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Interview With the President Question-and-Answer Session With Clifford Evans of RKO General Broadcasting.

October 24, 1980


MR. EVANS. There is much concern about the anti-Israel resolutions, UNESCO and in the General Assembly, and other attempts to isolate Israel in the world community. Now, what are we, what is the United States doing about this?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, I am very disturbed by the efforts of the enemies of Israel to isolate Israel in the world community. We will not permit this to happen. Not only is Israel our friend and our ally, but attempts to isolate Israel are also intended to weaken this country and also to destroy the progress that we have made already with the Camp David accords and the peace treaty between Israel and Egypt.

We are committed to the Camp David accords, and we are committed to the peace effort that is continuing, all based on the proposition of honoring U.N. 242, passed earlier in the General Assembly and in the Security Council. We have made it clear, for instance, that we will veto any change in U.N. Resolution 242.

We oppose the creation of an independent Palestinian state. As I have repeatedly said, we oppose a PLO state. But I want to go even further. Whenever in the future the United Nations is misused or abused on Israeli-Arab issues with malicious and unfair and one-sided resolutions, we will oppose them, and in the Security Council we will veto them. Secretary Muskie gave fair warning that this would be our policy, on August the 20th when he spoke at the General Assembly or Security Council. Now I want to say it emphatically and clearly, so there can be no misunderstanding in anyone's mind.

Also, I want to make it clear again that we will not permit any isolation of Israel in other United Nations organizations, nor will we allow the United Nations to be used as a propaganda organ for the PLO. That is the reason we voted against the Women's Plan in Copenhagen this summer. It Contained anti-Israeli language and called for the diversion of funds out of the United Nations funds to the PLO.

For this same reason I personally intervened with various heads of government to obtain their support to prevent the PLO becoming an observer in the recent deliberations of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. We were successful in this effort after a massive attempt by the other side to change this longstanding policy.

When two Islamic nations introduced a resolution to reject Israel's credentials at UNESCO's General Assembly in Belgrade just last month, in September, I again intervened and got other nations to help us stop it. And earlier this week I instructed our delegation at the UNESCO conference not to participate nor to be present even in any session at which Yassir Arafat appeared.

We took similar strong action at the national tourism conference in Manila when another effort was made early this month to drive Israel out. We stopped that effort, too.

We have successfully opposed every effort to reject Israel's credentials at the current session of the U.N. General Assembly, and I have made our position clear. If such an effort should be successful, and I don't believe it would, then I see no way that we could continue even to participate in the deliberations of that body.

Well, these are a few examples that come to mind offhand about our staunch support for Israel and our staunch commitment not to permit the isolation of Israel nor to permit Israel to be driven out of the General Assembly or embarrassed nor to use the General Assembly or United Nations bodies to promote the PLO.


MR. EVANS. Let me throw you a curve, Mr. President. What about the recent story that the Department of Defense is considering changing our commitment of 1978 and now is prepared to sell to Saudi Arabia, for their F-15's, equipment that would give them offensive capability against Israel. I am speaking about such things as bomb racks. Now, lay it out. Just what is that situation?

THE PRESIDENT. That is not a curve. I welcome that question, as a matter of fact.

There will be absolutely no change in the assurance given to the Congress in 1978 by Secretary Harold Brown, acting under my instructions, on the sale of F-15's to the Saudi Arabians. In accordance with those assurances, we will not agree to provide offensive capabilities for the planes that might be used against Israel, and that obviously includes bomb racks.



MR. EVANS. I am a New Yorker, Mr. President, so I ask you this: Are you truly serious when you say that you want to help New York City with its staggering financial problems of welfare costs and the costs of Medicaid?

THE PRESIDENT. We have had a consistently good record in dealing closely with the mayor of New York, both Mayor Beame and now Ed Koch. The Governor of New York, the congressional delegation of New York, shortly after the 1976 election was over, they came down to Georgia and met with me. We spelled out a 4-year agenda to keep New York from going into bankruptcy, and we have been successful. We have channeled massive funds into New York City and in other cities in the State that are in trouble since that time.

The Democratic National Convention in its platform this year gave a commitment to assume, for the Federal Government to assume the costs of welfare. I announced the other night in New York that I support this Democratic platform. I also announced that after the 1980 election I will sit down with the mayor, the Governor, and the congressional delegation, and we will work out again a 4-year agenda to carry out the commitments that we have made.


MR. EVANS. Your voice sounds a little scratchy, Mr. President, between the rigors of campaigning and the responsibility of being the President. How do you feel?

THE PRESIDENT. I feel very good. Obviously, when you make 12 or 13 speeches a day and don't get much rest in between, your voice gets a little tired. But I feel very good, very confident, looking forward to the next 10 days and, I hope after that, the next 4 years.


MR. EVANS. And Tuesday evening, of course, as that debate is just around the corner, the debate with Ronald Reagan. The American people have been looking forward to this for some time. Are you ready to cross verbal swords with Ronald Reagan?

THE PRESIDENT. It is something I have been looking forward to for a long time, also. We have accepted five or six individual invitations to have a two-man debate with Governor Reagan. This is what I have been waiting for. I am looking forward to it.

MR. EVANS. There you have the views of the President. From the Oval Office here in the White House, Clifford Evans, RKO General Broadcasting.

Note: The interview began at 1:20 p.m. in the Oval Office at the White House.

As printed above, the interview follows the text of the White House press release.

Jimmy Carter, Interview With the President Question-and-Answer Session With Clifford Evans of RKO General Broadcasting. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/251601

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