WASHINGTON (Jun. 24)
The State Department is quietly preparing to offer Egypt a massive new “food for peace” program in the wake of the $37, 000, 000 in surplus commodities just granted to the Nasser regime, it was learned today from high Administration sources.
These sources said the assertions of the State Department that the conduct of the Nasser regime had improved in the last six months were a pretext to justify granting of the $37, 000, 000 before June 30, expiration date of the authorization.
President Johnson was characterized as preoccupied with Viet Nam and having delegated authority to White House adviser McCeorge Bundy to examine the Egyptian question. Mr. Bundy reportedly accepted and recommended adoption by Mr. Johnson of the State Department position which sought to minimize negative aspects of the Nasser regime and to portray Nasser in a more favorable light. The State Department’s view is that American influence in Cairo would be strengthened through a large new program of aid and development loans.
Rep. Leonard Farbstein, New York Democrat, today criticized President Johnson’s decision to restore aid, in the form of foodstuff shipments valued at $37, 000, 000 to Egypt. In a statement on the House floor, Rep. Farbstein noted that he had introduced in the Foreign Affairs Committee an amendment to the Foreign Aid Bill that would restrict to one year all future agreements to sell food for “soft currency.” He charged that Egypt was obtaining food from America while selling its own rice to Communist nations.