WASHINGTON (May. 14)
Secretary of State George Shultz seconded a suggestion that President Reagan seek the help of the American Jewish community to rescue his proposed sale of $354 million in missiles to Saudi Arabia.
“We have talked to our friends in the American Jewish community about it right from the beginning and we’ll continue to do so,” Shultz said Wednesday, in response to a question after an address to the Overseas Writers, an association of diplomatic reporters.
The suggestion that Reagan seek Jewish help for the missile sale which was overwhelmingly rejected by Congress, was made during a meeting with the President Tuesday by Sen. Richard Lugar (R. Ind.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
AIPAC IS STICKING TO ITS POSITION
Sources at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that the official lobby for Israel is sticking by its position that while it opposes the missile sale, AIPAC will not work against it. But any suggestion that American Jews would lobby for the sale was described as “wishful thinking” by these sources.
Reagan is expected some time this week to veto the Congressional resolution of disapproval which was passed by the Senate by a 73-22 vote and the House by a 356-62 vote, both more than the two-thirds needed to override a veto.
Shultz said Reagan will “fight” to get the Republican-controlled Senate to sustain the veto. He pointedly noted that the 1984 election and polls show that the President “is very strongly and widely supported by the American people.”
“The Congressional efforts to bloc the sales are counter-productive as far as the national security interests of the United States are concerned,” Shultz stressed. “At the same time they are damaging to the interests of Israel.”
IMPORTANCE OF PROVIDING ARMS TO SAUDIS
Shultz said it is important to provide the arms to the Saudis because they help maintain the “stability” of the Persian Gulf against Iran. He noted that Saudi Arabia helped abort an Arab summit that Libya sought after the U.S. raid on Libya.
“It is important for us to have a sensible and reasonable relationship with countries in the Arab world, particularly those who … accept the fact that Israel is there to stay and somehow or other in the longrun there has to be some kind of accommodation,” he added.
Shultz also stressed that when the President is representing the U.S. abroad as he did in Tokyo recently he should not have “the ground cut out from under him at home.”