Saudis Launch Propaganda Campaign on Behalf of Awacs

A 16-page publication, which urges support for Saudi Arabia’s request for U.S. AWACS reconnaissance planes on grounds that Israel might bomb Saudi Arabian oil fields to demonstrate its independence of United States aid, has been distributed to capital opinion makers by a Washington lawyer who is counsel to the Saudi Embassy here.

The pamphlet, printed on glossy paper and containing color photographs and maps, was distributed to members of Congress and the press by Frederick Dutton, who served President John Kennedy as a White House aide. His office said 7,500 copies of “Why Saudi Arabia Needs AWACS” have been distributed. Dutton is registered as a Saudi agent in the United States.

The sale of the AWACS and other military equipment to the Saudis has been proposed by the Reagan Administration which has been served notice of opposition by a majority of Senators and Representatives. A majority vote of both Houses is required to block such weapons sales.

The pamphlet cited Israel’s June 7 bombing of Iraq’s nuclear reactor in Baghdad, and noted that an Israeli strike at Saudi oilfields would not involve a much longer flight.

The pamphlet disputed statements by Israeli officials that the AWACS could be used to scan and photograph Israel’s defenses on behalf of such Arab enemies as Iraq. The pamphlet contended that the AWACS radar equipment could not take photos, see tanks or other ground targets, detect low-flying planes beyond 200 miles or collect electronic data. The pamphlet said the AWACS’ only function would be to detect air or naval attacks on Saudi Arabian oil installations in time for Saudi planes to provide an effective defense.

NEXT STORY