Washington (Jun. 22)
The State Department may never issue a report on its “review” on whether Israel violated its arms agreement with the United States by using American-made weapons to destroy Iraq’s nuclear plant. This was indicated today by Department sources who stressed that the review has no connection with the decision on lifting the suspension of delivery of four F-16s to Israel.
If this is true, it would confirm the suspicion of many in Congress that the Reagan Administration wants to leave it to the legislative branch to make a decision on whether Israel violated the agreement, The Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which held two hearings last week on the June 7 Israeli raid, is scheduled to hold at least two more this week.
This development follows the vote by the U.S. for the unanimous condemnation of the Israeli raid by the United Nations Security Council last Friday. David Passage, a Department spokesman, continued to maintain today that the U.S. position was based principally on the belief that Israel “did not exhaust all diplomatic means” open to it and the international community before bombing the nuclear plant.
PASSAGE REITERATES U.S. POLICY
Passage said that the general policy of the U.S. is that “all means short of violence should be used in order to prevent the situation from a violent” stage.
Passage admitted that the State Department had received last year a report from Ronald Richter, an American inspector for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) warning the U.S. mission to the IAEA that Iraq planned to build a nuclear weapon, but Passage would only say that Department officials had read it.
Richter, the only American inspector in the IAEA Mideast division, resigned from his job with the IAEA last Tuesday so he could testify before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last Friday that the IAEA inspections could not prevent the Iraqis from building a nuclear bomb. When Passage was asked about Richter’s charge that only Hungarian and Soviet nationals were permitted to inspect the Iraqi reactor, Passage said the question should be asked at the IAEA headquarters in Vienna.
ROSTOW NOMINATED FOR DISARMAMENT AGENCY
Meanwhile, Eugene Rostow, a Yale University law professor and former Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs in the Johnson Administration, said that the Israeli raid on Iraq pointed to the need “to restore world public order” to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons.
“After the flash of lightning of the Israeli raid in Iraq, the world community should follow more strictly an agreed and concerted policy based on the principles of the Non-proliferation Treaty and the bilaterial and multilateral arrangements which have developed from it,” Rostow said.
Rostow, the 67-year-old chairman of the Committee on the Present Danger, was testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on his nomination by President Reagan to be director of the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency.
Israeli Ambassador Ephraim Evron said today he did not believe that the dispute over the Israeli raid on the Iraqi nuclear reactor would affect U.S.-Israeli relations. Evron made the comment after meeting with State Department Counselor Robert McFarlane, in what was described as a “routine” meeting. The Israeli envoy said that he hoped all major agreements with the United States would go ahead as scheduled, a reference to the U.S. suspension of the delivery of four F-16s to Israel.