UNITED NATIONS (Sep. 18)
President Ford stressed the United Nations’ weight as a peace-keeping force in world trouble spots but referred only in passing to the Middle East in his speech to the General Assembly at noon today. The President said, “We will strive to heal old wounds re-opened in recent conflicts in Cyprus, the Middle East and Indo-China.” He added, “Peace cannot be imposed from without but we will do whatever in within our capacity to help achieve it.”
Ford stressed “The challenge before the UN is clear. This organization can place the weight of the world community on the side of world peace. And this organization can provide impartial forces to maintain the peace.” The President stated that the U.S. would seek out and expand relations with all adversaries. In that category he mentioned by name only the People’s Republic of China.
WARNS OIL PRODUCERS
The President referred to last year’s Arab oil embargo when he warned that nations must not manipulate fundamental needs for national or bloc advantage, adding that any attempt by one nation to use a commodity for political purposes would invariably tempt other nations to do the same. He observed pointedly, “It has not been our (U.S.) policy to use food as a political weapon despite the oil embargo and recent oil price and production decisions.”
Ford reiterated America’s commitment to increase its agricultural aid to the needy countries as part of its overall food policy. He called on the Arab nations to respond to the U.S. food policy, saying, “Now is the time for the oil producers to define their conception of a global policy on energy to meet the growing need–and to do this without imposing unacceptable burdens on the international monetary and trade system.” Runaway inflation, he added, “propelled by food and oil price increases, is an early warning signal.”
Ford also admonished the wealthy oil producers to join the traditional donor nations to help poor countries that are overwhelmed by the rising cost of necessary imports. “It should be clear that by confronting consumers with production restrictions, artificial pricing and the prospect of ultimate bankruptcy, producers will eventually become victims of their own actions,” Ford warned.
Departing from his prepared text, Ford re-affirmed his full support for Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger, saying he had the full backing of the American people. Before the opening of today’s General Assembly session, Ford, Kissinger and U.S. Ambassador John Scali met for 20 minutes with Secretary General Kurt Waldheim in the latter’s chambers on the 38th floor, a UN spokesman announced. According to the spokesman, the Middle East was among the subjects discussed.