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WASHINGTON: Former American Vice-Presi­dent Mr Richard Nixon appeared to be profiting in the Republican election stakes yesterday [Sept 8], with growing signs that Michigan Governor George Romney has lost prestige in confessing he was brainwashed over the Viet-Nam war.

Mr Nixon’s backers were quick to seize political advantage from the gathering storm created by Mr Romney’s repeated allegations that he and the whole American nation were hoodwinked by officials, generals and diplomats.

The Johnson Administration also weighed into the debate. Defence Secretary Robert S. McNamara labelled the Governor, until now a strong contender for the Republican nomination in next year’s Presidential election, as a man who “appears to be blind to the truth”.

Strong doubts about Mr Romney’s political strength were expressed privately by the Republican Party state committee chairman meeting in Washington.

Mr Nixon’s chief backer, former Oklahoma Governor Henry Bellmon, claimed Mr Romney had “shown weaknesses that in a Presidential campaign he would find very damaging”.

[Meanwhile, also reported by agencies in Washington,] Defence Secretary Robert McNamara said in a testimony released yesterday [Sept 8] that the United States had decided to permit India and Pakistan to purchase spare parts on a case-by-case basis for all military equipment previously supplied.

He added that the US would also consider single item replacements for accidental losses of the equipment when the question arose.

Mr McNamara was testifying before the House Appropriations Sub-Committee on April 4 and he described the decision on parts as a recent development.

He told the Sub-Committee that since the outbreak of hostilities between India and Pakistan in September, 1965, no grant of military assistance had been provided to either country and none was proposed for fiscal year 1968, which began last July 1.

Published in Dawn, September 10th, 2017