WASHINGTON (Aug. 28)
The special investigations subcommittee of the House International Relations Committee has scheduled a hearing for Sept. 10 on the U.S. aspects of the second Israeli-Egyptian agreement in the Sinai, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency was informed today. In addition, the panel, headed by Rep, Lee Hamilton (D, Ind.), who has led numerous inquiries on Israeli-Arab problems, will hold three days of hearings on what an aide described as “the question of the Palestinians.”
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee has not yet scheduled a hearing but its chairman, Sen. John Sparkman (D. Ala.) is believed likely to conduct an inquiry prior to the House hearing. Both branches of Congress return to Washington Sept. 3 after their August recess.
The Hamilton subcommittee, comprised of five Democrats and two Republicans, has not identified witnesses on the surveillance part of the Egypt-Israel accord except to note that the State Department will be asked to testify on the issues. On the Palestine question, however, the panel has scheduled Sayez Sayegh of the Kuwait Mission at the United Nations, to appear Sept. 16; Mordechai Abir of the University of Jerusalem, and Dr. Itamar Rabinowitz of Tel Aviv University, to testify Sept. 23; and George Assousa and Joseph D. Ben-Dak, co-directors of a Washington Arab-Israeli group known as “Fair,” to appear Sept. 24.
MIXED REACTION TO ACCORD
Meanwhile, key sources at the Capitol indicated to JTA that the feeling among members of Congress reached on the interim agreement is, as one put it, “very mixed.” Regarding the assignment of U.S. civilian personnel in the Sinai to monitor surveillance equipment and the Ford Administration’s commitment to keep Israel supplied with oil even under Arab embargo circumstances.
Sen. George S. McGovern (D,SD), JTA was told by an aide here, has no fundamental quarrel with the commitment but he will want to look at it in detail. McGovern, sternest foe of American involvement in Vietnam, is head of the Senate sub-committee on the Near East, Sen. Hubert Humphrey (D. Minn), also a Senate Foreign Relations Committee member, said he has an open mind. While noting the risks of achieving a lasting peace must be weighed, he said he was not opposed in principle to a small number of American civilians to help keep the peace.
Sparkman is understood to be in favor of the commitment as is Sen. Richard B. Stone (D. Fla.). Sen. John C. Stennis (D. Miss.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, was reported as approving the commitment if “limited to purely civilians not connected in any way with the military.” Sen. Henry M. Jackson (D. Wash.), however, was reported opposed to the placement in the Sinai of Americans if it looks like that would open the way for a Soviet presence somewhere else on Israel’s borders.
Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield (D. Mont.) is opposed to the idea as a matter of general opposition to an American presence in any way, and Sen. James Abourezk (D.S.D.) was reported as “very strongly opposed” to it. However, Senators Stuart Symington (D, Mo.) and Dick Clark (D. lowa), both Foreign Relations Committee members, are said to be favorably inclined.