Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, ending two days of talks with President Carter, asked the United States yesterday to supply F-5E warplanes and armored personnel carriers for his nation's defense and $1 billion yearly in economic aid to keep its economy afloat.
Presidential press secretary Jody Powell said no decisions or commitments were made in response to Sadat's military requests, which are strongly opposed by Israel. Secretary of Defense Harold Brown, who heard a detailed justification from Sadat for his military needs, promised only a careful study and said any decisions careful study and said any decisions would be up to Carter, informed sources said.
The F-5E, which has been supplied by the United States to Iran, Jordan, Morocco, Saudi Arabia and many other nations, is a relatively light-weight intercepter aircraft designed for export. As a major ally, Israel has been supplied with more powerful U.S. warplanes such as the F-4, A-7 and F-15, and has been promised the highly sophisticated F-16 fighter-bomber.
In the economic field, a White House statement said Sadat was "assured of continued U.S. economic support, subject to congressional approval." No figures were given. Sadat told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee yesterday afternoon that he needs U.S. aid of at least $1 billion per year - roughly the current level, adding economic and food assistance - through 1980.
Chairman Hubert H. Humphrey (D-Mann.) of the Foreign Relations Sub-committee on Foreign Assistance yesterday proposed a $1 million "crash study" by private U.S. experts to develop "a broadly based development program" in consultation with Egypt. Humphrey suggested that the study be financed from Egypt's allocation in the pending foreign aid bill.
Humphrey said the present U.S. aid program, while one of the largest for any contry, "hardly begins to address the real needs in Egypt." He proposed that private U.S. expertise and technology be harnessed to produce more effective programs.
Sadat discussed with Carter the possibility of a U.S. hydrographic survey in the Gulf of Suez as a part of Egypt's development of that area, and a White House statement said the question would be given "sympathetic discussion and consideration."
In his talks with Carter as well as with members of the House and Senate, Sadat placed great emphasis on his concern about growing Soviet involvement in Africa. Sadat reportedly put special stress on the fighting in Zaire's copper rich Shaba area, claiming that Soviet-made tanks are being used, and on the closer relations being forged between the Soviet Union and Ethiopia.
Both Zaire and Ethiopia have common borders with Sudan, which is the southern neighbor of Egypt. Sadat told the House International Relations Committee that he brought to Washington messages of concern about Soviet activities from the leaders of both Sudan and Morocco.
There was little indication of the extent to which Sadat was able to reach a meeting of minds with Carter on Middle East peace negotiations, the principal focus of the Egyptian leader's visit.
In a White House dinner toast Monday night, declared that the Palestinians have "demonstrated moderation had a great sense of responsibility" and called for a U.S. dialogue with Palestinians to "reassure them and stimulate further moderation." He also praised Carter for saying recently that the Palestinians must be given a "homeland" and interpreted Carter's remarks as backing for a Palestinian state.
In contrast to his explicit statements during and just after the visit of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin a month ago, Carter spoke publicly in oblique and extremely general terms on the Middle East peace issues during the Sadat visit. Press secretary Powell, who gave few details of the Carter-Sadat conversations, said he would rather be "overly cautious" than to take a chance on damaging the prospects for peace.