Britain Orders Temporary Ban on Arms to Middle East; Looks to Own Defense First

The British Government has formally notified the Governments of Egypt, Iraq, Jordan and Israel that pending a survey of Britain’s defense commitments, which is presently being conducted by Britain’s military chiefs, they will receive no arms on previous contracts and all further buying of military equipment and arms of all kinds has been temporarily suspended until the survey is concluded.

A British Foreign Office spokesman today drew attention to Prime Minister Clement Attle’s statement in the House of Commons Tuesday that while Britain has allies in the Middle East and must keep the closest watch on the situation there, Britain has presently to give increasing attention to the defense of the West. Accordingly, Mr. Attlee had explained that during the past few weeks, the British Government had been re-examining the whole arms matter in the light of the international situation and Britain’s needs.

The spokesman particularly stressed Mr. Attles’s conclusion that in the future Britian’s own needs and those of the Atlantic Pact Allies and the Commonwealth will receive priority over all previous engagements.

Reports from Cairo indicate that Britain has told Egyptian authorities that until the survey is completed no further deliveries can be made of jet aircraft, heavy tanks and rader equipment. Similarly, equipment destined for Iraq and Jordan has also been held up. The Israel Government has been informed that because of this temporary ban, Britian is unable at present to supply arms requested by Israel.

It is understood here that both the French and American governments have taken parallel action. This affects primarily arms purchased by the Syrian and Lebanese Governments in France.

NEXT STORY