WASHINGTON (Sep. 28)
Saudi Arabia will get the 650 “Maverick” missiles the Ford Administration wants to sell it and the Export Administration Act which contains strong provisions against the Arab boycott is in deep trouble. This developed today with only three days left before Congress adjourns Friday for the national elections.
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee failed to act on Sen. Gaylord Nelson’s (D.Wis.) motion barring the missile sale following yesterday’s surprise recommittal of the motion to the committee by its chairman, Sen. John Sparkman (D. Ala.).
Opponents of the sale lacked the votes when Sen. Gale McGee (D.Wyo.), who had voted against the sale when the committee disapproved it last Friday by an 8-6 margin, switched to favor the Administration’s position. in addition, Sen. Stuart Symington (D.Mo.) indicated he would favor the sale after previously having taken a neutral position and abstained from voting.
The Senate committee’s decision not to act came after a closed door meeting with Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger. Sen. Clifford Case (R.NJ), who spearheaded the attack on the missile sale, said the continuing deliveries of arms to the Arabs, including the Mavericks, means that the U.S. must increase Israel’s strength to keep pace with U.S. arms sales to the Arabs. Kissinger reportedly acknowledged to the committee that further strengthening of Israel was necessary. (See related story P. 3.)
3 DAYS LEFT FOR ACTION
Meanwhile, the Senate-House conference on the Export Administration Act continued to be stalled by the failure of the Senate to name conferees although informal sessions are being held. Unless the conference formally acts within the next three days, the bill will never reach the floor of either House. Should it be reported to both Houses and adopted, President Ford could kill it with a pocket veto as Congress will be in adjournment.
Proponents of the Export Administration Act and other legislation opposed by the Ford Administration, are seeking assurances that Congress will return in October, before the elections, to act on major bills in the probable event of a Presidential veto.