Washington (Jan. 20)
The Carter Administration yesterday, in one of its last acts, notified Congress that the U.S. proposes to sell Saudi Arabia almost $2 billion in supplies and services for the Saudi air force and navy. Congress has 30 days to reject the proposed sales or they automatically go through. If either the Senate or the House rejects it the sale is stopped.
A Pentagon spokesman told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that the proposals were contained in three letters to Congress, divided into allocations for the navy and air force. One letter proposes $900 million in “technical and personnel support” for the Saudi air force concerning U.S. F-5 aircraft and also a “mission of support services at F-5 and F-15 air bases.”
Another letter provides for $846 million for design and construction services for the Saudi navy at Jubail, Jidda, Damman and Riyadh. Another letter for $200 million concerns spare parts and supplies for naval supply depots in Jubail and Jidda.
The new sales increase to more than $35 billion the total of U.S. military and military-related sales to Saudi Arabia since 1955, nearly all of it in the last seven years. In fiscal year 1980 which ended last Sept. 30, U.S. sales to Saudi Arabia totaled $4.5 billion.
Pentagon sources indicated they expected no difficulty in the sales going through. They noted the new equipment and services are not “offensive” weapons as were the 60 F-15 warplanes sold to the Saudis two years ago or the enhancement of these warplanes with refueling apparatus and bomb racks now being sought by the Saudis.