It's contradictory to lhe American—I
think, the man in the street. The second
thing I'd like to point out. Mr. Moderator, is the fact that vve deal more and
more with an unstable population where
the neurotic reaction . . .
Buckley: Don't look at me.
Hodces: ... the fear—(that's all
right. Bill. I had no implication whatsoever in my look. I was appealing to you
for support)—where the neurotic reaction is a real problem. And I think
that's going to lead—and I'll look at
the General, if I may—to the problem
of panic and what arc we going to do
with a population which is half-informed
and half-stricken by fear?
Huebner: I would like to say that
civil defense is the fourth arm of national defense and that it takes a long
time to build the military and to develop
it and to keep abreast of the modern
age. And here we suddenly find ourselves with the civilian in the Defense
Department. It is going to take lime.
education, clear thinking, and a lot of
training to fit him in his modern role.
BURT: To make him aware of the potentialities of the danger and peril of this
atomic attack. Let's go on to our second
question and, General Huebner, perhaps you
would do us the honor of answering this
first, also. Is the danger of atomic war minimized by the current Soviet peace offensive
in your opinion, sir?
Huebner: I would think not. because
war in itself is a long range problem.
And the Soviets have always held their
objective high. They may deviate along
the way. They may go this way, they
may go that way. But the ultimate objective of communism is to dominate
the world . . .
Burt: Conquest of capitalism.
Huebner: Thai's right. Now maybe
thev think time is working for them
and certainly I think we need some
Combs: I think the danger of atomic
war may be deferred by the current
Soviet peace offensive but certainly not
minimized. If we are talking in terms
of perhaps the next year or two it
would seem that the period of negotiations will probably delay any sharpening
of the crisis . . .
BUCKLEY: Like Pearl Harbor?
Cdvibs: I would not suggest that the
presenl negotiations would be a prelude
to a Pearl Harbor. I rather doubt il
because I don'l believe that Russia is
any better prepared in civil defense than
we are. It would seem to me. however,
that this whole question does in a very
real way impede the American effort
to prepare or organize civil defense, he-
e .ui-i- we are a little -anguine that maybe
some magic formula will be evolved
from all of these things which vv ill banish or dispel the danger of atomic war.
and therefore we lag in our civilian defense preparations. It would occur to
me that we would he much stronger in
military and diplomatic posture if now
we could confront Russia with a really
well-organized, well-mobilized civil de-
fense program which would indicate our
inviolability from any attack that they
might launch against us.
BURT: Well, in brief, you don't believe
that the Soviet Communist empire has deflected from its 37-year-old aim of conquering the world?
COMBS: No, I don'l. not for one moment. They might reach a temporary ac-
commodation, a modus vivendi of some
sort. But il certainly doesn't reach the
root of the problem.
1Iihii.es: I think the Soviet peace offensive is a le'ed political danger in the
scum' lhat il throws us off guard. I ihink
the .American people with their honest
desire for peace, are gning to be caught.
The Soviet game is undoubtedly to
squeeze us againsl the sentiment nf our
allies so that we'll be forced into, I
Gen. C. R. Huebner
would repeat, lowering our guard. I
think that's the real danger of this thing.
There's another aspect of it. too. If ibis
whole problem of civil defense is effectively answered so that the cost of an
atomic war becomes higher and higher
we may get this uneasy coexistence, but
it will never come through the diplomats and talky-talk and that sort of
thing. It will come because we're too
tough lo crack both on the mililarv and
the civilian fronts. I think that's the
basis of it.
BUCKLEY: I ihink that it's nonsense
to talk about reaching inviolability, as
George Combs has been referring to it.
I think inviolability is inherently im-
Huebner: I agree with that.
BUCKLEY: Surely what we're talking
about here is how to minimize what will
just the same he catastrophic damage
inflicted on us if we engage in a nuclear
weir, which is nol to sav that the peace
offensive minimizes this possibility. And
my feeling is lhat ii definitely maximizes
it because the Soviet Union will pre-
dictively move into a siluation that has
been softened. And the whole purpose
of the peace offensive is to soften it. It
was Lenin himself whn defined peace
as that situation which exists when the
enemy has been conquered. And we are
the enemy. We'll continue In be the
enemy jusl so long as we oppose the
imperialism of the Se >x iel 1 nion.
BURT: Mr. Buckley, let me ask you one
question. In your opinion do you believe that
the current peace offensive is going to make
it very much more difficult to get the American people to do something about their own
Buckie, : Well. vis. because after all,
the American people have gut to hang
onto every crumb of information that is
passed down to them from the bureaucracy. And these crumbs of informal inn say such things as that we are
emerging into a long period nf peaceful coexistence. Harry Truman says that
the cold war is about over and so
on. with lhe result that they probably
look at people like- General Huebner and
think lhal he's a real paranoiac urging
them lo take all kinds of precautions . . .
Hodges: That's a nasty name for a
nice man. isn't it?
BURT: Well, there's one question which
does arise here and I'd like to pose it for
General Huebner, It seems an awfully difficult thing to get the people—any people—
to be on the alert, say, for a period of four
or five, six, seven, eight or nine or ten years
for a blow that might come but never does.
How can you keep them psychologically
alert, General Huebner?
Huebner: I think that can be handled
in this way—you know every child under
fifteen years old has live-el its entire life
nf reason in the atomic age. It's a new
period that we're going into. And in
order to have proper civil defense we
have lo organize on a grass roots level
because therein lies the operation of
civil defense what ihey do in the cities
and in the country, lhe little people. Now
if appointed and elected officials take
their part and assume the leadership
that they should assume in civil defense.
then you get this basic organization
and once vou have lhat, then whatever
your mood or whatever the action vmi
have to take you have a foundation from
which you can move-, ami will probably
do a very good job. American ingenuity
is slill here.
Hodces: I'd like to throw in this one
observation. I Ihink that whal General
Huebner is urging is civil responsibility
right down to each one' nf us. Bul on
the other hand, in order to exercise ihis
responsibility we have to put up the
money. That's a real problem in terms
of civil defense.
BURT: Well, doesn't this fit into the question I'd like also to pose for General Huebner: I noticed recently when it was announced in the press that fifteen thousand
people—key government officials—would be
evacuated from Washington in a civil defense test, including the White House staff
and the President of the United States, that
the newspapers literally, for the size and for
the importance of that story, paid very little
FACTS FORUM NEWS, October, 1955