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Symington; Israel 24th on List of Nations Receiving Us Loans, Grants

Sen., Stuart Symington (D., Mo,) refuted tonight the administration’s contention that Israel continues to maintain the military balance of power in the Middle East and that the United States government was giving at least as much support to Israel as to any other nation. “The true figure of what we have actually given this nation (since 1949) in its struggle for survival is some $600 million. ” Symington declared. “That is less than one half of one percent of the total cost to us of foreign aid since the program was started.”

According to the advanced text of his address to the 46th annual convention of Mizrachi Women. Symington, who together with 77 other Senators cosponsored a resolution calling on the administration to continue selling Phantom jets to Israel, noted that “In ranking the largest recipients of United States overseas loans and grants–military and economic–Israel is not even among the first 20.” Israel, he stated, “actually is twenty-fourth on the list” which includes such nations as South Vietnam. South Korea, Greece, Spain, Thailand, Laos, Iran, Great Britain, India, Pakistan, France and Taiwan.

“Despite the heavy military contributions to these other countries, the State of Israel has never received one cent of grant military assistance from the United States.” Symington declared. “All transactions with respect to military equipment have been either through the Foreign Military Sales program, or by direct commercial sales.” Continuing, Symington stated: “Compare that with the fact that the Arab nations who currently threaten the existence of Israel have received $1.5 billion in military assistance from American taxpayers.”

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Symington noted that from 1945 to the present the US has distributed more than $149 billion in foreign aid to some 130 countries, more than $40 billion of which has been in military assistance, South Vietnam received $15.2 billion ” in various forms of assistance up to the fiscal year 1971.” South Korea received $10.1 billion not including the cost of the Korean war. India has received more than $8 billion, and Turkey, Taiwan and Italy have each received some $5 billion in aid.

Turning his attention to the question of the Mideast balance of military power, Symington stated that “about 16 months ago we received irrefutable evidence that Soviet pilots were flying MIG-21’s out of Egypt, and only a few weeks ago were told by this administration that Soviet pilots are currently flying in Egypt new MIG-23 (Foxbat) planes.” The Democratic Senator declared; “If the balance was right, however, prior to our finding out that those Mach 3 Foxbat planes were stationed in the UAR along with their Russian pilots, how can said balance be right today?”

Symington castigated the administration for its “continuing hesitancy” in “the selling–note the word selling, not giving–of military equipment to a country of the free world that has been willing, and continues to be willing, to invest the blood of its youth as well as its treasures in the defense of its freedom.” He noted that “it is to our own national interest to stand by a country which is both willing and anxious to be a partner in the fight for freedom and self-determination.” The Democratic Senator was the recipient of the Mizrachi Women’s 1971 “America-Israel Friendship Award.”

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