WASHINGTON (Jun. 19)
Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger appeared today to be defending a warning by Egyptian Foreign Minister Ismail Fahmy that Egypt would make nuclear weapons under certain circumstances. Replying to reporters’ questions at the NATO Foreign Ministers Conference in Ottawa, Kissinger said, “As I understand it (the Egyptian statement) if Israel develops nuclear weapons then Egypt would develop nuclear weapons of its own.”
But Kissinger insisted that Egypt could not produce such weapons with the promised U.S. nuclear know-how. “I have stated in Jerusalem and I have repeated here that we see no possibility that Egypt could develop nuclear weapons by means of the reactor we have agreed to sell, “he said. He added that “it will take six to eight years to install at the best and will be subjected to safeguards we consider substantially fool-proof.”
The Secretary of State said he gave the NATO ministers an account of U.S. policy in the Mid-east. He acknowledged that while the nuclear agreements the U.S. has made with Egypt and Israel were outside the NATO area of shared consultation, they did nevertheless effect the security of NATO countries.