WASHINGTON (Feb. 24)
Administration sources gave vague and sometimes conflicting indications Friday of the U.S. position toward supplying Egypt with the latest U.S. warplanes, the F-15 and the F-16. In line with the unfolding “Carter Doctrine” for the Middle East which seemingly calls for buildup of military strength in Egypt and Pakistan, the Administration is reported prepared to include both types of war-planes for Egypt but on a schedule of deliveries designed not to upset Israel unduly, but keeping President Anwar Sadat’s government satisfied that Egypt will be a prime factor of U.S. strategy in the Eastern Mediterranean.
The State Department spokesman refused to discuss the sale of F-15s to Egypt, pointing out that the U.S. military mission that is now in Israel and was in Cairo earlier this week, has been discussing military matters with the governments. Shortly after the American mission, headed by David McGiffert, Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Affairs, left Egypt for Israel, the authoritative Egyptian newspaper, Al Ahram quoted Egyptian Defense Minister Kamal Hassan Ali as saying that Egypt could choose whatever weapons it wanted from the U.S.
SEES EGYPT ON “EQUAL FOOTING” WITH ISRAEL
According to Al Ahram, new U.S. military credits to Egypt would “open the doors” for Egypt to obtain the supersonic combat aircraft and America’s best tank the M-68-3. Ali was further quoted in Al Ahram as saying that the new weaponry “will place Egypt for the first time on an equal footing with Israel, as far as arms are concerned.”
The Cairo paper said that President Carter had written Sadat that he was ready to provide Egypt with F-15s and would send it 38 F-16s this year.