WASHINGTON (Nov. 19)
Despite Saudi Arabia’s total embargo on petroleum supplies to the United States, the State Department has not altered its willingness to sell arms to King Faisal’s government and it has no “serious study” underway for a U.S. counter-embargo by withholding food shipments to that Arab kingdom
Department spokesman George Vest expressed these positions today after the Jewish Telegraphic Agency inquired about the current U.S. position on its projected sale of arms of more than $1 billion to Saudi Arabia. Before the Yom Kippur War began, the U.S. and Saudi Arabia were holding technical discussions about the project. These have not been “pursued” since the Arabs attacked Israel Oct. 6, Vest said. “No basic change” has taken place in U.S. policy, he observed, but he added “We will have to look into all aspects in the days ahead.”
Asked to comment on the causeway across the Suez Canal reportedly being constructed by the Israelis, Vest said that “technically” it is not a part of the six-point Egyptian-Israeli agreement. “The best thing we can say.” he continued, “is to expect a considerable range of questions to be discussed at the point of negotiations.”
Vest said he had “no close, specific information” on the causeway. He reiterated that it would not be helpful to discuss the blockade by Egyptian vessels of the Red Sea strait that prevents access to the Israeli port of Eilat from the outside world.