WASHINGTON (Sep. 11)
Sen. Clifford P. Case (R.NJ), a leading opponent of the transfer by the United States of 14 “Hawk” surface-to-air missile systems to Jordan, declared today that he is “deeply concerned” that the State Department is insisting that the views of the government of Jordan are final in the matter.
This is a “shocking attitude.” Case said in a press statement. “It abdicates the responsibility of our Executive branch and it denies Congress its essential role in the making of a highly significant foreign policy decision.”
Case’s statement followed Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger’s expression Tuesday that the issue of the missiles is between King Hussein of Jordan and Congress and that the King was insisting on 14 systems.
This was interpreted to mean that the State Department is backing Jordan and refusing to take issue with the Hashemite kingdom on the basis of the views in Congress. It was also reported today to JTA that the Congress is seeking to make the missile systems immobile and thereby convert them into strictly defensive weapons in a stated locale. The State Department is understood to be resisting this position.
Case, the senior Republican member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said that Congress will cooperate with the Administration if the matter is resolved in a way that meets Jordan’s “legitimate defense needs” without running “the great risks involved in the program as currently stated.” If the Administration does not “respond promptly in the same spirit.” Case warned, “we shall have no alternative but to bring the matter to an up or down vote in the Congress.”