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Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 5 Mar 1999

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There is one message totalling 299 lines in this issue.

Topics of the day:

1. An Interview with Jimmy Carter


Date: Sat, 6 Mar 1999 01:48:32 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: An Interview with Jimmy Carter

An Interview with Jimmy Carter

From CNN COLD WAR Series

Jimmy Carter was the 39th president of the United States
(1977-81). He was interviewed for the COLD WAR series in June

On human rights as foreign policy:

I come out of the environmenreign policy:

I come out of the environment of the Deep South, where I had
seen the millstone of racial discrimination weighting down my
people, both the black people and the white people; and I had
seen the enormous progress that we were able to make after we
removed the legal restraints of a two-class society, with the
whites superior and blacks inferior. So I was very convinced
before I became president that basic human rights, equality of
opportuty of
opportunity, the end of abuse by governments of their people,
was a basic principle on which the United States should be an
acknowledged champion. ...

I announced that human rights would be a cornerstone or
foundation of our entire foreign policy. So I officially
designated every U.S. ambassador on earth to be my
gh personal
human rights representative, and to have the embassy be a haven
for people who suffered from abuse by their own government. And
every time a foreign leader met with me, they knew that human
rights in their country would be on the agenda. And I think that
this was one of the seminal changes that was brought to U.S.
policy. And although in the first few weeks of his term my
successor Ronald Reagan disavowed this policy and sent an
emissary down to Argentina and to Chile and to Brazil -- to the
military dictary dictators -- and said, "The human rights policy of
Carter is over," it was just a few months before he saw that the
American people supported this human rights policy and that it
was good for his administration. So after that he became a
ostrong protector of human rights as well. ...

I didn't single out the Soviet Union for my human rights policy:
I applied it in a much more difficult way to the regimes in
South America, most of which were military dictatorships and
very abusive. But the Soviet leaders did assume that my human
rights policy was targeted against them, to embarrass them. I
don't have any regrets about having done so. There's no doubt
that thie so. There's no doubt
that this was a cause of disharmony between me and Brezhnev,
between my Secretary of State and Gromyko and so forth. But it
resulted almost immediately in a dramatic increase, for
instance, in Jewish migration from the Soviet Union. The first
year I was in office, only about 800 people came out of the
Soviet Union, Jews. By the second year, 1979, 51,000 came out of
the Soviet Union. And every one of the human rights heroes --
I'll use the word -- who have come out of the Soviet Union have
said it was a turning point in their lives. And not only in the
Soviet Union, but also in places like Czechoslovakia and Hungary
and Poland [they] saw this human rights policy of mine as being
a great boost to the present democracy and freedom that they
enjoy. I don't want to exaggerate its effect, but I think it was
a very sound policy, and it's basically been followed since
then, and I think there's a much more intense awareness of human
rights principles now than there would have been otherwise.

On U.S.-Soviet arms negotiations:

One of the greatest concerns th
at I had when I became president
was the vast array of nuclear weapons in the arsenals of the
United States and the Soviet Union and a few other countries,
and also the great proliferation of conventional weapons,
non-nuclear weapons, particularly as a tremendous burden on the
economies of developing or very poor countries. So I did a few
things: I issued a directive, which is still in effect now,
prohibiting the sale of any sophisticated weaponry to any
country in this hemisphere, and that involves F-16s or F-15s or
advanced aircraft. It's still in effect. The other thing I did
was to try to put forward to the Soviet Union a much more
dramatic reduction in the total quantity and effectiveness of
the nuclear weapons in our arsenals, and to bring about a
comprehensive test ban to eliminate the explosion of any nuclear
devices, either underground or in the air. And as is well known,
in March of the first year I was in office, I sent my Secretary
of State, Cy Vance, to Moscow with what I thought was a very
e, to Moscow with what I thought was a very
good proposal for dramatic cuts -- but as an alternative, just
to continue an evolutionary step-by-step move from the
Vladivostok agreement that my predecessor Gerald Ford had
negotiated. The response in Moscow was not very favorable. ...

In retrospect, I can see that President Brezhnev was quite proud
of the limited agreement that he had concluded in Vladivostok;
and to have a new American president come in and say, "That is
not good enough -- let's do much more, and do it quite rapidly,"
took him by surprise. ...

On the SALT II negotiations:

In 1979, we had a very productive summit between me and Brezhnev
to negotiate the terms of the SALT II nuclear weapons agreement.
He and I got along quite well. It was a harmonious meeting. I
assuaged his concerns about my narecent normalizing of diplomatic
relations with China. That had been the cause of great
consternation in Moscow, because they could envision, in their
somewhat paranoid state, that the U.S. and China were secretly
ganging up against the Soviet Union. This was not the case. I
think I alleviated his concerns with my discussions with him. In
addition to that, we put reasonable limits on the size of our
nuclear arsenals, agreeing to dismantle or destroy certain
weapons. ...

I [first] met Brezhnev ... in Vienna. He was ill. It was his
[turn] to come to Washington, but he was constrained by his
doctors not to fly at any great altitude because of his ear
problem, so he could only fly short distances. So I agreed, very
generously and easily, to go to Vienna instead. He had to be
supported by someone as he walked around; he was obviously
unbalanced in his walking -- he had an inner-ear problem. But he
was very alert mentally, and he was very harmonious with me. We
had long talks, privately, just the two of us with interpreters,
about all kinds of issues. I mentioned our normalized relations
with China; we had a good talk about human rights policy. He was
proud of the number of Jews who were being permitted to leave
the Soviet Union. We had reached agreement on the SALT II
treaty; we had laid plans for future, more dramatic reductions,
and so forth.

One of the surprising things that Brezhnev said when we were in
our talks was when I proposed that we make these changes in
nuclear weaponry; he said: "God will never forgive us if we
don't succeed." And, you know, coming from the leader of an
atheistic communist country, this surprised everyone. I think
the most surprised person at the table was Gromyko, who looked
up at the sky like this and [moved] his hands in a peculiar way,
as though this was a shocking thing for Brezhnev to say. But I
would repeat that Brezhnev and I were quite compatible. And I
don't know how strong he was at home. Chernenko was with him and
with him and
the military leaders were with him and Gromyko was with him. I
felt that all of them were much more cautious or conservative
than was Brezhnev. That was in June; and in December, right
after Christmas, was when they invaded Afghanistan, that's when
the good progress that we were making was fairly well made
impossibleking was fairly well made
impossible for a while.

On the Iranian revolution:

When the shah was in Washington for a state visit in November of
1977, his secret police, Savak, had fired into a crowd of
peaceful demonstrators and killed, I believe, several hundred of
them. When the shah came to visit me, I took him aside into a
small office that I had adjacent to the Oval Office, and I told
him that I thought that he was making a serious mistake in
viola mistake in
violating the human rights of his own people through his secret
police and in taking strong military action against peaceful
demonstrators. I advised him strongly not to do this any
further. He replied to me with some degree of scorn, and said
that not only the United States but all the European countries
were making the European countries
were making a serious mis the European countries
were making a serious mis the European countries
were making a serious mis the European countries
were making a serious mis the European countries
were making a serious mis the European countries
were making a serious mistake in permitting demonstrations of
our people against our government, that this was obviously a
communist plot to overthrow democracy and freedom in the Western
world, and we were ignorant as leaders in not stamping out this
kind of demonstration at its earliest stage. And he said that in
the nation of Iran there were just a tiny handful of people who
opposed his regime, and these were all communists, inspired and
controlled from outside, that there was no indigenous threat to
his popularity. ...

It was a blow to the United States when the shah was deposed. He
had been a close associate, an ally with, I think, if I'm not
mistaken, seven presidents who preceded me. And we never dreamed
that the shah was likely to be overthrown by his own people. But
when he became embattled by attacks from his own people at home,
and particularly from the Ayatollah Khomeini, who was issuing
broadcasts and tape recordings from France, we gave the shah
every possible legitimate support. When he was finally
overthrown and had to leave the country, we tried to find him a
haven where he could reside, and he eventually wound up in
Panama, without anama, without any one of us knowing that he had
cancer, which was revealed later on. During the interim period,
after the shah was forced out of Iran into exile, during the
first 10 or 11 months of 1979, we had a working relationship
with his revolutionary replacement. We helped them find
accommodations in Washington for their diplomatic staff and so
forth, and they were paying bills to American contractors that
had been incurred under the shah, and so forth. It was only in
November, the first week in November, when the student militants
tt militants
took over the American Embassy, that the situation deteriorated.

I was taken aback by surprise when the militants overran our
embassy and captured our hostages and then refused to release
them. First of all, this is contrary to the basic Islamic faith.
The Koran says you must protect foreign emissaries when they're
in your country, so in a religious sense, this was a violation
of the Islamic law. And I had been given full assurance before I
let the shah come to New York for treatment, that American
interests would be protected in Iran. The president and prime
minister -- Bazargan and Yazdi were their names -- gave me this
assurance. After the militants took the American Embassy and
captured our hostages, the president and prime minister of Iran
resipresident and prime minister of Iran
resigned in protest against this violation of their commitment.
So I was obviously surprised when this occurred. ...

The first thing I did after the hostages were taken was to send
the Ayatollah Khomeini a secret message: "If you put any of our
hostages on trial, I will [interfere in] all commerce between
Iran and the outside world. If you injure or kill a hostage, I
will respond militarily." And after that, the Ayatollah never
made any statements about injuring or killing a hostage or
putting any on trial, so I felt that the hostages' lives were
being protected. We tried many times, through all kinds of
emissaries -- Germany, France, Syria, the PLO, Muhammad Ali --
to get the hostages released, unsuccessfully. And I think
certainly, toward the end of my term, when we could have had the
hostages released, that the Ayatollah deliberately delayed their
release until five minutes after I was no longer president. The
morning of the inauguration of President Reagan, when I went out
of office, the hostages had been sitting in an airplane at the
end of the runway into Iran for several hours, waiting to take
off, and they waited until I was no longer president.

On the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan:

I had no forewarning in Christmas week of 1979 that the Soviets
were going to invade Afghanistan. ... And I could see that the
Soviet movement into Afghanist the
Soviet movement into Afghanistan was not an end in itself. The
intelligence that I had from various sources, including within
the Soviet Union, was that the Soviets' long-term goal was to
penetrate into access to warm-water oceans from Afghanistan,
either through Iran or through Pakistan. I saw this as a direct
threat to global stability and to the security of my own nation.
I had several alternatives, one of which was military action,
which I thought was out of the question half way around the
world, with the powerful Soviet military adjacent to
Afghanistan. So I exhausted almost all the other means that I
had to put restraints on the Soviet Union. One of them was to
issue a public statement that if the Soviets did invade either
Pakistan or Iran out of Afghanistan, that I would consider this
a personal threat to the security of the United States of
America, and I would take whatever action I desired or
considered appropriate to respond -- and I let it be known that
this would not exclude a nuclear reaction. This was a very
serious and sobering statement that I made, and I relayed this
in more private terms to Brezhnev, and encouraged him to
restrain the Soviet forces and urged him to withdraw them from
Afghanistan. ...

I sent Brezhnev an inquiry. At first: "What are your intentions
in invading Afghanistan? When will you withdraw?" That was my
first question. He sent me word back that he had been invited
into Afghanistan, to maintain stability there, by Afghan
leaders. The fact is that as his forces went into Afghanistan,
he carried in a puppet leader that he implanted in Kabul to
administer the government that was to be controlled by the
Soviet Union. I knew that his response was not honest. Then they
continued to pour in airplane after airplane loaded with troops,
and then to cross the border on land as well. This took several
days. That's when I decided to issue my statement, that I've
already described, that I considered any further advance by the
Soviet Union beyond Afghanistan to be a direct threat to my
country. ...

This was a major setback, and obviously the Soviets had not
tried to extend their hegemony beyond their borders since they
had gone into Hungary and Czechoslovakia a generation earlier,
so it was quite a change in their basic policy. ... We had been
making good progress, I think, in alleviating the tension of the
Cold War. I had explained my reasons for normalizing relations
with China; we had concluded a very productive negotiation in
Vienna for the SALT II treaty; we were having a very good
response from the Soviet Union in permitting Jews to emigrate
from their country because of our human rights policy; and I
really felt that we were on the track to an alleviation of
tension. And then Brezhnev made what I considered to be a very
serious mistake.


End of DNI-NEWS Digest - 5 Mar 1999