State Dept. Says Rockets for Nasser Are Not ‘effective Military Weapons’

The State Department, in a letter by Assistant Secretary of State Brooks Hays to Senator Jacob K. Javits of New York, sought today to justify the provision of American rockets to the United Arab Republic and specifically noted that Israel had experimented “most recently” with a similar rocket.

Mr. Hays said ” the UAR agreed to purchase several small Javelin lower stage and Viper upper stage rockets of a type hitherto used for propulsion… in connection with various types of research testing. It is our understanding that the UAR planned to use these rockets to study meteorological conditions in the upper atmosphere, including measurements of wind direction and velocity. “

According to Mr. Hays, “this is somewhat the same type of scientific experiment as we have ourselves been conducting at Wallops Island; and a large number of foreign countries, notably Italy, Japan, and, most recently, Israel, have also carried out during and since the International Geophysical Year.”

He said that “exports of Javelin and Viper type (rocket) vehicles have already been made to a number of countries, and we recently released a somewhat similar rocket to Sweden… Since these items cannot be regarded as effective military weapons, no objection was raised to the export of these rockets from a security standpoint. “

Senator Javits commenting on the letter, told the Senate that “within two days” after Israel had “a successful scientific achievement, which all free peoples should hail with joy…we now, through the State Department, give Nasser what he asks for, although he originally could not get it from the United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration, just to help him out because he is a dictator, and dictators always like to show up well.”

The Senator said “the only conceivable reason that anyone can assign for this action is that if we had not made the rockets available to Nasser, he could have got them from the Russians. Nothing is said about Nasser getting a great many things from the Russians, including arms. ” Senator Javits termed the State Department’s role in the rocket decision “most shortsighted.”

NEXT STORY