Defense Department Told to Provide Equal Opportunity Protection to Americans in U.s.-saudi Project

Senators Frank Church (D.Ida.) and Clifford Case (R.NJ) have made public their demand to the Defense Department of equal opportunity protection to Americans in the $1.45 billion contract between the United States and Saudi Arabia. The giant project, under the Foreign Military Sales Act, includes planning, design and construction work for two brigades of Saudi Arabian forces in Saudi Arabia.

In a letter to Defense Secretary James R. Schlesinger, the Senators said that they “must obtain assurances” that the contracts in Saudi Arabia “conform in every way to the department’s equal opportunity policy.” Church is chairman and Case is ranking minority member of the Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee on multi-national corporations.

The subcommittee held hearings last February on the Arab boycott and discriminatory practices by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in administering construction in Saudi Arabia. Discrimination against Jewish Americans prevented them from working on the projects, it was acknowledged at the hearings by the army engineers. The Senate has 20 days to act on the contract which was submitted to it two weeks ago for action.

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