NEW YORK (Dec. 29)
President-elect Reagan skirted the issue of a possible summit meeting between himself, President Anwar Sadat of Egypt and Israeli Premier Menachem Begin in an interview in the current issue of Time magazine dealing with U.S. foreign policy after he takes office next month.
He also was not specific as to what would constitute an American “military presence” in the Middle East but indicated that the Soviet Union would face a “possible confrontation” with the U.S. if it made any “reckless moves” in that region.
Asked if he planned to follow Sadat’s suggestion of a new three-way summit meeting, Reagan replied: “Obviously, I won’t want any retreat there on the part of our country. I want to make it plain to both Sadat and Prime Minister Begin that the United States does have an interest in the Middle East. We should not try to dictate a settlement, but be as helpful as we can in arriving at a settlement.”
Asked if he had developed further his belief that the U. S. should establish “a military presence in the Middle East,” Reagan said: “The idea of a presence is not that you’re going to try to build up an army big enough to stop the Soviet Union if it moves that way. That is not what is necessary. What is necessary is to indicate to them that by taking any reckless moves they would be facing a possible confrontation.” Asked if he meant “the so-called trip wire effect,” Reagan answered, “Yes.”