WASHINGTON (Jul. 1)
The U.S. announcement in Moscow that President Nixon has authorized as a grant an additional $500 million of the $2.2 billion emergency fund for Israel came as no surprise here although some eyebrows lifted that the formal Presidential decision came at virtually the 11th hour of the U.S. 1974 fiscal year.
After Israeli Defense Minister Shimon Peres had discussed Israel’s defense requirements in Washington last week in the light of the new reality of the post-Yom Kippur War disengagements and future prospects, top American officials were understood to have recommended the additional half billion in Israel’s favor. “Bureaucratic logistics,” a source close to the proceedings told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, caused the inability of the papers to be ready for the President’s signature prior to yesterday. Peres did not complete his talks here until last Wednesday, two full business days after President Nixon and Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger had departed for the Moscow summit talks.
In approving the $2.2 billion last Dec. that President Nixon had requested shortly after the cease-fire in the Yom Kippur War, Congress authorized him to grant up to $1,5 billion and allow the remainder in credits. It had been assumed prior to the Peres visit that since the President had forgiven $1 billion in April and since official U.S. sources had said the remainder would be in credits at low interest rates that the final decisions had been made on that fund. But the Peres visit, it was reported, and his explanations of the different types of weapons needed in Israel’s security requirements in the new reality together with the vast indebtedness Israel had incurred by the war and its aftermath brought a change in the U.S. outlook.