An Arlington defense firm has asked a federal judge in Alexandria to enjoin Defense Department officials from implementing a decision to bar the firm from selling military equipment to Turkey, according to Alexandria federal court documents.
Defense Logistics Supply Corp. has charged that Lt. Gen. Philip C. Gast, director of the Defense Security Assistance Agency, refused to approve a contract between DLS and Turkey after another company owned by the president of DLS was fined $10,000 last November for two violations of the Arms Export Control Act.
The papers allege that Gast feared congressional and press criticism if he approved the DLS contract after the fine. The company calls the move to stop the contract "unlawful interference" in the firm's business relations.
A Defense Department spokesman said the department is aware of the company's action but will not comment on it.
DLS sells military equipment under DOD's Foreign Military Sales Program, which lends foreign governments money to pay for the equipment. Gast's agency must approve all contracts under the program.
Gast and other Defense Department officials have told Turkish emissaries and representatives of other governments that in might be "several years" before they approve any DLS contracts for foreign military sales, the court papers allege.
Their action, which DLS alleges violates the firm's constitutional right to due process, could mean a loss to DLS of contracts worth "several million dollars," according to papers filed by the company.
DLS is asking the court for an injunction against Gast and the other defendants, Assistant Secretary of Defense Richard L. Armitage, Under Secretary of Defense Fred C. Ikle and Secretary of Defense Caspar W. Weinberger, prohibiting them from refusing to approve DLS contracts when the firm meets all the criteria for such approval.
A $550,000 contract between DLS and Turkey for aircraft parts and communications equipment was signed last November.
In March, Gast refused to approve the contract because DLS president Sunder Kundanmal also is president of American Aviation Parts & Service Corp., which paid a $10,000 fine last November for its part in selling arms to Chile in l979-81. At that time, the country was under an arms embargo, the court papers say.
One DOD official told DLS that Gast "often has to testify before congressional committees," and that his decision against DLS was made "because we are being scrutinized so carefully by members of Congress and their staffs," the court papers say.