WASHINGTON (Jul. 25)
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee amended the Foreign Aid Bill today to require the Administration to provide more complete information on proposed arms transactions. The committee action followed disclosure that Arab arms acquisitions had been financed by secret “Country X” loans by the U.S. Export-Import Bank.
The committee deferred action on proposals for the limitation of arms sales until after it hears Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara who is to testify tomorrow. Sen. J. William Fulbright, Arkansas Democrat and chairman of the Committee, noted that in some cases the United States gave economic aid to certain countries and thus, he said, enabled them to buy arms from France. France had been the main source of aircraft for Israel prior to the June war.
The State Department and the Embassy of Israel both issued denials today of a widely-publicized and detailed news report asserting that Israel was offering this country captured Soviet-built arms and equipment in exchange for special categories of American-made weapons. The report, which emanated from Bonn, said the Israeli offer included several secret weapons which had not even been released by Moscow to its Communist allies.
ARABS MAY BE STRONG ENOUGH SOON TO TRY A ‘PRE-EMPTIVE STRIKE’
Rep. Seymour Halpern, N.Y. Republican, told the House today that the Administration was quietly seeking methods of financing new arms shipments to Jordan. He said he would oppose the fiscal authorization unless Jordan first made peace with Israel.
The New Yorker referred to the heavy Soviet rearmament of the Arab states and said that “the least we can do is to assure Israel of all the necessary jets and other equipment to replace the equipment depleted during the conflict and balance the flow of MIG-23s and other super-sophisticated weapons from Russia to the Arabs.”
The Soviet resupply of arms and equipment to the Arabs has reached such a level that the Arabs “will be able before long to contemplate an imitation of the pre-emptive strike that worked so well for the Israelis on June 5,” a Washington Star columnist reported today. Charles Bartlett said that the Israelis, “with one-fifth of their own air force destroyed, take the darkest view” of Arab intentions.
The columnist said that President Johnson had not yet endorsed the idea “but a consensus of his subordinates is reluctantly espousing the shipment of weapons to Israel and Jordan as the only discernible means to avert a new war if the Russians keep up the pace of their resupplies to the United Arab Republic.” He added that “the President’s advisors have no intention of urging that he abandon the West’s stake in the Arab nations but they see no way to avoid the necessity of insuring that Israel is strong enough to rebuff any second-round attack by the Arabs.”