attention to it. Now, is it that civil defense
is not dramatic in the minds of the newspaper reporters, or of the people, or what is
it? And do you think it has to be dramatized
more than it has been to date?
Huebner: No. I think again you run
into a problem which deals with all
Americans and I think the news media
are just as guilty of so-called apathy as
anyone else. The great majority of the
news media have not had time or have
not taken time to become educated in
the elements of this new age. Therefore,
thev do not write from a comprehensive
background. And those who have written know that a story that is not written
from a comprehensive background generally does not carry much with il and
that certainly it doesn't seek its place
in the limelight where it really belongs.
BURT: Well, now, General Huebner, let
me ask you the sixty-four billion dollar question, and I hope that our panel members will
all join in on this discussion because it is
the nub actually of what we are talking
about. If a surprise attack should be
launched by the Communists would our civil
defenses be adequate?
Huebner: Absolutely not. We in New
York State have a good basic organization. Every city and every county in the
state does have a civil defense director
and does have its staff. Most of them
have some of the services already organized and operating. There's nearly
enough of them to do the job. However,
I can say this: that if we were attacked
nnw we would he much better able to
proceed and do some of the things that
vve should have done than we would
have- been two years ago.
Combs: It occurs to me that until
Washington decides that this question
of civil defense spreads across stale
lines, that it is not a matter to be handled as Mrs. Hobby handled polio on the
theory that the polio virus wouldn't cross
state lines, thai we are licked altogether
in this entire problem. This is a national problem, one of national scope,
and cannot he succcessfully handled by
stale nr local administrations no matter
how competent they may be.
Look at New York for example. Our
water supply in large part comes from
a confluence of rivers in another state.
How are we going to safeguard New
York water againsl contamination on a
purely local basis? All of these problems
have national and geographical implications which go beyond the archaic political subdivisions of the forty-eight
states. And until we recognize the
urgency of a federated and a controlled,
and may I say, a centralized civil de-
fense, we're jusl ailing as if we had
forty-eight different state militias. We
Wouldn't fight war with forty-eight state
militias. We can'l fight civil defense with
forty-eight state . . .
Buckley: I ihink General Huebner's
remark thai wc need to rely a bit more
on American ingenuity is a highly apposite one. For example, I remember
that Michael DiSalle, when he was
—Wide World Photo
President Eisenhower walks beside Arthur Fleming, Defense Mobilization Director, as he
leaves a cabinet meeting at a secret retreat during "Operation Alert," a simulated atomic
attack on the U.S. A secret service man and an unidentified aide follow the chief executive
as he walks past a tent at the site.
mayor of Cleveland, suggested to the
Chamber of Commerce, that he could
solve Cleveland's problem with ten
thousand dollars. All he had to do was
erect tremendous neon arrows, one pointing at Chicago and one pointing at Detroit. This kind of ingenuity which
springs from allowing local people to
handle the local problem is the anti-
slatist response to questions like this.
Incidentally, in this connection, talking
about federalizing everything, I would
submit that Washington, after all, is in
very little danger since it would be inconceivable that the Soviet Union would
elect to erase Washington from any
possible future use and lose the State
HODGES: Nothing is inconceivable.
COMBS: Congress apparently couldn't
even respond to the last civil defense
Hodces: I want to suggest how important civil defense is in this particular
state. And particularly for those of you
who are thinking in parochial stale lines.
I have read with greal interest the contacts lhal are being made with Canada.
Mr. Moderator, through General Huebner's foresight. I think it's a most important document. And I regret it hasn't
gotten wider distribution.
BURT: You're disagreeing with Mr. Combs,
then, in saying this civil defense administration handled on a local and state level is
doing a good job and if isn't necessary to
have it truly operated by the federal government?
Hodges: Well. I think that you've
got lo lie the whole thing from community right up to Washington together.
We have to work as a team and 1 think
we have lo bring in our northern neighbor, Canada, very decidedly, as General
Huebner's organization has done according to the record.
Huebner: I would like to say that
each echelon of American government
has its responsibility in civil defense.
Actually the work will be done where
the disaster occurs. Then you come to
the state, and the state through its own
cabinet is responsible to the people of
lhe state for the coordination of civil defense. And finally you get up to the federal government who retains unto itself
most of the taxing powers. It too is responsible for coordinating the efforts of
the states and where it's beyond the ca-
pacity of the stales, either through inter-
stale lines nr inability to raise the money.
then it becomes the responsibility of the
Congress and of lhe executive department
of the government. Now, I don't go at
all for this business of having the federal government appoint a state admin-
istrator. I would rather serve under my
own governor and his cabinet than I
would to have a political appointee come
in here and tell us all what our jobs are.
BURT: General Huebner, we have very
little time left, and I want to ask you a
question that I certainly have in mind since
I da live in New York and many of our
viewers would have that in mind. Manhattan
is a tightly-packed little island of millions
of people. What would happen, how could it
be evacuated, in case of atomic attack?
Huebner: In my opinion, in case of
an atomic attack, if you think in terms
of an hour or two, it is an impossible
task. Bul when lhe diplomatic situation
gets to the point where war is possible.
and we have a big intelligence group
whose sole job is just that, then the
powers that be must bring about a
strategical evacuation. People who are
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PACTS FORUM NEWS, October, 1955