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Senate Foreign Relations Committee Sessions: Deliberations on Weapons Sales to Iran

(March 14, 1967)


Mr. Kuss. Well, as you say, I probably wouldn't agree with you.

Senator Fulbright. I don't think you would.

Mr. Kuss. But only because it is the machinery, the very machinery that you propose to exercise which came to the conclusion to provide the kind of arms and to eliminate economic aid in 1962, to eliminate military assistance in 1964 on a phased basis, to provide arms on a very stringent basis, and to not supply everything that the Shah wanted. It is this very machinery that you speak of that came to that conclusion.

Senator Fulbright. I am sure Iran wants it.

I was there with Mr. Douglas Dillon in 1959. I suggested to the Shah that if he spent money on the improvement of the ordinary citizens, he would be more secure than trying to protect himself with arms. But there is nothing I can do about it, and I don't know that it does any good to bedevil you about it. I realize you are an official in the Department of Defense. I only hope you do not go too far in loading everybody down with arms that can't afford it.

Mr. Kuss. Let me repeat again, Senator, that as far as the underdeveloped country, arms sales are fairly meaningless to us. They amount to 10 percent of our total program. My office is occupied with doing things with people with whom we used to be giving billions in foreign aid in our alliances.

When it comes to the application to these non-developed countries, my responsibility is to see to it that if we do extend credit they have got the money to repay it, that we manage it on an appropriate basis.

Senator Fulbright. I am not arguing about their having the money for purchases. I expect you will get it.

What they are doing is taking it out of the hides of poor peasants. That is what is creating a politically explosive situation.

The Shah will get the money from the Majlis. You don't dispute that?

Mr. Kuss. Let me make that clear. The Majlis has, as you pointed out, voted $200 million that he could spend in one year. We didn't agree with that. We didn't agree with that at all. We dealt with the Central Bank, Mr. Sami, whom you probably know is a very capable man there.

Next we dealt with our economic mission in Teheran; next with the AID group. What we dealt with was a situation which compared what each tranche of military equipment would involve in the way of debt pre-payment against any balance of foreign exchange that was left over after all of the feasible projects could be administered for the economic development program. We dealt with that as a given factor by our AID people who did not take the Shah's estimates of all revenues, reduced them and who did not take all of the Shah's estimates on what his economic programs were feasible, and the programs that we are dealing with here, all through it have a ceiling something like this, and this curve here is the debt pre-payment capability which our economic advisers told us was possible after covering the other programs.

Senator Symington. If the chairman will yield.

Senator Fulbright. I will.

Senator Symington. It would seem clear from your testimony that you felt the Shah had a right because of danger to his country to make arrangements to obtain these airplanes. Is that correct?

Mr. Kuss. Yes, sir.

Senator Symington. All right. Now, in the Peterson report----

Senator Fulbright. Danger from whom?

Senator Symington. I was going to get to that. In the Peterson report it says, and I quote: ``The combined forces of these latter three countries represent a overwhelming military capability vis-a-vis Iran. But for the foreseeable future the possibility of their making such a combined assault on Iranian forces seems quite remote. A unilateral attack of Iran by UAR forces is unlikely. But if it should come, it would be limited to naval action unless the Israeli issue were first resolved or unless the UAR achieved hegemony over the minor states of the area, a circumstance not readily foreseen.''

Now, as I understand it, therefore, you believe that the threat comes from Syria, the UAR, and Iraq primarily, is that correct? The Pentagon feels that way?

Mr. Kuss. That is a result of the Peterson report, yes.

Senator Symington. All right. How many Mig 21's has Iraq got roughly? I think this is very important.

Mr. Kuss. They have 18 on hand, and I believe another 18 coming.

Senator Symington. That is 36. How many has Syria got?

Mr. Kuss. Actual order of battle on hand, 18 for Iraq, Syria 26, 102 for UAR.

Senator Symington. Wait a minute, you are ahead of me. How many has Iraq got?

Mr. Kuss. Eighteen.

Senator Symington. And how many do you say they are going to have?

Mr. Kuss. My records indicate they will have 18 more.

Senator Symington. That is 36.

Mr. Kuss. Yes, sir.

Senator Symington. How many has Syria got?

Mr. Kuss. The order of battle indicates 26 here.

Senator Symington. Twenty-six. That is a total of 62, correct?

Mr. Kuss. Right.

Senator Symington. Now how many did you say Egypt has?

Mr. Kuss. 102. Those are just Mig-21's.

Senator Symington. But the SU-7 is an improved Mig-21, is it not?

Mr. Kuss. Yes, sir. That is 38 additional SU-7's in the UAR.

Senator Symington. Well, I mean do you not want to include the best they have got? The figure I got in Cairo last month was 60 SU-7's. But you have got 38; you have 102 and 38.

Mr. Kuss. Yes, sir. I would like to check.

Senator Symington. That is 140 and 62. That is over 200 of the latest model fighters that those three countries have. Why do you not sell more F-4's to Iran if you want to put them in a balance of power position against these three countries? In other words, what do you really do for the Shah by giving him one or two squadrons of F-4's if your premise is correct that these three countries are enemies and they have over a hundred of the most modern Russian fighters. I am following Senator Fulbright's thinking on this.


Sources: Federation of American Scientists