THE PRESIDENT: . . . Much has been said about the messages that I carried on behalf of the American people to leaders of the nations which I visited on the recent trip. But it is also important to focus on the message that I received from them and brought back home.
They are looking to our country to see whether we have the will, the resolve to deal squarely with our energy problems which are also becoming their problems. It is clear that our willingness to curb the enormous American national appetite for imported oil will be a consideration, for instance, in future Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) OPEC oil prices.
As a nation, we are increasing our demand for foreign oil. We may have conservation forced on us by unexpected and rapid increases in oil prices in the future. Our consumers and our industries will pay more and more to foreign countries and with those dollars that go overseas we are in effect exporting American jobs.
In Paris and in Brussels, our own allies expressed concern about whether we can and will enact strong energy legislation. If our own economy is not strong, if our strength is being sapped by excessive imports, then we can't provide the kind of leadership and stability on which the economic well-being of the Western democracies rests so heavily.
The United States has had, and is still faced with, a very large trade deficit which has led recently to exchange market disorders and exchange rate speculation. It is clear that our heavy dependence on imported oil is the main part of our trade problem and that our failure to adopt a comprehensive energy program has badly weakened confidence in our ability to deal with that problem.
Almos every foreign leader stressed the importance of our energy program in terms of our responsibilities for international monetary order and the maintenance of the integrity of the dollar.
We all recognize that while the energy program will not reduce our oil imports overnight, that it will reduce our oil imports overnight, that it will reduce our dependence on foreign oil over the long pull and also permanently. It would improve our trade position, our national economy, the strength of the dollar in a fundamental way.
I believe that we do have the resolve and the national will to deal with the energy problem. The debate in the Congress has been long and divisive and arduous. It has at times tried the patience of all of us. And delay has deferred action, unfortunately, on a number of other important national priorities.
But when we do succeed - and I believe we have an excellent chance to succeed early in this session - we will have accomplished something in here at home, but before the other nations of the world as well . . .
Tr for ad 2 NAACP
I was surprised at the NAACP's opposition to the administration's energy program. I talked to the president of the NAACP this morning, Benjamin Hooks. He said the major thrust of their report was that they want to have a sustained growth in the economy and therefore provide additional jobs for people in our nation. But I disagree strongly with the conclusion that the NAACP reached, that the way to do that was to channel enormous sums of money, 40, 50, 60, 70 billion dollars into the pockets of those who own the major oil companies, out of the pockets of consumers.
I want to have a strong economy, too. But I don't think that is the right way to do it. Africa
We have taken a position concerning Africa that we would use our influence to bring about peace without shipping arms to the disputing parties and without our injecting ourselves into disputes that could best be resolved by Africans, both those parties that are in dispute and the Organization of African Unity. The Soviets have done just the opposite. They, in effect, contributed to the war that is presently taking place between Somalia and Ethiopia.
They sold excessive quantities of arms and weapons to both Somalia and to Ethiopia. The war began using Soviet weapons and now they are shipping large quantities of weapons, some men, and they are also dispatching Cubans into Ethiopia, perhaps to become combatants themselves. We have expressed our concern to the Soviets in very strong terms . . .
Our hope is that the Somalians night call publicly for negotiations to begin immediately to resolve the Ogaden dispute. One possibility, of course, would be to go to the Security Council of the United Nations or to the permanent members of the Security Council. But the basic negotiation ought to take place between those two nations themselves.
. . . But I hope that we can induce the Soviets and the Cubans not to send either soldiers or weapons into that area and call for an achieve a rapid initintion of negotiations. Marston
. . . I intend to make that all the appointments that are made to federal judgeships and also to U.S. attorneys are made on the basis of merit, and I think until each aoopintment is observed very carefully - who was in office compared to who is the replacement for that person in office - that it would be hard to criticize a particular instance.
I have recently learned about the U.S. attorney named Marston. This is one of hundreds of U.S. attorneys in the country, and I was not familiar with the case until it became highly publicized. The Attorney General is handling the investigation of the replacement for Mr. Marston . . . and I have not interfered in it at all.
Before I first heard about Mr. Marston the Attorney General had already decided to replace him . . .
I can't say that Mr. Marston has or has not done a good job. He was appointed at the last minute under the previous administration. He was not a practicing attorney, had never had any prosecuting experience. And the only criticism that I have heard about him was that he had a very heavy commitment to call in press conferences and so forth when he obtained evidence or when a grand jury took action in an indictment. I think this is not unique in the country.
I have not discussed the case with the Attorney General and asked him specifically what was wrong with Marston. I don't know who he will recommend to me for the replacement. But I can assure you that when the replacement is announced that there will be the emphasis on the quality of a replacement, his qualifications compared to the incumbent. . .
The only contact I have had with any congressmen directly was I think Congressman Eilberg called me and asked that we look into it. At that tiem, the Attorney General had already decided to make the change. When I talked to the Attorney General about it, before Eilberg had let his views be known on the telephone call, he said that the replacement would be made and that he hoped that the Democratic Congress members who had shown an interest in it would not be involved in trying to decide who would be the replacement.
This has been an assurance given to us by Mr. Eilberg. As far as any investigation of members of Congress, however, I am not familiar with that at all and it was never mentioned to me.
[Could you tell me what reason Mr. Eilberg gave for asking you to look into it?]
He wanted the replacement process to be expedited. The decision had already been made to replace Mr. Marston and I think the Attorney General can answer your question better specifically. And my importunity to Mr. Eilberg was that it would be better if the Congress members would let the Attorney General make the selection on the basis of merit alone and that was Mr. Eilberg's comment to me that he had no interest in who would be the replacement at all, but he thought that because of the confusion there, that the decision that the Attorney General had already made ought to be expedited and I feel the same way . . .