Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - September 26, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta
32 THE LETHBRIDGE HERALD Thursday, September 26, 1974 Is U.S. bluffing on new oil crisis? WASHINGTON (AP) -The United States has little in the way of hard weaponry to back up the Ford administration's tough talk concerning a new oil crisis. President Ford, State Secretary Henry Kissinger and Treasury Secretary William Simon in the last week have warned of a dis- astrous international economic disruption if the price of Arab oil is not low- ered Ford and Kissinger, particu- larly, indicated the Western industrialized countries would not sit placidly by while the oil producers accumulated more and more of their currency. Administration sources have outlined several possibilities under considera- tion for meeting the oil threat, ranging from diplomatic isolation of the Arab states to a last-resort use of military force But an analysis of projected remedies and discussions with administration and diplomatic sources indicate the U.S. strategy most likely to be fol- lowed is a very complicated, long-range solution that re- quires nearly unprecedented international co-operation. STARTED LAST WEEK The first step was started last week in Brussels, when 12 countries agreed tentatively on a coordinated plan to reduce their oil demand in the event of a new crisis while sharing the available supply. The next stage may come this weekend with a reported meeting Kissinger and Simon will hold at Camp David with the foreign and finance ministers of Japan, Britain, West Germany and France Kissinger is said to have ar- ranged the meeting in secrecy for a detailed study of ways to offset the Arabs' economic power and encourage a com- mon Iront. The theory is that if all the big oil users cut their demand, the Arabs will have no other major market and will be forced to reduce prices. Running parallel to this ef- fort, U.S. officials say, will be a move to gain the support of less developed countries, including countries such as In- dia and other members of the "third world" bloc. These countries have back- ed the Arabs against Israel, but U.S. officials feel that sup- port may have weakened because the poorer countries have been hardest hit by the soaring cost of oil and petroleum-based products. Not content to count on this hoped-for weakening, the U.S. has pledged to continue and even increase its supplies of goods as a lever to gain co-op- eration from the less developed countries. The officials say that neither Ford nor Kissinger meant in their recent speeches that American food would be kept from the Arabs. "After one state depart- ment source said, "they don't have that many people and they don't buy that much food from us anyway." But if the U.S. can give food to the third world countries, "we may persuade them to make common cause and line up against the Arabs" in the United Nations and elsewhere, the source said. At this point, several other options have been considered but were ruled out, U.S. offi- cials said. Primarily, they were referring to the use of force against the oil producers. Such a move would not be acceptable diplomatically and there is doubt an invasion or similar action would effective. Other possibilities include increasing the price to the Arabs of U.S. arms and in- dustrial products. However, one state department official said this would not prevent the Arabs from increasing the price of oil once again and touching off an even more inflationary spiral. Similarly, an outright refusal to sell arms or in- dustrial equipment to the Arabs would face the problem of France and the Soviet Union stepping in to fill the void. A more likely weapon in the event the Arabs don't give way to political pressure com- bined with a more controlled consumption would be a Western move to limit the usability of currency. The problem here would be the shock to non-Arab countries holding Western currency, but some state department economists think this might be overcome. All sources indicate the American stragety is fragile. The French traditionally have been reluctant to join in a uni- fied program against the Arabs, fearing retaliation for ganging up on the oil-rich countries. On the diplomatic side, many of the less-developed countries have shown a tendency in the past to main- tain ideological support for the Arabs at severe cost to their own economies. Nonetheless, American offi- cials say, the threat now is so serious that past tendencies may be discarded. For instance, French of- ficials have shown no interest in meetings among small groups of major industrialized countries and have publicly stated their concern about the price of Arab oil. At the same time, many of the less-developed countries are as fearful now about food supplies as they are about oil and hopefully will take action that would give Arabs some second thoughts over support from the Third World. SO WHAT'S N'EW Food prices have risen 30 per cent in the last 10 years. Sorting papers M. .IL Nelson Rockefeller sorts papers at Senate rules committee hearing in Wash mgton on his appointment to be vice-president. Calgarian gets apology OTTAWA (CP) A Calgary man who struggled, un- assisted, with a burglar out- side a posh downtown hotel as a crowd looked on will receive a letter of apology from Mayor Pierre Benoit. Terry Kruger, 23, said he chased a robber from his room, caught him on the hotel steps and struggled with him. Bystanders watched but didn't offer assistance as the alleged burglar escaped. City Controller Tom McDougali raised the matter with civic officials Tuesday "It was just like Chicago or New York." he said. TV WINNERS SOUTHERN ALBERTA CO-OP'S 50th ANNIVERSARY SALE Barons 1. William Theissing. Barons Bow Island 1. Mrs. Eileen Heck, Bow Island Cardston 1. Daryl Williams Coaldale 1. Len Houweling Picture Butte 1. Mrs. W. Heippner. Shaughnessy Lethbridge 1. L. R. Binning. 1418-13 Ave. S. Taber 1. Elmer HI. Jensen 2. Miss Lily Sonmor, Barons 2. Lome Schlachtar, Bow Island 2. Paige Bochmer 2. Peter Fast 2. Evelyn Elliot, Lomond 2. M. Wkientopp. Coaldale 2. 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