JACKSONVILLE, Fla., (Nov. 2)
Secretary of State Henry A, Kissinger said today that the United States would provide Egypt with two nuclear reactors “under the most stringent safe-guards in existence for any country.” He said the agreement, which is now being worked out, would bar the use of the reactors for even a peaceful nuclear explosion.
Kissinger’s comments came as President Ford and Egyptian President Anwar Sadat began day-long talks in this Florida city. The talks started with a luncheon at the estate of Raymond Mason, president of the Charter Company, a conglomerate of banking, oil, land and publishing interests. The nuclear agreement with Egypt had been discussed in detail with Israel, Kissinger stressed. He said a similar offer with the same stringent controls would be made to Israel when Premier Yitzhak Rabin comes to the United States, probably in January.
Kissinger said the nuclear reactors will be paid for out of new economic aid funds for Egypt, Ford’s foreign aid request submitted to Congress last week asked for $750 million in economic aid for Egypt. Egyptian officials have said the nuclear reactors would be used for water desalinization to cultivate the desert.
Sadat complained last week that Ford’s aid request provides $1.5 billion in military credits for Israel but no arms for Egypt. Ford reportedly told Sadat that the U.S. was not ready to make such a radical change as providing Egypt with arms. But the American President promised to study Sadat’s request over the coming months.
Details of the nuclear deal are expected to be announced after Sadat addresses a joint meeting of Congress and holds a final meeting with Ford on Wednesday. The plan is an outgrowth of former President Nixon’s proposal to sell nuclear reactors to Egypt and Israel, made when Nixon visited the Middle East in June 1974. The plan fell through when Israel objected to the inspection of all of its nuclear reactors, including the one built in Dimona. Since then U.S. insistence on the inspection of any reactors but the new ones being supplied has been dropped.