Gerald R. Ford photo

Exchange With Reporters on Arrival at San Antonio, Texas.

April 09, 1976

REPORTER. Mr. President, what about the 1,200 civilians employed at Kelly that were laid off in the manpower cuts, and what specifically will you do for them, and what assurances do the people of San Antonio have that there will not be further cutbacks in the closing of Kelly?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, first, I think we have to have a little history of what precipitated the closing here of Kelly and around a thousand civilian jobs. Congress, in the 1975 fiscal year budget for the Defense Department, imposed a 26,000 cut in civilian employment across the military installations. So, this cut here at Kelly came as a result of congressional action, which I, as President, didn't ask for, but the law was passed and it was imposed on us.

Now, it will, unfortunately, have to be carried out as dictated by the Congress The Department of Defense, working through the Air Force, will make a maximum effort to try to find jobs either in the military or civilian community. The word I have is they will make a maximum effort, and they are optimistic that employment will be found.

On your second question, there are no actions initiated involving any of the other military installations, of which there are many in this country, for cutbacks in the recent announcements by the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force.

I quickly add that whatever has been recommended--not here, for the future-are only environmental impact statements, economic impact statements. And probably it will be 6 to 9 months before any final decision will be made on any of the others, except the one here which was imposed by the Congress.

Q. Mr. President, do you have any statement regarding the annexation of San Antonio? We have been told that the Justice Department has ruled that we may have to give those territories back.

THE PRESIDENT. It is my understanding that the members of the Texas delegation met with the Mayor of San Antonio and with the Assistant Attorney General, Mr. Pottinger, yesterday in Washington, D.C. The matter was discussed in great detail, and it is hopeful that a resolution of the problem can be worked out. I am optimistic, but I don't think there is any specific comment I can make at this time. They are working on it.

Q. Mr. President, has agreement been reached between the United States and the Soviet Union for on-site inspection of each other's nuclear weapons systems?

THE PRESIDENT. Under the Peaceful Nuclear Prospective Treaty, there are some very far-reaching new steps that will be taken to insure that there are no violations. One of them does involve, under certain circumstances, on-site inspection.

Q. Mr. Ford, are you giving up on trying to get Connally's endorsement, or have you two reached an agreement?

THE PRESIDENT. John Connally is a very good friend of mine. I don't ask people to support me. I want them to do it on their own, and I just think any comment on this situation ought to come from former Governor Connally.

Thank you very, very much. It is nice to see you.

Note: The exchange began at 11:02 a.m. at Kelly Air Force Base.

Gerald R. Ford, Exchange With Reporters on Arrival at San Antonio, Texas. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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