Search JTA's historical archive dating back to 1923

Ford, U.S. Will Supply Israel with ‘substantial Amounts’ of Arms; No U.S. Commitments for ‘pershigs’

September 17, 1975
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

President Ford said today that the United States will supply Israel with “various substantial amounts of military hardware” in view of the “policy established a good many years ago” by the United States to assure Israel’s survival. But he stressed that there was no U.S. commitment to supply Israel with long-range “Pershing” ground-to-ground missiles or the new, highly sophisticated F-16 fighter planes that are not expected to go into production until 1979.

The President made his remarks at an impromptu press conference in the White House Oval Office in response to press reports that U.S. commitments to provide Israel with “Pershings” and F-16s were part of the Israeli-Egyptian Sinai accord signed last month.

Speaking to reporters only hours before Israeli Defense Minister Shimon Peres was due in the U.S. for discussions of new weapons supplies Ford said “the announcement concerning the F-16 and ‘Pershing’ missiles are not firm commitments. They do involve negotiations. They are on the shopping list between the U.S. and Israel and they will be discussed with representatives of the Israel government.” He said he believed President Anwar Sadat of Egypt was “familiar with the fact that we anticipated a commitment to Israel for sizeable military hardware.”

The “Pershing” missile, with a 460-mile range and nuclear warhead capability, could reach Egyptian targets from Israeli territory. Asked why the U.S. should arm Israel and not an other country, the President replied that the U.S. has supplied weapons “for a long time” to Israel and that its agreements with Israel are not a security treaty. He said “The military hardware we have supplied in the past and will in the future provides” for Israel’s “survival.”


Ford said, in response to questions, that the material related to the weapons for Israel has “all been submitted to the responsible committees in the Congress.” The implications of the agreements and understandings associated with Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger’s arrangement of the Israel-Egyptian accord are currently under review by both the Senate and House Foreign Relations and Armed Services Committees.

The President said he believed the U.S. sources available to Israel would keep that country secure after it has given up the Abu Rodeis oilfields in Sinai. “We’re not concerned that these (Israel’s oil) supplies will be turned off” and “therefore it will have no adverse impact as we see it on our own oil supplies,” Ford said.

He was believed to be referring to Iran as the source of Israel’s oil supplies in view of indications by the Shah that he is not concerned where Iranian oil goes once it is loaded aboard tankers. Reminded that the U.S. would pay for Israel’s oil, the President said, “This is part of the overall military-economic agreement with Israel and it is a step, I believe, in maintaining the peace.”

Ford added: “I think it is fair to point out that several months ago 76 Senators sent me a letter actually urging that I recommend to Congress more money for Israel and no guarantee of peace, whereas, at the present time we have made this agreement–that is Israel and Egypt have made this agreement–and the prospective cost to the United States is less than what the 76 Senators recommended. So we not only have peace and a step toward a broader peace, but at a lesser cost than what the 76 Senators promoted.”


The President said that the approximately 200 American technicians who would man the advanced warning posts in Sinai “will be there during the term of the agreement unless I or another President withdraws them because of any danger to their lives.” He called the posting of the technicians “a good contribution” by the U.S. toward the establishment of a permanent peace.

Asked if the U.S. would intervene if Palestinian terrorists killed or kidnapped Americans in Sinai, the President replied. “You are speculating” and “I do not anticipate that will happen.” Ford also refused to “speculate” as to whether the U.S. would post U.S. technicians on the Syrian or Jordanian fronts in the event agreements are reached there in the future. He said he would not “speculate about any negotiations or agreements that have not yet begun.”

One of the U.S.-Israeli agreements published says that the U.S. agrees to “consult promptly” with Israel “with respect to what support, diplomatic or otherwise, or assistance it can lend to Israel in accordance with its Constitutional practices” should Israel’s security or sovereignty face threats from a world power. The reference was apparently to the Soviet Union. Ford said the language of that agreement does not constitute a treaty. “The words speak for themselves,” he said.

The Jewish community of this city paid tribute to Holland on the occasion of the 700th anniversary of Amsterdam and the 300th anniversary of the Portuguese Jewish synagogue. More than 1000 persons attended the ceremony, organized by Rio’s Hebraica Club, in the club’s Ben Gurion Hall. Twenty-one of Rio’s principal Jewish organizations and schools gave the Dutch Consul General to Brazil gifts for Queen Juliana.

Recommended from JTA