WASHINGTON (Dec. 5)
The White House, in deliberating on the decision to resume aid to Egypt, considered whether it would jeopardize regional peace and concluded that the new policy would preserve stability, a White House official informed Sen. Hugh Scott, Pennsylvania Republican.
R. W. Komer, Deputy Special Assistant to President Johnson for national security affairs, wrote Sen. Scott that “We have not let Egypt or other Arab countries infer from our policy that their attitude toward England, Israel and other pro-Western governments in the Near East was a matter of indifference to us.” Sen. Scott had told the White House this would be indicated if aid to Egypt were resumed.
Mr. Komer said the situation was “quite the contrary. We have also carefully considered whether U. S. aid to Egypt of the sort we contemplate would significantly add to the likelihood of hostilities in the area. Taking into account all the complex factors searing on such a question, we believe that our present policy is that best calculated to preserve peace and stability in the Near East.”
“I can further assure you that we remain alert to every reasonable opportunity to help relax tensions and bring about a reduction in the arms race,” the White House official said. He was hopeful that the new aid agreement with Egypt would contribute toward these goals. He noted that the duration and terms of the new agreement would be “significantly different from those of past agreements.”
He revealed that President Johnson, “after carefully considering all the pros and cons” authorized new aid for Egypt “on the strong recommendation of the Secretary of State that it would serve the national interest to do so if the terms were satisfactory.”