LOS ANGELES (Apr. 3)
Sen. Alan Cranston (D.Calif.) said here that he sees “no signs of any wavering in support for Israel in the U.S. Congress.” Cranston told a press conference several days ago that he could find “no evidence in Washington to back up reports of Congressional reservations about Israel aid because of the failure of the Kissinger peace negotiations.”
Charging that “these erroneous reports were apparently White House inspired,” Cranston also criticized the “threatening tone” implied in leaks, about a reassessment of U.S. policy in the Middle East, President Ford’s reported irritation with Israel, and hints that Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger privately puts most of the blame on Israel for the breakdown of talks. Cranston warned that the “orchestrated campaign of White House innuendo against Israel could heighten the danger of war by deluding some Arab leaders into believing that U.S. support for Israel is weakening.”
GUARD AGAINST RETALIATION
“U.S. backing of Israel has been the single outside deterrent to fanatical Arab ambitions to drive Israel into the sea,” Cranston said. “These misleading rumors could have immediate tragic consequences by encouraging the Palestinian guerrillas into new acts of terrorism.”
Cranston said Congress “will be scrutinizing Administration aid requests for Israel and other Middle East countries to make sure that Israel is not getting short-changed. We in Congress will be making double sure that the Administration does not retaliate for its disappointment by giving Israel less than it needs in military and economic aid.” However, he added. “In the interest of peace, and our own pressing domestic requirements, we must also make sure that Israel does not get more than she needs.”
WHITE HOUSE EFFORTS SCORED
The Senator also attacked “White House efforts to link the situation in the Middle East with that in Southeast Asia.” The White House cannot intimidate Congress into pouring more millions into Cambodia and South Vietnam by drawing false parallels with Israel.
Cranston stated “Most members of Congress know, even if the White House doesn’t, that our real friends are democracies, like Israel, not corrupt dictatorships, like the Lon Nol and Nguyen Van Thieu governments. And most members of Congress understand, even if the White House apparently doesn’t, that while the U.S. has vital interests in helping Israel remain strong and independent, our national security is not at stake in Indochina,” he said.