WASHINGTON (Oct. 20)
President Ford said at a news conference today that “Israel is not a military burden to the United States because of actions of the Ford Administration.” He made that statement in response to a question related to the remark by the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. George S. Brown, that Israel was a military “burden” on the U.S.
Ford, saying he welcomed the question, declared that “the U.S. is dedicated to the security and survival of Israel” which he described as “a democratic state in an area where democracy does not flourish.” He observed that “You have to look at the broad picture” in discussing the question of weapons for Israel. He said that during the Yom Kippur War the U.S. came “immediately” to Israel’s assistance and drew down from its military stocks in Europe. “We have made it (the depletion) up but it was a burden to the U.S.,” Ford said.
He added that “from 1974 to the present”–the tenure of his Presidency–the Ford Administration either granted or sold $2.5 billion in military equipment to Israel. “The net result is that Israel is stronger than before the Yom Kippur War and so today Israel is not a military burden to the U.S. because of actions of the Ford Administration.”
The President referred to Israel as a strong ally and said the U.S. has “many firm and fine ties with the people and the government of Israel.”