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Fear Detente May Be Tottering

October 12, 1973
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The State Department, reflecting growing concern over the Middle East conflict and its possible deleterious effects on Soviet-American detente, announced that Secretary of State Henry Kissinger may not be going to Europe this weekend, as planned, to meet with British and West German leaders. Saying it “very strongly appears” his trip will be put off, Department spokesman Robert J. McCloskey added that the postponement “clearly” would be related to the Middle East and the Secretary’s involvement in it on behalf of the United States.

Dr. Kissinger himself may hold a news conference tomorrow at which he doubtlessly will face a barrage of questions on the continuing Soviet airlift of air and ground military equipment to the two Arab states which attacked Israel Oct. 6. Dr. Kissinger originally was to have met the media today but he deferred to Attorney General Elliot Richardson who held a news conference regarding Spiro Agnew’s resignation as Vice President.

Meanwhile, a joint Congressional committee voted today to restore funds to the Defense Department budget for tanks and light arms which could be used to replace Israeli losses. The committee approved the full allocation of $100 million for the purchase of 360 M-60 tanks for the U.S. Army but which, according to sources, could be diverted to sale for Israel. The action followed against a background of continuing reports that the Soviet Union is airlifting military supplies to Egypt and Syria. United States officials have declined to term this as a major airlift but said that the bulk of the aid seems to be going to Syria. Knowledgeable sources said the weapons are most likely missiles which reportedly have taken a heavy toll of Israeli planes.

Growing alarm was expressed over the fate of U.S.-Soviet detente as a result of the war and reports of large-scale Soviet arms airlifts to Egypt and Syria. Dr. Kissinger was authoritatively reported today as having asked House Speaker Carl Albert (D.Okla.) to seek a postponement of the debate in the House on the Mills-Vanik legislation affecting Soviet-American trade relations.

The Jewish Telegraphic Agency was informed that Dr. Kissinger phoned his request to the Speaker this morning because of the sensitive international situation growing out of the Middle East conflict. Speculation immediately arose that the question of most favored nation status for the Soviet Union barred by the Mills-Vanik measure has become an important factor in the intensive Soviet-American consultations on achieving a cease-fire in the Middle East fighting. It was speculated that the Soviet Union might agree to assist in halting the conflict if the Administration can persuade Congress to approve MFN and credits to the Soviet Union.

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