WASHINGTON (Jan. 4)
The United States Government is inclined to give military aid to Saudi Arabia and Iraq which are considered potential targets of Soviet attacks, but has no immediate plans to provide such aid for Israel, Lebanon or Syria since these countries are not in danger of a sudden Soviet invasion, it was indicated here today by a State Department spokesman.
The question of supplying free munitions to individual Arab states outside of the framework of a Near Eastern Defense Command is “under active consideration, ” the spokesman said. However, he emphasized that no final decision has yet been reached.
The State Department official pointed out that there is available for munitions for the Near East the sum of $30,000,000 from Mutual Security Administration legislation for the current fiscal year, but none of this has yet been allocated.
While it is known that a military aid agreement may be concluded by the State Department very shortly with Saudi Arabia and later with Iraq, it was reported today that State Department officials indicated that they are not considering any arms aid to Israel at this time because they believe “the Israeli armed forces are fairly well supplied.”
The State Department was reported last week as being close to an agreement with Egypt on arms shipments, but it was indicated today that this project has been temporarily delayed owing to violent protests from Britain. The British want Egypt to first conclude its negotiations on the precarious Anglo-Egyptian Suez Canal issue involving British evacuation of the Canal Zone.
In the British view the Egyptian position would be strengthened by any shipment of arms from the United States at present. In order to arrive at a solution favorable to British interests, it is felt in London that Washington should delay arms aid to Egypt.