Kerry Urged U.N. Control of U.S. Troops in 1970

Democratic presidential front-runner John Kerry (search) called for United Nations (search) control of the U.S. military in an interview 34 years ago with Harvard University's student newspaper.

Kerry was a long-shot congressional candidate in Massachusetts when he was interviewed by The Crimson in February 1970, 10 months after he returned from a tour of duty in Vietnam.

He described himself as "an internationalist," and said he wanted "to almost eliminate CIA activity."

"I'd like to see our troops dispersed through the world only at the directive of the United Nations," Kerry said.

"The CIA is fighting its own war in Laos and nobody seems to care," he later said.

As a presidential candidate, Kerry has said he supports the autonomy of the U.S. military and has not called for a reduction in CIA operations.

"Through 20 years in the United States Senate, John Kerry has stood up for the strongest military on earth and a muscular internationalism that makes America safe while winning the cooperation of allies," said Kerry spokesman David Wade. "Unlike George Bush, John Kerry knows that while the United States never gives veto power over our security to any international institution, multilateralism is a strength and not a weakness."

Former U.S. Secretary of Labor Robert Reich, who has endorsed Kerry, said Kerry's statements were appropriate for their time.

"In the context of the Vietnam War, those comments are completely understandable," he said.

Kevin Madden, a spokesman for President Bush's re-election campaign, said Kerry's remarks were a sign of his weakness on defense.

"President Bush will never cede the best interests of the national security of the American people to anybody but the president of the United States, along with the Congress," he said.