Executive Sessions of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee
Together with Joint Sessions with the Senate Armed Services Committee
Military Assistance to India and Pakistan
(June 22, 1967)
KNOWLEDGE OF IRANIAN-SOVIET ARMS DEAL [P. 100]
Senator McCarthy. I do not say McNaughton made any denial. As I remember, he made a general statement about our selling it from keeping the Russians from putting military equipment in Iran. There was no indication, as I remember his testimony, that this--because the public announcement of the sale of trucks and so on came after the hearing we held on this matter.
Mr. Kitchen. I want to say that we felt the sale of the F-4's to Iran was less in a sense related to the provision on the Soviet equipment, the type of Soviet equipment that the Shah bought and the amounts, as it was to the fact that we had successfully held the Shah to a program of about $50 million a year when he wanted about four times that.
The Shah came to us and said that he was rapidly, increasingly, concerned by the range of the MIG-21 operating out of Iraq. The equipment which we provided did not have the range of the F-5 and was not suitable to take off from his interior fields and engage them approximately at his national border. He wanted an aircraft that was capable of doing that.
Because of the $50 million figure and because of the expense of this aircraft, we reluctantly concluded that this was not, in his terms, an unreal requirement or an unreal request. We made the sale in a sense on its own merits, and less connected with the Soviet transaction.
Senator McCarthy. The Soviets are being paid pretty much in oil, are they not?
Mr. Kitchen. Gas, sir.
Senator McCarthy. How are we being paid?
Mr. Kitchen. It is a transaction where we will be repaid--it is a credit arrangement.
Senator McCarthy. It is a credit arrangement.
Mr. Kitchen. Yes, because of his royalties when they fall due and so on.
Senator McCarthy. It is not a direct sort of barter arrangement such as the Russians have.
Mr. Kitchen. No, sir.
Senator McCarthy. What would have happened if the $400 million worth of arms that we and the British are supplying to Saudi Arabia, in addition to what we were supplying to Jordan, had been operational, and used by the Jordanians and the Saudi Arabians in the recent Mideast crisis?
Mr. Kitchen. You would like to have our views on how it might have been applied?
Senator McCarthy. Yes.
Mr. Kitchen. Of course we are in an executive session. I think the Saudi equipment was and is being bought for protection against Nasser and had little to do with its relationships to Israel.
Senator McCarthy. It would not have been used.
Mr. Kitchen. I doubt very much that it would have been used. A lot of that money for instance is in the Hawk system which is defensive. I think it has come largely out of the irritations and genuine concerns of the Yemeni conflict, the presence of the Egyptians in the Yemen.
As far as Jordan was concerned, sir, a dozen F-104's against what we say the Israelis dispose of, I think they would have tried to take the air. I think that would have been about it.
Senator McCarthy. What was the status of the agreement to sell F-104's?
Mr. Kitchen. My understanding is, and I am subject to checking the record, that approximately only a third of them were there--four aircraft, some transitional training was being accomplished. The aircraft were removed from Jordan several days before hostilities, moved out at the request of the King.
Senator McCarthy. Where did the King put them?
Mr. Kitchen. He simply turned them back to us and we moved them out. I do not know where they went.
Mr. Wolf. They were, as I recall, our aircraft on loan at that time.
Senator McCarthy. He did not have title to them. We got them out?
Mr. Wolf. We got them out. Where they are now, I do not know.
Senator McCarthy. I see.
Source: Federation of American Scientists