Washington (Aug. 18)
Sources at the Pentagon confirmed today that no specific delivery date has been set for shipment to Israel of F-16 and F-15 warplanes released from embargo yesterday because the planes are undergoing necessary repairs. Secretary of State Alexander Haig announced yesterday that President Reagan lifted the suspension of the planes.
However, repairs on the F-16s, which started last week following the crash of a plane in Utah in which a pilot was killed, were expected to be completed this week. The U.S. grounded all the F-16s and other countries with U.S.-made F-16s did so “voluntarily.”
Meanwhile, at the State Department, spokesman Alan Romberg said today that any understanding the U.S. and the Israeli government has on the future use of arms supplied by the U.S. is the understanding contained in “the basic operative feature in the provisions of the 1962 agreement about the use of such equipment for defensive purposes.”
“We had thorough discussions with the Israeli government in the course of the review, and we believe that we understand each other as to our concerns on this,” the spokesman said. “We have had discussions that have been useful and I’m going to leave it at that.”
Romberg, asked whether the Administration feels a violation may have been committed by Israel, replied, “Obviously the fact that we have conducted a review following the raid on Iraq indicated that we feel that we have a role in determining it … so I would say that, as in any agreement, both parties will have a role in it.”
Romberg stated that if the Administration believes there may have been a substantial violation, there’s a requirement in the law that a review be made. “The Administration did not reach a determination since it was not legally required to do so. It was decided that we are not reaching a determination on that,” Romberg said.
The spokesman said that there probably will not be a follow-up report to Congress. “Members of Congress were informed of the decision before it was announced, but there is no plan or particular obligation to go back with a written report, since there was no finding,” he said.