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U.S. Urged to Warn Arabs Against War, Halt Middle East Arms Race

A Republican Congressman told the House of Representatives today that the United States should warn leaders of the Arab states against war with Israel, while a Democrat called upon the U.S.A. to persuade all countries in the Middle East to stop escalating their war potentials.

Rep. Frank J. Horton, New York Republican, said in a speech on the House floor that the United States could do more to encourage Arab-Israel peace by making it “absolutely clear that we will not tolerate any attempt to change the borders of any state in the Middle East by force.” He said: “We should do this strongly enough to convince any doubters among the Arab leadership that a war against Israel is futile. If we make our position forcefully enough, and clearly demonstrate our commitment to Israel, there is an excellent chance that the arms race may cease.”

Rep. Horton pointed out that a stronger U.S. anti-aggression guarantee was desirable because “no matter how much is devoted to military equipment, none of these countries can ever hope to match the United States.” He said that, “once the futility of any attempt to settle the problems of the Middle East by force is seen, it will be possible to allocate more time and increased funds toward finding a solution to the many economic and social problems which remain.”

REUSS CITES MASSIVE U.S. AID AS DEVICE TO REDUCE ARMS EXPENDITURES

In the other address on the Middle East, Rep. Henry S. Reuss, Wisconsin Democrat, told the House that United States aid to the Arab states and Israel should be linked to the reduction of arms expenditures by those countries. He declared that the United States, “through its foreign aid program, has a powerful device which could be used to persuade the countries of the Middle East to yield in the arms race, and devote their considerable efforts to more constructive ends.”

He stated that, “without playing favorites, the United States in the future could make assistance contingent upon the countries’ willingness to slacken arms development and step up economic development in cooperation with the other countries in the area. We should also consider joining with other nations to help the Middle East in a coordinated large-scale economic development program, similar to the one which President Johnson has proposed for Southeast Asia, ” he said.

In deploring the military expenditures of Mideast nations, Rep. Reuss pointed out that the United States, with all its global commitments, spent between 9 percent and 10 percent of its gross national product on national defense. By comparison, he noted, in a recent year, Egypt spent 8. 6 percent of its GNP; Syria, 12.7 percent; Iraq, 8.6 percent; Jordan, 22.8 percent; and Israel, 8.2 percent. He termed the Arab and Israeli defense budgets “wholly unreasonable rates of expenditure.” He said that, if Mideast countries reduced defense outlays, “much of the wealth of the area could be put to improving the lives of the people.”

In urging a move to tie further U.S. aid to reduction of military expenditures, Rep. Reuss noted that, between 1945 and 1964, the United States provided Egypt with $888,900,000; in economic aid. Israel received $771.000,000, and Jordan got $429,000,000, he said, in depicting the aid program as a mechanism to influence de-escalation of military spending in the Middle East.

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