268. Transcript of Interview With President Ford 1

[Omitted here is discussion unrelated to the Soviet Union.]

Mr. Whitcomb: Would it be that the Chinese are in disagreement with our policy of détente? Do you see this as an embarrassment to you, the fact that they did invite Mr. Nixon?2

The President: Not at all. When I was in China and met with Chairman Mao and with others, we had many, many discussions on world problems and world affairs.3 They want us to be strong. They agree with virtually every one of our foreign policy objectives.

We have many different philosophical views or political organization views, but I didn’t detect any lack of support for what we were trying to do throughout the world.

Mr. Whitcomb: Does there exist today, because of the Chinese opposition, a more serious problem with détente?

The President: I don’t use the word “détente” any more. I think what we ought to say is that the United States will meet with super powers, the Soviet Union and with China and others, and seek to relax tensions so that we can continue a policy of peace through strength.

If we are strong militarily, which we are, and if we continue that strength, we can negotiate with the Soviet Union, with China and with others in order to maintain that peace. “Détente” is only a word that was coined—I don’t think it is applicable any more.

I think we have to talk about the realities—the negotiation for a lowering of a strategic nuclear ballistic type capability. We ought to talk about trade. We ought to talk about science and those things in an atmosphere where we are dealing from strength and we recognize that [Page 1015] others may have some but we have to have that strength to move ahead.

[Omitted here is discussion of the domestic economy.]

  1. Source: Ford Library, Nessen Files, Box 30, President Media Interviews, WCKT–TV (Richard Whitcomb)—Miami, March 1, 1976. No classification marking. Ford was in Florida to campaign before the March 9 Republican Presidential primary.
  2. Nixon visited China in February 1976 as a private citizen.
  3. President Ford made an official visit to China December 1–5, 1975, meeting with Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping.