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Brown Says U.S. Will Consider Using Military Force in Mideast to Protect Oil Flow Area’s Nations

February 26, 1979
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Defense Secretary Harold Brown said today that the “protection of the oil flow from the Middle East is clearly a part of our vital interest” and in protection of those vital interests we will take any action that is appropriate, including military force. ” He said the United States would follow the same policy if any Middle Eastern country was threatened by a major power beyond its borders.

Brown made those statements on the CBSTV program “Face The Nation” when he was asked if the U.S. would go to war to protect the Saudi Arabian oilfields. (Sen. Henry Jackson (D. Wash.) offered a similar view today. See separate story P. 3.)

Referring to his recent 11-day visit to Saudi-Arabia, Jordan, Israel and Egypt, the Defense Secretary said he found the major concern in those countries was possible threats from outside their borders . He said the U.S. has begun to discuss a more active presence in the Middle East with various nations in the area.

According to Brown, “Less intrusive and less obvious forms of U.S. presence or possible U.S. military influence such as ship visits and so on are clearly the right way to begin such activities and I think they may be as far as we want to go. ” With respect to the new regime in tran, Brown said he had the impression that the government appointed by the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khoumeini was not interested in forming alliances with any major power at this point. ” I believe we can work out friendly relations.”

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