Weapons sales concluded during the Nixon and Ford adminstrations created a $32 billion backlog of arms exports that will not be completely delivered until 1983, government officials said yesterday.
The undelivered pipeline for foreign military stands at about $32 billion in defense articiles and services," Lt. Gen. Howard Fish told a House subcommittee, "Delivery will take place over a period of roughly six years.
Defense and State Department officials expressed hope that the Carter administration will be able to restrain U.S. weapons sales, as President Carter promised during the election campaign.
U.S. arms sales peaked in 1974-75 when $10 billion worth of contracts were concluded. Israel contracted for $3.3 billion worth of weaponry following the 1973 Middle East War.
Richard A. Ericson, deputy director of the State Department's Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, offered the House international security subcommittee a preview of the options an interagency task force has given Carter for curbing the arms trade.
He said the options included:
Restricting exports of particularly inhumane weaponry. (The administration recently canceled a proposed sale of concussion bombs to Israel.)
Limiting co-production of weapons by the United States and foreign countries.
Limiting sale of important, advanced weapons systems.
Tightening controls on transfer of obsolescent U.S. military equipment from an importing country to other countries.
Encouraging other nations to joint the United States in restraining arms sales.
Improving U.S. control over arms sales by streamlining bureaucratic machinery in Washington.
Requiring all arms sales to be made through the foreign military sales program, eliminating commercial sales.
Ericson said Carter is studing the recommendations and is expected to report his conclusions to Congress soon.