WASHINGTON (Feb. 1)
Undersecretary of State George Ball told the Senate Appropriations Committee today that the United States has no commitment for further aid to Egypt.
Mr. Ball, substituting for ailing Secretary of State Dean Rusk, appeared before the Senate Committee to urge reversal of a House-passed amendment banning shipments of surplus agricultural products to Egypt. He told the Senators that the United States terminated discussions with the Egyptians on future aid following the burning of the U. S. information Service library in Cairo in December.
The Undersecretary said that the subject of aid beyond the present fiscal year ending in June 1965 would be reviewed fully with Congress, and discussed in light of circumstances that existed at the time. He indicated that the Administration would not necessarily authorize shipment of the $37,000,000 worth of commodities to which the House prohibition applies. But he pleaded that “the President has the flexibility to do what a changing situation may require on a day-to-day basis.” He asked that Congress not limit the President’s freedom of action in the conduct of U.S. relations with Egypt during the weeks ahead.
Mr. Ball characterized recent U.S. relations with Egypt as “anything but satisfactory.” But he stated that “our relations with the Near East are inextricably bound up with our relations with Egypt.” The Undersecretary described U.S. objectives in the Middle East as the restoration of stability in the region. He said that today “the situation is volatile and dangerous and the shape of events during the coming year is by no means clear.”
Following questions by members of the Appropriations Committee the group went into executive session for additional testimony from Mr. Ball.