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September 04, 1981 - Image 17

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1981-09-04

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


Friday, September 4, 19131 17

AWACS Sale May Fall Through Even After Push from President


(Copyright 1981, JTA, Inc.)

President Reagan's un-
usual letter to the leaders of
the House and Senate urg-
ing members of Congress, as
they were about to depart
Washington for their sum-
mer vacations, not to "pre-
judge" the Administration's
proposed sale of AWACS re-
connaissance planes to
Saudi Arabia may be a sig-
nal that the President plans
to use his demonstrated
personal political skills to
prevent Congress from re-
jecting the sale.
Otrtainly there are mem-
bers of the Administration
who feel that a strong per-
sonal effort by Reagan, such
as he used to get his eco-
nomic program approved, is
necessary because of the op-
positiOn to the AWACS sale
on Capitol Hill. But the suc-
cessful methods used to get
the President's budget pro-
posals and tax program
adopted may not work this
At the latest count there
was still a majority in both
the Senate and House
against selling the Saudis
five AWACS planes and
enhancement equipment
for the 62 F-15 jet fighters
Saudi Arabia bought in
1978. This majority has
held despite the criticism in
Congress of Israel's bomb-
ing of Iraq's nuclear plant
and the Palestinian ter-
rorist headquarters in Be-


Reagan's victories on
his economic program
were achieved because
he had a Republican-
controlled Senate and he
received support from
conservative Democrats
in the Democratic-
controlled House. But
support for Israel and
opposition to the AWACS
sale cuts across all party
lines and runs the com-
plete ideological spec-
trum in Congress. For
example, one of the lead-

Embassy Changes
Migration Report

Israel Embassy has issued a
statement correcting an ar-
ticle in the New York Times
which claimed that 510,528
Israelis emigrated in the
period 1969-79.
The embassy said the fig-
ure was based on an error in
the newspaper Yediot
Aharonot which was cor-
rected the day after it ap-
peared. The embassy said
the correct figure for emig-
ration during that 10-year
period is 126,464.

Orthodox Protest
Possible Autopsy

Police fired tear gas to dis-
perse a crowd of ultra-
Orthodox Jews in the city's
religious Mekor Barukh
quarter last week when
they tried to prevent police
from removing the body of a
suspected murder victim.
The crowd feared othat an
autopsy would be performed
on the body, in violation of

ing opponents of the
entire arms package
proposed for the Saudis
is Rep. Jack Kemp (R-
N.Y.), co-author of the
Kemp-Roth Bill which
was the basis for
Reagan's tax program.

In his letter — addressed
to Senate Majority Leader
Howard Baker (R-Tenn.),
Senate Minority Leader
Robert Byrd (D-W. Va.),
House Speaker Thomas
O'Neill (D-Mass.) and
House Minority Leader
Robert Michel (R-Ill.) Re-
agan did not say when the
proposal would be submit-
ted to Congress, although
Administration spokesmen
have said it would be after
the summer recess.
The Administration has
been postponing submitting
the proposal since last May
on the advice of Baker and
other Congressional leaders
who warned that it could be
rejected. Both the Senate
and the House must adopt
resolutions rejecting the
sale in order to prevent it
from going through.
Baker has been urging
the Administration to pro-
vide safeguards in the sale
proposal to ensure that the
AWACS will not endanger
Israel and that the highly
sophisticated weaponry will
not fall into Soviet or other
unfriendly hands.
Reagan's letter indi-
cated that an attempt to

provide safeguards was
ne reason for the delay.
said another was the
"p *ty" the Adminis-
tration gave to the adop-
tion of its economic pro-

But the timing of the let-
ter was somewhat startling.
The text was distributed in
the White House briefing
room crowded with report-
ers who had just come from
the South Lawn welcoming
ceremonies for Egyptian
President Anwar Sadat.
White House spokesthen
categorically denied that
the letter had anything to
do with the Sadat visit.
They said it was just a re-
minder to Congressmen be-
fore they went on vacation
to keep an open mind.
There was some suspicion
that the letter was part of
the Administration's efforts
to reassure the Saudis. Re-
agan, Secretary of State
Alexander Haig and
numerous Administration
spokesmen have been stres-
s sing in recent weeks how
helpful the Saudis have
been,in Lebanon.
This reassurance appar-
ently took on added inten-
sity when the Saudis, read
more than there was in
Haig's firing of Robert
Neumann, the U.S. Ambas-
sador to Saudi Arabia. Mat-
ters were not helped much
when some American jour-
nalists, such as the colum-
nists Roland Evans and
Robert Novak attributed
Neumann's ouster to the
"Israel lobby."
Actually Neumann's

ouster can be attributed
to nothing but bad-
mouthing his boss before
Senators.. After all, the

65-year-old foreign pol-
icy analyst had been
brought back to Wash-
ington by the Adminis-
tration, presumably with
Haig's-approval, to lobby
for the AWACS before

It is true that Neumann
had policy differences with
the Administration and
wanted a more pro-
Palestinian stand. It is also
true that Haig was not
happy with the State De-
partment transition com-
mittee which Neumann
headed and dismissed it as
soon as he took office. It is
also true that Neumann is a
close friend of National Se-
curity Adviser Richard Al-
len, considered Haig's rival

in the Admitistration, and
reportedly 11'61 carried out
back channel communica-
tions with Allen from Saudi
But when Neumann told
Senate Foreign Relations
Committee members that
Haig's appearance on a
television interview pro-
gram made him want to
throw up and the remarks
got back to Haig,
Neumann's days were
numbered. After all, Haig
himself had been repri-
manded for not being a team
player and it is not difficult
to imagine him telling Re-
agan that he cannot permit
such remarks from his own
But don't weep for

Neumann. He was ap-
pointed a senior consultant
to the State Department at
$192 a day or $51,112 a year

and presumably even
steamy Washington in the
summer is preferable to


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