WASHINGTON (Jul. 9)
Among ideas presented to President Carter, wrestling at Camp David with the twin problems of rising inflation and decreasing energy supplies, is one that calls for the U.S. to jettison commitments to Israel and appease oil producers as the means to solve both problems.
In addition, it is being suggested to the President to strike an economic-political deal with “moderate” Arab states. Another idea is to use military force to seize the oilfields of major producers, including Saudi Arabia if the necessity for increased oil arises.
The Jewish Telegraphic Agency was informed toddy that such suggestions are being rejected by “most Administration officials” as “risky or unworkable” as Carter meets with economic and political leaders at a “domestic summit” in his retreat in the Maryland mountains.
Those suggesting such ideas are not being identified, at least for the time being but the fact that they are being discussed both inside and outside White House circles indicates the gravity of the U.S. situation.
According to reliable sources, Administration officials are saying it would be “politically unthinkable” for the President to break commitments to Israel in return for a “guarantee” from Arab states even for a steady oil supply at stabilized oil prices.
Besides opponents note, such a guarantee would not be fool proof and the value of Israel to the U.S. as its only reliable ally in the Middle East would be lost. Use of military force, it is said, might bring destruction of the oilfields. Withholding of U.S. food and technology, it is contended, would not be effective as the Arab oil producers could obtain them from other countries.
SEE ACCOMMODATION WITH OIL PRODUCERS
Meanwhile, European governments appear to be moving toward on accommodation with Arab oil producers to help preserve their own oil supplies. This is reflected, it is noted, in the attack by the European Economic Community on Israel’s settlements on the West Bank and views expressed in sections of the European media that “moderates” among Arab leaders are handicapped by U.S. political initiatives for peace in the Middle East through Egypt and Israel.
According to some views here a curious paradox has also developed among Arab states. While “moderates” like Saudi Arabia have cut their output, “hardliners” like Iraq have held steady. Saudi Arabia has now promised to increase production by a million barrels a day, from 8.5 million to 9.5 million but reportedly at a political price that entails increased U.S. pressure on Israel. However, another report has Iraq, Libya and Kuwait reducing their output to influence U.S. commitments to Israel. Last week, the Carter Administration denied a reported U.S. Saudi Arabian arrangement tying increase oil production in return for American pressures in favor of the Palestinian Arabs. The denial was reiterated today by White House spokesman Rex Granum.
meanwhile, the U.S. moved toward support of Egypt by preparing to provide planes and missiles to help modernize its armed forces. The Pentagon has informed Congress the sale of $594 million in weapons, includes 35 F-4E Phantom fighter-bombers, 500 Maverick air-to-surface missiles and 420 Sidewinder and Sparrow air-to-air missiles. The equipment will not be supplied by the manufacturers but will come out of U.S. Air Force arsenals.