WASHINGTON (Mar. 29)
The Egyptian government is asking the United States for 250 F-5 E planes for delivery over the next five years, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency was informed today by Capitol Hill sources. In addition Egypt seeks 12 Hercules transport aircraft, ground-to-air missiles and electronic equipment on the basis that she needs “defensive” strength from the U.S. to offset the break in the arms pipeline from the Soviet Union.
According to these sources, Saudi Arabia would pay the U.S. for the warplanes that are estimated as valued at about $10 million each, which would make the total cost approximately $2.5 billion. Egyptian President Anwar Sadat has said at least three times to American correspondents in the past few days that he will seek “defensive” equipment from the U.S. when he visits President Carter here April 4-5.
The Capitol sources pointed out that the five planes sold to Saudi Arabia have been redesigned to fire Maverick missiles which makes the plane an offensive aircraft. The question that is being posed is whether the U.S. will do the same for Egypt. It is felt that Egypt will get military equipment from the U.S. following Sadat’s visit.
SEEKING ECONOMIC SUPPORT
Sadat has also said he will seek economic support of $5-10 billion in U.S. credits. That the U.S. will also help Egypt economically is indicated by the supplemental appropriation approved by the House of Representatives for the State Department to build during this fiscal year three apartment buildings in Cairo, each with 36 units, for personnel of the Department and the Agency for International Development (AID). Housing is short in Cairo and apartments are needed for the U.S. personnel who will be engaged in the growing American economic programs in Egypt.
The cost for the land design and construction of the buildings is estimated at $24 million. This money will come from the $280 million in Egyptian currency which the U.S. has accumulated in Cairo under the Food for Peace program. Agreements under this program call for the U.S. to supply agricultural commodities to Egypt at confessional rates and Egypt in turn pays for them in Egyptian funds for use on projects in Egypt.
Meanwhile the White House disclosed that it has cleared more than $2 billion in U.S. military sales. Most of this, the State Department later reported, is primarily for military construction projects. Saudi Arabia is engaged in a vast program of military construction including air fields deep water ports, and military housing.
In addition, the State Department said, the White House is considering $1.6 billion in other military sales which will be announced shortly. Specific details on both categories were not made public.