Henry Kissinger's link with the Shah of Iran was responsible for the 1973 quadrupling of OPEC oil prices, according to Dan Rather in a "60 Minutes" segment that aired on CBS-TV Sunday. Because the Nixon-Kissinger administration was so mired in the Vietnam war, according to such "60 Minutes" interviewees as former Undersecretary of State George W. Ball, former Saudi Arabian Ambassador James E. Akins, and former Treasure Secretary William E. Simon, it seemed important that the Shah become "the protector of Western interests in the Persian Gulf," and in return they promised him billions of dolars' worth of planes and arms which Congress would have been reluctant to provide during the Vietnam period.
Thus, according to Mr. Rather and his witnesses, Secretary Kissinger proceeded to encourage what Mr. Rather called "the megalomaniacal Shah" to lead the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries into a massive increase in prices which would pay for the arms without the necessity of a congressional appropriation, Monitor TV critic Arthur Unger reports. According to the broadcast, Mr. Kissinger refused to appear, and instead called the whole story "malicious, ridiculous, and untrue." The broadcast reports Mr. Kissinger as saying that Mr. Akins is "lying and engaged in a personal vendetta against me," and that Mr. Ball is "a partisan political opponent, jealous of me and long engaged in a personal campaign against me."