WASHINGTON (Mar. 11)
State Department spokesman Robert Funseth said that the Administration is discussing with Congress and the Israeli government the “whole general question…of what it should do in the situation” where President Anwar Sadat of Egypt has decided “not to be dependent on the Soviet Union for military equipment.”
Funseth made the statement in connection with the Ford Administration’s intended sale of six Hercules C-130 transport planes to Egypt. He said that President Ford has not yet sent Congress the required letter of determination formally advising it of the proposed sale and that he didn’t believe the President “decided yet to send’ it. (See related story P.3.)
Funseth said the C-130s were the only “specific” military equipment currently being contemplated for sale to Egypt. He said, however, that the Administration talked to Congress and the Israelis about the “general categories of kinds of military equipment that might be considered” for shipment to Egypt in a “future military relationship.” The State Department spokesman could not confirm recent press reports that categories of equipment under consideration for Egypt included radar, patrol boats, transport helicopters and communications equipment.
FORD’S MIDEAST VISIT FADES
Meanwhile, the likelihood that Ford would visit the Middle East in April faded. Asked if the President planned a trip to that region before the end of 1976, White House Press Secretary Ron Nessen said no such trip was being planned at this moment. He said a trip to the Middle East by the President would “depend on diplomatic need” and such a determination will not be made before “at least a month.” It was reported at the time of Israeli premier Yitzhak Rabin’s visit to Washington in January that Ford was considering a trip to the Middle East, most probably in April.