WASHINGTON (Jul. 22)
The State Department in an effort to get Congressional approval of its proposed sale of a $350 million air defense system to Jordan has proposed to out the number of “Hawk” missile batteries in the system from 14 to six. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee today decided to postpone a vote on the sale until Thursday so it can receive the Administration’s new plan.
The new plan came after negotiations between the State Department and Sen. Clifford P. Case (R.NJ). The legislator has led Senate opposition to the sale because of fear it would upset the military balance in the Middle East. Case told newsmen after the committee’s closed-door meeting that his main concern was to retain an effective Congressional voice on the arms sale. He said that Foreign Relations Committee members had also proposed cutting down the eight batteries of “Vulcan” anti-aircraft guns that the Administration plans to sell Jordan.
Case said the proposal to sell Jordan 300 shoulder-fired “Redeye” missiles had not been discussed today but he felt they should be reduced proportionally. He said there was general agreement that the proposed sale was too big, although he said the committee wanted to approve some arms for Jordan.
At the State Department, spokesman Robert Anderson said that “the purpose of these consultations we are now having with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is to find a way in which we can carry out our commitment to Jordan and also meeting Congressional concerns.” He said as far as he knows there were consultations with Congress before the sale to Jordan was decided upon. “I can’t tell you exactly when and exactly the nature of it but this was done right after King Hussein’s visit to the United States,” Anderson said.