WASHINGTON (Jul. 19)
Thirteen Republican members of the House Banking and Currency Committee, led by Rep. Seymour Halpern, of New York, disclosed today efforts to redraft legislation authorizing the renewal of the charter of the United States Export-Import Bank to prevent the bank from giving secret loans to subsidize arms shipments to the Arab states.
Several Democratic members of the committee, possibly enough to give the dissenters a majority expressed sympathy with the complaints that led the Republicans to seek to recall a bill extending the life of the bank for five years and to increase its operating authority by $4.5 billion.
The dissenting action followed disclosures that the Bank had made secret. “Country X” loans in excess of $2 billion to finance arms purchases. The practice was defended by Chairman Wright Patman, Texas Democrat, who said the Administration should have flexible discretion in dispensing arms to Arabs and others.
Rep. Halpern charged today that the Administration had acted “covertly to finance arms for Arabs forces that resulted in the death of Israelis in the recent Soviet-backed attempt to liquidate Israel.” He said it was “shocking that the taxpayers, without their knowledge, were paying for jets and tanks shipped to Arabs who openly avowed that these arms would be used against Israel.”