Search JTA's historical archive dating back to 1923

Kissinger Affirms U.S. Has Made No Commitment on ‘pershing.’ F-16 Jets

September 18, 1975
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger affirmed today that the United States had agreed only to discuss the supply of long-range “Pershing” missiles and F-16 fighters with Israeli officials but had made no commitment to provide Israel with those advanced weapons. At a press conference here this morning, Kissinger indicated, however, that the Israelis may not have signed their interim agreement with Egypt in Sinai if they had not, at least, had the prospect of obtaining “Pershings” and F-16s.

Asked directly if Israel would have signed without that prospect, Kissinger replied, “That is hard to say. That would be hard to say.” President Ford told reporters at an impromptu White House press conference yesterday that the “Pershings” and F-16s were on the Israeli “shopping list” and would be a subject of negotiations with Israeli leaders. The President said the Sinai agreement contained no American commitment on those weapons.

The 460-mile-range “Pershing,” which has been a mainstream in the NATO arsenal, is provided with nuclear warheads, but any that might be supplied to Israel are almost certain to be equipped with conventional warheads, Arms experts are said to believe that without nuclear warheads, the “Pershing” is an expensive way to deliver an ordinary 500-pound bomb.


Kissinger confirmed that the U.S. would dis-

Kissinger said he favored the American public’s knowing all U.S. commitments but said he would have preferred their disclosure by the government rather than through “leaks” in the press. He confirmed that the U.S. had agreed in writing that it would not recognize or deal with the Palestine Liberation Organization unless Israel approved, But he said that was only a formalization of existing American policy which is not to deal with the PLO as long as the latter refuses to recognize Israel’s right to exist.


Addressing the Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce Kissinger said the U.S. “will seriously encourage a negotiation between Syria and Israel” because “there can be no stagnation, for the (Mideast) area remains tense and volatile,” He set no date for the start of Israeli-Syrian negotiations, observing that the U.S. position was that they could not begin until both countries were ready and neither Israel nor Syria has agreed yet on the nature of new talks. “For our part, we stand ready to assist as the parties desire,” the Secretary said.

He assured the audience at the C of C last night that the American effort which produced the new Israeli-Egyptian agreement in Sinai was not a dead end, “The United States did not help negotiate this agreement in order to put an end to the process of peace but to give it new impetus.” Kissinger declared. He conceded that the U.S. has had “important differences with the Soviet Union over the substance of the settlement” in the Middle East but did not disclose the differences.

Recommended from JTA