WASHINGTON (May. 21)
President Reagan and Administration officials were working frantically Wednesday to line up enough Senators to save the Administration’s proposed missile sale to Saudi Arabia.
The Administration was hoping that Saudi Arabia’s agreement Tuesday to drop the Stinger shoulder-fired ground-to-air missiles from the arms package would give it the 34 votes needed in the Senate to sustain Reagan’s veto of the Congressional resolution rejecting the
The President Wednesday vetoed the resolution of disapproval which had passed in the Senate by a 73-22 vote and in the House by a 356-62 vote. The Senate could act on the veto before it adjourns Wednesday night for the Memorial Day holiday.
MAY HAVE CONVINCED ENOUGH SENATORS
The announcement of the President’s veto indicated that he may have convinced enough
The decision to withdraw the request for the portable stingers was announced at the White House personally Tuesday by Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the Saudi Ambassador, after a meeting with Secretary of
Members of the House and Senate voiced fears that the portable weapon could fall into the hands of terrorists. The package still containes 1,666 air-to-air Sidewinder missiles and 100
REAGAN MEETSWITH JEWISH LEADERS
Shortly after Bandar made his announcement, Reagan met with 14 Jewish leaders to press
The President also argued that his “credibility was on the line” and his standing would be hurt abroad if his veto was overridden.
The participants said two of the Jews present voiced support for the sale but the rest said they were opposed. However, they said they appreciated the remarks of the President and his willingness to answer questions.
The Israeli government and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), while voicing opposition to the sale, had not lobbied against it in Congress. However, individual Jews and such groups as
Peter Goldman, AFSI’s director, said Wednesday that he was still trying to convince Senators to vote against the sale.
CHARGES OF JEWISHPRESSURE
Since the Congressional rejection of the weapons package there have been charges that
However, Senators and Representatives frequently voiced anger that the Saudis have not supported U.S. peace efforts in the Middle East and have bankrolled the Palestine Liberation Organization and Syria. The large vote may also have been due to Saudi
It takes a two-thirds vote of the Senate and House to override a veto. The Administration is concentrating its efforts in the Republican-controlled Senate where it needs to change fewer
The meeting with Jewish leaders Tuesday was set before Reagan’s meeting with the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, scheduled for Monday, was cancelled because of the death of Yehuda Hellman, the Conference’s executive vice president.
Among those who met with the President Tuesday were Malcolm Hoenlein, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York; Hart Hasten and Seth Eisenberg, president and executive director, respectively, of the Herut Zionists of America; and