Senate Adopts $5.4 Billion Foreign Assistance Appropriation Measure

The Senate by a vote of 52-25, adopted Friday its foreign assistance appropriation bill of $5.4 billion that includes the same amounts of aid previously voted by the House for Israel and three neighboring states. However, the Senate appropriations to other countries is $500 million higher than the House total and includes expenditures for a hospital ship and other special aid to Lebanon’s war victims. This necessitates a Senate-House conference to reconcile the differences and another vote in both chambers before the legislation can go to President Ford for his consideration.

Under the Senate and House measures, Israel is to receive $1 billion in military credits and $735 million in economic supporting assistance. Egypt is to get $700 million in economic aid; Jordan, $75 million; and Syria, $80 million. In addition, Jordan is earmarked for ultimate Administration decision on $55 million in military credits, $70 million in military assistance for purchases and $800,000 for military training.

SPECIAL AID FOR LEBANON’S WAR VICTIMS

The Senate adopted without dissent an amendment by Sen. James Abourezk (D.SD) providing for $35 million in special aid for the Lebanese. Of this amount, $10 million would be given to the State Department to reimburse the Defense Department for a U.S. military hospital ship to be stationed in Lebanese waters to help war victims. The USS Sanctuary was mentioned by Abourezk for this purpose.

It had been suggested earlier that possibly a Project Hope vessel would be available, but an official of that organization told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency Friday that its ship was taken out of service two years ago. Project Hope is now a land-based operation in 11 countries.

The Abourezk measure also provides $20 million as the U.S. contribution to the United Nations which has appealed for contributions from all countries for Lebanon. An additional $5 million would be given to the International Committee of the Red Cross for services in Lebanon.

Responding to a question from Sen. Daniel Inouye (D.Hawaii) in the Senate discussion, Abourezk said the appropriation is for “purely humanitarian relief” and that none of the funds would go to the Falangists, the Palestine Liberation Organization, the Syrian troops of the Lebanese government. The Abourezk amendment is co-sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield (D.Mont.) and Sen. Edward Kennedy (D.Mass.).

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