Secretary of State Cyrus R. Vance was quoted yesterday as ruling out the use of U.S. troops to police the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty under any circumstances that might be created by the failure of the United Nations to provide a peacekeeping force for the Sinai.
Reacting sharply to a report in yesterday's editions of The Washington Post that contingency planning within the administration included the possible use of U.S. soldiers in the Sinai, Vance was quoted by his spokesman, Hodding Carter, as having said:
"We're not going to do it. We're not considering it. It is not in the cards. Deny it."
The Washington Post account was based on separate discussions over the last three weeks with four administration officials and on descriptions of staff work being done within the State Department's Near Eastern Bureau and International Organizations office and at the Pentagon on options for replacing the present U.S. Sinai force if the Soviet Union, as expected veotes the force's renewal in July.
Among the options listed in each conversion, in response to questions, was the possibility of a U.S. force. Strong opposition by the State Department to the idea was reported in yesterday's account.
Speaking for Vance, Hodding Carter said that he could not rule out that contingency planning on the idea was going on somewhere within the administration, but his remarks sought to ridicule the idea that the planning was being taken seriously by anyone of importance in the administration.
The United States is obligated under the peace treaty to provide an alternative force to police the Sinai during the three-year Israeli withdrawel and beyond if the Security Council mandate for the United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF) now in the Sinai is not renewed in July.
In a related development, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) called on President Carter yesterday to press Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev at their Vienna summit next month to agree to extending the emergency force mandate.
"I am confident that he will have strong support for this effort from the American Congress and people," Kennedy said in a statement issued here. "If UNEF fails to be extended, it will be necessary to consider a substitute peacekeeping force, preferably on a multinational basis and with no U.S. combat involvement. Of all the alternatives, the Unites Nations Emergency Force is clearly in the best interest of all sides."
A Kennedy aide said the senator had been working on the statement for several days after his office became aware of reports on contingency planning similar to those cited in The Washington Post.
Vance told a House committee May 8 that sending U.S. troops to police the agreement would be a mistake, but the comments he directed HODDING CARTER TO MAKE YESTERDAY WENT ON TO RULE OUT THE USE OF ANY COMBAT TROOPS TO REPLACE THE 4,000 UNEF soldiers drawn from seven countries.
But the spokesman would not rule out the use of some U.S. troops for logistical purposes in a Sinai force organized outside the United Nations.
The administration has been highly sensitive to suggestions that the Arab-israeli peace efforts it has undertaken eventually might require a U.S. military presence to separate Arabs, and Israelis. Sharp denials followed reports last summer before the Camp David Summit that the administration might be prepared to offer an expanded U.S. military presence as an inducement for peace.
The denials were followed in March by the Egyptian-Israeli peace agreement and a U.S.-Israeli memorandum of understanding that commits the United States to considering an expanded U.S. presence to protect the treaty from violation.