WASHINGTON (May. 11)
Defense Secretary Robert McNamara told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee today that the Middle East situation was “tinder dry and difficult,” and “must be watched carefully.”
He said that judicious allocation of limited United States arms aid, both grants and sales, was useful in acting as a “ceiling” to hold down the Arab-Israel arms race. He stressed that Soviet military shipments to the region were a factor that must be considered. He added that the United States uses its aid program to maintain a “delicate balance.”
The Defense Secretary told the committee also that he would not describe Egypt as a part of the Communist world. Sen. Burke Hickenlooper, ranking Republican on the committee, said Nasser “violates all agreements” and “calls us venomous names. Sen. Wayne Morse, Oregon Democrat, expressed concern about United States arms shipments to the Middle East.