WASHINGTON (Feb. 24)
Israel’s nuclear weapons potentialities and American arms shipments to the Jewish State were reportedly among topics covered in a “personal” letter from Egypt’s President Nasser to President Johnson, informed sources said here today. The letter was handed to the President by Anwar el-Sadat, speaker of the Egyptian National Assembly, who called on Mr. Johnson yesterday. Mr. el-Sadat is in Washington as a guest of the United States Government.
The Egyptian Embassy here today disclosed, and the White House confirmed, that the “personal” letter was delivered. But neither source would go beyond mere confirmation or formally disclose the contents. However, both American and Egyptian sources said it was reasonable to assume that the letter conveyed some of the concern voiced recently by Nasser over Israel’s alleged proximity to a military nuclear capability, Nasser’s protest against the supply of U.S. Patton tanks to Israel, and the complications this imposed on the Nasser role of explaining American policies to North Viet Nam and urging moderation of Hanoi.
A reception tendered to Mr. el-Sadat today by the Near Eastern Subcommittee of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, came under fire from a subcommittee member, Rep. Leonard Farbstein, New York Democrat.
Rep. Farbstein said he would not attend the reception because he does not feel that “honor should be bestowed upon the official representative of a country whose leader, Gamal Abdel Nasser, has just denounced the United States; ” The Congressman added that Mr. el-Sadat had also spoken of the United States “in the most deprecatory terms, and lauded the Communist Viet Cong.”
The New York Congressman said he would display his attitude toward the reception by staying away. He stressed that “this reception is being held just at the time we hear from Cairo that the war in Yemen is to be pushed with new vigor, and when we hear threats of a so-called preventive war against Israel, ” He said that the Executive Department should implement an amendment to the Foreign Aid Law that would withhold U.S. help from nations like Egypt which threaten war and prepare for aggression.
Sources close to Rep. L.H. Fountain, chairman of the Subcommittee, said the reception was organized at the request of the State Department.