President Anwar Sadat has proposed that F15 jet fighters and other sophisticated U.S. weapons be permantently stationed in Egypt to be turned over immediately to American forces in times of crisis in the Middle East.
Sadat said, however, that he would never accept Americans combat troops or a permanent American base on Egyptian soil.
"Why not train my people and put your planes here?" Sadat said he had asked U.S. officials last month. "Whenever you choose to come, send your crew instead of long logistic lines of communications."
Sadat described the prepositioning of U.S. equipment in Egypt -- a plan under active consideration within the U.S. government -- as a first step toward as "new planning, a new strategy" that the United States must develop to counter Soviet penetration of the region without arousing new nationlist resentment of foreign forces here.
In an interview with Washington Post Co. chairman Katherine Graham and Newsweek, Sadat also said that Egypt and the United States have reached agreement on manufacturing military spare parts in Egypt and are discussing similar plans for a joint plant here to make F5 jet fighters and American helicopters as part of the expanding U.S.-Egyptian strategic alliance. Sadat said he hoped for formal agreement soon on the F5 proposal.
U.S. officials report that discussions have also begun on the possibility of setting up a factory in Egypt to manufacture an experimental American jet fighter currently known as the FX that would eventually replace the F5 in the arsenals of less developed nations around the world. This would make Egypt an important arms exporter for the first time.
The carter administration is seeking military facilities in the Persian Gulf for the storage of enough equipment to support a rapid deployment force of two U.S. airborne divisions. Somalia, Oman and Kenya have been formally approached about the establishment of facilities, and Sadat would gladly add Egypt to the list.
"I am not asking for American bases or American soldiers. No, no," Sadat said. "I said raise a million-soldier army. I have my pilots that have astonished American officials on the Phantom. Don't send me any American soldiers. Send me war gear."
In response to a question, Sadat said that Isael suggested informally that the United States take over the Etzion Air Base in the Sinai Desert when it is evacuated by Israel in the final stage of the Camp David accord on the sinai.
The Egyptian leader said he vetoed that idea and is letting the United States use alternate facilities at Wadi Quena in upper Egypt.
"It is not a question of here or therre," Sadat said. "The question is whether the United States is ready to build its relations on friendship and equal footing or is the United States going to ask for bases and other land to have the American flag on it and exercise domination? If it is the second, no, go to hell. The first, yes, you are welcome."
Sadat contrasted his public welcome of some form of American presence in the region to what he termed "the sarcastic attitude of Saudi Arabians saying from time to time that they shall never give facilities or bases to the United States when we all know that Americans have bases there waiting for any crew to come. I'm saying it openly. Oman can give you facilities, Somalia can give you facilities, I can give you facilities."
Sadat specifically referred to the advantages that he saw in stationing here American F15 fighters, the highest firepower warplane in the U. S. Air Force inventory. He noted that F15s flew to Saudi Arabia last year in a show of force but encountered considerable difficulty in getting to the desert oil-producing nation.
Sadat strongly denied that he is urging an approach similar to the Nixon doctrine of heavily arming regional powers and leaving immediate security problems to them. He repeatedly said that his position should not be compared to those of the deposed shah of Iran, to whom he has given refuge.
"I am supported by 99.9 percent of the population," Sadat said. "If it is less than this, I shall leave my post. Without that support I could have never taken a decision to say that I am ready to give the United States facilities to reach the gulf and to rescue the American hostages [in Iran]. I don't think the shah enjoyed 99 percent support at any time."
American aircraft are known to have used the airstrip at Wadi Qena to refuel for the aborte rescue mission in April. The facility has also been used by visiting U. S. Air Force AWACS (Airborne Warning and Control System) radar aircraft in recent months.