WASHINGTON (Jan. 21)
President Ford has earmarked $1 billion for military sales credits to Israel for the U.S. fiscal year 1977 starting Oct. 1, according to his budget made public yesterday. He stipulated that he wishes Congress to provide him with authority to grant Israel up to half of that amount as a gift at his discretion.
The new budget request to Congress represents a reduction of $500 million in the military credit sales of $1.5 billion recommended to Congress by the President for Israel for the current fiscal year which ends Sept. 30. In this recommendation he also asked for authority to forgive Israel up to half of his requested amount, or $750 million.
In the new Economic Security Assistance Program, the President asked to authorize $1.802 billion for all countries, a reduction of $70 million from the 1976 program. No breakdown of the 1977 figure is provided. This will be done when the State Department makes its presentation to Congress late this year.
WORKING ON AID REQUESTS
Under the current recommendation for fiscal 1976, the Administration has asked $740 million for Israel; $750 million for Egypt; $90million for Syria; and $78 million for Jordan. In addition, the Administration has asked $100 million in military grants and $75 million in military credits for Jordan.
Four Senate-and House committees are working on the President’s foreign aid requests for the current fiscal year. Authorization measures setting the policy and callings on assistance, are expected before the end of this month. Appropriation measures that set the actual funds for the program are to come afterwards.
The Administration’s new budget proposals reflect a continued transition from the emphasis on grant military assistance to military sales credits although the totals for both grants and credits are lower than for the current fiscal year The overall aid budget for all forms of assistance is $5.8 billion for fiscal 1977 compared with $6.563 billion for the current year. The comparative totals for military aid and supporting assistance dropped from $2.735 billion this year to $1.90 billion in fiscal 1977.