WASHINGTON (Jun. 6)
Rejecting assertions that Congress would be to blame if Jordan buys missiles and other weapons from the Soviet Union, Sen. Clifford Case (R. NJ) declared last week that the proposed U.S. sale of arms to Jordan has hit snags “because of efforts to expand enormously upon the original program.”
Case was among those in Congress last year who scrutinized the proposal to sell U.S. made Hawk surface-to-air missiles and reached an agreement with the Administration for an arrangement that, he said, “would neither damage our relations with Jordan nor upset the arms balance in the Middle East.”
King Hussein of Jordan signed the contract for the missiles last December, Case pointed out, but in February the State Department said obstacles to the sale had arisen because of the “increase in price,” while the Defense Department contradicted that position because. Case said, it “made it clear” that the prices had not increased.
With Congress being blamed by some with having caused a delay by its investigations and in the meanwhile prices had increased. Case told the Senate that what happened was that the State Department and the Government of Jordan had expanded the original program and had contemplated additional expenditures far above the original program limits. The additional expenditure would raise the total program to nearly three times the original costs–from about $350 million to $800 million–and these costs were being resisted by the Saudi Arabians who had agreed to finance the original package.