During his term as Chairman, Brown commented on two occasions—firstly to a Duke University audience in October 1974, and then to a French reporter in 1976—that Israel was becoming a burden to The Pentagon and that he believed the reason for continual military aid was due to Jews having control over America’s banks, newspapers and elected officials. His exact words were:
It’s so strong you wouldn’t believe now. We have the Israelis coming to us for equipment. We say we can’t possibly get the Congress to support that. They say, ‘Don’t worry about the Congress. We will take care of the Congress.’ Now this is somebody from another country, but they can do it. They own, you know, the banks in this country, the newspapers. Just look at where the Jewish money is.
Brown’s comments at Duke and subsequent reprimand by President Gerald Ford were reported on the front page of The Washington Post on 13 and 14 November 1974. There was speculation that Brown would be asked to resign, or at least not be nominated for a second two-year term; but he was renominated and went on to serve under the new president, Jimmy Carter.
Brown was known for the directness of his speech, which sometimes offended those around him. Asked to comment in an interview for Newsweek on his opinion of the British Armed Forces, Brown replied, “They’re no longer a world power. All they’ve got are generals, admirals and bands.” Reaction in Britain was mixed. Some, like Lord Allenby condemned Brown’s remarks, while others, like Lord Monckton acknowledged the truth of the remarks. Brown also said that Israel was a “burden” to the United States, and predicted that Iran would become an important military power in the Middle East.
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