Senate Committee Proposes U.S. Inhibit Sales of Surpluses to Egypt

Despite Administration pressures, the Senate Agriculture Committee has reported out a bill on extending sale of surplus commodities under Public Law 480 that includes strong measures designed to inhibit sales to Egypt. The Administration maintained that special wording applicable to Egypt should be eliminated because American-Egyptian relations had allegedly improved. The invitation by President Nasser to U.S. Navy ships to pay a courtesy visit to Port Said was cited.

The bill reported out by the committee would change the existing law by stating that: “No sale under Title One of this Act shall be made to the United Arab Republic unless the President determines that such sale is essential to the national interest of the United States, No such sale shall be based on the requirements of the United Arab Republic for more than one fiscal year. The President shall keep the Foreign Relations Committee and the Appropriations Committee of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives fully and currently informed with respect to sales made to the United Arab Republic under Title One of this Act.”

Title One pertains to sales for foreign currencies, proceeds of which are used by the United States in the country of purchase and are mainly returned to the purchasing country in the form of loans and aid. The new bill also provided, with Egypt in mind, that “the President is directed that no sales under this Act shall be made with any country if he finds such country is (a) an aggressor, in a military sense, against any country having diplomatic relations with the United States; or (b) using funds of any sort, from the United States for purposes inimical to the foreign policies of the United States.”

The Washington Evening Star, which closely follows Administration foreign policy line, commented today that “it is interesting and significant that Nasser has decided that American destroyers should be greeted with hospitable warmth at Port Said, He has made quite a switch from his past position. It is a friendly gesture that may help to improve relations between his country and ours.”

The newspaper noted that the Naval goodwill visit will be the first time since the overthrow of King Farouk that such an official Egyptian courtesy has been extended to the U.S. Navy.

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