Gerald R. Ford photo

Exchange With Reporters on Arrival at San Francisco, California.

March 26, 1976

GOOD MORNING. It is very nice to be in California. I have several speeches here in the San Francisco area, so I prefer, if you have any questions, I will be delighted to answer them.

REPORTER. Mr. President, could you foresee any circumstance where you would accept Ronald Reagan as a Vice-Presidential candidate with you on the ticket?

THE PRESIDENT. I've said that we have a wealth of fine, fine potential candidates for Vice President, and certainly former Governor Reagan has the kind of qualifications that would include him in that group.

Q. Mr. President, would you comment on reports in the past few days that the country is planning on some sort of military action or at least a blockade against Cuba in the event that Cuban troops take some action in Africa?

THE PRESIDENT. I have said on several occasions--and the Secretary of State has likewise indicated--that we strongly oppose any adventurism by Cuba beyond its own borders, and under the circumstances, if they did, we would take appropriate action. But I can go no further than describing that those potential actions by us are currently under study.

Q. How would you assess at this point the way the primaries have gone? It looks like about half the Republican Party is not voting for you in almost every primary.

THE PRESIDENT. Well, we have won five out of six of the elections. In our American election system--if you get 1 more than 50 percent, you win. And I think we are going to win enough to go to Kansas City, and I think that will be the springboard, the stepping stone, to victory in November of 1976.

Q. [Inaudible]

THE PRESIDENT. Well, those are allegations by anybody not with any factual information to back them up. The United States is fully prepared to deter aggression, to maintain the peace, and to protect our national security. And any allegations to the contrary are without foundation or fact.

Q. Mr. President, can you explain the change in our status with the North Vietnamese?

THE PRESIDENT. I said in Hawaii that we should look to the future and not to the past. We have had a congressional committee that just recently visited North Vietnam on behalf of trying to get more information concerning the MIA's. That congressional committee has come to the White House, talked with me, and urged that we undertake informal discussions primarily aimed at the MIA problem and anything that might relate to it. And that is the limit of the discussions so far.

Q. Would you favor that?

THE PRESIDENT. I certainly favor it, if it can have any impact or beneficial results involving our MIA's.

Q. Mr. President, how are you signaling this to the North Vietnamese?

THE PRESIDENT. Through proper channels.

Q. Mr. President, can you conceive of any situation in which this country might conduct a blockade?

THE PRESIDENT. I would not want to speculate on any military action that we might undertake. We will take appropriate action.

Q. Mr. President, as primaries go, how important is the California primary?

THE PRESIDENT. Every primary is important, and we have taken one at a time.

Thank you very, very much.

REPORTER. Thank you, Mr. President.

Note: The exchange began at 10:18 a.m. at the Coast Guard Air Station, San Francisco International Airport.

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

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