WASHINGTON (Jul. 10)
Protests against the Administration’s decision to furnish rockets to the United Arab Republic were voiced today in both houses of Congress. The State Department’s announcement that the UAR would be permitted to buy meteorological rockets here and that the export licenses for these rockets were being prepared, was made last Friday. Subsequently, Israeli sources disclosed that the United States had repeatedly refused Israeli requests for the projectiles.
Senator Kenneth Keating, New York Republican, told the Senate that what the Near East needed was not rocket shipments from the U.S. but moves to develop resources such as the Jordan River. He said that if Nasser found weather a problem, cooperation to develop regional irrigation would bear more immediate fruit and show more genuine Arab desire for progress than the purchase of rockets.
Senator Keating declared that prior to Arab agreement to regional water undertakings, the United States should withhold rocket shipments to the UAR which might increase tensions. He said the whole matter would be raised in the context of the Foreign Aid Bill now pending before Congress.
Rep. Seymour Halpern, New York Republican, said in the House that “the State Department is apparently attempting to woo Nassser, the Castro of the Nile, in an attempt to buy his favor as he craftily plays off East against West. ” Rep. Halpern raised an issue of application of the Battle Act, revealing that he has asked the Department of Commerce, charged under law with keeping strategic information and materiel out of Communist hands, to delay issuance of export permits pending reconsideration.
Rep. Halpern pointed out that the UAR, “a regime that has collaborated closely with the Sino-Soviet bloc, ” has attached to its army various technicians and instructors from Czechoslovakia and other Communist nations who would have access to any vital data.
Asserting that the State Department is rewarding the UAR which “discriminates against American citizens on a basis of religion, “, Rep. Halpern said this indicated “American weak-ness rather than strength. ” He warned that the rockets would “facilitate Nasser’s propaganda and attempts to penetrate neighboring states… increase tensions in the Near East.”
He asked the House “if we are embarking on a policy that seeks support from irresponsible nations that defy international law and insult our citizens by bribing such nations with rockets… ” He asserted that “what the UAR really wants is rocketry know-how and looks to the day when it can obtain nuclear warheads through manufacture or diplomatic blackmail.”
Rep. Lester Holtzman, New York Democrat, said the Administration action in providing rockets to Nasser would “surely be exploited by the UAR as a propaganda coup to enhance its prestige and further its designs and influence…among the new nations in Asia and Africa, ” He said “we may ask why our Government has deliberately strengthened a government which works to weaken us.”
Rep. Holtzman told the House there was “not the slightest indication that the UAR is ready to negotiate a possible settlement with Israel.” He asked: “Do we now intend to join the Soviet bloc in a cooperative effort to arm a regime which has been at war with the purposes and objectives of the United States.”