WASHINGTON (May. 18)
New authority to influence Israel to open nuclear facilities to international inspection, as a condition for U.S. financial assistance on nuclear desalting, was seen today by the State Department in Senate Resolution 179, a measure aimed at preventing proliferation of nuclear weapons.
The resolution, adopted yesterday by a vote of 84 to 0, called for “additional efforts by the President which are appropriate and necessary in the interest of peace for the solution of nuclear proliferous problems.” The Senate discussion of the resolution included pointed references to Israel and some other nations as potential developers of military nuclear capacities. This prospect troubled the Senate and motivated the resolution.
U.S. officials said today that while the State Department continues to be satisfied with Israeli assurances that Israel has no plan to build a nuclear bomb, Israel has been informed that a financing arrangement for a dual-purpose nuclear desalting facility desired by Israel hinges upon inspection agreement. International inspection was seen as a guarantee that Israel would continue to honor its existing pledge to refrain from unclear weaponry.
State Department sources indicated that the future of the nuclear desalting venture rests upon safeguards against proliferation sought from Israel. They said this policy existed before the new resolution but that the Senate vote reinforced the determination of the Executive Department to use all means to limit the world “nuclear club” to existing members. The Department meanwhile denied a report by Drew Pearson, syndicated columnist, who wrote that “Ambassador Walworth Barbour, who came to a Beirut meeting of U.S. envoys from Israel, told the other American ambassadors that Israel is expected to start producing nuclear weapons next year.”