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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. Only the last few days with the election approaching, has Mr. Ford taken any interest in a nonproliferation movement. I advocated last May in a speech at the United Nations that we move immediately as a nation to declare a complete moratorium on the testing of all nuclear devices, both weapons and peaceful devices; that we not ship any more atomic fuel to a country that refuses to comply with strict controls over the waste which can be reprocessed into explosives. I've also advocated that we stop the sale by Germany and France of - processing plants for Pakistan and Brazil. Mr. Ford hasn't moved on this. We also need to provide an adequate supply of enriched uranium. Mr. Ford, again, under pressure from the atomic energy lobby, has insisted that this reprocessing or rather re-en- enrichment be done by private industry and not by the existing - government - plants. This kind of confusion and absence of leadership has let us drift now for two years with a constantly increasing threat of atomic weapons throughout the world. We now have five nations that have atomic bombs that we know about. If we continue under Mr. Ford's policy by 1985 or '90 we'll have twenty nations that have the capability of exploding atomic weapons. This has got to be stopped. That is one of the major challenges and major undertakings that I will assume as the next president.
MS. FREDERICK: Mr. Valeriani, a question for Governor Carter.
MR. VALERIANI: Governor Carter, earlier tonight you said America is not strong any more; America is not respected any more. And I feel that I must ask you: Do you really believe that the United States is not the strongest country in the world, do you really believe that the United States is not the most respected country in the world? Or is that just campaign rhetoric?
MR. CARTER: No, it's not just campaign rhetoric. I think that militarily we are as strong as any nation on earth. I think we got to stay that way and continue to increase our capabilities to meet any potential threat. But as far as strength derived from commitment to principles, as far as strength derived from the unity within our country, as far as strength derived from the people, the Congress, the secretary of state, the president, sharing in the evolution and carrying-out of a foreign policy, as far as strength derived from the respect of our own allies and friends, their assurance that we will be staunch in our commitment, that we will not deviate and that we'll give them adequate attention, as far as - as strength derived from doing what's right - caring for the poor, providing food, becoming the breadbasket of the world instead of the arms merchant of the world - in those respects, we're not strong. Also, we'll never be strong again overseas, unless we're strong at home. And with our economy in such terrible disarray and getting worse by the month. We've got five-hundred thousand more Americans unemployed today than we had three months ago. We've got two and a half million more Americans out of work now than we had when Mr. Ford took office. This kind of deterioration in our economic strength is bound to weaken us around the world. And we not only have problems at home but we export those problems overseas. So as far as the respect of our own people toward our own government, as far as participating in the shaping of - concepts and commitments, as far as the trust of our country among the nations of the world, as far as dependence of our country in meeting the needs and obligations that we've expressed to our allies, as far as the respect of our country - even among our potential adversaries - we are weak. Potentially we're strong. Under this administration that strength has not been realized.
MS. FREDERICK: President Ford.
MR. FORD: Governor Carter - brags about the unemployment during Democratic administrations and condemns the unemployment at the present time. I must remind him that we're at peace and during the period that he brags about unemployment being low, the United States was at war. Now let me correct one other comment that - Governor Carter has made. I have recommended to the Congress that we develop the uranium enrichment plant at Portsmouth, Ohio, which is a publicly owned - U.S. government facility and have indicated that the private program which would follow on in Alabama is one that may or may not uhh - be constructed. But I am committed to the one at Portsmouth, Ohio. The governor also talks about morality in foreign policy. The foreign policy of the United States meets the highest standards of morality. What is more moral than peace, and the United States is at peace today? What is more moral in foreign policy than for the administration to take the lead in the World Food Conference in Rome in 1974 when the United States committed six million metric tons of food - over 60 percent of the food committed for the disadvantaged and underdeveloped nations of the world? The Ford administration wants to eradicate hunger and disease in our underdeveloped countries throughout the world. What is more moral than for the United States under the Ford administration to take the lead in southern Africa, in the Middle East? Those are initiatives in foreign policy which are of the highest moral standard and that is indicative of the foreign policy of this country.
MS. FREDERICK: Mr. Frankel, a question for President Ford.
MR. FRANKEL: Mr. President, can we stick with morality? - for a lot of people it seems to cover - a bunch of sins. - Mr. Nixon and Mr. Kissinger used to tell us that instead of morality we had to worry in the - in the world about living and letting live all kinds of governments that we really don't like. North and South Korean dictators, Chilean fascists, - Chinese Communists, Iranian emperors and so on. They said the only way to get by in a wicked world was to treat others on the basis of how they treated us and not how they treated their own people. But more recently, uhh - we seemed to've taken a different tack. Uhh - we've seemed to have decided that it - that it is part of our business to tell the Rhodesians, for instance, that the way they're treating their own black people is wrong and they've got to change their government and we've put pressure an them. We were rather liberal in our advice to the Italians as to how to vote. Umm - is this a new Ford foreign policy in the making? Can we expect that you are now going to turn to South Africa and force them to change their governments, to intervene in similar ways to end the bloodshed, as you called it, say, in Chile or Chilean prisons, and throw our weight around for the - for the values that - that we hold dear in the world?
MR. FORD: I believe that - our foreign policy must express the highest standards of morality. And the initiatives that we took in southern Africa are the best examples of what this administration is doing and will continue to do in the next four years. If the United States had not moved when we did in southern Africa, there's no doubt there would have been an acceleration of bloodshed in that tragic part of the world. If we had not taken our initiative, it's very, very possible that - the government of Rhodesia would have been overrun and that the Soviet Union and the Cubans would have dominated - southern Africa. So the United States, seeking to preserve the principle of self-determination, to eliminate the possibility of bloodshed, to protect the rights of the minority as we insisted upon the rights of the majority, - I believe followed the good conscience of the American people in foreign policy. And I believe that we used our skill. Secretary of State Kissinger has done a superb job in working with the black African nations, the so-called front-line nations. He has done a superb job in getting the prime minister of South Africa, Mr. Vorster, to agree that the time had come for a solution to the problem of Rhodesia. Secretary Kissinger, in his meeting with - Prime Minister Smith of Rhodesia, was able to convince him that it was in the best interests of whites as well as blacks in Rhodesia to find an answer for a transitional government and then a majority government. This is a perfect example of the kind of leadership that the United States, under this administration, has taken. And I can assure you that this administration will follow that high moral principle in our future efforts in foreign policy, including our efforts in the Middle East where it is vitally important because the Middle East is the crossroads of the world. There've been more disputes in its area where there's more volatility than any other place in the world. But because Arab nations and the Israelis trust the United States, we were able to take the lead in the Sinai II Agreement. And I can assure you that the United States will have the leadership role in moving toward a comprehensive settlement of the Middle Eastern problems, I hope and trust as soon as possible. And we will do it with the highest moral principles.
MR. FRANKEL: Mr. President, just clarify one point: There are lots of majorities in the world that feel they're being pushed around by minority governments. And are you saying they can now expect to look to us for not just good cheer but throwing our weight on their side - in South Africa, or on Taiwan, or in Chile, - to help change their governments, as in Rhodesia?
MR. FORD: I would hope that as we move to one area of the world from another - and the United States must not spread itself too thinly - that was one of the problems that helped to create the circumstances in Vietnam - but as we as a nation find that we are asked by the various parties, either one nation against another or individuals within a nation, that the United States will take the leadership and try to resolve the differences. Let me take - South Korea as an example. I have personally told President Pack that the United States does not condone the kind of repressive measures that he has taken in that country. But I think in all fairness and equity we have to recognize the problem that South Korea has. On the north they have North Korea with five hundred thousand well-trained, well-equipped troops - they are supported by the People's Republic of China; they are supported by the Soviet Union. South Korea faces a very delicate situation. Now the United States, in this case, this administration, has recommended a year ago and we have reiterated it again this year, that the United States, South Korea, North Korea and the - People's Republic of China sit down at a conference table to resolve the problems of the Korean peninsula. This is a leadership role that the United States under this administration is carrying out, and if we do it, and I think the opportunities and the possibilities are getting better, we will have solved many of the internal domestic problems that exist in South Korea at the present time.
MS. FREDERICK: Governor Carter.
MR. CARTER: I notice that Mr. Ford didn't comment on the - prisons in Chile. This is an - a typical example, maybe of many others, where this administration overthrew an elected government and helped to establish a military dictatorship. This has not been an ancient history story. Last year under Mr. Ford, of all the Food for Peace that went to South America, 85 percent went to the military dictatorship in Chile. Another point I wanna make is this. He says we have to move from one area of the world to another. That's one of the problems with this administration's so-called shuttle diplomacy. While the secretary of state's in one country, there are almost a hundred and fifty others that are wondering what we're gonna do next, what will be the next secret agreement. We don't have a comprehensive understandable foreign policy that deals with world problems or even regional problems. Another thing that concerned me was what Mr. Ford said about unemployment, that - insinuating that under Johnson and Kennedy that unemployment could only be held down when this country is at war. Karl Marx said that the free enterprise system in a democracy can only continue to exist when they are at war or preparing far war. Karl Marx was the grandfather of Communism. I don't agree with that statement. I hope Mr. Ford doesn't either. He has put pressure on the Congress - and I don't believe Mr. Ford would even deny this - to hold up on nonproliferation legislation until the Congress agreed for an $8 billion program for private industry to start producing enriched uranium. And the last thing I wanna make is this. He talks about peace and I'm thankful for peace. We were peaceful when Mr. Ford went into office. But he and Mr. Kissinger and others tried to start a new Vietnam in Angola, and it was only the outcry of the American people and the Congress when their secret deal was discovered that prevented our involvement in that conflagration which was taking place there.
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