WASHINGTON (Sep. 2)
An amendment to a pending House of Representatives foreign aid bill proposed by Rep. Oliver Bolton, Ohio Republican, will be voted on tomorrow, following a bitter debate in the House this evening as to whether the Nasser regime deserved continued American support. The amendment calls for severance of U.S. aid to Nasser under Public Law 480.
The debate created an unusual situation which found two Congressmen of Jewish faith, Rep. Abraham Multer and Charles Joelson, both Democrats, defending continued aid to the Nasser regime, while other Congressmen of Jewish faith and non-Jewish friends of Israel supported the Bolton amendment.
Rep. Multer of New York urged the continuance of aid to Egypt for “humanitarian reasons” and said: “Let’s not tie the hands of the President. He insisted that continued U.S. aid to Nasser lessened the chances of aggression by Egypt. Rep. Joelson of New Jersey said the issue of continuing aid to Egypt pertained to compassion and “feeding hungry children.” He stressed that “Israel is strong and can defend itself” regardless of continued American assistance to Nasser.
Rep. Leonard Farbstein, New York Democrat, said that Nasser was “another Hitler” and that, through continued aid, “we prop up the Nasser regime.” He pointed out how the aid program enabled Nasser to acquire Soviet weapons and threaten neighbors. He said that the State Department has ignored the anti-aggression amendment he sponsored last year, and that there was now no alternative but to support the Bolton amendment because Nasser had become a “conduit for Soviet arms.”
HALPERN ACCUSES ADMINISTRATION; DEMOCRATS DISAGREE ON AMENDMENT
Rep. Seymour Halpern, New York Republican, said that the Administration had failed to cut off economic assistance to Egypt, despite Nasser’s aggressive behavior. He said that aid to Egypt financed aggression, and cited reports that North Vietnam obtained surplus Soviet-built torpedo boats through Egypt. Rep. Cornelius Gallagher, New Jersey Democrat, said that the Bolton amendment would undermine the American position in the Near East and Israel’s security. He said it would weaken American influence in Cairo.
Charges we made by Rep. Bolton that continued American aid not only permitted Nasser to divert funds to build up missile capacity for use against Israel, but also to create the threat of nuclear capability which Nasser would use against Israel and Arabs friendly to the West. He charged that the American policy was to “placate Nasser.”
Rep. William Fitts Ryan, New York Democrat, said that American aid was being used by Nasser to prepare for aggression against Israel and for development of arms industries. He said that members of Congress had urged anti-Nasser action, but that nothing had been done. He also charged that German scientists were developing missiles for Egypt, and that this was indirectly financed by resources provided under U. S. aid.
Rep. Benjamin S. Rosenthal, New York Democrat, said that Egypt was not a friendly country, and therefore not entitled to assistance under the definition and spirit of the legislation. He pointed out how Nasser exploited the aid to undermine peace.
ADEQUATE STRENGTH FOR ADOPTION OF MEASURE SEEMS AVAILABLE
Rep. Frances P. Bolton, Ohio Republican, mother of Congressman Oliver Bolton, supported her son’s amendment, stating that Nasser was actually developing atomic weapons jeopardizing Israel. She said it was no good to subsidize those whose activity undermines the American position, and cited Nasser’s pressure to force U. S. abandonment of North African air bases. She said that previous expressions of Congress on aid to Nasser had been implemented by the Executive Department.
The Bolton amendment drew support from Rep. E. Ross Adair of Indiana, and Donald Rumsfeld, of Illinois, both Republicans. Rep. D. R. Matthews, Florida Democrat, opposed the amendment, stating that it was not a question of it being a pro-Israel or anti-Israel issue.
At the time the House deferred a vote on the pending amendment, it appeared that adequate strength was available for its passage. The amendment’s sponsor said that adoption of the amendment would not take effect until fiscal year 1966 at the earliest. He pointed out that this gave the State Department a chance to deal with greater strength in negotiations with Nasser to promote peace.