Interview Between John F. Kennedy and Walter Cronkite on Foreign Policy Challenges to the U.S., 22 October 1960


Source: The Pentagon Papers, Gravel Edition, Volume 2, p. 799


Senator John F. Kennedy Interview as Reported in The Washington Post, October 22, 1960:

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Cronkite: ". . . What areas do you see where the United States might take the offensive in a challenge to communism over the next 4 to 8 years?"

Kennedy: ". . . the most vulnerable area, I have felt, has been eastern Europe. I have been critical of the Administration's failure to suggest policies which would make it possible for us to establish, for example, closer relations with Poland, particularly after the '55-'56 period and the Hungarian revolution. We indicated at that time that we were not going to intervene militarily. There was a period there when Poland demonstrated a national independence, and even the Polish Government moved some distance away from the Soviet Union.

". . . Secondly, the relations between Russia and China. They are now engaged in a debate over whether war is the means of communizing the world, or whether they should use subversion and infiltration, economic struggles and all the rest. No one can say what that course of action will be, but I think the next President of the United States should watch it carefully. If those two years should split, it could have great effects throughout the entire world.

"Thirdly, I believe that India represents a great area for affirmative action by the Free World. India started from about the same place that China did. The Chinese Communists have been moving ahead the last 10 years. India....has been making some progress, but if India does not succeed with her 450 million people, if she can't make freedom work, then people around the world are going to determine, particularly in the underdeveloped world, that the only way they can develop their resources is through the Communist system."

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