the foreign policy in Central America and the problems down there to contract Pro contrast help or a military help from the United States. And that seems to me that is that people are not well educated about what's going (00:15:29) on. It's more complex than that and perhaps you might mr. Salisbury off some observations on that if you (00:15:35) well I will we have in our history. He always regarded not only Central America but the Western Hemisphere as more or less our private preserve that is to say We have conducted a policy against foreign interference with in this Hemisphere and we've carried it out by many means now the flip side of that policy is that we've taken an interventionist attitude in the Affairs of one country after another in Latin America. Sometimes it has been over to such as sending troops into Nicaragua as we've done Time and Time and Time Again going back, I guess to Theodore Roosevelt certainly all during the 20s and some of the 30s American Marines were there. They've been there for more years I suppose and they haven't been there this I submit is characteristic of our policy. We believe that we have the right to maintain order in our own backyard. Now, I am certainly aware of the fact that Colombia and Nicaragua Ecuador Argentina Brazil. You name it our national entities who don't exactly relish American interference. It's no it is not accidental. Yankee go home is a slogan which was invented in Latin America and has been expressed in practically every one of those countries. There are many many things about the policy which result which are unpalatable to persons like myself the fact that we have supported so many dictators so many cruel oppressions in Latin America doesn't speak very well for our adherence to our own National ideals. But if we're talking about it as a situation of reality I would say there is nothing new about what is happening in Nicaragua, except perhaps and not only Nicaragua but the other countries in Latin America, perhaps we have more National Consciousness now of what we're doing of the implications before we simply sent in the troops, and that was great that the flags were flying the drums were beating if some people got killed while we didn't know who they were. Anyway, (00:17:46) all right. Let's move on to some more folks with questions. A lot of people want to talk to Harris in Salisbury. The lines are pretty full. But if you get a busy signal, you might try again a little bit and see what you're lucky is. You're on next. Hello there. (00:17:56) I'm calling from warmer and I wanted to tell mrs. All three that I have really enjoyed his books, especially like the 900 days in Black Knight white snow and the really what I wanted to ask about was how did he get interested in writing about the Russian Revolution and Russian history? And how did he prepare himself to write these books? I'll hang up and listen. Thank you. (00:18:16) Well, I tell you I got interested in Russia when I went over there is a newspaperman to cover Russia during the war for the first time and then I went back after the war for the New York Times and spent many years in the Soviet Union. I learned Russian. I learned a great deal about its history and I was very moved by some events in it. Notably the siege of Leningrad. I happen to be one of the group of Correspondence who went in there after The Siege was lifted and it was of most moving experience and I thought from that time I wanted to write about it write a book If I Could took me many years to get the access to collect the materials but eventually I first saw it in January of 1944 and the book on The Siege was published in January of 1969. That's a good long. Wait, but I got the material and routed the book about the Russian Revolution Black Knight white snow stemmed from the the interests that were stimulated in Me by being in the Soviet Union and by my gradual growing consciousness of the many forces that lay behind that Revolution, which had nothing to do with the Communist Party the Bolsheviks as Lenin called his group and my conviction that the Revolution was not a Bolshevik Revolution at all. It was a an uprising of people in which poets and artists and and the intelligencia Really played the leading role in the years long before the Revolution itself and that it was a phenomenon which would have come had there been no Bolshevik. But they very cleverly and ably on Orleans leadership were able to exploit it and take power. I found it a fascinating story and that's what I why I wrote that book and I met in time write more books about the Soviet Union. Do (00:20:03) you think that a revolution of sorts is underway now under Gorbachev that would be as perhaps as wide-ranging as the Bolshevik Revolution was (00:20:13) if Gorbachev is able to achieve what he has said he wants to wish achieve. It will be a revolution almost as deep and basic as the Bolshevik Revolution because in essence without stay saying this he wants to give up many of the basic precepts of Communism and substitute for them sort of a mixed bag of doctrines many of them which come from the capitalist world and create and create a new type of society which we haven't seen we've seen. Oh, maybe a sample of some of the in Yugoslavia. We're seeing the Chinese actively building. That kind of a society in which they and they are very openly much more openly than Gorbachev say, yes, we want to use this free enterprise system because it produces results. We can't get the results from communism. So we're going to study some of your corporations and find out how they managed to turn out products cheaply and efficiently and profitably so that indeed if after 70 years Russia begins to make a long Trek away from the rather bureaucratic, but supposedly are absolute to dictates of Marxism towards something which will take on some of the aspects of the free enterprise or the the free western world as we say that is that is a very dramatic thing and something which I'm watching with extraordinary attention. (00:21:39) All right, let's move on to some more folks with questions as we continue with Harrison Salsbury today. Hello you're on with him (00:21:44) now. Mr. Salisbury. I have a question concerning the the Recent Soviet announcement to pull out of Afghanistan which seems to affect the Soviets have actually acknowledged a defeat there and this is actually a defeat of the Soviet Army itself. And apparently they've also had a recent catastrophe in Ethiopia and I was wondering if you could comment on how this affects or how do you think this would affect the thinking of the Soviet military in particular and if there would be any effect on the Soviet public at large? (00:22:19) Well, I think the two questions are probably a separate questions. Let me take the public at large first because it's easier the public has never been enamored of the war in Afghanistan. They have blamed the government for they blamed Afghanistan and the government's intervention there for many things in their daily life. This is shortages that they have to put up with the the high prices the inability to move forward in many ways. And of course for the casualties because after all as in the To the up now with us. It's the casualties that really turn people on and against the policy. So the government is taking a great noodle clack there with very very little a result and they are compelled to try to get out of there. Now does the military support that yes, and no in my opinion. I don't believe the military was very eager to go into Afghanistan as an exercise in the first place. I think they went in because they were ordered by the political government to try and retrieve what they the government thought was a very dangerous situation. They thought that Afghanistan was moving in the path of Iran and that that the Flames of militant muslimism might spread over the border to that 40 million population of Muslims in the Soviet Union. I don't think that the military felt that was a very viable task but there was a flip side to that too. I know for a fact from conversations with Soviet military that they had indeed the American Army its experience in Vietnam envied it in a professional technical way. The Americans had had a chance to try out new arms and new tactics in a way the Soviet military had not now, let's forget the fact that it cost us billions of dollars in many American lives for this experimentation the professional Soviet military hoped that they might have a chance for a similar experience Afghanistan gave them that chance whether their weapons worked out as well as ours didn't Vietnam. I'm not a professional. I don't know but they had that I don't think they're very comfortable about moving out of Afghanistan just as the American Military didn't feel very comfortable moving out of Vietnam. It was a defeat in Vietnam. It is a defeat in Afghanistan. It's not going to enhance. Mr. Gorbachev's credit with the Soviet military establishment. I'm not convinced that they are wholeheartedly behind him. I think that they would be natural if they weren't and that is a factor which may create more instability in his own political situation and balancing off against whatever he may get you by way of Public Credit for having brought to an end which he hasn't done yet an experiment which the people in the Soviet Union found very unpalatable. (00:25:16) People are waiting with questions for Harrison Salsbury. His book is called a time of change a reporter's tale of our time. Thanks for waiting. It's your turn to talk to him now. Go ahead, please. (00:25:24) Hi. I just wanted to say that first of all, mr. Salisbury as a former journalism student. I've been inspired by your evenness in your commentaries over the years and I appreciate your extreme skill in your profession. Let me ask you a question here. You remember the movie Reds? Oh, yes. I do. I just wanted to ask first of all what your comments were on that movie? And specifically what if you have ever written or spoke about the industrial workers of the world the iww or the wobblies here in this country and perhaps how they tied in with the Bolshevik Revolution and in the years since you know, I hang up and listen, thank you. (00:26:08) Well, I tell you I've mentioned the iwi WWE on several different occasions. Usually when I'm talking about my own early experiences at the time of the depression. I interviewed some of them here in the City of Minneapolis. When I did a story about how the Depression hit Minneapolis and this this provoked the Minneapolis journal and to a great deal of anger because they didn't think the Depression was in Minneapolis. They thought it was in Indianapolis or Detroit or some other place. Anyway, that was an early episode. I've never done the iwi WWE's in-depth as I think they should be done because they represent a very American strength. Radicalism which has no connection with Communism at all of it has any connection in which with anarchism which is quite a different thing and I think it's a I think it the they have been studied of course in serious textbooks and things of that kind but not popularly and I think their name is vanished from the vocabulary of most Americans even out in this area where they once were very strong. (00:27:14) Well when you get rid when you finish the list of how remote many more books you want to write. Well, there's another one you could do. (00:27:20) Well, it would be great fun. I don't think I'll ever do another question also asked about Reds. Yes the movie and I'll say about res. I thought that it was a very dramatic picture and it do it portrayed John read the American who was attracted to the Bolshevik Revolution quite accurately romanticized to some extent but it was not too bad at all. There are two things about it about Reds, which interest me in its presentation. The first thing is that that Mr. Reagan showed in the white house which surprised me a little bit because it is after all to a considerable extent a glorification of the Bolshevik Revolution and of some American radicals and I was told that one of his friends said to mr. Regan. I'm amazed that you would show that commie movie Reds in the White House to which mr. Reagan replied. Well, I'm surprised that you say that I thought it was anti-communist which perhaps it was incensed. The other thing is that among my Russian friends when they heard that we had made the movie Reds. They were absolutely crazy to see it. They knew they would never see it in the public screens in Moscow. And so in what I considered to be an act of great diplomacy and almost Brilliance the American ambassador. Mr. Hartman in Moscow decided to import Reds and have it shown as spaso house his residence and invite the Russian intelligence you to come and see it. He did that and it was the hottest ticket that ever been in Moscow people fought for the privilege of coming to the American Embassy and seeing a film which was dedicated to the to the Past glory and heroism of the Russian Revolution. (00:29:03) It's about half past the hour Harrison salisbury's with us. Thanks for waiting. It's your turn to visit with him now. Go ahead, please. (00:29:09) Hello. Yes. I'd like to start a little bit of nostalgia time. And since you mentioned growing up in Minneapolis at the beginning of I wonder if you have any personal Recollections of Marian shutter, one of the grand old man of Minneapolis at that time. Thank (00:29:28) you. Well, I certainly do remember Shutter, because he was the pastor of the universe's first Universalist Church, which is where I went to Sunday school and which I eventually I suppose I'm still a member of that church if that is possible. He was he was indeed a grand old man. He was a to me. He was he was an awesome figure because I was I was really in Sunday school when he was Pastor the church and and to see him he was very solemn looking man and I felt that he was the very personification of God's representative (00:30:00) on Earth. All right. We'll move on to some more people with questions. Go ahead please your next. Hello. (00:30:07) Mr. Salisbury. Yes, say, I'm looking forward to reading your book. I must admit I consider you and Walter lippman to me that the two greatest journalists the 20th century. Thank you. I was wondering at two questions. If you could comment on the current Chinese economic reforms and and their fate after Deng Xiaoping dies. And secondly, if I'm not mistaken your trip to China you took with John service. Yes you do and I was wondering if you could briefly comment on on his reaction to to returning to China and maybe give the listeners a a little background on on his store since I'm probably one of the most interesting diplomatic stories of the last 50 or 60 years and I'll hang up and listen to your answer. (00:30:52) Okay. Well will the policies have done shopping continued after his death? I suspect that they will he has a good team. In place now Zhang the new General Secretary of the Communist Party who is a man whom I know and met and have spent some time with is is dedicated to the economic reform program which dung initiated which involves the opening to the west and the injection into their economy of many elements of our Western Society. There will be struggles. There will be steps forward and steps back because no political course is is even and there are many people in the power structure in China which who have other ideas, which is good. I think nothing wrong with a conflict of opinion. I the country's i'mi'm worried about is where there's only one opinion and I'm sure they're on the wrong track but China is certainly is not that so I think the chances are pretty good and it is a good track for them to follow if they're going to try and Achieve what they want to do which is to bring themselves up as fast as possible not into an advanced Western Country, but they they'll settle for the economic stage of Romania or Portugal just for starter and if they can do that in another 25 years, they'll be very happy now about Jack service Jack service is was in the American diplomatic service. He was born in China. He's an old China hand and the classic sense. He knows the language is lived in China a very Archer of is of his life and he was one of those victims of the McCarthy a'ight Purge of the state department. He was thrown out but he went to court and fought hard and got his position back and he he went back to the service and eventually retired from it. He is interested today as he always has been in China and I got to know him some years back and when I got permission to make the Long March the to recreate our retrace the six Thousand Mile Journey which Mal made with his Red Army when they were fleeing the forces of Chung Kai shek. Ask Jack who knew about this project and it helped in its initiation if you want to go along and although he was then about 75 and had a very severe heart attack. He got permission from his doctor in the first place and his wife in the second place and he came along on the trip and he was a wonderful source of wisdom and knowledge about China in fact, He knew more about many of these remote places that we visited than the Chinese who came along with us because Jack and walked those Hills when he was a boy with his father who was running the YMCA in Chengdu and the others were too young to remember what had happened back there. He's a he's a great friend of mine and a great source of knowledge and interest in Inspirations of our China's concerned (00:33:52) Our Guest today is Harrison Salsbury who's talking about some of the stories. He's covered over the years. His book is called time of change and reporters tale of our time and your next. Hello. (00:34:04) Thank you. I just have one quick question specifically people always refer to Reagan's comment about the evil empire was a bit of a Snicker but they never really indicate whether or not whether or not they agree with it. And so I'm kind of curious as to whether or not you with your vast experience and observation of the Soviet Union. Past 70 years think it isn't evil (00:34:28) empire. Well, let's start with the phrase evil. Empire one might say that all Empires are evil in one way or another certainly the old British Empire was considered Evil by the people of India and many other parts of the world. The old Russian Empire was also called the prison House of Nations. And certainly it was considered Evil by most people in this country and many other people as well the old Chinese Empire or Empire since one Empire succeeded another for several thousand years each. One of them was considered Evil by some people. It's not unusual that a country which is Imperial in its in its methods and which Embraces many many minority people should be considered Evil by observers and so that mr. Reagan and using that phrase evil empire was certainly in a perfectly normal tradition. I know many people Who consider the United States an evil empire and they speak quite openly about it rarely. Do you find however a man who is a Statesman in the head of a Nation using that kind of language you about a another country which he will have to negotiate with diplomatically and which by the use of that kind of language May in some way impede his own objectives. But so far as I've defined it. I think that that evil empire about the Soviet Union evil empire about the United States are are not unusual phrases and they are in the Great tradition of Empires all the way down through history. (00:36:08) What do you think history will have to say about Ronald Reagan? Where do you think you'll rank? (00:36:12) I don't know whether his ranking can be defined at the present time because I think a great deal depends on the coming negotiation. If there is one with the Soviet Union if he and mr. Gorbachev really do make the hurdle and put on top of one major nuclear treaty another going even further in other words, if they really have a breakthrough that begins to put the genie back in the bottle that begins to reduce the danger of nuclear war in the world almost everything else about mr. Reagan will in the end be forgotten just as I think much that same process is going forward with mr. Nixon in retrospect. Now, I think most people would say that his diplomatic achievements at least equal his domestic errors and misconduct. (00:37:04) Okay. We have a lot of people with questions for Harrison Salsbury your Hello, (00:37:08) well the reference to iww in my mind it was I won't work with that other alternate translation of those letters. (00:37:18) I'll I grew up on that definition of I WWII. In fact, I didn't know anything about the industrial workers of the world. I just thought iww was I won't work. (00:37:28) Okay, interesting footnote there, and we'll move on to your question next to low there. Here's (00:37:34) exactly what in World War II and in the Infantry, and we want to cross the Rhine and I got to meet some Russian soldiers and Hospital afterwards and Paris and therefore I since then I've been very interested that bought. Mr. Harrison's 900 days in Leningrad, and that was appalling what happened there and I was lucky enough to afterwards to go to Russia and China in recent years and study their situation for myself. I wonder if mr. Harrison could give me Some opinion about possible trade in the future before these two countries. I think they need an awful lot of things that we produce in this country and we could produce a great deal to improve our economy and also to help Chinese, especially I just love those people does he think increased trade could happen and future you in a very very near future if the Russians solve the problem with mr. Reagan (00:38:38) environment. What about trade Prospect? I think they're quite good. (00:38:42) We're already doing a very good trade with China where the number to trade partner next to Japan and in many many areas were number one and we have recently removed a number of restrictions on high-tech exports to China and I expect that that that trade will go along very well and will become very important to both of us Soviet Union trade is a different proposition. It's very It all depends almost entirely on the success of mr. Reagan and mr. Gorbachev if they succeed with see that expanding to (00:39:15) Harrison salisbury's with us today. We have about 20 minutes left with him your question next, please hello, (00:39:20) mr. Cells areas, you know the Soviet Union under the leadership of Mikhail Gorbachev has initiated a number of arms control proposals recently such as the comprehensive nuclear weapons test ban ban on Space weapons and a 50% reduction of long-range nuclear weapons. But my question to you is what you see is the prospects for arms control agreements on nuclear arms issues as long as the Reagan Administration refuses to negotiate on The Test Ban and system proceeding with the Star Wars anti-missile (00:39:47) system. Well, those are too rigid positions in public but maybe not so much in private at this very moment. Mr. Schultz. Mr. Shevardnadze are discussing those those questions among others and I do not see them as barriers to the next round any more than they proved to be in the Shroud of agreements impediments. Yes bargaining chips. Yes, but I if they want to go forward and I think both sides do want to go forward. They will overcome them. (00:40:17) One of the things that you bring out in your book a time of change is when you were behind the scenes in Hanoi it as it turned out much later. You learned that there were a lot of secret discussions going on between the United States and the North Vietnamese about ending the war. So it makes a person wonder just what's going on behind the scenes at any given point in time. Doesn't (00:40:37) it? Well it does and that's the reason I put that into the book because so often we find that there are two tracks the public track what we know what the reporters may be able to find out and then the secret track which is what the government is really doing in the case of Hanoi. There were extraordinary number of diplomatic negotiations. All of which I'm sorry to say did not come to fruition, but it was not for the lack of Multiplicity when I went to to Hanoi in 1966. I knew nothing. But any of these nor did anyone in the United States, but even at that very moment there probably were four or five different channels which were exploring prospects for peace and indeed the bombardment which we resumed in 13th and 14th of December 1966 came when one of these tracks are very hopeful one through the poles broke down and we responded instantly with these bombings, which immediately preceded my going into Hanoi and were I reported the results of this which caused all that sensation. But while I was even there to my utter amazement, I received a message through the British Consul General in Hanoi was still there inviting me to use his secret channels to to communicate with Dean Rusk the Secretary of State who was eager to enter into new negotiations with North Vietnam and even went so far as to suggest that I could be the Do it for those negotiations as well in my wildest dreams. I never suppose that I was going to be a conduit for Dean Rusk and Lyndon Johnson with North Vietnam. I didn't think it was a proper thing to do frankly and I declined the offer to use the British Communications. Could I thought you know, I'm not a diplomat. I don't I don't want to get in mixed into this sort of thing. Nothing came of it, but I found out later on that all sorts of things have been going on in that track. The British were in addressing was in it Mack Bundy was in it White House was in it and (00:42:40) you think that that LBJ really wanted to end the war back that pointer or do you think that he that there was something about his personality that he just insisted that the United States achieve some sort of victory over these people. (00:42:52) I'm terribly afraid that the moment Lyndon Johnson discovered as you did discover in part through my visit that Hanoi was interested in a resume in starting serious negotiations that in his mind. In this met okay, if they want to do it they want to talk. They must be hurting very badly. So will hurt them worse and then they will talk more easily and we'll get more. (00:43:17) All right, let's move on to some more listener questions. We have about 15 minutes left with Harris and Salsbury. Hello, you're on with him now. (00:43:22) Thank you. I wonder how much contact you may have had with professional journalist in China and the Soviet Union and what you're feeling about that what may be the changing role of Journalism there and whether you sensed any Envy on their part of you of Western journalists greater Detachment and critical objectivity are not (00:43:42) well in China, there's an enormous effort to introduced western-style a journalism. They have invited many many American newspaperman and journalism professors to come and and teach in their new journalism schools and departments, which didn't used to exist. They also employ them a specialist with their news agency and some of their newspapers. They're making every effort to Acquire an expertise in western style journalism and indeed the results can be seen because they have gone in for a certain amount of investigative journalism. They have one remarkable journalist in that field themselves. Mr. Lubin Ian who spent about 18 years in prison and in Exile because of his his his bravery and courage in reporting under Mao and who is also acquired a few black spots for his sharp reporting under the current regime, but he still keeps at it and he's a hero to his own fellow journalist. So I think that as long as the government is on the track that is on at the present time of trying to have an opening to the West this is part of it and it is produced better better journalism for them and I hope it will produce more in the future in the Soviet Union the same kind of thing has happened under glass nose. Which is openness, that's the name of it as the name of the policy and this is reflected in much more digging by reporters much more openness in their reports and a broader range of the things they they report on many of them things that were not touched before will that outlive Gorbachev? I don't know but I like to see it being done now and I hope that it will have a continuing role in the Soviet Union. (00:45:34) Okay. We'll take your question for Harrison Salsbury next. Hi. Thanks for waiting. (00:45:38) Yes, sir. Good afternoon. Thank you. First of all for the opportunity to talk to you and to listen to you. Mr. Salisbury. Yes. I have two questions number one and your studies of Russia and Soviet Union. Do you feel it is justifiable to to have the terms Soviet and Russian to have them synonymous. I mean is there's justification for that question number one, and the other question is It's why is there why does it seem that there is a complacency or indifference of the Free World Press and I think the US president particular toward International socialist crimes against humanity, which number probably time time-wise. I mean about maybe 30 times as much as the Hitler's National Socialist crimes against humanity. (00:46:39) Let's see. The first has to do with using Soviet the two terms Soviet and Russia together. Yeah, there is a problem about this and indeed. It's a problem which has been addressed by that remarkable man aleksandr solzhenitsyn. He has attempted again and again to remind the West that Soviet and Russia are not the same thing that Soviet implies bolshevism and communism whereas Russian implies nationalism and that there is a nation of Russia which existed before the Soviets came along and will exist after they leave and I must say I'm very supportive of that because we do tend to confuse the two terms and they're not synonymous at all. There are a great many people in Russia who are Russians who are anti-soviet and they're also a great many people in Russia who are not Russians who are members of the various ethnic and nationality so that should do much better in our use of those terms and we should make a clear distinction in our minds that a Russian is not necessarily a communist because many of them are not now so far as the crimes of international communism or socialism are concerned. I don't know that I share your view that the West has been indifferent to them. It seems to me we have reported them again. And again it was in the west indeed that with the the genocide or crimes under Stalin were first reported and continued to be reported and I think that we do pay a great deal of attention to them and properly so whether we should pay more attention to them is a matter of judgment. (00:48:23) It's about 10 minutes left with Harrison Salsbury today and we could take a couple more calls at 2276 thousand in the Twin Cities outside the Minneapolis st. Paul area one 865 to 9700. I think a lot of you just got tired of hearing the Busy Signal. Well, we've got a couple of lines open now, so if you want to take a crack at talking with Harrison Salsbury, you can give us a call Meanwhile your next. Hello there (00:48:48) the question that I want. To ask after the I won't work episode was on the evening of st. Patrick's Day. I happened by chance to be in the vicinity of Hennepin and Lake Street and it crossed my mind. I wonder how many of those adults who say they don't have a voice with their political Representatives had attended their caucuses and that brought up the thought of isn't there a better way than caucus or primary to select our national political candidates without so much time and expense and comparing that with the British system. (00:49:37) Well, I have long been an admirer of the British system. I think it has many assets that is to say you have an organized political party with a leader and that man if his Winds in the election automatically becomes the Prime Minister. It means he's a man who was in politics continuously has a leadership role. He's always the opposition leader. He's in on all the events. He doesn't have to be briefed on what had happened during his predecessors regime. It has those virtues it has some disadvantages. I do believe that it's unrealistic to suppose that at this late date we're going to on we're going to dismantle our Constitution and introduce a parliamentary system of government. We might make some modifications in our system and some of them I can see well right offhand. I would like to see ex-presidents it in the Senate and take a role in the elective process one is it may be psychological I would like to see people who are defeated for the president the presidency also sit in the senate or take some role in the political process too often they retire and they may perhaps indulge a little Bitten pronouncements but they're not part of the action. I'd like to see that as far as the caucuses and primaries are concerned. I think they've been debased considerably by television in the electronic concentration hyper concentration on what may be really essentially a minor processes after all it's hard to believe that Iowa which is a great state that I love very much is it is a genuine cross-section of America and that rise or fall sink or swim in Iowa should decide whether a man can be president of the United States. It's even more so of New Hampshire, so there's something bias there. It needs looking into exactly what the solution is. I don't know. (00:51:30) All right, we've got some more questions for Harrison Salsbury your next. Hello there. (00:51:35) Yes, I want to thank mr. Salisbury again for his many comments and books and articles on the Soviet Union and other subjects and I just want to ask this if let's say that the reforms that Mikhail Gorbachev is in Tooting do succeed and that he succeeds in 20 years. What do you see the Soviet Union's role on the international stage? And how do you see it changing? (00:52:00) Well, it's a great big jump to assume that in 20 years. They will have lick the problems which have defeated them in the last 70 but let's suppose that they do it if that were true. The Soviet Union would be in a position to play a much more positive role on the international city of stage than it has up to now up to now one would have to say quite honestly that their principal role in the international scene has been one of a spoiler they have they have assisted fractional movements in various parts of the world. Usually under the under the rubric of helping a National Liberation movement, but in reality in realpolitik to irritate or cause the United States to deflect attention from one part of the world to another I would hope that this might last lie, I lay a foundation for constructive work. And I think we see in the very interesting and complex negotiations, which have been going on between mr. Reagan's man on the one hand. Mr. Gorbachev his men on the other of a development of the first signs of some collective action between the two great Powers. Nothing big has happened yet. But at least they've been talking about joint action on some problems and I would hope to see in 20 years more of that. (00:53:18) Would you see the Soviets as a major competitor economically to the United States in the west? (00:53:23) I cannot see that as yet it might be but I somehow don't really believe it will happen. If you mentioned China then it's a different story if the Chinese are able to absorb as they're trying desperately to the techniques which have made Japan Taiwan Korea Hong Kong Singapore the models of the what of the Eastern Rim the Pacific Rim then we're going to have International trade and economic changes of a magnitude that it can hardly be grasped at the present time. (00:53:59) All right, the hour is getting late but we've got still a few more minutes trying to get a couple of you on anyway. Hello your next what's your question? (00:54:06) Okay. I have a curiosity about something. I've heard alleged by Seymour Hersh and recently in the ksjn commemorative. We could broadcast about Hubert Humphrey and that is but just before the election in the presidential election of 1968 that there was a real possibility for a peace treaty which might have saved the election for Humphrey. But Seymour Hersh that has alleged that Kissinger advised key to wait and he would have a better deal with Nixon and in the recent era ksjn broadcast. One of the commentators said that it was Anna chennault who was involved in deflecting that What information do you have on that? (00:54:52) Well other than there's no relationship between the two things you're talking about. It has been repeatedly a suggested that there was a there was advice given to to to hold off on moving along with lbj's peace initiative because he could get a better deal after Nixon was elected that may be true. Anna chennault name has been mentioned in that connection, but there's never been it's never been a straight connection. I mean, I've never understood exactly what her role if any was in that particular thing. No question that the the south at Saigon came to the conclusion that they were better off hanging in there and they could probably have a better deal if the Republican was elected and I don't think they had to have any particular advice on that on that issue. I think that that would be common sense from their standpoint. They knew what they could get from LBJ and it was a gamble but a calculated gamble that they would do better under Republican. (00:55:58) Okay, we've got time for one more question. I think hello, you're on the air. (00:56:01) Yes. Also on Vietnam the news reports of CIA links with the drug dealing and Laos Cambodia Vietnam connections with Ben Powell the to regime that sort of thing. I'd be interested to know what what you knew about it what your sources of information were and how you how you handled that. (00:56:28) Well, I never knew anything directly about it, but I will say this that when I was in in that in Southeast Asia in 1966, it was common gossip and I think you might almost call it common common knowledge that there was a link of some kind between the agency and various drug operations in so-called Golden Triangle where we're at one time. There had been an isolated group of Chinese nationalist soldiers operating. Probably in that the drug business I never went into that myself. I would say that some investigative journalists have gone into it and they seem to find some evidence that that were true. That was (00:57:08) true. May I answer with the personal question according to what I read in your book you are or will be 80 years of age this year. You are talking about writing another big book on China after you have you know, their last fall why haven't you retired like so many people do it the age of 65 they go off on their boat or the golf course and just sit around and you keep on working. Why do you do (00:57:35) that? Well, you see what I do is more fun than anything else. I know of I guess I'm not interested in sitting on a boat or fishing or playing golf and all those things to be a terrible board me be a maybe a sentence of death if I had to do those things but as long as I am in the world and I'm reporting it's fun and I'm going to go on having that fun. As long as I can. (00:57:59) Well, we will certainly enjoy reading what you put out there. I'll say that thank you very much for coming and visiting with us today through very interesting Harrison Salsbury has been our guest the newest book. He has written Called a time of change reporters tale of our time. And what do you think your new China book might be out sometime. I hit it'll be (00:58:16) at least two two and a half years. I've got a lot more reporting and then I've got a lot of writing (00:58:20) to do and a lot of reading to. All right. Thank you very much Harrison Salsbury has been visiting with us today in many respects. It's like being transported back in time protesters March in the streets the police respond threats and warnings actions reactions. Good afternoon. This is Gary eichten inviting you to join us for NPR Journal this afternoon today. We'll take a look at the players in this 80s version of the 60s style Street protests underway in Minneapolis. The journal is broadcast at 5:00 on FM 5:30 on ksjn 13:30. Well, sir, I couldn't get all of you on the air with Harrison Salsbury, but this interview will be rebroadcast tonight in the Minneapolis st. Paul area on ksjn 1330 AM 1332 night on ksjn in the Twin Cities and then tomorrow Richard sour the new interim president of the University of Minnesota will be in and we'll have the phone lines open for your questions for him. Today's broadcast of midday made possible with financial assistance from the James are Thorpe Foundation. This is Bob Potter speaking. You're tuned to ksjn 1330 Minneapolis. St. Paul high today in the Twin Cities should reach the low 50s low 40s forecast for tomorrow with the 30% chance of showers during the day tomorrow. Now the time is 1 o'clock.


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