Television Interview by Hugh Sidey with Secretary of Defense Schlesinger, Excerpt on the Likelihood of War in the Middle East Over Oil, Washington Straight Talk, January 7, 1974, The Agency Library, USIA, August, 1974, p. 35


SIDEY. Won't there be a rising cry . . . suggesting that we simply colonize those Arab countries, that all of that oil was meant for the rest of the world, as well as them? Fifty years ago that might have happened; you know, they'd have simply moved in and taken it over. Won't there be an increasing demand in this country from many people to . . . show force?

Secretary SCHLESINGER. I think that that is a risk. It is plain, I think, that one should not tempt fate by pushing the concept of national sovereignty too far. But the United States is dedicated, and has remained dedicated, to the independence of free states. And that includes the states in the Middle East. We should recognize that the independent powers of sovereign states should not be used in such a way as would cripple the larger mass of the industrialized world. That is running too high a risk, and it is a source of danger, I think, not only from our standpoint, but from the standpoint of the oil producing nations. And I believe that the alleviation of pressure represented by the ten percent increase in production announced earlier this month is an indication that the oil producing states recognize their common interests with the industrialized world.

Therefore, we won't come to the contingency that you mentioned, in my judgment.


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), pp. 80-81.


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