Nation: The Price of Peace

"If this is a fair estimate of the cost," said Senate RepubIlican Leader Howard Baker, "it's a real bargain." Declared House Republican Leader John Rhodes: "I don't think it'll be a problem." Insisted House Speaker Tip O'Neill: "It's a cheap price." Joked a White House aide: "See, we got it for you wholesale."

The soothing comments were prompted by Jimmy Carter's private assurance to congressional leaders that the U.S. price tag for the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty would be only "a little over $4 billion" in additional aid stretched over three years. Administration officials later raised this estimate to nearly $5 billion, with...

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