Washington (Jun. 7)
A secret attempt was made to include $75,000,000 worth of military assistance for Syria and Lebanon in the current foreign aid bill, Rep. Wayne Hays, Ohio Democrat, disclosed in the House today during the debate on the foreign aid bill. The provision which would have given major military assistance to the two Arab League states on a grant basis was knocked out previously. Rep. Hays challenged the item when the bill was before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, causing its elimination.
Rep. Hays reported that the Defense Department disavowed responsibility for the item and Washington officials indicated that the State Department and White House bore full responsibility. It was made clear that the Administration tried to keep the matter “classified,” and asked Congressmen not to reveal it in the name of “national security.”
The United States now grants arms free to Iraq and sells arms on a reimbursable basis to other Arab League states. If the Administration’s secret move had succeeded, Syria and Lebanon would have been included in the military aid category similar to Iraq’s status.