WASHINGTON (Oct. 12)
Reports on the kinds of new military equipment Israel is to receive under a decision President Ford disclosed yesterday he has made, were characterized today by a U.S. official as “speculative” and by ah Israeli source as “incorrect.”
Their comments came in reference to “well placed Congressional sources, familiar with Israel’s requests” which were given as the authority for one widely published report that items approved for Israel include Isser-guided bombs and armed helicopter gunships equipped with anti-tank missiles not previously approved for sale; night-fighting equipment Israel does not now have; an ultra modern communications and radar equipment.
In addition, the “Congressional sources” were reported to have said delivery is to be speeded to Israel of M-60 heavy tanks, self-propelled artillery, armed personnel carriers, and new models of guided anti-tank missiles and bombs.
REPORT DESCRIBED AS NONSENSE
Most of the “Congressional report” is “utter nonsense,” the Israeli said. “Some of the-items were delivered a year ago.” Only a handful of people know what is on the list, he said, noting Congress is not in session.
The list will not be made officially known for at least three months since it first must be presented to Congress which must approve military sales of more than $25 million and any amount of special equipment. The present Congress will not meet again and the 95th Congress convenes in January.
No information apparently has been provided to Congress on the latest Presidential decision, according to both the Israelis and Americans. “Each request from Israel, as from any other country, and each item requested has a life of its own,” the American official pointed out. “This means the quantity and delivery time are individually reached and Congress has to confirm certain agreements.”
Pershing surface-to-surface missiles, which can be equipped with nuclear warheads were emphatically ruled out on any American list, the White House said yesterday in disclosing the decision. No mention was made, however, of the F-16 fighter aircraft which Israel was reported seeking months ago.