TORONTO -- Former U.S. President Gerald Ford said Friday he has 'no doubt' that the United States would support Great Britain if the Falkland Islands crisis degenerated into war.
Ford said the Falkland Islands crisis 'would be comic if it wasn't so deadly tragic.' He said the United States is acting as an 'honest broker' between Great Britain and Argentina and 'exerting maximum effort to avoid a military confrontation.'
'There is no doubt in my mind where the U.S. will fall if there is war in the Falkland Islands,' said Ford. 'We will be strictly and solely behind Great Britain, where we should be.'
Ford was 'impressed' by the decision of British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher to send warships to the islands. 'I believe firm, prompt action to be the right course,' he said.
Ford was speaking at the annual meeting luncheon of Fidelity Trust Co. of Toronto, which hired him as a special consultant to the board in 1981.
At an earlier press conference, Ford said he had 'never seen any evidence' of drunken behavior by former U.S. President Richard Nixon, whom he served briefly as vice president. Former Nixon Secretary of State Henry Kissinger has been quoted in a recent book as saying Nixon was incoherent some nights at the White House on occasion.
He praised the economic efforts of U.S. President Ronald Reagan, saying the United States 'is at the nadir of its economic cycle. There is basic evidence that the recession has bottomed out.' He predicted the economic upswing would first be seen in the United States this summer.
Ford said, however, that while he supported Reagan's plan for trillion-dollar defense spending, he felt the president should spread out the actual purchases of B-1 bombers, MX missles and ships.
'I can see all the admirals and generals in the Pentagon saying, 'You'll end up having the Russians attack us' if the military purchases are delayed,' said Ford. 'That is phony. If it was valid, they would attack us today, when we don't have any of those pieces of equipment.'