Interview by Business Week with Secretary of State Henry Kissinger on Possible Responses to "Strangulation" of the Industrialized World by OPEC, December 23, 1974, Department of State Bulletin, January 27, 1975, p. 101


Question. Then you don't anticipate the possibility of another oil embargo soon?

Secretary KISSINGER. Not unless there is a war.

Question. Well, what about after the spring?

Secretary KISSINGER. I don't anticipate an oil embargo in the absence of war. I am not even sure of an oil embargo in the event of a war. It would now be a much more serious decision than it was the last time. We're now engaged in rather delicate negotiations and these still show promise, so why speculate about their failure while they're still in train?

Question. The Shah of Iran has indicated that in the next war he'd be on the side of the Arabs. Does this represent to you a shifting of forces over there?

Secretary KISSINGER. I would have to analyze exactly what he said. In the past the Shah maintained a rather neutral position. What he means by being on the side of the Arabs I would have to understand a littlebetter. But obviously the trends in the Moslem world are in the direction of greater solidarity.

Question. One of the things we also hear from businessmen is that in the long run the only answer to the oil cartel is some sort of military action. Have you considered military action on oil?

Secretary KISSINGER. Military action on oil prices?

Question. Yes.

Secretary KISSINGER. A very dangerous course. We should have learned from Vietnam that it is easier to get into a war than to get out of it. I am not saying that there's no circumstance where we would not use force. But it is one thing to use it in the case of a dispute over price; it's another where there is some actual strangulation of the industrialized world.

Question. Do you worry about what the Soviets would do in the Middle East if there were any military action against the cartel?

Secretary KISSINGER. I don't think this is a good thing to speculate about. Any President who would resort to military action in the Middle East without worrying what the Soviets would do would have to be reckless. The question is to what extent he would let himself be deterred by it. But you cannot say you would not consider what the Soviets would do. I want to make clear, however, that the use of force would be considered only in the gravest emergency.


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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