WASHINGTON (Jul. 24)
The House Foreign Affairs Committee, meeting in closed session this afternoon, will be presented with the Reagan Administration’s long delayed Middle East arms transfer study, expected to be the basis for Administration requests for arms sales to Jordan and Saudi Arabia in September which face strong opposition in both houses of Congress. (Late story, P.3.)
White House spokesman Larry Speakes said today that the President has approved the study. The House committee will be briefed by the Undersecretary of State for Security Assistance, William Schnieder, Jr., and Lt. Gen. Philip Gast, head of the Pentagon’s Defense Assistance Agency. No Senate hearing has been scheduled yet.
The study is reported to include a “threat analysis ” of the danger posed to Israel by potential arms sales to Arab countries, and a similar examination of the threats to Jordan, mainly from Syria, and to Saudi Arabia, mainly from Iran and the Soviet Union.
The Administration is expected to request the sale to Jordan of advanced combat aircraft and transport planes, ground-to-air missiles and tanks. Saudi Arabia has indicated a desire to purchase sophisticated arms, including fighter planes and air-to-air missiles.
The Administration postponed its request for arms to Jordan after 73 of the Senate’s 100 members co-sponsored a non-binding resolution opposing the sales as long as Jordan “continues to oppose the Camp David peace process and purchase arms from the Soviet Union.”
A foreign aid bill approved by the House bars weapons sales to Jordan until that country agrees to recognize Israel and enter into direct peace negotiations with it.