Q: The strategic reconnaissance flights, the so-called overflights of the
Soviet Union, were a very controversial business. Tell me about that?|
GAP: The U-2 -- we recognized that it was a very controversial business.
[President] Eisenhower put that under the CIA to make it as similar as possible
to the kind of espionage and covert activity that all nations were engaged in,
where the Soviets probably out-performed us by a factor of five to ten -- how
much more they did and how much more effective they were. But we recognized,
and he recognized that this intrusion into air space -- the reason he put the
program under the CIA was, he said that if people in uniform are doing that,
it's an act of war. He wanted it to be an act of espionage.
But we recognized, and I would say he recognized most of all, what the adverse
aspects of it were. And what kind of excitement and confusion there would be
when one of these finally would be lost. But, he felt that it was providing
something that was of really the highest importance to him in terms of his
conviction as to the adequacy and the right composition of the military forces
that we were maintaining.
back to Interview Transcripts