LONDON (Oct. 17)
While the United States Government is considering an approach to Israel to join in a Middle East defense project, no such approach will be made, either immediately or in the near future, by Britain, it was indicated here today in authoritative British circles.
The Foreign Office here still entertains the hope that Egypt may change its mind and agree to participate in a Middle East defense plan. But even if Egypt remains adamant, Britain is not likely to approach Israel for a long time with any suggestion for participation in a Middle East defense organization. The British view is that Jordan and Iraq, where British troops and planes are based, are considerably more important than Israel.
It was pointed out here today that France wants Syria to be included in a Middle East defense arrangement, and that the United States wants Saudi Arabia to be included in such a project. None of these Arab countries would agree to the inclusion of Israel, it is believed here. Contrary to the present sentiment in Washington with regard to the inclusion of Israel in a defense plan, the feeling here is that as little as possible must be done to alienate the Arabs.
The Jewish Telegraphic Agency learns from reliable sources that the projected Middle East defense plan envisaged the inclusion of all Arab states and the conclusion of a secret agreement between the western powers and Israel for the immediate participation of the Jewish state when an emergency situation develops in the area. In return, Israel could expect definite military aid and some economic aid.
This plan, it was indicated here today, has now been shelved indefinitely because of the flare-up in Egypt. No decision will be taken on what the next step should be until the foreshadowed meeting in Washington between the western military commanders and American military leaders takes place, it is believed.