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January 21, 1966 - Image 9

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1966-01-21

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

U. S. State Department 'Leak' About Israel Arms Purchases,
Expose of Grants to Arab States, Add to Middle East Tensions


(Copyright, 1966, JTA, Inc.)

WASHINGTON — Preoccupation
rah Vietnam has downgraded
White House concern about
Israel's security. This was indi-
cated by President Johnson's total
omission of Near Eastern Prob-
lems from his State of the Union
message at a time of deep concern
over a dangerous Arab military
The extent of American partici-
pation in the Arab military prepa-
rations have just been revealed.
American pressures to restrain
Israel from perfecting missiles and
a nuclear military potential are
Israel is concerned lest the
career diplomats of the State De-
partment, unchecked by the White
House, implement hints that furth-
er development loans to Israel will
be linked with Israel's abandon-
ment of any quest for a nuclear
deterrent. It has already been sug-
gested that a $200,000,000 loan for
erection of a nuclear desalination
plant may be tied to Israel's agree-
ment not to proliferate nuclear
This came at a time when the I
State Department "leaked" word
of alleged Israeli-French coop-
eration in missile development. I
Israelis resented this. They point-
ed out that they have some
knowledge of American security
secrets but regard the security
of a friendly nation with a high-
er regard than some State De-
partment officials apparently
show for Israel.
It appears that a vacuum has
emerged in Near Eastern policy at
the White House leVel. The gap is
being filled by the Near Eastern
Division of the State Department.
The Department officials place top
priority on pursuit of Arab favor,
if necessary, at the expense of

President Johnson is too busy
with Vietnam to concern himself
personally with a secondary and
peripheral problem like that of
Israel. A White House staff mem-
ber, Robert S. Komer, is theoreti-
cally charged with advising Presi-
dent Johnson on Israel and other
regional trouble spots. But Komer
has followed the State Department
thinking. He appears mainly con-
cerned with Indian-Pakistan devel-
o p m e n t s and strengthening ties
with Egypt. The visit of Presiden-
tial special envoy W. Averell Har-
riman to Cairo illustrated the im-
portance attached by the White
House to relations with President
Despite Egypt's purchase of ul-
tra-modern arms from the Soviet
Union, including the latest jets,
tanks, and even submarines, the
State Department successfully urg-
ed the President to continue sub-
sidizing the Egyptian economy
through a new surplus commodity
Because Congress had adopted
a resolution opposing further aid
to Nasser, aid was restored dur-

ing the Congressional recess.
The State Department also ex-
ploited the absence of Congress
from Washington to secretly
negotiate a huge arms transac-
tion, involving missiles and jets,
with Saudi Arabia. Another deal
was made with Jordan to deliver
Patton tanks and sophisticated
infantry weapons. Since Jor-
dan's economy is largely fi-
nanced by American loans and
grants, these arms were, in ef-
fect, underwritten by American
The State Department confirmed
the facts of these deals only after
they were exposed by the press.
Israel has been able to purchase
some arms from the United States.
Payment is required in dollars. In
the past the United States has
recognized the terrible burden on
Israel's economy imposed by the
need to balance the flow of bar-
gain-rate Soviet arms to Egypt.
Surplus commodities were sold in
generous quantities for Israeli
pounds and development loans
were extended for low interest

But now the State Department,
while adding to the massive Arab
arms build-up, has indicated that
it will cut down on liberal com-
modity transactions and loans to
Israel. The excuse offered is
that the Vietnamese war places
a burden on the American eco-
nomy and the outflow of dollars
must be curtailed.
Congress is going to have some-
thing to say because the Adminis-
tration has hinted at increased
aid to the Arabs while otherwise
stressing economy.
The Republican leadership of the
Senate and House has suggested
that the Administration violated bi-
partisan foreign policy commit-
ments by "exploiting the Congres-
sional recess to initiate a new Near
Eastern policy of providing arms
and aid to the Arabs and thus
gravely endangering Israel's se-
curity and regional peace pros-
pects." A f ter talking with Sen-
ate Republican Leader Everett
Dirksen and House Leader Ger-
ald Ford, Rep. Seymour Halpern,
New York Rep., said his
party was neither informed nor

consulted on "the pro-Arab steps,
endangering Near Eastern Peace
—steps which makes a mockery of
the concept of bipartisanship in
foreign policy, and totally ignore
the expressed sense of Congress."
It was revealed that Republic-
ans would demand the provision
or arms to Israel to balance the
Arab strength.
Congressmen of both parties
found it hard to understand why
the State Department seemed less
concerned by reports that Ameri-
cans are helping Egypt to build
missiles than by reported Israeli
missile development.
This is an election year. Con-
gress will not be inhibited in de-
manding explanations from the Ad-
ministration and the State Depart-
Israelis point out that they op-
pose aggression in Viet Nam. They
understand to this extent President
Johnosn's preoccupation. But Is-
raelis hope that Israel's security
will not be undermined by desk
officers of the State Department
whose decisions require more
careful review at high levels.

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Friday, January 21, 1966-9




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