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U.S. Arming of Egypt May Force Israel to Build Up Defense

Israeli circles here today indicated that, if Egypt receives arms from the United States while Israel does not, the Jewish State will be compelled, in the interest of its own national security, to make an unprecedented defense build-up. They noted that no attempt was made in statements by President Eisenhower and Secretary Dulles lauding the Suez Canal settlement to call Egypt’s attention to its responsibilities vis-a-vis Israel.

As arrangements are being advanced by the State Department with Egyptian diplomats to extend to Egypt a munitions grant similar to the one recently given Iraq, Israelis in Washington outlined suggestions they felt should be urgently considered if Near Eastern peace is to be preserved.

Mere repetition or reiteration of the 1950 Tripartite Declaration will not serve as an effective deterrent to prevent Egypt from acting aggressively. This contention was advanced by Israel circles with the notation that the Declaration does not require either of its three signatories.– United States, Britain, France–to take any military steps whatever to assist Israel in event of renewed Arab aggression.

The present moment, according to these Israel sources, affords the West a chance, while its influence is at a high peak, to call on Egypt to modify its attitude toward Israeli Israelis do not think mention of the 1888 Suez Convention in the Anglo-Egyptian settlement is any assurance that Egypt will lift its blockade restrictions against Israel.

Israel military experts hold that Israel, because it protects the northern approaches to the Suez Canal nearest the Soviet Union, is more important to the Canal’s defense than Egypt. Yet there is no indication in Washington that State Department officials have any intention of granting arms to Israel, State Department sources say that munitions will be sent Egypt, but denied to Israel, because the Arab League might not cooperate with the West against Communism if the West gives arms to Israel.

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