WASHINGTON (Aug. 25)
The House of Representatives approved this weekend a sharply cut Foreign Aid bill containing a provision which would sever aid to any country engaging in aggression, if the President made such a determination. Approval followed withdrawal of a proposed clause which would have banned aid to Egypt without specific prior approval for such aid by the President.
Rep. Seymour Halpern, New York Republican, and one of the most vigorous critics of aid to Egypt, withdrew the stronger amendment, which had been drafted with bi-partisan support. Prior to passage, Chairman Thomas E. Morgan, of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, defined the milder provision as applying to Egypt. Rep. Halpern extracted that definition from the Congressman who managed the bill in the House for the Administration.
Rep. Halpern withdrew his stronger amendment after learning it was opposed by Zionist spokesmen, reportedly because it was considered contrary to Israel’s interests. Another reported reason was that the withdrawn amendment might have aroused opposition from Chairman J. W. Fulbright of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee which recently investigated lobbying activities. Sen. Fulbright has strongly opposed such restrictive amendments to United States foreign aid programs.
Rep. Halpern was co-sponsor of the Keating-Halpern amendment in the 1962 act, providing for severance of U. S. aid to Egypt because of that country’s acquisition of Soviet arms. He insisted, in House debate, that the Nasser regime’s “aggressive preparations and offenses” were already such that Egypt should not receive additional aid. He charged that the State Department had ignored previous measures making cutting off of aid subject to Presidential discretion.
Before agreeing to withdraw his stronger amendment, which seemed to have a good chance of adoption prior to the opposition of the Zionist spokesmen, Rep. Halpern obtained from the Administration the agreement to name Egypt orally as the subject of the milder clause.
As the House prepared to send its approved version to the Senate for action, Sen. Hugh Scott, Pennsylvania Republican, served notice that he favored cutting off aid to Egypt when the bill comes before the Senate. He said he did not think the United States “should be supplying United States dollars for troublemakers around the world. Cutting foreign aid to Egypt would be in the interest of peace in the Middle East.”