WASHINGTON (Feb. 2)
The Senate was expected today to take up later in the week the question of American food aid to Egypt, and it was predicted that it will approve the compromise voted late yesterday by the Senate Appropriations Committee, retaining the ban voted last week by the House, but stipulating that the remaining $37,000,000 worth of agricultural surplus commodities covered by the current American-Egyptian agreement could be shipped if the President determines such action “is in the national interest.”
The stipulation clause was jointly developed by the Senate committee and State Department representatives, after Under Secretary of State George W. Ball expressed his willingness to work out compromise language during his testimony before the Appropriations group yesterday. Under the formula adopted by the committee, the principle that the President is responsible for foreign policy will thus not be bypassed by Congress. But, at the same time, Congress will make clear its disapproval of further aid to Egypt as long as it persists in anti-American acts.
Although a floor fight to retain the absolute House prohibition is expected when the measure comes up before the full Senate, some Senate leaders indicated the compromise language will pass. The final form of the legislation will then be worked out in a Senate House conference, where it is expected that the Senate version will prevail.
Meanwhile it was learned today that the President was being urged to send letters to Senators Mike Mansfield of Montana and Everett McKinley Dirksen of Illinois, the Democratic and Republican leaders which would set forth the Administration’s policy toward Egypt.