Washington (Oct. 21)
Parliamentary maneuvering has delayed action on a resolution endorsed by 78 Senators last Friday asking the Nixon administration to supply Israel with the Phantom jets it has requested. Sen. Jacob K. Javits (R.,N.Y.), one of the sponsors, managed to avoid sending the bill to the Foreign Relations Committee chaired by Sen. J. William Fulbright (D., Ark.), who is hostile to the measure. Javits received unanimous Senate consent for its placement on the calendar for action at any time subject to consultation with Majority Leader Mike Mansfield who said last week that he did not support resolutions of this type as a matter of principle but was not opposed to American military assistance to Israel to “even out” Soviet supplies to Egypt.
Javits’ action temporarily averted a floor fight over whether the resolution should go to the Fulbright committee or the Armed Services committee, chaired by Sen. John Stennis (D., Miss.) who did not endorse the resolution but is known to be in favor of it. Dr. Lloyd Riddick, the Senate parliamentarian, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency today that the resolution was in “a state of suspended animation” and may be long delayed in coming to the Senate floor despite its endorsement by 44 Democrats and 34 Republicans. Before coming up for a roll-call vote, any Senate member can demand further study by committee.
In an exchange with Javits on the floor, Fulbright denied that his opposition to the resolution was inconsistent with his long-standing complaint that the Senate is not exercising its constitutional authority in foreign affairs. “This is not a case of our abdicating our responsibility in policy making. This is a case of interfering in negotiations in a very sensitive area.” he said. Javits replied that “A respectable number” of Senators–78–are “cognizant” of the administration’s negotiations and “feel efforts to bring about peace in this area will be buttressed by the position we seek by the resolution.”