WASHINGTON (Mar. 2)
The State Department today denied a press report that the Eisenhower Administration was ready to embark on a new Middle East policy which would involve “paying more attention to Arab countries and less to Israel.”
A State Department spokesman told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that as far as the Department is officially concerned there is no new policy affecting Israel. He added that there has been no official announcement of any change of policy.
The report, to which the State Department took exception, was published by one of the leading American news agencies. It said that “top officials” in Washington were reportedly “convinced” that this change is necessary to counter Soviet pressure in the Middle East. “The new aim,” said the report, “will be to treat all Mid-East countries scrupulously alike and to avoid any special aid program or privileges for Israel.”
The report pointed out that “under the Democratic Administration, the United States gave the infant Jewish republic more financial and technical aid than all the Arab states combined.” It stated that a total of $229,516,000 in loans, grants, and credits was extended to Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Iraq, and Jordan in the last seven years, and added that “in four years alone, Israel was allotted a total of $276,517,000, much of it in the form of grants allocated by Congress.”
EGYPT MAY GET $11,000,000 CREDIT TO ACQUIRE U.S. ARMS
The first concrete move in the Administration’s new policy, the report quoted Washington officials as stating, will be to grant Egypt an $11,000,000 credit so it can buy some American defense equipment. This is intended to maintain internal security and not for a possible renewal of hostilities with Israel, the officials said.
“The gesture is aimed at strengthening the hand of Premier Gen. Mohammed Naguib, who recently settled his argument with Britain over the Sudan and who is negotiating for gradual evacuation of British troops from the Suez Canal area,” the report explained. “Once this is done, American officials hope Egypt will then consent to join the Middle East defense organization and other Arab nations will follow.”
The adoption of a more favorable policy toward the Arab countries does not mean the United States will be anti-Israel the report emphasized. “Israel’s legitimate needs will receive careful attention along with the requirements of all neighboring Arab states,” it declared. “Eventually, after the Middle East alliance is a growing concern, Israel will be invited to join. With all sides linked in a common alliance, it may then be possible to insure Arab-Jewish peace and an effective defense against Russia,” the report said.