Ford; U.s.-ussr Confrontation Possible if New War Erupts in the Middle East

President Ford said today that both Israel and Egypt have to be flexible in achieving a peace agreement and that a fifth Arab-Israeli war may bring a confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union. Speaking in an interview on the Public Broadcast System’s 150 stations, Ford said: “Both Israel and Egypt have to understand that flexibility at this time is important to the peace of the area and possibly peace in the world.”

He also said that another Arab-Israeli war would have the “potential of a confrontation” between the superpowers. Noting that he had discussed confrontation possibilities with Soviet Communist Party Secretary Leonid Brezhnev in Helsinki last week, the President said: “I think the Soviet Union has acted in a very responsible way. I think they understand the potential consequences of no progress for continued peace and understanding in the Middle East.” Ford added that he made it known to Brezhnev “very, very strongly” that the U.S. believes that Israel should continue to be a United Nations member.

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