Gerald R. Ford photo

Radio Address on Peace

October 28, 1976

My subject today is peace. When President Eisenhower was asked 20 years ago about the goals of his foreign policy, he said, "We are for peace--peace first, last, and always." Today, that remains the central purpose of American foreign policy.

Throughout my time as President, I have shaped our foreign policy according to four basic principles:

First, we have sought to maintain America's unquestioned military strength. One of the most significant achievements of this administration is that, after a decade in which Congress slashed a total of $50 billion from defense budgets, we reversed that downward trend. And we have finally convinced the Congress to stop shortchanging America's defense. As long as I am President, we will have an Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps unsurpassed in military capability.

Second, we have tried to maintain and strengthen our friendship with our allies. Those relationships have never been better--a point that was echoed repeatedly as world leaders came to America to share in our Bicentennial celebration.

Third, working from a position of strength, we have sought to reduce tensions in the world and to avert the threat of nuclear holocaust. Early in my administration, I met with Secretary Brezhnev in Vladivostok to begin negotiations to limit nuclear armaments. Today those negotiations are 90 percent complete.

Finally, we have tried to act as leader and as peacemaker in such troubled regions as the Middle East and southern Africa.

The peace that exists today is directly related to our hard work, our strength, and our skillful diplomacy. I am very proud of what we have accomplished. I am very proud to be the first President since Dwight Eisenhower to seek election with America at peace.

This is not a time to weaken our defense, to deny our troops essential new weapons, to undermine European democracies by hinting at new relationships with Communist leaders in Western Europe, to withdraw our troops from South Korea, to upset the balance in the Middle East, or to concede such nations as Yugoslavia to the Soviet sphere.

To preserve the peace, we must be willing to pay the price for a mighty military force.

To preserve the peace, we must be willing to shoulder the burdens of our alliances and friendships.

To preserve the peace, we must be tough-minded and persistent in dealing with our adversaries.

To preserve the peace, we must be true to the ideals of America--to our love of freedom and dignity and justice for all mankind.

These are my goals as your President. With your help, I will continue to pursue those goals for the next 4 years. I will lead this Nation on the path of peace through strength, and we will live in peace and freedom in the United States of America.

Note: The President's remarks were recorded for later broadcast over the Mutual Radio Network.

The text of the address was released at Philadelphia, Pa.

Gerald R. Ford, Radio Address on Peace Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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