WASHINGTON (Aug. 8)
The Reagan administration said Monday it was “pleased” that its proposed $1.9 billion arms sale can now go ahead, since the 30-day period by which Congress could have blocked the sale expired Sunday.
State Department spokeswoman Phyllis Oakley said that Kuwait has accepted the compromise reached between the administration and Congress. The compromise eliminated 100 Maverick “D” missiles from the arms package, while increasing the number of Maverick “G” missiles from 200 to 300.
“The sale will provide an enhanced air capability which meets the Kuwaitis’ long-term requirements,” Oakley said.
The arms package also includes 40 F/A-18 fighter planes, 200 Sparrow missiles, 120 Sidewinder missiles, 40 Harpoon missiles, 400 laser-guided bombs and 200 cluster bombs.
The administration had pressed the sale because of the threat to Kuwait from neighboring Iran. But many in Congress opposed the sale, particularly because they feared the anti-tank Maverick “D” missiles posed a potential threat to Israel.
The compromise, eliminating this missile, was reached at a White House meeting July 29, attended by Lt. Col. Colin Powell, President Reagan’s national security adviser, and other administration officials, members of Congress and representatives of AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.
Secretary of State George Shultz also signed a “letter of assurance” that prohibits Kuwait from acquiring equipment to give the F/A-18s air refueling capability and forbids it from transferring military equipment to any other country.