State Department officials will recommend that President Carter reverse President Ford's decision to sell high-power concussion bombs to Israel, according to reliable sources.
A briefing paper being prpared for Secretary of State Cyrus R. Vance urges a ban on selling the bombs, called CBU-72s. to any country. It reversed at the same level.
No other nation has the CBU-72s which can destroy everything within a 50-foot diameter and are one of the most powerful non-nuclear weapons. Canada was refused permission to buy them before the Israel sale was approved.
The decision to let Israel buy the bombs was made Oct. 8 in the White House without the usual discussion and consideration in the executive branch.
The election campaign was coming down to the wire and Ford had been accused by Carter two days earlier, during their second debate, of not giving Israel enough military support.
IT might appear ironic that the same man who leveled that accusation at Ford could now deny Israel the bombs.
However, it was mark of Carter's campaign that he succeeded in portraying himself as wedded to strong support of Israel but also eager to reduce U.S. arms sales abroad.
Since taking office, Carter has stressed his desire to curb arms sales.
"The Secretary of State will be much more hesitant in future to recommend to the Defense Department the culmination of arms sales agreements." Carter told interviewers two weeks ago.
He said that Vance will talk "to some of the primary arms purchasers" which he visits the Middle East Feb. 14-21 and the administration will be asking them to reduce their purchases.
Carter said he had ordered that all approvals of arms sales be submitted to him before going to Congress.
The recommendation of a total ban on CBU-72s is expected to go to Vance early next week. State Department officials began work on it in the last few days after receiving a proposed letter of offer drafted by the Pentagon.
The Ford administration kept the dollar value of the sale slightly below $7 million so that Congress would not have an opportunity to vote on it. Congress must be informed of all sales, but has the right to disapprove only sales of new types of weaponry costing more than $7 million. (KEY OFF)(KEYWORD)t the same time that Ford authorized the concussion bombs, he also approved three other separate sales to Israel: of FLIR (forward-looking infrared) night visions systems, some artillery, and about 125 tanks.
Opponents of the concussion bomb sale have charged that it would destabilize Middle East International relations by greatly increasing Israel's military strength.
Some Pentagon officials also have opposed allowing any country to have the concussion bomb because they want its technology - which is ahead of the Soviet Union's - to remain an American monopoly as long as possible.
At a pre-set height, the CBU-72 squirts a spray of kerosene-like fuel that mixes with the air to form a cloud about 50 feet in diameter and 8 feet thick which is then exploded. The 500-pound bomb contains about 220 pounds of fuel.
The blast creates pressures of about 300 pounds per square inch, enough to crush bodies, bunkers and almost anything in its field. A 6-ich reinforced concrete arch would collapse if hit by 70 pounds per square inch, for example.
The post-explosion vacuum is filled by a rush of air, including that in the lungs of anyone hidden in an uncollapsed fortification. Then, there is a fire.
In Vietnam, an earlier version of the bomb was used in conjunction with B-52 strikes to reach North Vietnamese hiding in underground fortifications. It was also used to clear landing zones for helicopters.
The bombs would also be effective in clearing minefields or in crushing the concrete revetments that shield aircraft at bases in Egypt and Syria.