Ford Affirms to Rabin That the U.S. Will Continue Its Ongoing Military Relations with Israel

President Ford reaffirmed to Israeli Premier Yitzhak Rabin today that the United States will continue its ongoing military relationship with Israel. That development was announced by the White House following a 75-minute meeting here between the President and the Israeli leader. The White House also announced that they will meet again tomorrow to complete their discussions.

Tomorrow’s meeting was not on the original agenda of meetings between Ford and Rabin and the fact that an additional meeting was scheduled indicated that a Ford-Rabin understanding has not yet crystallized. The White House said that their meeting today involved “a general discussion” of the Middle East situation but the brief announcement did not disclose details.

Continuation of American military support for Israel had been forecast in advance of Rabin’s visit but its dimensions are still uncertain. According to some press reports, Israel is asking for $1.5 billion annually in military assistance for the next five years. A high Israeli official told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, however, that the kind and amounts of armaments are under discussion, not their current costs.

U.S.-Israeli military discussions were expanded today when it was reported that Gen. Mordechai Hod, an advisor to Rabin, has been meeting here with Defense Secretary James Schlesinger. Hod, commander of Israel’s southern command, was not named in the original list of Rabin’s entourage.

The White House announcement came against a background of reports that the Soviet Union has resumed shipments to Egypt of war planes and spare parts for the planes, tanks and missile installations Moscow has previously supplied to the Sadat government. There were also reports that the Soviets have increased their arms shipments to Syria and have made that country the strongest air power of all of Israel’s neighbors. The Russians were also reported to be supplying Iraq with the latest fighter-bombers.

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