WASHINGTON (Feb. 28)
Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger today rejected as “total nonsense” a charge by Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Arens that he is a leading advocate in the Reagan Administration of pro-Arab views toward the Middle East conflict because of his former business ties with the Arab states.
“I would be surprised if he said that,” Weinberger said on the NBC-TV “Today” program. According to an Israel Radio report on yesterday’s Cabinet meeting, Arens was quoted as saying, “It must not be forgotten that he had business connections with Arab countries the past.”
Prior to being named to serve in the Reagan Administration, Weinberger was head of the San-Francisco-based Bechtel Corp., an engineering and construction firm with extensive business contacts with Arab countries.
Arens also reportedly charged that “the more than 20 State Department officials who served in an Arab country and others asking to be stationed in the area are working to tilt U.S. policy toward the Arabs.”