WASHINGTON (Oct. 20)
Sen. Richard Lugar (R. Ind.), chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, said today he will seek “a formula” to gain Senate approval of President Reagan’s proposed $1.9 billion arms sale to Jordan, despite the overwhelming opposition to it in the Senate.
“I think we have to find out if there is a way that King Hussein’s defense needs can be met and, at the same time, the security of Israel guaranteed,” Lugar said on NBC-TV’s “Meet the Press.”
But Sen. Alan Cranston (D. Cal.) appearing on the same program, said, “This is not the time” to give Jordan arms when it is “in a state of war with our number one ally in the Middle East, Israel. It undermines our own security to aid the enemy of our principal ally.”
Reagan is expected to formally present Congress with the proposal tomorrow. Both Houses must then vote to reject it within 30 days or the sale goes through. Cranston said 72 Senators — 44 Democrats and 28 Republicans — have signed a resolution opposing the sale until Jordan begins negotiations with Israel.
Lugar, who is not one of the 72, said Reagan rejected his advice not to permit the sale at this time. But he stressed that approval of the sale is needed to encourage Jordanian participation in the peace process.
Lugar said he believed formula can be worked out with the opponents of the sale that might include delay of delivery of weapons or the type of weapons sold. He added that, if the sale goes through, the money needed by Jordan to buy the arms would have to be appropriated by Congress at a later date.
But Cranston said no sale should be made “until King Hussein follows through on what he has been talking about for 20 years,” that the Arabs should negotiate with Israel. “But he has never engaged in these negotiations,” Cranston said.
He pointed out that Egypt received a great deal of U.S. arms because it signed a peace treaty with Israel and the same condition should be placed on Jordan.
Israeli Premier Shimon Peres made the same point in his appearance today on ABC-TV’s “This Week with David Brinkley.” “Arms will not bring peace, but peace will bring an end to the opposition of selling arms to Jordan,” Peres said. “If they can have everything without changing the policy, they won’t change.”