WASHINGTON (Jul. 9)
Senator Kenneth B. Keating of New York, indicated today in a message to Secretary of State Dean Rusk that the supply of rockets by the United States to the United Arab Republic may be questioned in the coming Senate debate on the Foreign Aid Bill and anti-bias amendments to that measure. Senator Keating told Secretary Rusk that “based on the past belligerent record of the UAR, I have serious reservations about how these rockets may be used.”
Senator Keating’s inquiry to Mr. Rusk came after State Department spokesman Lincoln White officially announced that the United States Government has decided to provide high altitude rockets to the UAR, and that export licenses for the rockets are being issued. The State Department announcement ensued from consideration within the Department of the implications of Israel’s successful launching of a sounding rocket last week.
Mr. White said the rockets would be sold to the UAR and were of the same type used in United States Government experiments at Wallops Island, Va. He did not disclose the number of rockets to go to the Nasser regime, nor the name of the manufacturer.
Mr. White said that the UAR had provided the United States with appropriate assurances that the rockets would be used solely for peaceful purposes. He said they would be used for meteorological research. Mr. White was asked if the State of Israel could purchase similar rockets from the United States. He replied that Israel had never applied for such equipment. State Department sources, however, said that Israel had been seeking rockets and components in Washington for several years.
(In Cairo, an Arab League spokesman depicted Israel’s rocket launching as “proof” that “Israel is still bent on aggressive purposes” and asserted that the rockets were “military” preparations against the Arabs. One Cairo newspaper said the rocket showed the Arab states must “attack the enemy.” According to the Arab League office, the Arab states “will certainly give the most careful consideration to the development.”)
SENATOR FEARS U.A.R. MILITARY AND POLITICAL PURPOSE OF ROCKETRY
In his message to the Secretary of State, Senator Keating asked for specific information on guarantees from the UAR that the American rockets will not be used for “military and political purposes.” He asked: “What inspection is to be provided? How many rockets are to be supplied, and by whom?”
Senator Keating expressed a view that the American public would require answers from the State Department on such questions. He told Secretary Rusk: “The urgency of receipt by Congress of the answers to these queries derives in part from the fact that the Foreign Aid Bill will shortly be under consideration on the floor of the Senate, and proposed amendments to the bill may pertain to this subject.”
In a message to Secretary of Commerce Luther H. Hodges, Senator Keating requested reconsideration “of approval of export license for rockets to the United Arab Republic.” He told the Commerce Department, with respect to the announced sale of rockets to the Nasser regime, that “I have serious reservations about how these rockets may be used.”