Senate Votes Foreign Aid Bill, Calls for Sale of Supersonic Jets to Israel

A Foreign Aid Bill which made provision for the sale of supersonic jets to Israel passed the Senate today. The bill stated that: “The President should take such steps as may be necessary, as soon as practicable after the date of enactment of this section, to negotiate an agreement with the Government of Israel providing for the sale by the United States of such number of supersonic planes as may be necessary to provide Israel with an adequate deterrent force capable of preventing future Arab aggression by offsetting sophisticated weapons received by the Arab states and to replace losses suffered by Israel in the 1967 conflict.”

The Foreign Aid Bill earlier passed by the House contained the wording that the President “shall sell….” The Senate bill, however, changed the wording to “should,” leaving the sale of the supersonic jets finally up to the discretion of the President. Further action on the bill will be delayed until after the political convention recess when a Senate-House conference will discuss the changed wording.

Sen. Jacob Javits, New York Republican, on the floor of the Senate today stressed the importance to Israel of the Foreign Aid Bill provision for the sale of supersonic jet aircraft to Israel. “It would be a pure case of irresponsibility if we did not do so,” he said. “If gaps or imbalances in Israel’s defense posture are allowed to remain…the risk of war will be higher” the Senator said. “Specifically. that risk could assume its ugliest form – a sneak air attack against the civilian population of Israel.”

“Israel, while the victor in the Six-Day War, suffered aircraft losses which, since needed aircraft have not been received as replacements, place her in a vulnerable position to attack by her recovered and better armed Arab neighbors. It is not only the security of Israel which is at stake,” Sen, Javits added, “it is now the security of the whole world, because the Soviet Union is now in the Middle East in a big way.”

Sen. Frank J. Lausche, Ohio Democrat, pointed out that the bill “gives the President the discretionary power to make these sales if, in his opinion, it is necessary to offset the huge sales that have been made by the Soviet Union to the Arab nations.” Speaking on behalf of the same bill, Sen. Wayne Morse, Oregon Democrat, declared that if an understanding exists “that the U.S. would come to Israel’s defense if she were attacked,” the question remains “whether there would be an Israel to come to the aid of, if they waited for our governmental procedures to operate by way of supplying military assistance.”

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