President Ford's Interview with NBC Television and Radio, January 23, 1975, Questions on Military Intervention in the Middle East, Department of State Bulletin, February 10, 1975, pp. 179-180)


Mr. CHANCELLOR. The other day at your press conference, you were asked about Dr. Kissinger's quote on the possibility of military intervention. And something surprised me, sir. You have been in politics for a long time, and you are as expert a question-ducker as anybody in that trade. Why didn't you duck that question? Why didn't you just say, "Well that's hypothetical?" You did go into some detail on it.

President FORD. I did. I in part reiterated what I had said, I think, at a previous news conference. I wanted it made as clear as I possibly could that this country in case of economic strangulation--and the key word is "strangulation"--we had to be prepared, without specifying what we might do, to take the necessary action for our self-preservation.

When you are being strangled, it is a question of either dying or living. And when you use the word "strangulation" in relationship to the existence of the United States or its nonexistence, I think the public has to have a reassurance, our people, that we are not going to permit America to be strangled to death. And so, I, in my willingness to be as frank-but with moderation-I thought I ought to say what I said then. And I have amplified it, I hope clarified it, here.

Mr. CHANCELLOR. The New Republic this week has a story saying that there are three American divisions being sent to the Middle East, or being prepared for the Middle East. We called the Pentagon, and we got a confirmation on that, that one is air mobile, one is airborne, and one is armored. And it is a little unclear as to whether this is a contingency plan, because we don't know where we would put the divisions in the Middle East. Could you shed any light on that?

President FORD. I don't think I ought to talk about any particular military contingency plans, John. I think what I said concerning strangulation and Dr. Kissinger's comment is about as far as I ought to go.


Source: U.S., Congress, Committee on International Relations, Special Subcommittee on Investigations, Oil Fields as Military Objectives: A Feasibility Study, Report Prepared by the Congressional Research Service, 94th Cong., 1st sess., August 21, 1975, (Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office, 1975), p. 78.


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