WASHINGTON (Sep. 12)
The State Department said today that Israel has “formally” asked the United States for $3.45 billion in military and economic aid for fiscal 1981, $1.85 billion in military aid and $1.6 billion in economic aid. The Department said it was not yet prepared to announce a figure from Egypt for the same purposes.
Department spokesman Hodding Carter said the U.S. “will look at the requests in the context of our close relationship with both countries, “but he declined to forecast the totals the Carter Administration will ultimately present to Congress for action. The fiscal year 1981 begins Oct. 1, 1980. Congress has not yet completed action on the aid appropriations for the fiscal year 1980 that begins on Oct. 1.
In reporting that Israeli Ambassador Ephraim Evron “submitted formally” Israel’s aid request last evening and discussed it with Secretary of State Cyrus Vance, Carter said that “we will seriously, carefully, consider” the request. Carter observed that for the current fiscal year, Israel is receiving $1.785 billion, of which $1 billion is in military sales credits half of which is “forgiveable,” and $785 million in security supporting assistance of which he said 57 percent is “forgiveable.”
Israel, Carter continued, received a grant of $800 million to help build air bases in the Negev to help replace those bases Israel is giving up in Sinai under its treaty with Egypt, and $2.2 billion in loans to help meet the cost of military relocation in the Negev.
“As always,” Carter said, “it (the new aid request) will be viewed in the context of our close relationship to Israel.” Asked whether there would be any difficulties in the Congress on the aid for Egypt and Israel, he replied “the Congress has always taken a sympathetic look” at Middle East aid for a number of countries. Jordan, Syria and Lebanon also receive U.S. aid.
WILL STICK CLOSE TO PRESENT AID LEVEL
An authoritative Congressional source told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that Carter Administration policy seems to be “to stick awfully close to the present level of dollar aid” to both Egypt and Israel. This source, like others, noticed that this means actually a cut in the buying power of the appropriate dollar of 10 to 15 percent as a result of inflation. In addition, the cost of weaponry has risen beyond those figures. The Senate Appropriations Committee is to consider the aid funding, probably next week.
The House last week approved the aid appropriations for fiscal 1980 in which Egypt is to receive $750 million in economic supporting assistance. Egypt also receives more than $300 million in other forms of economic aid, including Food for Peace. In addition, Egypt gets $1.8 billion in special military and economic aid under the Israeli-Egyptian treaty.
Carter noted that 16 of the 35 F-4 Phantom warplanes the U.S. has agreed to supply Egypt will be delivered in “the next few weeks.” It is understood that the cost for these will come out of the $1.5 billion in credits to Egypt spread over a three-year period as a result of the Israeli-Egyptian treaty.