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House Committee Amends Foreign Aid Bill; Aims to Check Egypt

The House Foreign Affairs Committee today adopted an amendment introduced by Rep. Leonard Farbstein, New York Democrat, which would deny aid to nations like Egypt which prepare for military aggression against neighboring states.

The amendment, as finally accepted by the committee, was less specific than the proposed Keating-Halpern amendment, although its implementation is more strongly assured. The Keating-Halpern measure, as incorporated into last year’s Foreign Assistance Act, referred to nations being denied aid if they divert their own resources to purchase of Soviet arms. The new measure, as approved, makes no mention of Soviet arms sources.

Rep. Farbstein pointed out that “although final determination must be made by the President, the guidelines of policy are set forth in the amendment. He said the amendment adopted today was actually the strongest expression of Congressional opinion yet on military activities by Egypt. He stressed that in his opinion Egypt was already engaged in aggressive military efforts outlawed by the amendment and should be denied aid forthwith. But he conceded that the State Department and the President may not interpret the situation that way.

Rep, Farbstein cited to the committee the latest Soviet-Egyptian arms deal and the rocket tests currently being conducted in Egypt. The vote on the amendment was reportedly 22 to 7. Other committee members commented that they did not regard the amendment as solely applicable to Egypt.

Rep. Seymour Halpern, New York Republican who co-sponsored the Keating-Halpern amendment last year, today said that the new version of his amendment approved by the Foreign Affairs Committee was “too vague to be effective because the State Department has contended, in the face of all facts, that Egypt is pursuing a more peaceful policy toward Israel and therefore is unlikely to stop aid on grounds of aggressive preparations. “

He announced that he would “move from the House floor at the right moment to strengthen this measure because I cannot in good conscience see the American public indirectly subsidizing Egypt’s purchase of Soviet Jet fighters, bombs, and maybe even poison gas for terroristic use against neighboring peoples.”

THE TEXT OF THE AMENDMENT ADOPTED TODAY, READS:

“No assistance shall be provided under this or any other act, and no sales shall be made under the Agricultural Trade Development and Assistance Act of 1954, to any country which the President determines is engaging in or preparing for aggressive military efforts directed against the United States (or) any country receiving assistance under this or any other act, (or) any country to which sales are made under the Agricultural Trade Development and Assistance Act of 1954, until the President determines that such military efforts or preparations have ceased and he reports to the Congress that he has received assurances satisfactory to him that such military efforts or preparations will not be renewed. This restriction may not be waived pursuant to any authority contained in this act. “

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