Western Powers Undecided on Inviting Israel to Join Defense Pact

The British press today reports that the question of whether the Western Powers should approach Israel to join a Middle East defense arrangement as a founder is still being considered.

Some of the newspapers express the opinion that such a development would be “unwelcome to the Arab states and might frighten them off.” On the other hand, they points out that to omit Israel from such a set-up “would be a slight to the most friendly state in the area.” Some suggest that Israel might be included on the basis that each of the smaller powers would be associated separately with the central command and so would not have to cooperate with each other.

Reports that the Western Powers are prepared to approach various Arab states to join the defense pact were termed premature today by the Times here. It asserts that some Arab leaders, notably senior army officers, would favor such an arrangement, but that “the natural desire of the Arabs to hold together to stronger than any present fears for the security of the Middle East.”

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