LONDON (Feb. 24)
Michael Comay, deputy director general of the Israel Foreign Office and head of its Western Division, is flying to London today for conferences with Israel Ambassador Eliahu Elath and for a visit at the British Foreign Office which is officially described as “routine in character,” the London Daily Telegraph reported today from Tel Aviv.
(The United Press today reported from London that the British Foreign Office is consulting with Jordanian authorities on the possibility of stationing British troops in Jordan. If Jordan agrees to the transfer, some of the 70,000 British troops now assigned in the Suez Canal zone may be moved to Jordan in the near future, the United Press said.)
An Israel Embassy spokesman here, commenting on the Telegraph report, reiterated merely that the visit concerned “routine matters.” The spokesman said Mr. Comay is scheduled to arrive in Brussels tonight and to come on to London, where he will stay several days, later in the week.
However, the Telegraph, reporting that Mr. Comay conferred with Premier David Ben Gurion and Foreign Minister Moshe Sharett in Jerusalem yesterday, says that Mr. Comay is likely to discuss with the British Foreign Office the following matters:
1. The inflamed relations between Israel and Jordan, specifically, and between Israel and the Arab League, in general. These result from the recent series of border “battles” and “incidents.”
2. The effect on Israel’s diplomatic position of the recent British and American demarches following Israel’s reprisal actions for repeated Jordan violations of the border areas.
3. The alarm and indignation felt throughout Israel at Britain’s offer to sell jet fighter planes to the Arab states, particularly Egypt.
4. The widespread discussion of a plan for possible establishment of British or Anglo-British bases in the Negev, as a partial counterbalance for the expected loss of the Suez Canal bases.
5. The still vague proposals for a Middle East defense command, with Israeli participation, which have been touched upon recently.
Meanwhile, Israeli sources here again criticized Britain’s offer to sell jet planes to the Middle East states. They pointed out that Israel probably could not afford to purchase the 14 planes offered each country by the British, and that if each of the Arab states purchased its full quota Israel, with a possible 14 jets, would be surrounded by hostile states possessing 100 such planes. Also, these sources argued, the obsolescent character of the planes meant that they could make no important contribution to regional defense while at the same time they would encourage a more aggressive Arab policy toward Israel.