WASHINGTON (Mar. 29)
Refusal by Congress to approve the sale of six C-130 troop transport aircraft to Egypt “would be a slap in the face” for Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger told the House International Relations Committee today.
“A refusal by Congress to countenance” the transfer of the planes “would have very serious consequences because of the symbolism that it involves” following “so closely on his decision” to abrogate the Egyptian-Soviet friendship treaty, Kissinger said. The Secretary was testifying before the committee on the authorization by Congress of the Administration’s foreign aid program for the fiscal year 1977 that starts Oct. 1. He made a similar appeal on behalf of the C-130s in testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Friday.
Asked by Rep. Lee Hamilton (D.Ind.) whether any further sales to Egypt are planned for this year, Kissinger replied: “We do not have before us any additional requests from Egypt beyond those we have already put before Congress and we don’t anticipate any.”
IN U.S. INTEREST TO END EMBARGO
Under the questioning of Rep. Thomas Morgan (D.Pa.) the committee’s chairman, Kissinger testified it was in the national interest to end the 20-year-old American arms embargo to Egypt because it would “demonstrate” that an Arab country “on a road of moderation is better for its people.” He said the U.S. has proposed “substantial aid programs for Egypt and we have been helpful in international forums for other of its economic needs.”
At no point did Sadat make his move toward the Soviet Union conditional on any promises from the United States,” Kissinger said. He added that Sadat “is doing it for his own Egyptian purposes.” Kissinger said that the U.S. had made “no commitments” to “induce Sadat to take that course.” He pointed out that if the course fails there would be “an increased influence of radicals and outside powers” and therefore “we have an obligation in our own interests to help Sadat.”
Asked about the situation in Lebanon and Kissinger’s advocacy of “maintaining a close relationship with Syria,” the Secretary said that Syria’s “activities” with respect to Lebanon on the whole have been helpful and in the direction of a moderate solution that will permit both communities–Christian and Moslem–to exist side by side. “I don’t want this to be construed that we would consider a military move in the same category, but the political efforts by Syria up to now have been on the whole constructive,” he said.
VIEWS CONTINUED COMMITMENT TO ISRAEL
In his testimony Friday before the Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee on foreign assistance, Kissinger vowed continuation of America’s “historical and moral commitment” to Israel and that U.S. support for “Arab nations does not undermine in any sense our traditional friendship with Israel.” He added: “To the contrary, the policy of encouraging constructive and moderate forces in the Arab world is the best way we can help the parties to attain a durable peace that will assure the survival and security of Israel.”
Kissinger made these assertions in his prepared remarks in sketching the Ford Administration’s program of military credits and security supporting assistance program for fiscal 1977 that begins Oct. 1. He did not give specific statistics but indicated Israel would get about $1 billion in military credit. The legislation is still in process for the current year which allocates $500 million more for Israel.