WASHINGTON (Jul. 6)
Sen. Birch Bayh. Indiana Democrat, doesn’t believe that an American troop cut-back in Western Europe, which he advocates, would be construed by Moscow as a curtailment of the American commitment to Israel, as long as the U.S. continues to ship Phantom jets and other military equipment to that country. Current U.S. military shipments to Israel ended Wednesday. Bayh accused the Nixon Administration of delaying answers to Israel’s arms requests thereby “jeopardizing” the balance of power in the Middle East.
(Sen. Robert Packwood, Republican of Oregon who is visiting Israel as a guest of the Government, said in Tel Aviv Friday that the Nixon Administration was delaying arms shipments to Israel and he didn’t think the delay was justified. Sen. Packwood said he understood the reason for the delay in responding to Israeli requests for additional arms but did not amplify that comment. He expressed the hope that the weapons supply “necessary to ensure Israel’s survival” will never be jeopardized.)
Sen. Bayh said “The Administration is wrong in giving the appearance if not the effect” of using military aid to “blackmail Israel” into concession on an interim peace settlement. He added that realizing the Israeli “economic bind” and Soviet support of the Arabs, he favored approving Israel’s first request for a military assistance grant of $200 million. He said that the recent Soviet-Egyptian pact did “not change anything” and “is symbolic in that it does not mean any more or less in practical terms.”