WASHINGTON (Dec. 3)
Two Senate committees will hold hearings next week on President Nixon’s supplemental budget request to the foreign military aid bill which contains a credit of $500 million for Israel. Both houses of Congress overwhelmingly authorized credits for Israel without specifying a ceiling when they passed the military procurement act last September. Congress did not authorize the remaining $535 million in the President’s supplemental request which is ear-marked mainly for Korea, Cambodia and South Vietnam but also contains a $30 million grant to Jordan and $5 million to Lebanon. Sen. J. William Fulbright, Arkansas Democrat, who is chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, is opposed to the grants for the Asian countries and tried, without success, to have a ceiling put on credit for Israel.
Mr. Fulbright’s committee will hold its hearing on Dec. 10, two days after the Senate Appropriations Committee’s hearings on the supplemental budget request. Some observers here said that Sen. Fulbright was resorting to delaying tactics inasmuch as the present Congress will have relatively little time to consider the measure before it goes out of office next year. But most observers believe the supplemental bill will be acted on before this Congress adjourns. One source on Capitol Hill told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency today that “there is no doubt that the credit for Israel will get out of committee in time for a vote even if it has to be separated from the rest of the supplemental budget package.” A Senate-House conference committee will meet next week to consider a Senate-approved waiver of two annual installments due from Israel on a U.S. government loan to the Weizmann Institute of Science. The waiver, approved by voice vote in the Senate Tuesday, was in the form of an amendment to a foreign military and economic aid bill introduced by Sen. Stuart Symington, Missouri Democrat. It relieves Israel of making payment this year and next on principal and interest amounting to $2 million. The U.S. has provided seven loans to the Weizmann Institute over a number of years. The balance due on them of about $22 million is not affected by the waiver.