WASHINGTON (Oct. 14)
The continuation of U.S. policy to maintain a balance of military power between. Israel and its Arab neighbors was questioned here today after Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger reiterated assurances to Egypt that it will get American weapons at a yet unspecified time. Informed sources here observed that while Kissinger said discussions of arms for Egypt will be treated “in general terms” when President Anwar Sadat meets President Ford in Washington later this month, he made it clear that the Cairo government will get weapons.
Sadat is due to arrive here Oct. 26 and stay at Blair House, the President’s quarters for highest-ranking guests. The Egyptian leader is likely to address a joint session of Congress on Oct. 28.
Kissinger’s remarks, on the NBC television “Meet The Press” program Sunday, were coupled by these sources with four other factors; assertions in Administration circles, particularly the Pentagon, against the provision to Israel of Pershing long-range missiles to offset Soviet missiles in Egypt’s possession; the pending sale of 14 Hawk missile systems to Jordan; the continued arming of Syria and Iraq by the Soviet Union; and the massive sale of U.S. weapons to Saudi Arabia.
Kissinger said on the television program that the U.S. was prepared to discuss weapons with Sadat “but at this time not in terms of specific shopping lists,” This was interpreted to mean that the details of the transfer would be ironed out after the dust settles on the Sinai accord and Congress completes action on foreign aid funds to be proposed soon to Congress by the Ford Administration for Egypt, Israel, Syria and Jordan.
CONTINUING CONSULTATIONS WITH ISRAEL
Regarding future U.S.-Israel relations, Kissinger said it “depends on a continuing need for close consultations and close cooperation between the U.S. and Israel.” He said “that fact is going to weigh heavily in Israel’s considerations whatever decisions are made on this or that item. So I believe the nature of our relationship with Israel gives us sufficient opportunity to have our views heard sympathetically.”
Those remarks by Kissinger were interpreted by informed sources to mean that the U.S. tactic of “policy reassessment” that brought Israel to agree to a second Sinai withdrawal will be put to use in some form whenever the Administration regards it as necessary to move Israel in the diplomatic direction desired by Washington.
During his television interview, Kissinger denied the contention of critics of the recently signed Israeli-Egyptian accord that it would cost American taxpayers additional billions of dollars in aid to Israel. He said Israel’s request for $2.6 billion in aid was less than the $3 billion provided by Congress last year.