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Blumenthal Pledges Israel Will Get Indefinite American Economic Aid

October 27, 1977
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Secretary of the Treasury W. Michael Blumenthal assured Israel yesterday that the U.S. remained indefinitely committed to assist Israel to reach its economic goals. He used the word “indefinitely” at a press conference here wrapping up his two-day visit, and it plainly gave Israeli economic officials a great deal of satisfaction.

Observers pointed out that in the post American officials always limited aid pledges to the immediate year ahead and refrained from far-reaching commitments. Israeli sources added that in his talks here with Premier Menachem Begin, Finance Minister Simcha Ehrlich, Defense Minister Ezer Weizman, Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan and others, Blumenthal indicated the U.S. did not intend to cut back its aid to Israel this year. On the contrary, he appeared to indicate that the amount might increase.

The sources said that Blumenthal reported to Israeli leaders on the worsening economic situation of Egypt which he visited before coming here. His assessment was that Egypt desperately needed and sincerely wanted a peace settlement. His own view was that this could come about within three years. Ehrlich described Blumenthal as “a real friend of Israel” and said their talks had been “very fruitful.”

The Finance Minister and his guest agreed on the establishment of an $80 million joint agricultural research and development fund. They also headed a meeting of the “U.S.-Israel Joint Committee for Investment and Trade” set up by their predecessors former Finance Minister Yehoshua Rabinowitz and former Secretary of the Treasury William Simon. Blumenthal gave assurances that Israel would have access to raw materials and grain even in the event of a U.S. decision to impose export controls on these basic commodities.

He also found time in his crowded schedule to tour East Jerusalem escorted by the American Consul-General and aides but not by Mayor Teddy Kollek. He visited Kibbutz Givat Haim on Monday night to spend time with his cousin, kibbutznik Arye David.

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