WASHINGTON (Aug. 12)
President Gerald Ford has pledged that his Administration will follow up diplomatic efforts in the Middle East “with the same vigor” as the previous administration. He made the pledge in a message to President Anwar Sadat of Egypt in which he said that the achievement of peace in the Middle East would remain one of the foremost aims of U.S. foreign policy, sources here reported today.
“I also hope that relations between our two countries will further develop and expand for the interest of our two peoples and their joint benefit and for the restoration of a just and permanent peace in the Middle East area,” the President’s message to Sadat said. Ford also renewed the invitation of former President Nixon to Sadat to visit the U.S.
Ford’s message was reported following the arrival here last night of Egyptian Foreign Minister Ismail Fahmy for Middle East talks with Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger. Fahmy and Kissinger held the first of a series of meetings here today. It was announced that the Egyptian Foreign Minister will meet with Ford Wednesday for a working luncheon. The White House also announced that Ford will meet King Hussein of Jordan Friday to discuss moves toward a Middle East peace. Hussein is in the U.S. on a private visit.
It was learned, meanwhile, that Egypt is seeking U.S. food items worth $750 million, including 980,000 tons of wheat under the American “Food for Peace” program. Officials said this would be more than the $742 million budgeted by the U.S. for the purpose. Apart from the wheat, the Egyptian request included supplies of oils and tallow. The list, a tentative one, was submitted last week to Agriculture Secretary Earl Butz by Egyptian Ambassador Ashraf Ghorbal. A communique issued by former President Nixon and President Sadat in Cairo last June said the U.S. would give priority to Egypt’s need for agricultural goods.