Stevenson Calls on U.S. to Cancel Contract to Sell Fighter Bombers to Libya

State Treasurer Adlai E. Stevenson III, Democratic candidate for United States Senator, today urged again cancellation of a contract to sell fighter bombers to Libya. He also renewed his request for a full disclosure from the State Department or the Pentagon on other forms of aid the United States is providing Arab countries including the training of Arab pilots. Mr. Stevenson renewed his requests in the wake of last Wednesday’s reports that Soviet arms are being shipped for the first time to Libya. “The welcoming of the Soviets to Libyan territory by the Libyan government is an affront to this country that cannot be left unanswered. The next step.” Mr. Stevenson warned, “could well be the opening of Tripoli and other Libyan ports to the Soviet Navy.” He said that the Soviet Union is fulfilling “its long cherished dream of expanding into the Middle East. First in Egypt with the installation of the SAM’s, shipments of MIGs and the use of Soviet personnel, and now in Libya.”

Mr. Stevenson, noting the irony that in the face of this unmistakable trend of hostility, the Libyan jet contract continues to be “under review” at the State Department, declared: “There is no need for further review; it is time for action. We cannot give military aid to Libya without disturbing the precarious balance of power in the Middle East.” Mr. Stevenson assailed the premier of Libya, Col. Muammar El-Qaddafi who “has taken it upon himself to organize a crusade to drive Israel from occupied Arab lands.” The Democratic candidate noted that within the past week, the Libyan government announced that it is seizing assets owned by Jews and Italians, including an Italian Oil company. Mr. Stevenson first raised the question of the Libyan planes and training of Arab troops March 19. A month later, the State Department replied that the contract was under review, but made no mention of the extent of the training of Arab military personnel.

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