WASHINGTON (May. 14)
A State Department spokesman said today that he had “no second thoughts” about the U.S. deal to sell Jordan a $100 million “Hawk” anti-aircraft missile system and other weapons despite reports that Jordan is receiving air defense cover from Syria, Questioned by reporters on that matter, Department spokesman Robert Funseth said “I have seen press reports of this arrangement with Syria” but “we certainly have not received any official information.”
Secretary of State Henry A, Kissinger said at a press conference in Kansas City yesterday that the sale of “Hawks” to Jordan was justified to make sure that Jordan stays in the moderate camp, Reminded of the Secretary’s assertion and of the fact that Jordan may now get Soviet weapons by way of Syria, Funseth replied, “We have to make judgements on what actually happens, As of right now, our assessment is that Jordan is essentially moderate and has been restrained in the Middle East. Our position remains accurate as stated by the Secretary” yesterday in Kansas City.
When reporters noted that King Hussein said recently that Jordan was prepared to participate in a new Arab war with Israel, Funseth said he was “not aware” that Hussein made such a statement, adding that the “Hawk” missile “is after all, an air defense system,” Reporters asked Funacth whether, at his recent meetings here with President Ford, Kissinger and Defense Secretary James R. Schlesinger. Hussein had made any reference to his arrangement with Syria. The State Department spokesman replied, “Not that I am aware of.”
(See separate story on build-up of Jordanian forces near Israeli border,)