|Against the Gates of Hell
The Message Heard Round the World And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness to all nations; and then shall the end come. — MATTHEW 24:14
So Jesus, seated upon the Mount of Olives, said to His disciples almost two thousand years ago, as they approached Him privately and asked for signs of His coming. He warned them dread events lay ahead — that nations would rise against each other and famines, pestilence, and earthquakes would ravage the earth. False prophets would deceive multitudes, and because wickedness and sin would flourish in the world, there would be many who would cease to love and to believe.
"But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved," Jesus said, as He commanded the disciples to go forth into the world to preach the Gospel announcing the coming Kingdom of God.
And that, in all its beautiful simplicity, is the heart of the Church's work. * It is written into the corporate charter, understood by all members, and faithfully followed by its leaders. Everyone in the Church knows deep in his or her soul that preaching the Gospel is the primary reason for our existence.
We come to all nations and all people with an announcement, awesome and transcendent, yet at the same time, pure and uncomplicated:
* The "Work" of the Church is defined as announcing the news of the coming Kingdom of God through all means and media of communications that are available. Christ is coming to rule in a Kingdom of God, and His realm will not be some vague interplanetary place but on the same earth upon which He walked and taught two thousand years ago. As surely as the day dawns and the night follows, we inform them, there will be upon this globe a government of God ruled under the laws of God, and those laws will be based upon the Ten Commandments — the love of God and the love of man. His rule will end all poverty, ignorance, sickness, disease, all moral and physical filth, all crime and ugliness. He will end war and to all who accept Him bring a universal prosperity, happiness, and joy.
Ever since 1934, Herbert Armstrong has been sending that great message to the peoples of the world or taking it directly to them in four separate ways: the printed word, radio, television, and the force of personal evangelism.
For the first two decades of its existence, the Church concentrated its attention on the continental United States and, to a lesser extent, on Canada. In the early 1950s, it was time to move into the world arena. From Radio Luxembourg, the message went forth to European countries, but not many people could be reached because officials would only sell time between 11:00 P.m. and midnight. Efforts to purchase radio and television time in other countries proved fruitless because in Europe, the government controls all media reaching the mass audiences. Limited time was purchased on Radio Ceylon, from which the messages were beamed by short wave to the eastern coast of Africa and into Southeast Asia. Here, too, only a limited response was received. When Mr. Armstrong sought to reach China by buying time on Chiang Kai-shek's station in Taiwan, he got no answer from the authorities.
Personal evangelism was the only answer, so in 1954 Armstrong toured England and Scotland. Even he was astounded by the throngs that jammed the halls, auditoriums and stadiums in which he spoke.
Unlike a business that sets about the formation of branch offices, stores, or plants, churches almost literally create themselves. And so, with the desire of the British people to form a Church plainly evident by their enthusiastic response, one rose in Britain in 1956. Almost at once, it attracted so many members and so much attention that Armstrong decided to establish a second college in the London area. An estate was purchased at Bricket Wood, in Herefordshire, just nineteen miles north of London's Marble Arch. A curriculum was patterned after that of Ambassador College, a faculty recruited, and students enrolled. One by one, as the years went on, offices were opened in Australia, France, Germany, and the Scandinavian countries, after Armstrong had made journeys there and brought to their people the revealed ways of the living Creator God.
In 1966, a new phase was begun. Mr. Armstrong decided the Work had reached the point where the Church must reach out its arms as far as it could in an intensive effort to bring the message of His next Coming to all of humanity.
A traveling evangelism, unprecedented in the history of world religion, was launched. Since that watershed time, Herbert Armstrong has gone to virtually every comer of the planet by many types of conveyance, endured hardships and risked his life many times over to obey the commandment of Jesus Christ. I have been privileged to accompany him on most of these travels and to share in the joys and satisfactions, not to mention the dangers, of this unique globe-girdling effort.
From 1966 to the present we have journeyed almost continuously, interrupted for Mr. Armstrong only by an illness in the summer of 1977. The list of countries we have visited reads like a Baedeker guide: every nation in Euro e, the Middle East, northern and southern Africa; through most of Asia, including Japan; to every country in South and Central America. And, in the fall of 1979, I took the commission to the People's Republic of China on three separate visits.
We travel between 200 and 300 days every year. With a small staff we fly aboard a Church-owned jet aircraft because our schedule is so full and demanding that much precious time would be lost and we could rely on seeing fewer persons with commercial transportation. Usually we remain away from one to more than three weeks at a time.
The number of persons aboard can range from about eight to a dozen or more, depending upon the destination. The airplane, a white twin-engine Gulfstream III about half the size of a Boeing 727, carries a crew of four, including a captain and co-pilot and two stewards. In the cabin a small office has been fitted out, where Mr. Armstrong works en route, typing his own speeches and pastor's reports on an electric machine.
From the beginning, Mr. Armstrong received astonishing welcomes from kings and presidents, prime ministers and cabinet members, legislators and educators. These summit and near summit sessions are of overriding importance because, as Mr. Armstrong has stated: "When I get Christ's vital message of the Kingdom of God to the king, president, prime minister, and others high in the government of such nations, I have, in God's sight, gotten His message to that nation or kingdom."
Usually, upon arrival in a country, he has an audience with the government's leader, followed by a series of meetings with other high-ranking officials. Then dinners are arranged, at which he speaks to from 100 to 400 of the nation's most distinguished business, professional, community, and academic leaders. A public-appearance campaign is next on the schedule. Often he will address tens of thousands of persons in vast indoor and outdoor arenas and stadiums.
Mr. Armstrong's method of carrying out the commission is unique. The audiences, whether few or many, are not exhorted to come forth and accept the Lord. There are no pyrotechnics or thunderous declamations. Nobody is warned to fall on the knees and convert at once or face hellfire and damnation. The message is delivered low key, its force arising from the crucial meaning of what is said rather than the manner in which it is delivered.
Along with the announcement, there is a full explanation and a proof that what we say is, in truth, coming to pass. An integral part of the message, too, is moral and ethical education. As Mr. Armstrong put it in October 1974 in Cairo, when he addressed a glittering assemblage of Egyptian citizens (which included four government ministers, many members of the legislature and a number of university presidents):
"What are we? Why are we here? Is there a purpose? Where are we going? What is the way? What is the way to peace? To have happiness? To make life beautiful and worthwhile? What are the true values?" Answers are offered to these basic questions of life from the insights Mr. Armstrong himself has discovered in his lifelong studies and vast experience.
Evangelism is supplemented by introduction of our magazine The Plain Truth, circulated widely — and free of charge throughout a community. Subtitled "A Magazine of Understanding," it is one of our major efforts to preach and publish the Gospel to all nations. It always contains on its opening page an inspirational and educational message called "Personal from Herbert W. Armstrong," and includes about ten or twelve other articles and features whose sole aim is to make the truth — God's Word — plain and utterly clear to all people everywhere. * The magazine is already published in five languages: English, French, German, Dutch, and Spanish.
The talks and written messages are the seeds from which a member church grows. But, like tender shoots, churches, too, need care to become healthy and strong, so we are not content with a single visit. The Apostle Paul, who started his monumental work of preaching Christ's Gospel to the pagan world about A.D. 47, returned several times to various towns during his missionary journeys. We too revisit countries, again and again; to make sure the seedling has become firmly rooted.
Living in such close proximity with Herbert Armstrong for so many months of so many years, listening to him talk about every aspect of the Work, the people we meet, the theology of the Church, discussing the plans for the immediate and distant future, thinking and planning with him, having three meals a day in his company — all this has given me a deeper insight into the mind and spirit of the Apostle of God than any human being who ever lived If Herbert Armstrong is an ambassador without portfolio, I have functioned as his secretary of state, though similarly uncredentialed.
Although Mr. Armstrong's reputation has preceded him, audiences with world leaders are not quite as easy to arrange as an appointment with the head of an insurance company branch office!
* The first issue of The Plain Truth, which came off the mimeograph machine in 1934 in the depths of the Great Depression, contained this statement by Armstrong: "We live today in the most tenuous hours of earth's history. Today we stand on the very threshold of colossal events that will stagger the mind of mortal man." Those words are even more applicable today than they were then. The message we bring to the nations of the world is that even worse calamities are in store, but that they will be followed by a great new God — world in which there will be peace, joy, abundance, and eternal life for those who have embraced Him. Consider, for example, the king of Thailand. He is so highly revered that even his most prominent subjects, when they have been admitted into his presence to give him an offering, must crawl like reptiles to his throne on their stomachs. While most heads of state do not require obeisance to this degree, there are complex and often delicate problems of protocol, agenda, and scheduling to be worked out. Arrangements must be made long in advance with the leaders' key aides. Logistical problems of travel must be resolved — when do we arrive, where do we go, how do we get there, how long do we stay?
As Mr. Armstrong's servant, it has been my responsibility to manage his massive program of meetings, dinners, and rallies in country after country. This I have done for up to ten months of every year since 1960. As his servant, too, I see to it that the meetings go well, that the Church's needs are taken care of, and that the programs we institute are carried out.
In 1960 I made my first trip for the Work to the British Isles to help Mr. Armstrong buy more property in Bricket Wood, to help the British solicitors in organizing the Br British version on of Ambassador College, to work with the auditors whom Mr. Armstrong had engaged, and to assist in general with management problems. In 1961 I spent a considerable period of time in England in the on-the-job training of the new business manager, Charles F. Hunting. Each year thereafter, I spent time in England, Germany, Switzerland, and other parts of Europe with Mr. Armstrong, resolving various management problems, negotiating new property purchases, analyzing bank financing, establishing banking relationships; and also letting architectural and building contracts while Mr. Armstrong developed the British campus.
As his unofficial secretary of state, I have been present at most of the conferences he has had with world leaders, and gone alone to bring the announcement and carry on adjunct programs when he was elsewhere.
During July and early August 1977, Mr. Armstrong and I traveled to Tokyo, Israel, Liberia, the Ivory Coast, and Ghana. He was not in the best of health during the trip, but I couldn't persuade him to cut it short. On our return to Pasadena, his complaint persisted, and finally on August 17 he did visit a doctor in Tucson while I was aboard a TWA flight to New York on my way to Europe. When I arrived in New York I received an urgent message to call him. I did so, and he urged me to return to his bedside in Tucson to help him; he had been advised that he was seriously ill with congestive heart failure.
I rushed to his side and arrived in Tucson at 3:00 A.M. on the morning of August 18. For three weeks he was indeed in critical condition, but he then began a miraculous recovery. By October he was well on his way to full health, and I was able to leave for almost three months of activities in Tokyo, Europe, and New York — much of the time filling in for Mr. Armstrong.
As a result of our pilgrimages and our efforts to foster and cement world understanding, a number of foreign countries have called on me to function as an "expert adviser" in their dealings with the United States. In 1971 I was asked to be an official adviser to the Japanese delegation, headed by then Prime Minister Eisaku Sato, at the U.S.-Japanese ministerial conference at San Clemente. Late the following summer, I was again an adviser to a Japanese delegation that accompanied Prime Minister Kakuei Tanaka to his summit conference with President Nixon in Hawaii, where the two chiefs reaffirmed the mutual cooperation and security treaty that existed between their governments and announced that the United States and Japan had reached accords under which Japan would buy $1 billion worth of aircraft, uranium enrichment, and various agricultural products.
Three years later, I advised a Japanese delegation in the Middle East during Israeli-Egyptian negotiations on withdrawal from the banks of the Suez Canal. Problems involving North and South Korea and the American position toward those countries are of vital concern to Japan. Having spoken intimately with leaders of both countries, I was invited to address some forty members of the Japanese Diet at a special breakfast session. Afterward, I was closely questioned by the legislators.
"A ambassador of World Peace" It may seem surprising that the doors of imperial palaces and official residences are opened wide for a smiling, white-haired man and his aide. Yet there are sound reasons.
In addition to the announcement we bring, our travels abroad have two other great purposes:
First, to establish and develop programs that are meaningful, relevant, and important to each nation we visit and to the people involved, so that they may live fuller and more abundant lives. *And second, to create a better understanding between people to further the cause of world peace.
Herbert Armstrong has become widely recognized and accepted as a man of God, an individual who possesses throughout the world a moral influence capable of moving mountains. National leaders have read about, and often seen for themselves, the throngs surging to hear him and the ovations he has received. They have received, too, reports from around the world of the confidence other leaders have placed in him. They have heard, through their intelligence reports and other means, of his reputation as a "builder of bridges between nations."
High officials have come to trust Mr. Armstrong as few other influential persons could be trusted in this imperfect world, accepting him, in his own phrase, as "an ambassador without port folio for peace." They feel free to discuss their most pressing international and domestic problems with him in intimate detail. I have had the honor of attending many of these conferences and have noted the depth of sincerity with which he has been greeted, the deference paid to him, the close attention given by state heads to his counsel. Time and again, an audience that had been scheduled to last only a few minutes stretched into an hour or more, while important personages cooled their heels in antechambers.
* These programs are discussed more fully in the following chapter. Herbert Armstrong has found a certain advantage in his status as unofficial ambassador that no credentialed envoy could enjoy. "In meetings between a government leader and other heads of state," he says, "a great deal may be at stake. They cannot be as free to relax. But in meetings with me they feel more free, and they are often interested in hearing of the problems, opinions, and views of other leaders." Occasionally, too, Mr. Armstrong has been asked to be the bearer of personal messages from one leader to another, messages that could not be sent over usual diplomatic channels.
Few men in world history have garnered so many tributes from so many world leaders. In 1970, Mr. Armstrong was the recipient of a unique honor at the hands of former King Leopold of Belgium. Following the armistice at the end of World War 1, King Albert, appalled at the slaughter that had occurred on a battlefield of his nation, ordered one of the iron cannonballs that remained on the field to be cast into four watch cases. Four fine movements were placed inside them, to be presented to the four men who, he believed, had made the most significant contributions toward reducing the possibility that those terrible human sacrifices might recur. The King presented one watch to Field Marshal Ferdinand Foch, who headed the Allied supreme command in 1918. The second he gave to General John J. Pershing, commander in chief of the American Expeditionary Force, and the third went to Georges Clemenceau, France's inspiring premier during the dark days of the war. For four decades since that third timepiece had been presented, nobody was believed to be qualified to receive the fourth. King Albert passed it on to his son, Leopold, to watch and wait. In November 1970, Leopold found the man he sought. He presented the fourth watch to Herbert W. Armstrong. In accepting it, Armstrong said, "I feel it was the highest honor the king could have paid anyone. Whatever contribution to world peace I may be making is not through war, but through education, teaching millions worldwide the way to peace."
There have been many other decorations, gifts, and keys to cities. Japan awarded him the Order of the Sacred Treasure, Second Class, one of the highest decorations that can be presented to a non-citizen, in recognition of "the outstanding contribution you have rendered to the cause of friendship and promotion of mutual understanding between the United States and Japan." In November 1977, the Japanese Government conferred on me the Fourth Class Order of the Sacred Treasure.
The prime minister of Lebanon, Takieddine Solh, told Armstrong in 1973: "People like you are like stars guiding navigators who are seeking the paths of true life and humanity."
And that year, too, Dr. Kharni Singh, maharaja of Bikaner and a member of the Indian Parliament, wrote: "Mr. Armstrong... is devoted to the cause of eradicating poverty and of bringing international peace. In this endeavor of his it is the duty of every citizen of the world to give him all the support he deserves."
The Church has the trust of leaders who, because of deep chasms separating them, do not trust one another. We are close friends with King Hussein of Jordan and yet have maintained equally strong ties of friendship with Israel. At one time, during a four-year period, Armstrong and I made about fifty trips to Israel, meeting with prime ministers Golda Meir, Yitzhak Rabin, and Menachern Begin, and with Moshe Dayan, Defense Minister Shimon Peres and dozens of cabinet members, legislators, military men, and leaders of industry and academia.
We met with Egyptian President Anwar Sadat in Alexandria in the summer of 1974, years before the Camp David accord, when he knew that we would fly directly from Cairo to Jerusalem. As President Sadat's special guests, we were the only non-Arabs present while he spoke to members of his cabinet and other distinguished representatives of the Egyptian government and society.
In the Indian subcontinent, we were received by President V. V. Giri and Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. We talked with President Suharto of Indonesia, with President Jorno Kenyatta, the father of independent Kenya, with President William Tolbert of Liberia, with the prime ministers of Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Panama, Argentina, and Peru. In Japan, we have met with former Prime Minister Sato and every one of his successors: Tanaka, Takeo Miki, Takeo Fukuda and Masayoshi Ohira. The list is almost literally endless because the journeys to proclaim the message of God must go on.
That message which Herbert Armstrong is proclaiming where ever he goes, that the days of this world are now numbered as biblical pro basics have foretold, is being signaled by a curious sequence of developments. These have occurred — are still occurring — too often and too regularly to be disregarded as mere coincidences.
Mr. Armstrong himself has made note of it. "It seems," he says, "that every time we visit a place, something happens in the country or region that changes it in some significant way." In some cases, these events occur within three weeks, almost to the day.
Let me call attention to these facts, all of them documented.
In late August 1973, Mr. Armstrong and I met in Santiago with President Salvador Allende of Chile, the first Marxist chief of state in the Western Hemisphere to be elected in democratically run elections. After our lengthy conference in the great stone presidential palace, the country's chief of protocol, a worried look on his face, confided to us: "We advise you to leave the country at once before total chaos occurs."
The nation was in ferment; strikes were crippling the economy and demands were rising that Allende halt his efforts to impose a socialistic system upon the nation. We left.
Later, in the same room where we had talked with the president, on a carpet by the same desk in which he had sat, lay the body of the Chilean president, a bullet in the back. He had been murdered by a military junta opposed to his Marxist philosophy in a coup supported by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency and the then Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger. As an official of the Worldwide Church, I take no sides except to decry the eruptions of violence which are shredding the fabric of human decency and morality in country after country.
The violent upheaval in Chile? It took place just three weeks after we talked with Allende.
In mid-September 1973, we visited Lebanon, our arrival covered extensively by the three Lebanese television stations broadcasting in Arabic, French, and English. After a series of meetings with government ministers and other leaders, we met with President Suleiman Franjieh at his summer palace in Ehden, 7,500 feet in the Lebanese mountains.
Lunch over; we strolled out onto his terrace when suddenly three Israeli jets zoomed overhead, flying at a low altitude in a northeasterly direction. Lebanon is on the eastern end of the Mediterranean, on Israel's northern border. To the northeast lies Syria.
Surprised, I asked the president: "Is this an everyday occurrence?" He replied: "Oh yes, they fly over every day on reconnaissance." There had been three Arab-Israeli wars in the past quarter-century, the last only six years before. The Israelis had known Syrian forces were massing in the Golan Heights to their northeast. What they did not know was when — or if — they would attack. On October 6 of that year, Egypt and Syria struck simultaneously on two fronts, invading territory Israel had occupied since the 1967 war.
This, the famous Yom Kippur War, launched on the Jews' holiest day, occurred two days short of three weeks after we departed from Lebanon.
And so it goes...
We met in Bangkok with Prime Minister Thanom Kittikachorn of Thailand and, not long after, violent student demonstrations forced him from office. Field Marshal Kittikachorn had been in power about twenty-five years, head of one of Asia's oldest and most secure military dictatorships.
Mr. Armstrong paid his first visit to South Africa in June 1976. On June 16, when he arrived back in Johannesburg after a tour of the country's Southwest Africa dependency, the evening newspaper carried black headlines reading: SIX DIE IN RIOTS. Soweto, the area where the black population is sequestered, had erupted. The old order in South Africa was shaken to its foundations by those "flaming nights."
Coincidence? Or Providence? Chance? Or advance warnings to a still — unheeding civilization that the first rumblings of what will be a massive upheaval, not just in individual nations but the world, as we know it, are already being heard?
Candid Views of World Leaders National leaders not only talk intimately to Herbert Armstrong but also reveal to him their candid views of events and their opinions of other leaders who strut and fret their hour on the world stage.
I still recall with amazement, not unmixed with a deep concern for the ominous state into which the world has become embroiled, the uncanny prediction of President Nguyen Van Thieu of South Vietnam eight months after the cease-fire agreement had finally been approved in Paris, ending — or so we hoped that intolerable war. It was October 1973 and Mr. Armstrong and I were talking with Thieu in his Saigon palace.
"We are not fooled," he told us, deep sadness in his voice. "We know that the North Vietnamese will attack us here when they are ready. That is no secret — the whole world knows that Hanoi makes no secret of maintaining its military pressure against our government. The United States has been fooled and as for us, we have been deserted. But even that is not the worst." He paused. "The Third World War," he continued, "has been going on for a long time, but sadly, neither the Americans nor the other nations recognize what is happening because it is not taking the classic form of an all-out war, as the first two did. You must believe me, though, that it is now in progress. In Europe, it is going to break out, not with the great powers as antagonists, but the smaller nations. These nations are merely proxies for the larger powers, and they too, eventually, must be embroiled.
"Our war here is a war between satellite countries. It is over, yet not over at all. Any day it can break out again. It can break out in Europe, too, any day, between other satellite nations. It can break out in the Middle East, which is the more likely place at this time. It can start there within a very short time, much sooner than anybody in the United States or Europe thinks."
After the meeting, we left his office and flew home. A few hours later, an old friend, who had been a career officer in the Marine Corps, came to my home for a visit. Having just arrived from the Far East, I had been out of touch with developments. Worriedly, I told him what President Thieu had said about a third war and the Middle East.
He looked at me in astonishment. "You must be pulling my leg," he said. My turn to be astonished. "Why?" I asked.
"That war is going on right now."
Nine hours earlier, the Arabs had launched their attack. Thieu's prediction had been squarely on target.
Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger was not a universally admired figure, and President Thieu was hardly a member of his fan club. Without mincing words, Thieu told us that in his opinion Kissinger was a "total incompetent," a man who was "completely void of principles and scruples." A harsh indictment, but they came from a man who had known and dealt with Kissinger for a long time. There was more and it was even more severe.
Kissinger, Thieu felt, was primarily interested in Kissinger, and the interests of the United States came second. Essentially, Thieu asserted, the secretary of state did not direct the main focus of his attention on what should have concerned him in the first place, consummating an honorable settlement to protect the freedom of the South Vietnamese people. I quote Mr. Thieu: "We all know here what Mr. Kissinger is. Through his meddling, we have something that is called peace and a settlement but it is neither.
"Nixon, too, simply dropped us," Thieu said. "He and Kissinger decided for their political ends that they would conclude a settlement and make it appear as though something was being accomplished, when in reality there was nothing. They proclaimed piously that the Americans were withdrawing with honor and that the peace that was arranged dealt fairly with both sides. But it was a cruel fraud."
Not long after, North Vietnam attacked and the rest is history: The government in Saigon collapsed after the fall of Hue, the old imperial capital; the South Vietnamese army disintegrated and in the last days of April Hanoi troops occupied Saigon and renamed it Ho Chi Minh City. Thieu fled into exile in Taiwan, a bitter man.
"Kissinger cannot be trusted."
Sato was the first man to tell me that. Sato said more: "He is also incompetent. One reason, and it is of paramount importance, is that he knows virtually nothing about economics. How can you possibly be effective in dealing with foreign affairs without being thoroughly schooled in this science, which deals so basically with man's life and well-being on earth? World affairs have always been vitally affected, if not controlled, by economics, which is concerned with the use of resources to satisfy people's needs. If resources are lacking, as in the case of food shortage or actual famine, whole peoples will migrate from one place to another, in the process clashing with another civilization. If resources are inadequate for a people's needs, they seek to move outward, and again there are clashes. * Man's problems have always been inextricably involved with economics, which are beyond Mr. Kissinger."
Sato, who resigned in July 1972, after serving almost eight years, longer than any other Japanese prime minister, was convinced that Kissinger had a near-fatal flaw that prevented him from achieving an understanding of the oriental culture. He told me: "The man does not appreciate the importance of form, of what we call face; he doesn't understand the importance of dealing with problems in the Orient in the way that Orientals do. One cannot approach our problems in an occidental manner."
* Sato's words were prophetic. They preceded the energy crisis of the late 1970s, which has, of course, increased international tensions because of the scarcity of a vital resource. Sato told me that Kissinger never understood that the earth was round; that one can reach the Orient without going through Europe. The statement, a typical Japanese circumlocution, referred to the fact that the former secretary of state viewed the problems of the Far East through a European prism rather than seeing them freshly, as they looked to the oriental people.
Former Prime Minister Rabin of Israel was yet another world leader who had sharp criticism of Henry Kissinger. In 1975, I visited Mr. Rabin with a Japanese delegation. Our meeting was scheduled for only ten minutes but lasted an hour and ten minutes instead, so intent was the prime minister on discussing the shortcomings of Mr. Kissinger. What he said is revealed for the first time.
Sadat, Mr. Rabin declared, had been ready for face-to-face discussions with Israel long before the heads of both countries were brought together by President Carter. Actually, Mr. Rabin asserted, Kissinger's much-publicized shuttle diplomacy served to keep the two nations apart. Had he leaned in the other direction and pushed hard for direct negotiations instead of channeling all interpretations, objections, and other bits and pieces of diplomatic activity through the filter of the U.S. State Department, a personal meeting would have come about far sooner than it did. Turning to me, Mr. Rabin said: "Sadat wanted to talk. You, Mr. Rader, know that." It was true. The Egyptian president had confided to me that he was a man of peace and had indicated his readiness for a direct meeting.
"Kissinger," Mr. Rabin continued, "was trying to impose a settlement in the Middle East but that could be accomplished only by Middle Eastern people who would talk to one another. Neither the United States nor the Soviet Union nor any combination of powers can make peace come about, at least not a peace that would endure. We can only do that ourselves, in long, earnest talks with one another. And Kissinger never tried to bring that about. I must conclude that his headlined shuttles were calculated to produce only that — headlines that would keep the man's ego inflated.''
Once Rabin got started on the subject of Henry Kissinger his anger rose and he found it hard to stop. While he talked, the U.S. Ambassador, Malcolm Toon, who later was named envoy to Russia, was cooling his heels outside.
At one point in our conversation, Rabin, a veteran military man who was a brigade commander in the 1948 war with the Arabs and chief of staff during the 1967 conflict, scoffed at Kissinger's meager knowledge of military science. "The man," Rabin said, deep scorn in his voice, "doesn't even understand a military map." Nor, he added, did he have any but the barest grasp of the science of ballistics, trajectories of missiles, ground-to-ground and ground to — air weaponry — sensitive equipment that can or cannot be effectively monitored — and other sophisticated military hardware. "How," he wondered, "could such a man insist on meddling in the affairs of nations whose survival depends on an adequate defense posture?"
Not all our visits with important personages involve profound discussions of international affairs. I recall, with no little amusement, the encounter my wife had with Prince Mohammed, the younger brother of King Hussein. After a six-day visit in Jordan during which we whirled around the country virtually nonstop, the king suggested we rest for a day at his summer palace at Aqaba on the northern tip of the gulf and close to the Jewish community of Elath. Accompanying us were the prince, Abdullah Salah, the Jordanian ambassador to the United States, and my daughter, Carol, who had just completed her junior year at college and had been invited on the trip by Mr. Armstrong, who knew that we had not seen her in almost a year because of our constant journeying. Late in the afternoon, after water-skiing on the glassy-smooth waters of the gulf with the ambassador and Carol, Prince Mohammed asked if any of us played chess. He looked around expectantly. The rest of us were silent but my wife's eyes gleamed as she announced, I'll do."
A chessboard was set up and the game began. The guests sat around watching; I leaned forward nervously as the contestants studied the board. I had some idea of what was coming.
The prince won the first encounter and I breathed a little easier. After a few moves in the second game, Prince Mohammed said, somewhat tongue in cheek but still not inconsistent with the pride of an Arabian prince: "After all, I really should not be playing with you." When my wife asked why, the prince replied: "You see, I am the president of the Jordanian Chess Federation".
My wife said nothing. She merely pursed her lips and then proceeded to demolish Mohammed, not only capturing his queen but also giving it back to him. The prince looked astounded and the board was set up a third time. Niki destroyed him again. Mohammed, mouth set in a thin line, stormed out of the room in a state of rage and shattered male ego.
Sighing, I told Niki: "You shouldn't have done that. First, you ought not have said you played the game. Second, if you do play with an Arabian man, you should lose. And third, if you play with an Arabian prince, you certainly should lose."
After a half hour, Mohammed returned and, looking chagrined, asked: "Well, does anybody else play chess?" He turned to me.
"Well, Your Highness," I said, "I do play, but what my wife failed to tell you was that she plays all the time" I paused just a split second — "with Bobby Fischer." Fischer, of course, is the former world chess champion with whom Niki does play, though he beats her consistently. Prince Mohammed looked sharply at her, and then said softly, "Oh." I went on: "Well, she can't beat Bobby but in the process of losing, she naturally learns." His ego restored, the prince was mollified and the rest of the day went well.
A few weeks later we went to Spain to set up a meeting with young Prince Juan Carlos, who was being groomed to succeed the ill and aging Generalissimo Francisco Franco as chief of state, which he eventually did. During the grooming process, Carlos was watched and tended like a rare camellia; nothing must happen to him and he must blossom perfectly. The man in charge of this prepping operation was an elderly gentleman of royal lineage,
a true aristocrat with elegant manners and impeccable taste. it was this person I was anxious to see to help us arrange a visit with the prince. On the second night after our arrival, a magnificent garden party was held in our honor by the Indian ambassador. Knowing the prince's tutor would be present; I spent the entire evening searching for him but with no luck. The tables were scattered over a wide area, making him difficult to spot. Finally, I gave up.
When we were leaving, I asked Niki: "Where's Carol?" At that moment, our daughter strolled up in the company of a white-haired, white-mustached gentlemen. She introduced me to the very man I had been seeking for hours! He and Carol — who is an artist — had been sitting at a table at the far end of the garden all evening long, animatedly discussing art. Entranced by her sprightly, intelligent conversation, he did not circulate among the guests. Thanks to Carol, an appointment with the prince was arranged.
Some of the national leaders we have met, including a number in our own country, were not the most democratic of individuals. Power often creates arrogance. Others, however, have been remarkably humble, gracious, and outgoing in their personal relationships with people. Ranking high as a man of true humanity is King Leopold III of Belgium, who succeeded his father, Albert 1, in 1934. In 1951, Leopold abdicated in favor of his son, Prince Baudouin, who is the present ruler.
Leopold, a king for seventeen years, accustomed all his life to the homage paid to royalty, is nonetheless totally lacking in the imperiousness one would commonly expect of a man with his background. He is a good companion and a good sport.
On one recent occasion I went with Leopold, his wife, and their two daughters, the princesses Esmeralda and Daphne, and a small entourage of personal aides, on an automobile trip to view the giant sequoias of northern California. When Leopold announced he was hungry, we pulled off the road at a roadside hamburger stand. Leopold did not seat himself at a table and expect to be served. He walked to the counter, read the menu, and announced to the attendant that he would have the big burger — nothing on it, please — with coffee. After conferring with the rest of us, he turned back to the attendant and continued rattling off the orders: "My wife will have the burger and thick shake, then we'll have… The counterman interrupted. "Now wait a minute, buddy," he said, "just give 'em to me one at a time."
Chastened, Leopold stopped and then meekly repeated the order, this time more slowly.
Jack Lemmon, the film star, was so impressed with Leopold during a golf foursome that he confided to me: "Say, that's some king you've got there. If this country ever went monarchy, that's the kind of king I'd like to have."
The "Secret" Everyone Knows What seemed most upsetting to the California attorney general in the lawsuit against the Church was the cost of these travels.
It could hardly be contended that they were secret journeys; we did not silently slip away under cover of darkness, nor did we wander incognito through world capitals. On the contrary, each trip was reported back to Church members in our four publications: The Plain Truth; The Worldwide News, a newspaper published biweekly and distributed free to members; The Good News, another Church magazine; and The Pastor General's Report, sent weekly to all pastors and ministers. Complete details, profusely illustrated with photographs, are continually made available. Members are kept up to date on all the details of itineraries, events, speeches, meetings, gifts, even hotel accommodations and extra expenses of film and video coverage. A secret? In the mid 1970s we proudly published an oversize, thirty-two-page brochure with full-color illustrations; its purpose was to inform everyone where we went and whom we saw.
The Worldwide News publishes a special supplement called "Forum with Stanley R. Rader," which discusses with complete candor all aspects of the Church. Just about everything is asked in these question-and-answer sessions from the state of Herbert Armstrong's health to the state of our finances, and the responses are very specific and lengthy. Often a forum will go on for several pages of type, five columns to a page of the tabloid-size newspaper.
Thus while members are fully aware of the trips, their meaning and their cost, the state of California is not; those entrusted with enforcing the laws insist on viewing the missionary journeys of Herbert Armstrong and his staff and the money spent on them as the travel expenses of a business firm.
Church members know, as the state should have recognized had it done even minimal homework, that the travels could no more be considered a corporate operating expense than the journeys of Pope John Paul IL In the eyes of the members, to cease such activities would mean no less than forfeiting the Church's spiritual legitimacy, and ceasing to be a viable Church of Jesus Christ as they understand it and want it. For the members, a more paternalistic intrusion could scarcely have been designed than to attack, as the state's lawsuit has done, Herbert Armstrong's personal work to make the world ready for the coming of Christ in power and glory, as if it were some kind of extravagance cooked up in the executive suite of a corporate enterprise to take advantage of the stockholders! *
* See appendix C.