WASHINGTON (Feb. 5)
The Carter Administration officially asked Congress today to allocate to Israel $785. million in economic support assistance and S1 billion in military aid during the fiscal year that begins next Oct. I. These amounts equal the appropriations for Israel in both categories in each of the last two years. Their buying power for the new fiscal year will have eroded by some 20 percent from two years ago as a result of inflation. As in the past two allocations, half of the S1 billion in military funding is to be repaid as a loan and half will be forgiven.
Secretary of State Cyrus Vance and Defense Secretary Harold Brown presented the Administration’s foreign aid program for the coming year to the House foreign Affairs Committee in that body’s first appearance in the new Congress. The House reverted to the designation “Foreign Affairs” after four years during which the panel was known as the International Relations Committee.
Asking Congress to approve $89.6 billion in foreign assistance spread over seven components of the aid pregnant, Vance specifically requested $750 million in economic support assistance for Egypt, also the same as in each of the last two years. “Our security supporting assistance program in both Egypt and Israel are vital to the peace process because they support the economic stability of both nations, “Vance told the committee.
He pointed out that “nearly half of the Egyptian people live in overcrowded cities” and the Cairo government “cannot provide them with the necessities of life without assistance from the U.S and other nations. “Vance observed further that the aid “is important to the political stability which is critical to President (Anwar) Sadat’s ability to lead Egypt toward peace.
ISRAEL’S SECURITY IS A KEY FACTOR
He said that “as with Egypt, Israel’s ability to provide for the security and well-being of its people is a key factor in its decisions toward peace. Our aid has helped Israel to take the austere measures of devaluation and import reduction needed for efforts to increase its defense capacity following the 1973 war. Although Israel’s economy is now doing much better, its prospects for steady growth and stability depends strongly on help from the U.S. “Vance said.
Vance did not give specific figures for aid to Jordan and did not mention Syria or Lebanon. The Jewish Telegraphic Agency was informed that authorizations for them will be approximately the same as last year.
OPPOSES RETALIATION AGAINST UN AGENCIES
Opposing financial retaliation against. United Nations agencies such as the International Labor Organization (ILO) and the Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), which the Congress has accused of politicizing issue in seeking to punish Israel and the U.S., Vance departed from the aid program itself. He asked that “prohibitory language be removed promptly” from the State Department’s appropriations bill. Vance referred to the use of U.S. assessed contributions to UN agencies.
Under the demands of Congress, the U.S. has withdrawn from the ILO and reduced its payments to UNESCO. With Congress not in session last fall, the Carter Administration refused to participate in a UN program commendatory of the Palestine Liberation Organization; but refused to curtail its payments toward that program.
Vance contended today that the prohibition “places the U.S. in violation of its legally binding obligations to the UN agencies” and “weakened” U.S. “influence” in them “just at a time when this country has begun to reassert its traditional leadership role.”