Milwaukee, Wisconsin Excerpt From an Interview With John McCullough of WTMJ-TV.
MR. McCULLOUGH. Have you talked, Mr. President, to President Brezhnev about the Middle East?
THE PRESIDENT. We've exchanged letters about it, and Secretary Muskie recently has met personally and had extended conversations, several hours, with Foreign Minister Gromyko, representing the Soviet Union. And at that time, Foreign Minister Gromyko delivered me another personal letter from President Brezhnev. So, we have means of communicating back and forth on a fairly regular basis.
MR. McCULLOUGH. Are they as anxious as you to keep it confined?
THE PRESIDENT. I hope so. My belief is that the Soviets don't want war to break out in a general way throughout the Persian Gulf.
The biggest threat to our security would be if the Soviets should be tempted to move into Iran or to move into an area where they can control the Persian Gulf itself or the access to it. This would be a direct threat not only to our own security but the security of other Western nations who depend on oil supplies from that region for economic well-being.
We've developed now an energy policy since I've been in office that is reducing very rapidly our dependence on foreign oil. That's the best way for our economic security to be maintained. It's the best way for us to have an independent foreign policy free of unwarranted control or influence by the OPEC nations, who might try to use the oil weapon as blackmail as they did in '73 and '74.
MR. McCuLLOUGH. You mentioned Senator Muskie. There was a report that perhaps he might not be a part of your second administration, if that would come to be. Is there anything you could say about that?
THE PRESIDENT. That's a false report. I talked to Secretary Muskie last night. I won't use the exact language, but he said it was absolutely false. He enjoys his job. He and I have a very fine relationship. The good relationship exists with the national security adviser, as well. And I think if you were to ask Secretary Muskie the same question, he would give you the same answer. He likes his job; he's pleased with what he's doing. And my hope is that he'll continue there.
Note: The interview began at approximately 1:25 p.m. at General Mitchell Field.
Jimmy Carter, Milwaukee, Wisconsin Excerpt From an Interview With John McCullough of WTMJ-TV. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/250695