Senate and House Committees Postpone Action on U.S. Presence in Sinai

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee, after intensive questioning again of Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger behind closed doors, postponed today its decision until Monday on how it will proceed with its action towards the Sinai accord. The House international Relations Committee began drafting a resolution on its position but chairman Thomas Morgan (D.Pa.) said he did not expect its completion this weekend.

Thus, Congressional consideration in either chamber on the presence of 200 American technicians at warning stations between the Israeli and Egyptian lines in Sinai will go beyond the Oct, 3 deadline fixed by President Ford and beyond the expectations of both the Israeli and Egyptian governments that they could begin to implement the accord Oct, 5.

In postponing action on procedure until after it has completed questioning of Kissinger, the Senate committee postponed a public hearing set for today for a score of witnesses, including Sen. James Abourezk (D.S.D.) and a half dozen prominent Americans who are not in official life but hold considerable international stature, who were on hand to testify. These include former Undersecretary of State George Ball, former Foreign Relations Committee chairman J.W. Fulbright, and Charles Yost, former U.S., Ambassador to the United Nations.

Other scheduled witnesses include leaders of Arab-American associations, Jewish groups apart from the established Jewish organizations, and other groups such as the rightwing Liberty Lobby. All the witnesses are opposed or lukewarm toward the agreement negotiated by Kissinger a month ago.

After the first closed session with Kissinger today which lasted two hours, in which he and the Seniors pored over documents relating to U.S. commitments to both Egypt and Israel, Sen, John Sparkman (D.Ala,), the committee chairman, said Kissinger would return late today for more questioning.

Both Sparkman and Sen. Jacob K, Javits (R, NY) made it clear they expected Ford or Kissinger to certify to the committee in writing by Monday morning that the presentations made by Kissinger to the Congressional committees constituted all the U.S., undertakings and assurances.

WENT THE EXTRA MILE

Sen, Robert Humphrey (D. Minn,) said that the morning session with Kissinger today was the best the committee has had with him yet, Kissinger, said Humphrey, has “gone the extra mile” in meeting the Senators’ requirements for complete explanations. Kissinger, said after his meeting this morning, that he was confident that, in view of the importance of the agreement to the Middle East situation, “a solution satisfactory to the Congress and the Administration will be found, We want to make it a joint effort.” But the committee obviously was not satisfied.

Sen, Dick Clark (D.Iowa) is insisting on full disclosure of all the documentation, oral and written, and is seeking a decision in the committee on whether the agreements made by the Administration with Egypt and Israel constitute treaties. If they are treaties, he told newsmen, then the Senate must ratify them by a two-thirds vote. If they are executive agreements, then the Congress would receive them under the act hearing the name of Clifford Case (R.NJ) but Senate approval would not be required.

That would mean, Clark said, that the Senate and House would pass on the American presence in the Sinai but not on other commitments. Sen. Joseph Biden (D. Del,), while not going as far as Clark on disclosure, spoke of a filibuster if the documentation was not made available to the public.

The Administration is believed to desire to hold back on publicizing some of the undertakings on the grounds that disclosure of all elements might embarrass Egypt or Israel or both and thereby jeopardize the accord.

NEXT STORY