MS. FREDERICK: Good evening. I'm Pauline Frederick of NPR, moderator of this second of the historic debates of the 1976 campaign between Gerald R. Ford of Michigan, Republican candidate for president, and Jimmy Carter of Georgia, Democratic candidate for president. Thank you, President Ford and thank you, Governor Carter, for being with us tonight. This debate takes place before an audience in the Palace of Fine Arts Theater in San Francisco. An estimated one hundred million Americans are watching on television as well. San Francisco was the site of the signing of the United Nations Charter, thirty one years ago. Thus, it is an appropriate place to hold this debate, the subject of which is foreign and defense issues. The questioners tonight are Max Frankel, associate editor of the New York Times, Henry L. Trewhitt, diplomatic correspondent of the Baltimore Sun, and Richard Valeriani, diplomatic correspondent of NBC News. The ground rules are basically the same as they were for the first debate two weeks ago. The questions will be alternated between candidates. By the toss of a coin, Governor Carter will take the first question. Each question sequence will be as follows: The question will be asked and the candidate will have up to three minutes to answer. His opponent will have up to two minutes to respond. And prior to the response, the questioner may ask a follow-up question to clarify the candidate's answer when necessary with up to two minutes to reply. Each candidate will have three minutes for a closing statement at the end. President Ford and Governor Carter do not have notes or prepared remarks with them this evening, but they may take notes during the debate and refer to them. Mr. Frankel, you have the first question for Governor Carter.
(2:12) MR. FRANKEL: Governor, since the Democrats last ran our foreign policy, including many of the men who are advising you, country has been relieved of the Vietnam agony and the military draft, we've started arms control negotiations with the Russians, we've opened relations with China, we've arranged the disengagement in the Middle East, we've regained influence with the Arabs without deserting Israel, now, maybe we've even begun a process of peaceful change in Africa. Now you've objected in this campaign to the style with which much of this was done, and you've mentioned some other things that - that you think ought to have been done. But do you really have a quarrel with this Republican record? Would you not have done any of those things? MR. CARTER: Well I think this Republican administration has been almost all style, and spectacular, and not substance. We've - got a chance tonight to talk about, first of all, leadership, the character of our country, and a vision of the future. In every one of these instances, the Ford administration has failed, and I hope tonight that I and Mr. Ford will have a chance to discuss the reasons for those failures. Our country is not strong anymore; we're not respected anymore. We can only be strong overseas if we're strong at home; and when I became president we'll not only be strong in those areas but also in defense - a defense capability second to none. We've lost in our foreign policy, the character of the American people. We've - ignored or excluded the American people and the Congress from participation in the shaping of our foreign policy. It's been one of secrecy and exclusion. In addition to that we've had a chance to became now, contrary to our long-standing beliefs and principles, the arms merchant of the whole world. We've tried to buy success from our enemies, and at the same time we've excluded from the process the normal friendship of our allies. In addition to that we've become fearful to compete with the Soviet Union on an equal basis. We talk about detente. The Soviet Union knows what they want in detente, and they've been getting it. We have not known what we've wanted and we've been out-traded in almost every instance. The other point I wanna make is about our defense. We've got to be a nation blessed with a defense capability that's efficient, tough, capable, well organized, narrowly focused - fighting capability. The ability to fight, if necessary, is the best way to avoid the chance for, or the requirement to fight. And the last point I wanna make is this: Mr. Ford, Mr. Kissinger have - continued on with the policies and failures of Richard Nixon. Even the Republican platform has criticized the lack of leadership in Mr. Ford and they've criticized the foreign policy of this administration. This is one instance where I agree with - with the Republican platform. I might say this in closing, and that is that as far as foreign policy goes, Mr. Kissinger has been the president of this country. Mr. Ford has shown an absence of leadership, and an absence of a grasp of what this country is and what it ought to be. That's got to be changed. And that's one of the major issues in this - campaign of 1976.
(5:46) MS. FREDERICK: President Ford, would you like to respond? MR. FORD: Governor Carter again is talking in broad generalities. Let me take just one question that he raises - the military strength and capability of the United States. Governor Carter in November of 1975 indicated that he wanted to cut the defense budget by $15 billion. A few months later, he said he wanted to cut the defense budget by eight or nine billion dollars. And more recently, he talks about cutting the defense budget by five to seven billion dollars. There is no way you can be strong militarily and have those kind of reductions in our military - appropriation. Now let me just tell you a little story. About - late October of 1975, I asked the then Secretary of Defense, Mr. Schlesinger, to tell me what had to be done if we were going to reduce the defense budget by - three to five billion dollars. A few days later, Mr. Schlesinger came back and said if we cut the defense budget by three to five billion dollars, we will have to cut military personnel by two hundred and fifty thousand, civilian personnel by a hundred thousand, jobs in America by a hundred thousand. We would have to stretch out our aircraft procurement, we would have to reduce our naval construction program, we would have to reduce the - research and development for the Army, the Navy, the Air Force and Marines by 8 percent. We would have to close twenty military bases in the United States immediately. That's the kind of defense program that - Mr. Carter wants. Let me tell you this straight from the shoulder. You don't negotiate with Mr. Brezhnev from weakness. And the kind of defense program that Mr. Carter wants will mean a weaker defense and a poor negotiating position. MS. FREDERICK: Mr. Trewhitt, a question for President Ford.
(7:55) MR. TREWHITT: Mr. President, my question really is the other side of the coin from Mr. Frankel's. For a generation the United States has had a foreign policy based on containment of Communism. Yet we have lost the first war in Vietnam; we lost a shoving match in Angola. - the Communists threatened to come to power by peaceful means in Italy and relations generally have cooled with the Soviet Union in the last few months. So le- let me ask you first, what do you do about such cases as Italy? And secondly, does this general drift mean that we're moving back toward something like an old cold - cold-war relationship with the Soviet Union? MR. FORD: I don't believe we should move to a cold-war relationship. I think it's in the best interest of the United States, and the world as a whole that the United States negotiate rather than go back to the cold-war relationship with the Soviet Union. I don't - look at the picture as bleakly as you have indicated in your question, Mr. Trewhitt. I believe that the United States ha- had many successes in recent years, in recent months, as far as the Communist movement is concerned. We have been successful in Portugal, where a year ago it looked like there was a very great possibility that the - Communists would take over in Portugal. It didn't happen. We have a democracy in Portugal today. A few - months ago, or I should say, maybe two years ago, the Soviet Union looked like they had continued strength in the Middle East. Today, according to Prime Minister Rabin, the Soviet Union is weaker in the Middle East than they have been in many, many years. The facts are, there - the Soviet Union relationship with Egypt is - at a low level. The Soviet Union relationship with Syria is at a very low point. The United States today, according to Prime Minister Rabin of Israel, is a- at a peak in its - influence and power in the Middle East. But let's turn for a minute to the uhh - southern African operations that are now going on. The United States of America took the initiative in southern Africa. We wanted to end the bloodshed in southern Africa. We wanted to have the right of self-determination in southern Africa. We wanted to have majority rule with the full protection of the rights of the minority. We wanted to preserve human dignity in southern Africa. We have taken the initiative, and in southern Africa today the United States is trusted by the black front-line nations and black Africa. The United States is trusted by other elements in southern Africa. The United States foreign policy under this administration has been one of progress and success. And I believe that instead of talking about Soviet progress, we can talk about American successes. And may I make an observation - part of the question you asked, Mr. Trewhitt? I don't believe that it's in the best interest of the United States and the NATO nations to have a Communist government in NATO. Mr. Carter has indicated he would look with sympathy to a Communist government in NATO. I think that would destroy the integrity and the strength of NATO, and I am totally opposed to it.
(11:35) MR. CARTER: Well, Mr. Ford, unfortunately, has just made a statement that's not true. I have never advocated a Communist government for Italy. That would obviously be a ridiculous thing for anyone to do who wanted to be president of this country. I think that this is - an instance of - deliberate distortion, and this has occurred also in the question about defense. As a matter of fact, - I've never advocated any cut of $15 billion in our defense budget. As a matter of fact, Mr. Ford has made a political football out of the defense budget. About a year ago he cut the Pentagon budget six point eight billion dollars. After he fired James Schlesinger, the political heat got so great that he added back about $3 billion. When Ronald Reagan won the Texas primary election, Mr. Ford added back another one and a half billion dollars. Immediately before the Kansas City convention, he added back another one point eight billion dollars in the defense budget. And his own - Office of Management and Budget testified that he had a $3 billion cut insurance added to the defense budget - defense budget under the pressure from the Pentagon. Obviously, this is another indication of trying to use the defense budget for political purposes, which he's trying to do tonight. Now, we went into south Africa late, after Great Britain, Rhodesia, the black nations had been trying to solve this problem for many, many years. We didn't go in until right before the election, similar to what was taking place in 1972, when Mr. Kissinger announced peace is at hand just before the election at that time. And we have weakened our position in NATO because the other countries in Europe supported the democ- democratic forces in Portugal long before we did; we stuck to the Portugal dictatorships much longer than other democracies did in this world. MS. FREDERICK: Mr. Valeriani, a question for Governor Carter.
(13:30) MR. VALERIANI: Governor Carter, much of what the United States does abroad is done in the name of the national interest. What is your concept of the national interest? What should the role of the United States in the world be? And in that connection, considering your limited experience in foreign affairs, and the fact that you take same pride in being a Washington outsider, don't you think it would be appropriate for you to tell the American voters before the election the people that you would like to have in key positions, such as Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense, national security affairs advisor at the White House? MR. CARTER: Well, I'm not gonna name my cabinet before I get elected. I've got a little ways to go before I start doing that. But I have - an adequate background, I believe. I am a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, the first military graduate since - Eisenhower. I've served as the Governor of Georgia and have traveled extensively in foreign countries and South America, Central America, Europe, the Middle East and in Japan. I've traveled the last twenty-one months among the people of this country. I've talked to them and I've listened. And I've seen at first hand, in a very vivid way, the deep hurt that's come to this country in the aftermath of Vietnam and Cambodia, Chile, and Pakistan, and Angola, and Watergate, CIA revelations. What we were formerly so proud of - the strength of our country, its - moral integrity, the representation in foreign affairs of what our people are, what our Constitution stands for, has been gone. And in the secrecy that has surrounded our foreign policy in the last few years, - the American people, the Congress have been excluded. I believe I know what this country ought to be. I've - been one who's loved my nation as many Americans do, and I believe that there's no limit placed on what we can be in the future, if we can harness the tremendous resources - militarily, economically, and the stature of our people, the meaning of the Constitution, in the future. Every time we've made a serious mistake in foreign affairs, it's been because the American people have been excluded from the process. If we can just tap the intelligence and ability, the sound common sense and the good judgment of the American people, we can once again have a foreign policy to make us proud instead of ashamed. And I'm not gonna exclude the American people from that process in the future, as Mr. Ford and Kissinger have done. This is what it takes to have a sound foreign policy strong at home, strong defense, permanent commitments, not betray the principles of our country, and involve the American people and the Congress in the shaping of our foreign policy. Every time Mr. Ford speaks from a position of secrecy in negotiations, in secret - in secret treaties that've been - pursued and achieved, in supporting dictatorships, in ignoring human rights, we are weak and the rest of the world knows it. So these are the ways that we can restore the strength of our country, and they don't require long experience in foreign policy. Nobody has that except a president who has served a long time or a secretary of state. But my background, my experience, my knowledge of the people of this country, my commitment to our principles that don't change - those are the best bases to correct the horrible mistakes of this administration and restore our own country to a position of leadership in the world.
(16:56) MR. VALERIANI: How specifically, - Governor, are you going to bring the American people into the decision-making process in foreign policy? What does that mean? MR. CARTER: First of all, I would quit conducting the decision-making process in secret, as has been a characteristic of Mr. Kissinger and Mr. Ford. In many instances we've made agreements, like in Vietnam, - that have - been revealed later on to our - embarrassment. Recently Ian Smith, the - president of - Rhodesia, announced that he had unequivocal commitments from Mr. Kissinger that he could not reveal. The American people don't know what those commitments are. We've seen - in the past the destruction of elected governments, like in Chile, and the strong support of military dictatorship there. These kinds of things have hurt us very much. I would restore the concept of the fireside chat, which was an integral part of the administration of Franklin Roosevelt. And I would also restore the involvement of the Congress. When Harry Truman was president he was not afraid to have a strong secretary of defense. Dean Acheson, George Marshall were strong secretaries of - state - excuse me - state. But he also made sure that there was a bipartisan support. The members of Congress, Arthur Vandenberg, Walter George, were part of the process, and before our nation made a secret agreement, or before we made a bluffing statement, we were sure that we had the backing not only of the president and the secretary of state, but also of the Congress and the people. This is a responsibility of the president. And I think it's very damaging to our country for Mr. Ford to have turned over this responsibility to the secretary of state.
(18:32) MS. FREDERICK: President Ford, do you have a response? MR. FORD: Governor Carter again contradicts himself. He complains about secrecy and yet he is quoted as saying that in the attempt to find a solution in the Middle East that he would hold unpublicized meetings with the Soviet Union - I presume for the purpose of an - imposing a settlement on Israel and the Arab nations. But let me talk just a minute about what we've done to avoid secrecy in the Ford administration. After the United States took the initiative in working with Israel and with Egypt and achieving the Sinai II agreement - and I'm proud to say that not a single Egyptian or Israeli soldier has lost his life since the signing of the Sinai agreement. But at the time that - I submitted the Sinai agreement to the Congress of the United States, I submitted every single document that was applicable to the Sinai II agreement. It was the most complete documentation by any president of any agreement signed by a president on behalf of the United States. Now as far as meeting with the Congress is concerned, during the twenty-four months that I've been the president of the United States I have averaged better than one meeting a month with responsible groups or committees of the Congress - both House and Senate. The secretary of state has appeared in the several years that he's been the secretary before eighty different - committee hearings in the House and in the Senate. The secretary of state has made better than fifty speeches all over the United States explaining American foreign policy. I have made myself at least ten - speeches in various parts of the country where I have discussed with the American people defense and foreign policy. MS. FREDERICK: Mr. Frankel, a question for President Ford.
(20:46) MR. FRANKEL: Mr. President, I'd like to explore a little more deeply our relationship with the Russians. They used to brag back in Khrushchev's day that because of their greater patience and because of our greed for - for business deals that they would sooner or later get the better of us. Is it possible that despite some setbacks in the Middle East, they've proved their point? Our allies in France and Italy are now flirting with Communism. We've recognized the permanent Communist regime in East Germany. We've virtually signed, in Helsinki, an agreement that the Russians have dominance in Eastern Europe. We've bailed out Soviet agriculture with our huge grain sales. We've given them large loans, access to our best technology and if the Senate hadn't interfered with the Jackson Amendment, maybe we - you would've given them even larger loans. Is that what you call a two-way street of traffic in Europe? MR. FORD: I believe that we have - negotiated with the Soviet Union since I've been president from a position of strength. And let me cite several examples. Shortly after I became president in - December of 1974, I met with - General Secretary Brezhnev in Vladivostok and we agreed to a mutual cap on the ballistic missile launchers at a ceiling of twenty-four hundred - which means that the Soviet Union, if that becomes a permanent agreement, will have to make a reduction in their launchers that they now have or plan to have. I've negotiated at Vladivostok with - Mr. Brezhnev a limitation on the MIRVing of their ballistic missiles at a figure of thirteen-twenty, which is the first time that any president has achieved a cap either on launchers or on MIRVs. It seems to me that we can go from there to - the - grain sales. The grain sales have been a benefit to American agriculture. We have achieved a five and three quarter year - sale of a minimum six million metric tons, which means that they have already bought about four million metric tons this year and are bound to buy another two million metric tons to take the grain and corn and wheat that the American farmers have produced in order to - have full production. And these grain sales to the Soviet Union have helped us tremendously in meeting the costs of the additional oil and - the oil that we have bought from overseas. If we turn to Helsinki - I'm glad you raised it, Mr. - Frankel. In the case of Helsinki, thirty-five nations signed an agreement, including the secretary of state for the Vatican - I can't under any circumstances believe that the - His Holiness, the Pope would agree by signing that agreement that the thirty-five nations have turned over to the Warsaw Pact nations the domination of the - Eastern Europe. It just isn't true. And if Mr. Carter alleges that His Holiness by signing that has done it, he is totally inaccurate. Now, what has been accomplished by the Helsinki agreement? Number one, we have an agreement where they notify us and we notify them of any - military maneuvers that are to be be undertaken. They have done it. In both cases where they've done so, there is no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe and there never will be under a Ford administration. MS. FREDERICK: Governor Carter?
(24:43) MR. FRANKEL: I'm sorry, I - could I just follow - did I understand you to say, sir, that the Russians are not using Eastern Europe as their own sphere of influence in occupying mo- most of the countries there and in - and making sure with their troops that it's a - that it's a Communist zone, whereas on our side of the line the Italians and the French are still flirting with the possibility of Communism? MR. FORD: I don't believe, - Mr. Frankel that - the Yugoslavians consider themselves dominated by the Soviet Union. I don't believe that the Rumanians consider themselves dominated by the Soviet Union. I don't believe that the Poles consider themselves dominated by the Soviet Union. Each of those countries is independent, autonomous: it has its own territorial integrity and the United States does not concede that those countries are under the domination of the Soviet Union. As a matter of fact, I visited Poland, Yugoslavia and Rumania to make certain that the people of those countries understood that the president of the United States and the people of the United are dedicated to their independence, their autonomy and their freedom. MS. FREDERICK: Governor Carter, may I have your response?
(26:04) MR. CARTER: (chuckle) Well, in the first place, I'm not criticizing His Holiness the Pope. I was talking about Mr. Ford. The fact is that secrecy has surrounded the decisions made by the Ford administration. In the case of the Helsinki agreement - it may have been a good agreement at the beginning, but we have failed to enforce the so-called basket three part, which insures the right of people to migrate, to join their families, to be free, to speak out. The Soviet Union is still jamming Radio Free Europe - Radio Free Europe is being jammed. We've also seen a very serious - problem with the so-called Sonnenfeldt document, which apparently Mr. Ford has just endorsed, which said that there's an organic linkage between the Eastern European countries and the Soviet Union. And I would like to see Mr. Ford convince the Polish-Americans and the Czech-Americans and the Hungarian-Americans in this country that those countries don't live under the domination and supervision of the Soviet Union behind the Iron Curtain. We also have seen Mr. Ford exclude himself from access to the public. He hasn't had a tough cross-examination-type press conference in over thirty days. One press conference he had without sound. He's also shown a weakness in yielding to pressure. The Soviet Union, for instance, put pressure on Mr. Ford and he refused to see a symbol of human freedom recognized around the world, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. The Arabs have put pressure on Mr. Ford, and he's yielded, and has permitted a boycott by the Arab countries of American businesses who trade with Israel, or who have American Jews owning or taking part in the management of American - companies. His own secretary of commerce had to be subpoenaed by the Congress to reveal the names of businesses who were subject to this boycott. They didn't volunteer the information. He had to be subpoenaed. And the last thing I'd like to say is this: This grain deal with the Soviet Union in '72 was terrible, and Mr. Ford made up for it with three embargoes, one against our own ally in Japan. That's not the way to run our foreign policy, including international trade. MS. FREDERIC: Mr. Trewhitt, a question for Governor Carter.
(28:20) MR. TREWHITT: Governor, I'd like to pick up on that point, actually, and on your appeal for a greater measure of American idealism in foreign affairs. Foreign affairs come home to the American public pretty much in such issues as oil embargoes and grain sales, that sort of thing. Would you be willing to - to risk an oil embargo in order to promote human rights in Iran and Saudi Arabia, withhold arms from Saudi Arabia for the same purpose? - or - I think you - matter of fact, you've perhaps answered this final part, but would you withhold grain from the Soviet Union in order to promote civil rights in the - in the Serviette Union? MR. CARTER: I would never single out food as a trade embargo item. If I ever decided to impose an embargo because of a crisis in international relationships, it would include all shipments of all equipment. For instance, if the Arab countries ever again declare an embargo against our nation on oil I would consider that not a military but an economic declaration of war, and I would respond instantly and in kind. I would not ship that Arab country anything - no weapons, no spare parts for weapons, no oil-drilling rigs, no oil pipe, no nothing. I wouldn't single out just food. Another thing that I'd like to say is this: In our international trade, as I said in my opening statement, we have become the arms merchant of the world. When this Republican administration came into office we were shipping about $1 billion worth of arms overseas, now ten to twelve billion dollars worth of arms overseas to countries that quite often use these weapons to fight each other. The shift in emphasis has been very disturbing to me, speaking about the Middle East. Under the last Democratic administration 60 percent of all weapons that went into the Middle East were for Israel. Nowadays - 75 percent were for Israel before. Now 60 percent go to the Arab countries, and this does not include Iran. If you include Iran, our present shipment of weapons to the Middle East, only 20 percent goes to Israel. This is a deviation from idealism; it's a deviation from a commitment to our major ally in the Middle East, which is Israel; it's a yielding to economic pressure on the part of the Arabs on the oil issue; and it's also a tremendous indication that under the Ford administration we have not addressed the energy policy adequately. We still have no comprehensive energy policy in this country. And it's an overall sign of weakness. When we are weak at home economically - high unemployment, high inflation, a confused government, a wasteful defense establishment, this encourages the kind of pressure that's been put on us successfully. It would've been inconceivable ten - fifteen years ago, for us to be brought to our knees with an Arab oil embargo. But it was done three years ago and they're still putting pressure on us from the Arab countries to our discredit around the world. These are the weaknesses that I see, and I believe it's not just a matter of idealism. It's a matter of being tough. It's a matter of being strong. It's a matter of being consistent. Our priorities ought to be first of all to meet our own military needs, secondly to meet the needs of our allies and friends, and only then should we ship military equipment to foreign countries. As a matter of fact, Iran is gonna get eighty F-14s before we even meet our own Air Force orders for F-l4s. And the shipment of Spruance-class destroyers to Iran are much more highly sophisticated than the Spruance-class destroyers that are present being delivered to our own Navy. This is ridiculous and it ought to be changed.
(32:02) MR. TREWHITT: Governor, let me pursue that if I may. If I understand you correctly you would in fact to use my examples, withhold arms from Iran and Saudi Arabia even if the risk was an oil embargo and if they should be securing those arms from somewhere else, and then if the embargo came, then you'd respond in kind. Do I have it correctly? MR. CARTER: If - Iran is not an Arab country, as you know, it is a Moslem country - but if Saudi Arabia should declare an oil embargo against us, then I would consider that an economic declaration of war. And I would make sure that the - Saudis understood this ahead of time so there would be no doubt in their mind. I think under those circumstances they would refrain from pushing us to our knees as they did in 1973 with their previous oil embargo.
(32:47) MS. FREDERICK: President Ford? MR. FORD: Governor Carter - apparently doesn't realize that since I've been president we have sold to the Israelis over $4 billion in military hardware. We have made available to the Israelis over 45 percent of the total economic and military aid since the establishment of Israel twenty-seven years ago. So the Ford administration has done a good job in helping our good ally, Israel, and we're dedicated to the survival and security of Israel. I believe that Governor Carter doesn't realize the need and necessity for arms sales to Iran. He indicates he would not make those. Iran is bordered very extensively by the Soviet Union. Iran has Iraq as one of its neighbors. The Soviet Union and the Communist-dominated government of Iraq are neighbors of Iran, and Iran is an ally of the United States. It's my strong feeling that we ought to sell arms to Iran for its own national security, and as an ally - a strong ally of the United States. The history of our relationship with Iran goes back to the days of President Truman when he decided that it was vitally necessary for our own security as well as that of Iran, that we should help that country, and Iran has been a good ally. In 1973 when there was an oil embargo, Iran did not participate. Iran continued to sell oil to the United States. I believe that it's in our interest and in the interest of Israel and Iran, and Saudi Arabia, for the United States to sell arms to those countries. It's for their security as well as ours. MS. FREDERICK: Mr. Valeriani, a question for President Ford.
(34:57) MR. VALERIANI: Mr. President, the policy of your administration is to normalize relations with mainland China. And that means establishing at some point full diplomatic relations and obviously doing something about the mutual defense treaty with Taiwan. If you are elected, will you move to establish full diplomatic relations with Peking, and will you abrogate the mutual defense treaty with Taiwan? And, as a corollary, would you provide mainland China with military equipment if the Chinese were to ask for it? MR. FORD: Our relationship with the People's Republic of China is based upon the Shanghai Communique, of 1972, and that communique, calls for the normalization of relations between the United States and the People's Republic. It doesn't set a times schedule. It doesn't - make a determination as to how - that relationship should be achieved in relationship to our current uhh - diplomatic recognition and obligations to the Taiwanese Government. The Shanghai Communique, does say that the differences between the People's Republic on the one hand and Taiwan on the other shall be settled by peaceful means. The net result is this administration, and during my time as the president for the next four years, we will continue to move for normalization of relations in the traditional sense, and we will insist that the disputes between Taiwan and the People's Republic be settled peacefully, as was agreed in the Shanghai Communique, of 1972. The Ford administration will not let down, will not eliminate or forget our obligation to the people of Taiwan. We feel that there must be a continued obligation to the people, the some nineteen or twenty million people in Taiwan. And as we move during the next four years, those will be the policies of this administration.
(37:07) MR. VALERIANI: And sir, the military equipment for the mainland Chinese? MR. FORD: There is no policy of this government to give to the People's Republic, or to sell to the People's Republic of China, military equipment. I do not believe that we, the United States, should sell, give or otherwise transfer military hardware to the People's Republic of China, or any other Communist nation, such as the Soviet Union and the like.
(37:40) MS. FREDERICK: Governor Carter. MR. CARTER: Well, I'd like to go back just one moment to the previous question, where - Mr. Ford, I think, confused the issue by trying to say that we are shipping Israel 40 percent of our aid. As a matter of fact, during this current year we are shipping Iran, or have contracted to ship to Iran, about seven and a half billion dollars worth of arms and also to Saudi Arabia, about seven and a half billion dollars worth of arms. Also in 1975, we almost brought Israel to their knees after the - Yom Kippur War by the so-called reassessment of our relationship to Israel. We in effect tried to make Israel the scapegoat for the problems in the Middle East. And this weakened our relationships with Israel a great deal and put a cloud on the total commitment that our people feel toward the Israelis. There ought to be a clear, unequivocal commitment without change to Israel. In the Far East I think we need to continue to be strong and I would certainly pursue the normalization of relationships with the People's Republic of China. We opened a great opportunity in l972, which has pretty well been frittered away under Mr. Ford, that ought to be a constant - inclination toward friendship. But I would never let that friendship with the People's Republic of China stand in the way of the preservation of the independence and freedom of the people on Taiwan. MS. FREDERICK: Mr. Frankel, a question for Governor Carter.
(39:08) MR. FRANKEL: Governor, we always seem in our elections, and maybe in between too, to argue about - who can be tougher in the world. Give or take a - a few billion dollars, give or take one weapons systems, our leading politicians, and I think you, too, gentlemen, seem to settle roughly on the same strategy in the world at roughly the same Pentagon budget cost. How bad do things have to get in our own economy, or how much backwardness and hunger would it take in the world to persuade you that our national security and our survival required very drastic cutbacks in arms spending and dramatic new efforts in other directions? MR. CARTER: Well, always in the past we've had an ability to have a strong defense and also have - to have a strong - domestic economy, and also to be strong in our reputation and influence within the community of nations. These - characteristics of our country have been endangered under Mr. Ford. We're no longer respected in a showdown vote in the United Nations or in - in any other international council we're lucky to get 20 percent of the other nations to vote with us. Our allies feel that we've neglected them. The so-called Nixon shock against Japan had weakened our relationships there. Under this administration we've also had an inclination to keep separate the European countries, thinking that if they are separate, then we can dominate them and proceed with our secret, Lone Ranger-type diplomatic efforts. I would - also like to point out that we, in this country, have let our economy go down the drain. The worst inflation since the Great Depression. The highest unemployment of any developed nation of the world. We have a higher unemployment rate in this country than Great Britain, and West Germany. Our unemployment rate is twice as high as it is in Italy; it's three or four times as high as it is - as it is in Japan. And that terrible circumstance in this country is exported overseas. We comprise about 30 percent of the world's economic trade power influence. And when we're weak at home - weaker than all our allies - that weakness weakens the whole free world. So strong economy is very important. Another thing that we need to do is to reestablish the good relationships that we ought to have between the United States and our natural allies and friends. They have felt neglected. And using that base of strength, and using the idealism, the honesty, the predictability, the commitment, the integrity of our own country, that's where our strength lies. And that would permit us to deal with the developing nations in a position of strength. Under this administration we've had a continuation of the so-called balance of power politics, where everything is looked on as a struggle between us on the one side, the Soviet Union on the other. Our allies - the smaller countries get trampled in the rush. What we need is to try to seek individualized bilateral relationships with countries, regardless of their size, and to establish world-order politics, which means that we want to preserve peace through strength. We also wanna revert back to the stature and the respect that our country had in previous administrations. Now, I can't say when this can come. But I can guarantee it will not come if Gerald Ford is reelected and this present policy is continued; it will come if I'm elected.
(42:48) MR. FRANKEL: If I hear you right, sir, you're saying guns and butter both, but President Johnson also had trouble - keeping up both Vietnam and his domestic programs. I was really asking when do the - the needs of the cities and our own needs and those of other backward an- and - and even more needy countries and societies around the world take precedence over some of our military spending? Ever? MR. CARTER: Well let me say very quickly that under President Johnson, in spite of the massive investment in the Vietnam War, he turned over a balanced budget to Mr. Nixon. The unemployment rate was less than 4 percent. The inflation rate under Kennedy and Johnson was about 2 percent - one-third what it is under this administration. So we did have at that time with good management, the ability to do both. I don't think that anybody can say that Johnson and Kennedy neglected the poor and the destitute people in this country or around the world. But I can say this: The number one responsibility of any president, above all else, is to guarantee the security of our nation - an ability to be free of the threat of attack, or blackmail and to carry out our obligations to our allies and friends, and to carry out a legitimate foreign policy. They must go hand in hand, but the security of this nation has got to come first.
(44:03) MS. FREDERICK: President Ford. MR. FORD: Let me say very categorically you cannot maintain the security of the United States with the kind of defense budget cuts that Governor Carter has indicated. In 1975 he wanted to cut the budget $15 billion. He's now down to a figure of five to seven billion dollars. Reductions of that kind will not permit the United States to be strong enough to deter aggression and maintain the peace. Governor Carter apparently doesn't know the facts. As soon as I became president, I initiated a meeting with the NATO heads of state and met with them in Brussels to discuss how we could improve the defense relationship in Western Europe. In November of 1975 I met with the leaders of the five industrial nations in France for the purpose of seeing what we could do acting together to meet the problems of the coming recession. In Puerto Rico this year, I met with six of the leading industrial nations' heads of state to meet the problem of inflation so we would be able to solve it before it got out of hand. I have met with the heads of government bilaterally as well as multilaterally. Our relations with Japan have never been better. I was the first United States president to visit Japan. And we - had the emperor of Japan here this - past year and the net result is Japan and the United States are working more closely together now than at any time in the history of our relationship. You can go around the world - and let me take Israel for example. Just recently, President Rabin said that our relations were never better. MS. FREDERICK: Mr. Trewhitt, a question for President Ford.
(46:16) MR. TREWHITT: Mr. President, - you referred earlier to your meeting with Mr. Brezhnev at Vladivostok in 1974. At - you agreed on that occasion to try to achieve another strategic arms limitation - SALT - agreement, ah - within the year. Ah - nothing happened in l975, or not very much publicly at least. And those talks are still dragging and things got quieter as the current season approached. Is there - is there a bit of politics involved there, perhaps on both sides? Or perhaps more important are interim weapons developments - and I'm thinking of such things as the cruise missile and the Soviet SS-20, an intermediate-range rocket - making SALT irrelevant, bypassing the SALT negotiations? MR. FORD: First we have to understand that SALT I expires October third 1977. - Mr. Brezhnev and I met in Vladivostok in December of 1974 for the purpose of trying to take the initial step so we could have a SALT II agreement that would go to l985. As I indicated earlier, we did agree on a twenty-four-hundred limitation on - - launchers of ballistic missiles. - that would mean a cutback in the Soviet program; it would not interfere with our own program. At the same time, we put a limitation of thirteen hundred and twenty on MIRVs. Our technicians have been working since that time in Geneva, trying to put into technical language a - an agreement that can be verified by both parties. In the meantime, there has developed the problem of the Soviet Backfire - their high-performance aircraft which they say is not a long-range aircraft and which some of our people say is a intercontinental aircraft. In the interim, there has been the development on our part primarily, the cruise missiles; cruise missiles that could be launched from land-based mobile installations; cruise missiles that could be launched - launched from high-performance aircraft, like the B-52s or the B-1s, which I hope we proceed with; cruise missiles which could be launched from either surface or submarine - naval vessels. Those gray-area weapons systems are creating some problems in a - the agreement for a SALT II negotiation. But I can say that I am dedicated to proceeding, and I met just last week with the foreign minister of the Soviet Union, and he indicated to me that - the Soviet Union was interested in narrowing the differences and making a realistic and a sound compromise. I hope and trust, in the best interest of both countries, and in the best interests of all people throughout this globe, that the Soviet Union and the United States can make a mutually beneficial agreement. Because if we do not and SALT I expires on October three, 1977, you will unleash again an all-out nuclear arms race with the potential of a nuclear holocaust of unbelievable dimensions. So it's the obligation of the president to do just that, and I intend to do so.
(50:02) MR. TREWHITT: Mr. President, let me follow that up by - I'll submit that the cruise missile adds a - a whole new dimension to the - to the arms competition - and then cite a statement by your office to the Arms Control Association a few days ago in which you said the cruise missile might eventually be included in a comprehensive arms limitation agreement but that in the meantime it was an essential of the American strategic arsenal. Now, - may I assume that from that you're tending to exclude the cruise missile from the next SALT agreement, or is it still negotiable in that context? MR. FORD: I believe that the cruise missiles which we are now developing in research and development across the spectrum from air, from the sea, or from the land, - can be - included within a SALT II agreement. They are a new weapons system that has a great potential, both conventional and nuclear armed. At the same time, we have to make certain that the Soviet Union's Backfire, which they claim is not an intercontinental aircraft and which some of our people contend is, must also be included if we are to get the kind of agreement which is in the best interest of both countries. And I really believe that it - it's far better for us and for the Soviet Union, and more importantly for the people around the world, that these two superpowers find an answer for a SALT II agreement before October three, 1977. I think good will on both parts, hard bargaining by both parties and a reasonable compromise will be in the best interests of all parties.
(51:57) MS. FREDERICK: Governor Carter. MR. CARTER: Well, Mr. Ford acts like he's - running for president for the first time. He's been in office two years, and there has been absolutely no progress made toward a new SALT agreement. He has learned the date of the expiration of SALT I, apparently. We've seen, in this world, a development of a tremendous threat to us. As a nuclear engineer myself, I know the limitations and capabilities of atomic power. I also - know that as far as the human beings on this earth are concerned that the nonproliferation of atomic weapons is number one.