Washington (Mar. 9)
– President Reagan today assured Jewish Republicans who supported his election campaign that he was “totally committed to Israel’s military superiority” and would see to it that the U.S. enhancement of Saudi Arabia’s 62 American-made F-15 warplanes would not disturb the balance of power between Israel and its Arab neighbors.
Reagan gave those assurances at a 20-minute meeting with five leading Jewish Republican supporters at the White House. They also met with Vice President George Bush and top Presidential aides in the course of the White House meeting which lasted about two hours.
Max Fisher, who was honorary co-chairman of the Committee for Reagan-Bush, the top Jewish group supporting the President’s election, told reporters, “We came out feeling relieve.” He said “Reagan stated categorically” that “the balance of power in the Middle East will not be disturbed.” He quoted the President as stating he was “totally committed to Israel’s military superiority and the security of Israel.”
Fisher said that after discussion of the President’s economic and defense programs “we were convinced we should give him total support and we will give him total support.” Fisher made it clear, however, that those meeting with the President did so as “representatives” of the Coalition for Reagan-Bush and that “we were not representatives of any joint Jewish community effort.” He noted that the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations represented the Jewish community.
Gordon Zacks, of Columbus, Ohio, said of the Saudi arms deal, “We preferred that there would not be a sale” of the additional equipment “but since there is a sale, we are comfortable” because “the balance of power will be maintained.” He said that “in subsequent talks” the qualitative security of Israel and its economic position would be discussed.
The others attending the meeting were Theodore Cummings of Los Angeles, who was honorary co-chairman, with Fisher, of the Coalition for Reagan-Bush, and Jack Stein and George Klein of New York. In addition to the President and Vice President, they met with Richard Allen, chairman of the National Security Council; Undersecretary of State James Buckley; Assistant Secretary of State Paul Wolfowitz who heads the State Department’s policy planning staff; Murray Wiedenbaum, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors; and Edward Harper, deputy White House Chief of Staff for domestic policy.