Henry Brandon
Henry Brandon
Special Relationships:  A Foreign Correspondent's Memoirs
ISBN: 0689115881
Special Relationships: A Foreign Correspondent's Memoirs
The Chief Washington correpondent of the London Sunday Times and author of Special Relationships: A Foreign Correspondent's Memoirs, Henry Brandon, recounts his 34 year experience in the city. Highlighted are recollections of Presidents ranging from Roosevelt to Reagan and a detailed analysis of the Cuban missile crisis. Mr. Brandon also ponders the U.S. rise to super- power status and the "special relationship" that exists between the United States and Great Britain.
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Special Relationships: A Foreign Correspondent's Memoirs
Program Air Date: April 30, 1989

BRIAN LAMB, HOST: Henry Brandon, author of a new book called "Special Relationships." You've known a lot of leaders in your lifetime. Been close to them, reported on them -- Times of London. What are the special qualities of a leader?
HENRY BRANDON, AUTHOR, "SPECIAL RELATIONSHIPS": The special quality is perhaps to take difficult decisions. But there are other important aspects especially the appeal to people. I mean, Truman had his own appeal to people. Kennedy had a very different one but he also had a great appeal. And Reagan. I think those were the three outstanding leaders with special appeal to the people in my view. It is also important for -- when you say leaders, you are talking about presidents?
LAMB: Or world leaders.
BRANDON: Or world leaders.
LAMB: Qualities that when you get to know somebody and you start to report on them when do you start to say -- and what is it you start to say -- is the quality of a leader?
BRANDON: Well, of course knowledge is very important -- and the ability to surround yourself with good reliable people. Maybe the latter is even more important than knowledge. As long as, you know, you take President Reagan. President Reagan in may ways is a leader was a mystery to me because he's not a man of great knowledge about foreign affairs, for instance. His ideas were rather simple. And yet he has accomplished far more than we ever expected him to accomplish. And he will probably go down in history as quite an important president.

If you take Kennedy, Kennedy was a very young man. He acquired, very consciously, knowledge. I used to know him when he was in the House of Representatives and then he virtually had no concepts about foreign affairs or even domestic affairs. But he very consciously studied read and informed himself. I mean if you went to his house in those early days to dinner he would pummel you with questions, in my case, about foreign affairs.

And in fact one evening he pulled out a speech -- a manuscript of a speech -- which he said he was planning to deliver, what was to be his first on foreign affairs. And it was an attack on France for its treatment of Algiers. And you would think -- what a subject, and why would he choose such a subject. But his idea was that this would cause quite a rumpus in Paris. Either he'll get a lot of publicity even if it's bad or no publicity. But he got so much publicity that suddenly he became a internationally known figure.

If you take Eisenhower, Eisenhower was really a civilian in military uniform. He was the first president to point out the need for a balanced budget, and therefore for cutting down on military expenditures. We all -- and by we I mean the press --underrated Eisenhower while he was President. But he had far greater knowledge than we suspected and it is only after having read some of the biographies that have since been published that certainly I realize how much he in fact knew. What a philosophical bent even he had. But he was a leader because he came into the presidency as a hero. And so he didn't really have to build up his leadership personality. And that may be the explanation why he didn't really care what people thought about him -- what we were writing about him. He was rather above it. He was so self assured.

Now, President Johnson was a powerful character. But he was not in my view a great leader. He understood the American people extremely well in spite of the fact that he was a Texan, and he believed that being a Texan is a disadvantage in the eyes of the rest of the country. And he probably would have gone down as quite a great president had it not been for the Viet Nam War. I believe that Kennedy would have pulled out of the Viet Nam War after the 1964 election had he been alive. I can't prove it. There are some indications, but nothing firm. He would have had the self confidence to do that. He would have been able to cut his losses. Johnson was not. Johnson was a man who wanted to see the coon skin on the wall as he used to say. And therefore he wanted victory and he did not have that inner confidence to withdraw and cut his losses.
LAMB: Who was the first famous person that you ever met in your life?
BRANDON: Just met or interviewed?
LAMB: Either one. Who do you first remember the first time you met a famous person and what was your reaction to that person?
BRANDON: Well it was Churchill. And it was only a very brief encounter and I was very young and I was just swept off my feet.
LAMB: Did he have knowledge?
BRANDON: He had enormous knowledge. Maybe too much.
LAMB: What is too much knowledge do to you?
BRANDON: It can give you false security. I mean Churchill has done great things. He's really -- with his speeches, the ability that he had to give people confidence in the future and in his leadership were outstanding. But I was for instance, as a war correspondent, I was in the landing of Ansio in Italy. The landing of Ansio was his idea. He thought that this was the way to cut the German rear lines of communications. And the whole landing was a disaster. We had frightful losses and it did not achieve its objective. I'm just giving this -- nobody today talks about Ansio and it has not affected Churchill's place in history. But he had such confidence in his military judgement for instance that he was led into that trap.
LAMB: Tell us a little bit about yourself before we go on and for our audience they've seen the cover of your book this is a new book. How many books have you written in your life?
BRANDON: Five.
LAMB: Was this easy, hard?
BRANDON: This book "Special Relationships" was the easiest to write because it was a joy walking down memory lane and recalling the best and perhaps also the worst moments in my life.
LAMB: Where did you write it?
BRANDON: I'm a visiting scholar at the Brookings Institution here and they offered me office space and research facilities and library facilities. That's where I wrote it.
LAMB: How long did it take you to finish it?
BRANDON: 2 1/2 years. That includes research. But I had the advantage of having diaries and my secretaries also kept everything that I had written that was printed in my scrapbooks. So I had that in support of my memory.
LAMB: You've dedicated this book to your daughter, Fiona. And I want to show the audience a picture of both your daughter and your wife and give us a little background on this picture right here. When was this taken?
BRANDON: This was taken at Buckingham Palace when the Queen awarded me the Commander of the British Empire medal for my contribution to American British relations and to my contributions to Journalism in general.
LAMB: I'm sure your wife will like this, but would you tell us which one is your wife and which one is your daughter.
BRANDON: My daughter is on the left.
LAMB: Right here?
BRANDON: Yes.
LAMB: And this is your wife, Muffy.
BRANDON: Yes.
LAMB: And didn't she work for the Reagans.
BRANDON: Yes. She was for 2 1/2 years Mrs. Reagan's Social Secretary.
LAMB: Your background. Born in Prague, Czechoslovakia?
BRANDON: Yes.
LAMB: When did you leave and where did you go?
BRANDON: I came to England in 1938 but I left Czechoslovakia earlier. I went via Switzerland to England.
LAMB: How old were you when you left Czechoslovakia?
BRANDON: Twelve.
LAMB: Do you remember much about it?
BRANDON: A certain amount, yes. And when I was a war correspondent I was attached at one point to the American Forces that entered Czechoslovakia. And at that point I went ahead to Prague when the Germans were fleeing Prague and rushing to the American lines, because they didn't want to be absorbed by the Russians who had -- it was already known that they were going to occupy Prague and I was the first to interview President Benish after his return to Prague. So that was the next time I saw Prague and it was a rather sad picture.
LAMB: When did you go to work for the Times of London?
BRANDON: In 1939.
LAMB: When did you finish your work with the Times of London?
BRANDON: I retired in 1983 but I am still writing a column for the New York Times World Syndicate and I an occasional leader writer for the London Daily Telegraph.
LAMB: Why did you become a journalist in the first place?
BRANDON: I just thought that was what I really wanted to do. I enjoyed adventure. I enjoyed travel and I enjoyed writing.
LAMB: Who introduced you to the profession?
BRANDON: I began as a sports reporter at the age of 16. I became a sports reporter -- that was still in Czecholvoc ... that was while I really in Paris at particular time. But I worked for a French sports paper which was called Lature.
LAMB: And then how did you get into writing about politics and world affairs?
BRANDON: It was really the war that brought me to politics. Because of my knowledge of Central Europe and Europe generally. It was a time when British editors were looking for people who knew something about Europe.
LAMB: Where did you get your knowledge?
BRANDON: From studying history and from my own experiences. From reading newspapers. From reading books.
LAMB: How much time have you spent in the United States?
BRANDON: Thirty four years.
LAMB: When you came here originally what was the reason?
BRANDON: I was sent over here by the Sunday Times in November 1941. The editor wanted me to report to England on what the Americans at that stage were doing for the British. There was a great deal of pessimism about the war rampant in England at the time. And there was a feeling that the British public needed to be inspired by the hope that American aid would increase and that the United States ultimately would join in the war.

I was particularly lucky in maybe that was the beginning of my special relationships with the United States. When I crossed the Atlantic in 1941 I was on a Norwegian tanker that was part of a convoy of 60 ships. This was still before Pearl Harbor. It was mid Atlantic that the captain suddenly called me and the second passenger on that tanker was an American Life photographer.

So we two came to the bridge and we saw the British escorts and they were puny. For 60 ships we had two destroyers and four corvettes which really is nothing. And we did lose a number of ships, especially during a bad storm. But there -- what we saw on the horizon was an American Cruiser with 8 destroyers. The British were lining up in front of them they were saluting the Americans the Americans saluting back. The British turned around and the Americans took over the protection of our convoy.

It's impossible to describe our relief -- our enthusiasm and the belief that the United States was virtually in the war. At that time this was not known that the American Fleet was convoying British convoys. The order that President Roosevelt -- was simply that the American fleet should protect the western approaches to the United States. So I arrived in New York with an exclusive story. And at that time there was no censorship on this side.

So I was very lucky to have arrived with a very good story here. Then of course, 10 days, later Pearl Harbor happened. My first impression upon arrival here was that the United States really was not particularly even interested in the war in Europe. It was only people with special interest and relations in Europe who took particular interest.

So when Pearl Harbor happened of course we all assumed that the United States would join in the war. Well it did happen, but primarily because Hitler made one of the biggest mistakes he could have made. He declared war on the United States. My feeling at the time was that the United ... say the majority in Congress would have preferred to concentrate on the war in the Pacific and would have left the European theater of war relatively on the side lines. So my whole assignment changed. I stayed on for 18 months reporting on this enormous war effort that began in this country. I visited war factories, shipyards, military bases and reported to England on how this colossus was going about furnishing its own forces with arms and the allies now. So on the 22nd of December I attended what I still consider the greatest press conference I ever attended -- even by Roosevelt and Churchill together.

It was in those days Presidential press conference were held in the Oval Office because there weren't more than 50 to 100 correspondents. And there for the first time I saw Roosevelt who had been an idol, almost a god to me, because for us Europeans he was the man who understood that Hitler was a real threat to civilization. It was an amusing conference, too, because Roosevelt -- after having discussed some domestic affairs -- turned to Churchill and said, "Winston, if you want to say something, please do. You don't have to answer questions because I'll warn you the American correspondents are wolves compared to the British Lambs." And Winston just grunted and said, "I don't mind answering questions." And then for about 20 minutes he answered questions.
LAMB: A picture that our audience has seen -- the cut line says that Churchill climbed atop the President's desk to speak to reporters. Is that the same one?
BRANDON: Yes. No it was on ... He climbed on his chair not on the desk.
LAMB: Where was that? In the Oval Office?
BRANDON: In the Oval Office. Yes.
LAMB: Let me ask you something about coming to the United States from Czechoslovakia and Britain then staying here all these years. Have you found over the years that Americans have a tendency to want to talk to you and tell you things that they won't tell American journalists?
BRANDON: You are now talking about officials or Americans generally?
LAMB: Just in general. Do people find it easier to talk to someone who's not from here? But in the role of a journalist do you find that officials would tell you things that they wouldn't tell American journalists?
BRANDON: Well, Americans generally are very gregarious and easy to talk to. I found that Presidents, for instance, always hoped that they would get a better deal from a foreign correspondent. And because we are less politically involved -- if at all -- our task is not to extract news out of a President or a high official but to interpret what is happening, to interpret American policy. And officials are particularly glad to do that. So in that sense -- I, for instance, had very easy access to Presidents and officials.
LAMB: Did you always write for the Sunday Times?
BRANDON: Yes.
LAMB: Now the Times of London and the Sunday Times today are owned by the same man, Rupert Murdoch.
BRANDON: Yes.
LAMB: Who owned the Sunday Times when you wrote for it?
BRANDON: When I began it was owned by a man called Lord Kensley who was a very old fashioned, what was in those days called a presslord. He made, in 1948, the prediction that because of television the Sunday Times would never have more that 16 pages. Today it has about 115. He ...
LAMB: Richard Nixon.
BRANDON: He sold the Sunday Times to a man called Lord Thompson who then sold it to Murdoch.
LAMB: If I remember right, Richard Nixon, former President, writes from time to time for the Sunday Times.
BRANDON: That's right. And this was during the campaign.
LAMB: Yes -- but during the recent campaign. Why? Do you know? Did you have anything to do with setting that up?
BRANDON: No.
LAMB: Who reads the Sunday Times that would be important enough for one of our former Presidents to write for that publication instead of some publication over here?
BRANDON: Well, the answer may be very simple -- that nobody here asked him to write. But you know his political judgement has proved in many cases very foresighted and therefore a British person would be very interested to hear what a former President has to say about election campaign.
LAMB: Let me ask you about -- you said earlier that you had access to a lot of American leaders. I'm going to ask you to be a little bit immodest in this thing. What about you allowed you to get close to our Presidents and our Secretaries of State and other high officials that some American journalists couldn't?
BRANDON: Oh, I’m not trying to say that American correspondents couldn't have done the same thing. People like Walter Lippman, Scotty Reston and the Alsop brothers and so on. They had equal and better access than I had.
LAMB: Let me re-ask it. As a foreign correspondent, why would American officials spend so much time with you. What was it that you think--what was the reason? Because days are busy and there are lots of people to talk to.
BRANDON: I will give you an example. I once had an appointment with President Johnson. It happened to be five days after the Tet offensive in Viet Nam which the American press presented as a major defeat for the American Forces. I waited for an hour and a half in the "fish room" as it was then called before the President saw me. In fact, I thought he wouldn't see me at all because that was such a difficult time for him. Anyway, he did see me. And one of the first things that he did was to read verbatim the CIA report that he had just received on the outcome of the Tet offensive. And the CIA report said that it was really a stalemate in military terms -- not a defeat. And actually that was later confirmed by General Giap who said that the Tet offensive forced him to bring in every reserve unit that he had to hold the line. Anyway Johnson read this to me because he hoped that I would give him a fair break in reporting something that the American press was unwilling to report. Or was convinced that the CIA report had they seen it or had heard about it was inaccurate. Self serving.
LAMB: Let me go back to the question of why? What is it about the Sunday Times that he thought would help him at all in what he was trying to do?
BRANDON: Well, the Sunday Times is a very, or was a very influential newspaper. And perhaps I had built up a reputation as an interpreter, as a fair minded friendly interpreter of this country. And people in high office had confidence in me that even if they gave me confidential information that I would not abuse it.
LAMB: Did you feel when you were writing regularly that you had to give your opinion?
BRANDON: In my articles?
LAMB: Yes.
BRANDON: Oh yes. My comments were opinion pieces.
LAMB: If you were -- by the way, are you an American citizen now or still a British citizen.
BRANDON: I'm a British citizen.
LAMB: If you were living in this country and you were a politician, how would you define your views? What party would you fit in or what ideology would you fit into?
BRANDON: I call myself a floating voter. I believe in the best government and in British terms for instance I would have at certain points voted for a conservative for the Conservative Party and sometimes for the Labor Party. I came certainly to this country as an admirer of the Democratic Party. I was an admirer of Roosevelt Truman. I had great confidence in Eisenhower. But certainly in 1952 Stevenson had greater appeal to me. In retrospect, I think that Eisenhower was a very good president and I would have probably voted for him in 1956. I would have voted for Kennedy. In 1964 I would have voted for Johnson. And
LAMB: '68. Humphrey Nixon?
BRANDON: In '68 I would probably would have voted for Humphrey because I knew him personally very well and I didn't find Nixon at that point a promising leader.
LAMB: Why this picture in the book with your wife, Muffy, and the former President?
BRANDON: This was taken in San Clemente. Henry Kissinger invited me to lunch at the President's compound. Mr. Nixon called Kissinger and talked to him about business. Then Kissinger said to him, "You know I'm having lunch with Henry Brandon and his wife." And Nixon said, "Please bring them over." And he then gave us quite a long tour of his villa. And we sat down and had a long chat. And at that point he said to me, "I'm going to make an announcement this evening, a very important announcement. I can't tell you what it's going to be but if you look out of this picture window this may give you an inkling." So I thought it must have something to do with Viet Nam. In fact he announced that evening his first visit to China.
LAMB: We're talking with Henry Brandon who has written a new book called "Special Relationships." See it there on your screen. A foreign correspondents memoirs from Roosevelt to Reagan. If you had voted in this country in 1972 and you had a choice of McGovern or Nixon what would you have done?
BRANDON: I would have voted for Nixon.
LAMB: Why?
BRANDON: Because I had a feeling that Nixon really understood foreign affairs and McGovern did not.
LAMB: Carter -- Ford?
BRANDON: Carter or Ford -- I probably would have voted for Ford.
LAMB: Why?
BRANDON: I knew Ford quite well. I had confidence that he understood the essence of leadership even if he wasn't a spectacular personality. I felt that he had the experience that Carter lacked. And so I would have voted for Ford.
LAMB: As long as we're doing this let's keep on going. 1980 and 1984 you had both times Ronald Reagan. Who would you have voted for there?
BRANDON: I would have voted for Reagan.
LAMB: Again, what was it about Ronald Reagan say, over Jimmy Carter, or over Walter Mondale that you would have felt a need to choose?
BRANDON: I had a feeling that Carter suffered from an inner insecurity. If you watched him on television there was an expression of anxiety usually in his face. We were almost beginning talking about a leader needs and he needs to project inner self confidence and Carter did not. I think Carter would have made a very good Secretary of State because he was a good negotiator. He proved that in the Camp David negotiations for instance. But I don't think he had the stature for the Presidency.
LAMB: Walter Mondale?
BRANDON: Walter Mondale also lacked this inner confidence.
LAMB: And finally this last election. What would you have done if you had had a chance to vote for Mr. Dukakis or Mr. Bush.
BRANDON: I would have voted for Mr. Bush.
LAMB: Again why?
BRANDON: I have known Mr. Bush for about 25 years when he was still in the House and I had very little confidence in Mr. Dukakis' judgment.
LAMB: When we started this conversation and I asked you about leaders and what you thought what made a good leader knowledge and the people around them. With those criteria again let's go back and talk about some of the people that you've just mentioned. What about Ronald Reagan? How did you rate him on knowledge and the people around him?
BRANDON: Well, I rated him fairly low on knowledge. But he had certain basic ideas certain basic principles that gave him the kind of clear cut guidance and that was also probably his main appeal to the American public. You know I had from time to time my doubts about Reagan. But in his second term I certainly felt that he understood the world much more than I had ever expected.
LAMB: Did it make it difficult at all for you with your wife working for the Reagans? Was that a political job on her part?
BRANDON: It was not a political job. My wife never involved in politics. But it made it more difficult. I probably saw less of President Reagan that of any other of the Presidents because I didn't to create the impression that I was abusing my wife's position.
LAMB: How did she get there? What was her background?
BRANDON: She actually was a Democrat and that was made clear in her curriculum and nevertheless Mrs. Reagan chose her. After Mrs. Reagan had seen or some of her aides some 80 candidates she still hadn't found the right person. And when she met my wife she thought this was the person I want to
LAMB: We're showing the picture again of your wife and you daughter. I suppose it's an obvious question. But why did you dedicate the book to your daughter, Fiona?
BRANDON: I tell you very often as fathers do, they tell their daughters about their experiences in life. And I usually found that after five or ten minutes her eyes began to glaze over. So the real decision why I wrote this book was for my daughter. To put my life's experiences between hard covers and give her an opportunity to read about it 10, 20 years from now when she'll really probably be interested in it.
LAMB: How old is she and what's she do?
BRANDON: She's not 18. She's going to Andover and she is an enchanting girl and a very successful student. And she has already been accepted to Brown University.
LAMB: Let me ask you about the American press. You've had a chance over the last 30 some years to view them up close. What kind of job do they do?
BRANDON: The American press is the best in terms of reporting. It is not as good in interpreting but there were some great -- there were, or still are some great interpreters. But the American press is no doubt, I mean the American newspapers, are today the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and others the best newspapers in the world. No other newspaper with the exception perhaps of the Japanese have the resources that the United States has.
LAMB: Is a journalist in Great Britain as free to report anything they want to as they are in then United States?
BRANDON: Well, there are certain limitations that do not really ... I mean, they never interfered with my reporting, but there is the Officials Secrets Act which imposes certain limitations. And there are the liable laws which can be even more of a hindrance.
LAMB: When was your favorite time over these years for reporting?
BRANDON: In the Kennedy days. Because Kennedy was personal friend and to have a personal friend in the White House is a unusual opportunity.
LAMB: How did you become a personal friend?
BRANDON: Well I got to know him in when he was in the House. He was very interested in England. You know he wrote a book about why England slept. And he enjoyed discussing world affairs with me. And that continued while he was President.
LAMB: Did he have a lot of journalist friends?
BRANDON: He did. He really enjoyed the company of journalists.
LAMB: Have there been any Presidents since him that have been that close to journalists?
BRANDON: No.
LAMB: You think it works for a leader or against a leader to be that close to journalists?
BRANDON: I don't think it makes a difference.
LAMB: Does it make a difference to the population at large in what kind of copy they read say from journalists?
BRANDON: I don't think so. I mean some journalists are influenced by their friendships with high officials. But I would think the majority preserve their integrity. I mean you look at Lippman and you look at the Alsop brothers. You look at Scotty Reston and you look at the great reporters of today. They are not influenced by personal relations.
LAMB: You still vote in any British elections?
BRANDON: I haven't been voting lately, no.
LAMB: If you could vote, would you have voted for this person?
BRANDON: I would, yes.
LAMB: Now why?
BRANDON: Well, I think that she has the qualities of a real leader. And the Labor Party is in disarray. I've also known Mrs. Thatcher for quite awhile. She first came over to this country as Secretary for Education in the Shadow Cabinet the Conservative Party that was in the opposition. She came to Washington and some Second Secretary of the Embassy give her a cocktail party and that's when I met her first. And I've seen her fairly regularly since.
LAMB: How long do you think she will continue to lead Great Britain?
BRANDON: She will lead Britain as long as the Labor Party is in disarray. And it's still in disarray today. Mind you, Mrs. Thatcher today is not a popular leader. She has made a good many mistakes. But when it comes to election time, the British public weighs much more carefully who will offer them greater security, better judgement, and at least at this stage Mrs. Thatcher still provides that.
LAMB: How do you rate her on knowledge and the people around her?
BRANDON: Her knowledge of foreign affairs was negligible when she became Prime Minster. And she had been Prime Minster for about a year when I asked her why she hadn't delivered a speech on foreign affairs yet. And she said, "Because I don't know enough about it yet." So today she knows a lot and her judgement is very good.
LAMB: 1992 is something you can't pass a day without seeing some reference to. What impact will that have on the United States?
BRANDON: It certainly will have an impact because Europe will be a much more powerful body so to say. But the impact is an economic impact and the big American companies are already establishing footholds or have already for sometime been establishing footholds on the European continent. That doesn't mean that it might not hurt smaller American companies who have been doing business with Europe.
LAMB: Will it help the Europeans?
BRANDON: It will help the Europeans but it will also create great difficulties.
LAMB: How will it help and what will it hurt?
BRANDON: It will help because the Europeans will have a far greater bargaining power in negotiations. I'm talking about economic negotiations. It will hurt because for instance the labor force in Italy and Greece for instance is much cheaper than in Germany, France, or England. There is the danger, for instance that factories, European factories, will shift their production facilities to countries where the labor is cheaper. And that would certainly hurt for instance Germany or Britain. I'm just giving you that one example there are a good many others. So the Europeans are themselves in doubt to what it will help and to what extent it will hurt.
LAMB: Do you think there will ever be a common currency for Europe?
BRANDON: I think it's inevitable but it's not going to happen in this century.
LAMB: As you look at the world and compare it to the cycles of the past do you expect another war?
BRANDON: No I don't.
LAMB: Why?
BRANDON: I think nuclear weapons have made everybody aware that war is not any more an instrument of power. A means of power, yes. And I've told my daughter that I don't expect war to happen in her lifetime.
LAMB: On that basis then the nuclear weapons that countries have are a deterrent.
BRANDON: They are. Yes they are a deterrent.
LAMB: And would you keep it the way it is right now then?
BRANDON: They can be reduced. But I would not want a nuclear free world.
LAMB: What is your opinion of Mr Gorbachev?
BRANDON: I think he's a remarkable leader and he's probably the outstanding leader of our day today. I mean he's taking risks with a system that we all know is very inflexible and he is running the danger of dismantling the Soviet Empire and creating the kind of the kind of problems inside the Soviet Union that the Soviet Union is not capable of dealing with. You know the American power may have declined. But there are two ideas that I feel still extend American influence around the world. One is the idea of raising the standard of living of people through economic expansion. And the other is the freedom of the individual. And those two ideas have entered the minds of the Russians and that's part of the reason why there is so much trouble inside the Soviet Union today.
LAMB: Is Mr. Gorbachev a leader in his own right or is it timing?
BRANDON: Well, he's a leader in his own right. But the fact that he came to power probably had something to do with the people in the Polit Bureau feeling somebody of his stature is needed and of his ideas.
LAMB: Have you ever met him?
BRANDON: No, I have not met him, no.
LAMB: You said earlier you've known George Bush for a long time. What do you think of the job he's doing in foreign affairs so far?
BRANDON: Well, in foreign affairs there hasn't been much of a change yet. I think he's going to be his own Secretary of State. He understands foreign affairs. He, as far as I know, he already toward the end of 1943 and early '44 tried to persuade President Reagan to start a dialogue with the Soviet Union. So I think he's going to proceed in that direction. But he's a much more methodical man than President Reagan was. To the general public, they are both conservatives. But in fact, Mr. Reagan was a radical and Mr. Bush is a conservative. Mr. Bush is much more cautious, he likes to proceed step by step. Mr. Reagan was -- virtually accept a nuclear free world at the conference in Rejavik with Gorbachev. So there is a great difference between the two in that sense. And I feel more comfortable with Mr. Bush for that reason.
LAMB: How do you think Mr. Bush and Mr. Gorbachev will get along?
BRANDON: I think they will get along very well. They are both very rational men. And they both have the same idea what is necessary as to develop policies that will lead to peace. To make peace more a reality.
LAMB: Great Britain, the Netherlands and Japan all have a pretty good stake in this country right now in real estate and companies that they own and it keeps getting more and more every day. Should we worry about that?
BRANDON: I don't think you need to worry about it. But I think that the dollar and the budget deficit are something to worry about. The dollar is now so cheap for, say, Europeans or particularly the Japanese, that everything in this country that you can buy in terms of real estate, industries, and so on, is cheap. And in addition to it you have a political stability in this country with greater stability
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