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you vote in this committee? What would be your advice to me? I am chairman of this subcommittee.
Mr. FALK. Well, Senator Humphrey, I think that is a very difficult question. Your comment raises several, I think, important and interesting issues. Let me respond directly to your question.
I think there are no easy answers in international politics. In general, I would say it is not desirable to take a flat position in terms of aid to dictatorships in general, but rather to examine each case on its own basis.
I do think that the guiding principle should be to see whether our aid is interfering with the dynamics of self-determination. I do think that where we have made a mistake over
a mistake over the years, with military assistance, particularly
Senator HUMPHREY. I am not talking military aid; I am talking economic aid. I have very strong views about military assistance being scattered around the world.
Mr. FALK. I think I referred to military assistance only because it is the extreme case of economic assistance, but I think it applies equally well to economic assistance also.
I think that where we have concentrated our aid, our overriding purpose has been not to improve the quality of life in foreign societies, but rather to try to frustrate certain indigenous developments that were destined to take place were they not opposed by overwhelming external assistance.
I think Indochina is the most extreme example of this. But I think it is also characteristic of our policies toward some other Asian countries and toward some of the countries in Latin America. Therefore, I think the underlying question is whether America or the American Government is really still as afraid of change in these third world countries as it has shown itself to be in the past.
After all, our leaders go to Peking and Moscow and are feted by the most powerful Communist governments in the world, and yet we seem terribly nervous and anxious when the dynamics of change begin to surface in small countries throughout the third world. I think that that is the fundamental challenge to the kinds of positions we take both within our own Government and in international foums such as the U.N.
HOW TO PROMOTE POLITICAL CHANGE
Senator HUMPHREY. What always bothers me is that some people are perfectly willing to accept the excesses and abusiveness—in fact the outright tyranny—of certain forms of political order, on the excuse,
that there had to be change, and you are supposed to go along with it. If you resist it in any way trying to help democratic forces it appears
that you are standing in the way of progress. Let me give you an example. I was in Germany just recently. I happen to be very close to the German Social Democrats in political orientation. The Social Democratic Party in Germany has made direct contributions to the Social Democrats in Portugal. They have tried to help them. Now this is denounced in some places as political interference by our own so-called American liberals and others in the academic community and elsewhere. Yet, it is a well-known secret that the Portuguese Communist Party has received external assistance. How do you explain that? What besets us that highly educated and informed people get all upset if we, who believe in representative government with all of its limitations—and it surely has limitations-decide to help other people who want to have representative government? How does that get to be so bad? And then we have people who are critical of those who condone the kind of authoritarian activities I have described.
Mr. Falk. Well, I think that again is a very difficult and important question. Answering it on a relatively personal basis, I think this sort of assistance is opposed in America, at least, largely because people believe that it is not used primarily to help promote representative academic forces in foreign societies but just the reverse, that it is being used to help right wing forces prevail, particularly in Latin America, but elsewhere too. Therefore the general feeling is that it is best to oppose all such efforts to tip the domestic balance of forces in foreign societies, because these efforts so often turn out to be right wing interventions and not liberal democratic interventions.
Senator HUMPHREY. I think that has happened in a number of cases but not everywhere. Take a look at Venezuela, for example. I used to go to that part of the world much more. When you stop and think of what happened in that country by right wing forcs and the effort on the part of the United States to be of help to the more liberal element, I think there is a good case of where we did the right thing.
Mr. FALK. I do not think it is impossible for the U.S. Government to do the right thing in the third world. I think it is highly unlikely. And I think the evidence pretty well in supports that proposition. If one examines the history and pattern of the CIA's covert operations, it doesn't take long to conclude that these activities have not sought to oppose authoritarian totalitarian developments in societies, but really to oppose left leaning political movements in many parts of the world.
Senator HUMPHREY. A left leaning political movement does not necessarily mean that it is democratic?
Mr. FALK. No.
Senator HUMPHREY. I think a good socialist is a leftist and a democratic socialist is a good leftist, but I do not consider a Communist who calls himself a leftist to be a democratic socialist.
Mr. FALK. Of course.
Senator HUMPHREY. I think it is important we get our language right.
What has happened here, the lexicon of democracy has been treated so shabbily. We talk about the peoples republic. If the people do not have anything to say about it, it is not a republic. And now it gets to be the democratic peoples republic.
There is no political opposition, there is no freedom of press, no bill of rights; but the language is usurped by those who, if you please, are not democratic and there is not even a republic. But we keep talking about those words.
I realize we have to live with that but I am a democrat with a small “d” and I believe in competition, as Senator Javits said here a while ago. I believe in a plain and good argument. That does not mean I want to fight. But I believe I have a right to state my case. I do not think I have to roll over like Rover and play dead to accommodate somebody because they say they are poor. They can be wrong and poor, too, like we can be wrong and rich. And we are not that rich. One of the reasons we are not, we have given a lot of it away.
You mentioned China. I was on the other side of the China issue, not at first but I changed; namely, I thought that we had to recognize mainland China. I think there are certain facts of life you have to face.
ROLE OF PUBLIC OPINION IN THE UNITED STATES
Why was the U.S. policy what it was? Two reasons: Leadership on the one hand, and public opinion on the other hand. We do have the problem of public opinion in America. We have a President who says he knows what to do about the oil problem—that is to put on some tariffs. In some countries he would have gotten by with it. Here we said, "wait a minute, back up,” we have public opinion here—we have Congressmen and Senators who do not agree with the President. We would get a lot of things done in this country if we did not have public opinion. Other countries do not have to worry much about public opinion. We are going to debate our defense policy here shortly. I am sure you have not heard much public debate in the Soviet Union about defense policy, or Eastern Germany.
I went to see the Ambassador, from East Germany. Well, and good, I am glad we now have those relationships. We do not have much debate about public policy in some parts of the world; therefore, our Government is in a sense moved by what seems to be at least a prevailing public opinion. I have lost some elections on this.
Mr. Falk. I agree that American public opinion is a relevant factor when we deal with these questions, with all respect Senator Humphrey, I think on some of these issues the public opinion is itself a product of national leadership.
Senator HUMPHREY. I think that is true.
Mr. Falk. I think the China issue could have been handled quite differently by American leaders and with quite positive results. Another thing that I think disturbs people like myself is the hypocrisy of so much of the rhetoric ostensibly concerned with the promotion of liberal democratic values abroad. We managed to live perfectly happily with Portuguese facism for 50 years.
Senator HUMPHREY. I do not agree with that. A lot of us were highly critical. It was accepted because of the fact it was there. Just like the Soviet Union and China were there, so was the Salazar dictatorship. It was there and so, therefore, we dealt with it.
Mr. FALK. When it was collapsed and was succeeded by what was in comparison a democratic movement rather than welcoming that change in Portugal, Vice President Rockefeller and others called it the most tragic development in recent international history.
Senator HUMPHREY. The people have choices in the election. You get what you buy. That goes for a lot of things and for all of us in public life. People have to know that. There are basic policy decisions that are made. I agree with you that the top leadership of a country has a great deal to do with formulating public opinion. A public political leader has to be an educator on the one hand and he has to be a person sensitive to what the public thinks on the other hand. He has to be an educator to help bring facts and information to the public.
There are people who have been on this committee for years. Some of us have fought against Portuguese colonialism for years. Some of us have been substantial voices in the country and have expressed ourselves time and time in opposition to Rhodesian policy. I lead the fight in the Senate to repeal the Byrd amendment. It did not get through the other body. They were elected by the people in all these congressional districts. Not enough people in this country are really interested as yet or not yet sufficiently aware of the interdependence of this world that we live in.
DIFFICULTIES OF GOVERNMENT
What you basically had to say I find refreshing and enlightening. There are times I feel people outside of government—and I have been in and out-do not understand the difficulties that there are in government. You sometimes have to work with what there is.
I was mayor of my city. There were certain elements in the city, let us say for example, even in the labor movement, that I personally did not like, but I had to work with them until there was a change made. And I worked with certain elements in the business community until changes could be made. And I think that is what happens sometimes in government. The same people who are critical of America for trying to meddle in everything military are the very same people who would like to have us meddle in everything political, only on the other side.
I think we have a real problem here today with our representation in the United Nations. How much do we really meddle? How much force do we really bring to bear? What would you think if the United States was overt, not covert, in the backing of certain liberation movements in countries which provoked revolution, which in turn projected disorder, which then resulted in war, and which finally got some of our people involved and got them killed again. This is a problem.
I happen to sympathize with Angola's desire for independence. I happen to be bitterly opposed to the regime that is in Rhodesia. I happen to believe that what President Kaunda in Zambia is trying to do is the right thing. I do not like apartheid, and said so, and said so even at the Organization of African unity during the time I was Vice President.
My point though, is how many students have you educated like that at the university? What are they doing around the country about it? We are like lonely sheep around here. I do not find anybody getting very excited about it. Would you help me a little bit? How do you get public opinion around to make a more constructive policy?
U.S. RIGHT TO SPEAK UP IN ITS OWN DEFENSE
Might I say quickly I was in Rome; and the reason we were there is because I promoted it, to be immodest; and it is a fact. I helped get that World Food Conference and to get our Government to sponsor the resolution at the U.N., but I listened to speakers from other countries, the Third World countries, who were sheer demagoges. They were not doing much about the food problems of their own people; they were buying airplanes and equipping armies and refusing to do anything about the feeding of their own people as they were standing
there and pointing their fingers at us and saying: “Look at you capitalists, you are not helping us.”
I remember Secretary Butz was shocked when he heard this. I said, Mr. Secretary, you have not been at enough international conferences. We are going to have 3 days of abuse and then people are going to settle down and talk it out rationally, which is exactly what happened.
I have listened to the most vitriolic speeches about the United States from representatives of countries that refuse to do anything about family planning, refuse to do anything about agricultural development, refuse to feed their own people. Now that does not make us poor, but I am not about ready to roll over and play dead and say you are a nice fellow. I think we ought to stand up to them and say hey, buddy, before you start telling us how to run it why don't you clean
I think we have a right as Americans to argue our own stuff. I do not believe that I ought to stand up and, just to prove that I am a nice lovable human being filled with understanding, let somebody come up and hit me across the head with a two by four, and accuse me of discrimination and bigotry, and intolerance, and misinformation.
What is your response ?
Senator HUMPHREY. After you have been through about 25 of these international conferences, I would like to know what you have to say about them. I have had to stay there and listen to this.
FORMULATING PUBLIC OPINION
Mr. FALK. I think that there are several separate questions that we are trying to deal with. One is how to get an American public opinion that supports more enlightened positions. And my contention, which I think is borne out by the most recent polls, is that on many issues the public would support positions far in advance of the Government's own “liberal” positions sufficiently popular that a national leadership could easily pursue them if it chose to do so. In other words, I am saying that sometimes public opinion is used as an excuse for pursuing a rather selfish interest that does not necessarily have a public mandate.
Senator HUMPHREY. I agree with that.
Mr. FALK. One has to look at the particular issue, see how the public feels about it, and then determining whether these feelings are based on a proper understanding of the real U.S. policy choices and their respective consequences.
Now as far as the hypocrisy of some Third World and other governments is concerned, I think that that certainly is a fact of international life. However, I do not think that it behooves the United States to try to set that right. At this point we do not ourselves have such credibility, moral or political to tell other societies how they should run their own society. And we will surely not enhance our own legitimacy by attacking foreign societies and making them a target of abuse.
Senator HUMPHREY. But I do not want them to tell us how to run ourselves all the time.
Mr. Falk. But that is not a question of parity. We have just been involved for a decade in a war that killed an awful lot of people.