35 House Members Urge Sale of Jets to Israel; Rogers, Dobrynin to Meet Friday

House members of both parties rose to the defense of Israel yesterday in a two-hour session in which 35 members asked the administration to sell Israel the jets she needs to defend herself. “We must appreciate the fact that we need friends in the world,” House Speaker John McCormack of Massachusetts said. “Brave Israel is a friend of the United States, and in the entire Middle East it is the only country which enjoys real democratic institutions of government. I think the time has come for action.” House Minority Leader Gerald R. Ford supported McCormack’s statement and added: “Our government should at the earliest possible date take action to make sure there is a continuity of the sale of jet aircraft to the State of Israel. It is my feeling that the case has been fully and adequately made for affirmative action by the executive branch.” Carl Albert, Democrat of Oklahoma said: “It seems to me that nothing is more important to the free world and to the United States than retaining a bastion of freedom in the Middle East.”

Democrat Ogden Reid of New York, former U.S. Ambassador to Israel, warned “All those who would like to avoid World War Three–and I am sure that includes every member of this body–,” should tell the Soviet Union the U.S. will not abdicate “Its responsibilities in the Near East or its clear support of Israel.” Claude Pepper, Democrat of Florida, asked the U.S. to help Israel prevent the Russians from achieving their “dream of centuries to reach warm water ports, and to put its fleet in the Mediterranean for the purpose of militarily dominating that whole area.” Last week, 74 Senators signed a letter addressed to Secretary of State William P. Rogers urging the administration to sell jets to Israel. The State Department announced yesterday that Assistant Secretary of State Joseph J. Sisco will meet Friday with Soviet Ambassador Anatoly F. Dobrynin to resume discussions on ways to decrease tensions in the Middle East. Agreement to resume the discussions was reached last week during a meeting between Mr. Dobrynin and Mr. Rogers. The two officials were reported to have discussed “all aspects of the current situation in the Middle East. Robert McCloskey, State Department spokesman, stated then that the meeting between Mr. Rogers and Mr. Dobrynin was “a renewal of bilateral” and that the Soviet ambassador agreed with Mr. Rogers to “renewed efforts toward achieving a political solution.”

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