WASHINGTON (Nov. 23)
Secretary of State William P. Rogers told eight Senators today that he has not yet made a decision on whether to resume Phantom jet sales to Israel. Rogers met with the legislators for more than an hour at the request of Sen. Jacob K. Javits (R.,N.Y.), who was accompanied by Sens. Edward W. Brooke of Massachusetts, Robert J. Dole of Kansas and Charles H. Percy of Illinois, also Republicans, and Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts, Gale W. McGee of Wyoming, Abraham Ribicoff of Connecticut and Stuart Symington of Missouri, Democrats. Dole is chairman of the Republican National Committee.
Javits reportedly told Rogers that Israel’s need for more jets was immediate. Percy reportedly said that continued US military support of Israel was necessary for peace in the Middle East. Kennedy, Ribicoff and Symington reportedly took a particularly hard line on jet sales with Rogers.
NIXON COMMITTED TO BALANCE
State Department spokesman Charles Bray, asked by newsmen if the meeting was “acrimonious,” would say only that it was “a general instructive exchange” on Mideast matters. “Secretary Rogers,” he said, “made it perfectly clear” that President Nixon has committed the US to insuring that the balance of power “would not be altered to the disadvantage of Israel.” State Department sources added, in regard to US military aid to Israel, that “the pipeline is full and running,” but they would not elaborate.
Bray confirmed that Israeli Premier Golda Meir will meet here Dec. 2 with Nixon and Rogers “to go over the same ground.” White House press secretary Ronald L. Ziegler also confirmed the Dec. 2 meeting, adding that Mrs. Meir will arrive Dec. 1. State Department sources stressed that the timing of her visit was not keyed to the United Nations General Assembly’s debate on the Mideast, scheduled to open early next month. The sources said Mrs. Meir had been scheduled to arrive Dec. 11 but was later advised that Rogers would at that time be in Iceland for a session of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
Bray added that despite Egyptian President Anwar Sadat’s recent belligerent talk and threat of war, “In our judgment no doors have been closed regarding the possibility of an interim agreement.” The emphasis in the next two weeks, he said, will be on the General Assembly debate.