WASHINGTON (Aug. 8)
A majority of the 17-member Senate Foreign Relations Committee urged this weekend Secretary of State William P. Rogers to give further consideration to Israel’s request for $200 million in supporting assistance to meet Israel’s urgent defense requirements. In a letter to Rogers, four Republican and six Democratic members of the committee said “many colleagues note that the shipment of supersonic planes to Israel has been discontinued in the absence of a new agreement. Our understanding is that the request has been under consideration for nine months.” The Senators wrote that “any further delay could well lead to the impression that we are not implementing our declared policy on arms balance in the area.” They added “we believe our views are shared by at least a majority of the Senate.” The Republican signers were Senators Clifford P. Case of N.J., Jacob K. Javits of N.Y., James B. Pearson of Kansas and Hugh Scott of Pa. The Democrats were Gale W. McGee of Wyo., Edmund S. Muskie of Ms., Claiborne Pell of R. I., John J. Sparkman of Ala., William B. Spong, Jr. of Va. and Stuart Symington of Mo.
The Senators enclosed with their letter a copy of the report of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs which makes provisions for Israel’s request for $200 million for “its urgent needs for foreign exchange and other requirements brought about through the Middle East hostilities.” The Senators wrote “this is a vital corollary to maintaining a balance of defense capability in the Middle East.” They concurred with the House committee and said Israel is “fully eligible” under the authorization for assistance. The House committee’s statement said “Israel has never received grant military assistance from the United States.” It noted that Israel had been forced to go deeply into debt because of a very heavy defense burden posed by large-scale shipments of sophisticated planes, tanks and missiles by the Soviet Union to Israel’s Arab neighbors. The House approved last week by a vote of 200-192 the foreign aid bill which included aid for Israel. The opposition to the bill was not against aid to Israel but to the measure as a whole. There was no opposition to include Israel. The bill is now in the hands of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. But, last Friday Congress adjourned for its summer recess, thus postponing temporarily further consideration of the measure until Congress reconvenes in Sept.