June 15, 1974 – The World This Week – CBS Radio – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –
June 15, 1974 – Another week for the History books. This time, a visit to the Middle East by President Nixon whom many felt was using this groundbreaking tour as a distraction from the bubbling cauldron of Watergate and a nosedive in public support back home. It began with a brief overnight stopover in Europe before heading to Egypt and his arrival in Cairo to begin a tour that included Syria, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Israel. His first such tour in some 40 years (then as vice-President Nixon). His purpose was to improve diplomatic relations that began well but suffered a degree of battering over the years.
Over the course of the next few days President Nixon offered a dazzling array of promises and incentives as a way of improving relations. Among them; providing nuclear know-how to Egypt, more U.S. arms aid to Saudi Arabia, diplomatic and other arrangements with Syria and the promise of continued support of Israel.
It was the promise of nuclear support to Egypt that caused the first ripple of alarm around Capitol Hill. Many lawmakers expressed concern, saying the announcement must be received with serious reservations, but was subject to approval of the Congress in any case. The issue put in question the survival of Israel and the security of the whole Middle-East. Other lawmakers expressed surprise and wondered if, because Egypt was offered nuclear support, would the same be offered to Israel? The whole issue was considered to have grave considerations. After the initial shock had worn off, some entertained the idea that the nuclear issue may be a card to use in order to ensure peace in the Middle-East. The threat of an all-out nuclear war seemed to be a deterrent to the rest of the world, it just might work for the Middle-East. In any case, Israel wasn’t happy about it, even though it was widely known for some time that Israel already possessed the capability of building a nuclear weapon, and some expressed confidence Israel already had one. So there was that. Israel was expected to get additional nuclear support as well as military assistance from the U.S. – both of which were expected to be given as a result of this trip.
And that’s a small slice of what was going on this week, ending June 15, 1974 as reported by CBS Radio’s – The World This Week.
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