Richard Nixon on Energy & Oil

President of the U.S., 1968-1974


Protect oil supplies with military force when needed

The strategic position of the entire Western alliance hinges on reliable access to crude oil from the Persian Gulf. We must be ready and willing to take whatever steps, including a strong military presence and even military action, are required to protect our interests. We must also be able to back up our words.

It is essential the US have base facilities so located as to enable us to project our power convincingly into the area, and to respond swiftly to sudden threats. We also need to assure access to bases in Western Europe that could be used to facilitate airlift and sealift operations between the US, and the Persian Gulf. And then, when we do project power, we must do so resolutely.

Above all, the leaders of Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait and other key states must be unequivocally reassured that should they be threatened by revolutionary forces, either internally or externally, the US will stand strongly with them so that they will not suffer the same fate as the Shah.

Source: The Real War, by Richard Nixon, p.103-104 , Jan 1, 1981

Oil for now; solar & geothermal for the 21st century

Sometime in the 21st century, nuclear, solar, & geothermal may be sufficiently developed to meet the world's energy needs. But for now we live in an age of oil. In the decades just ahead this gives extraordinary strategic significance to the Persian Gulf. This means that one of the world's most troubled, unstable, and imperiled areas is also one of its most vital. In the industrial age energy is the lifeblood of the economic system, and economic power is the foundation of military power.
Source: The Real War, by Richard Nixon, p. 72-74 , Apr 1, 1980

Project Independence: replace oil with nuclear & renewables

I was the first president to propose a wide-ranging energy program. I did so nearly a decade ago, in 1971. In my last State of the Union address, in January 1974, I described energy as our number-one priority.

The goal of my energy policy--which I named Project Independence--was in the long run, to stimulate the production of energy from renewable sources such as nuclear power, and, in the short run, to cut back our dependency on unreliable foreign suppliers of oil. The United States is uniquely qualified to do these things. Ill-considered government policies, however, have had the opposite effect; they have actually increased our dependence on foreign oil.

Source: The Real War, by Richard Nixon, p.222-223 , Apr 1, 1980

Comprehensive program including coal gas, solar & geothermal

For most of our history, a plentiful supply of energy is something the American people have taken for granted. But that assumption has been brought sharply into question within the last year. To help meet this challenge, my program includes the following elements:
Source: Special Message to Congress on Energy Resources (APP #195) , Jun 4, 1971

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Page last updated: Feb 22, 2022