Russian Offer of Arms to Arab States Confirmed in Washington

The Soviet Union has offered to provide munitions to Egypt, Syria, and Saudi Arabia it was learned today from government sources here.

The offer to Saudi Arabia was made directly to King Saud three weeks ago when he visited Teheran on a royal visit Soviet Ambassador Lavientov made the offer.

Soviet diplomats in Cairo informed Premier Nasser that if he could not get weapons under conditions he desired from the United States, the Soviet Union would fill Egypt’s needs

The Soviet move was interpreted here as a device to keep the Arab States neutral and disrupt Western pact planning in the area.

(The Beirut Radio reported today that the Soviet Ambassador had discussed with the Lebanese Deputy Foreign Minister the question of “Egypt’s withdrawal from the talks with the Israeli delegation to the Mixed Armistice Commission concerning easing tension in the Gaza sector”)

Syria has either completed an arms arrangement with the Soviet Union or is contemplating such an arrangement, Syrian Ambassador Farid Zeineddine indicated today. The Ambassador said Syria was unable to get munitions Syria desired from the United States and asserted that “it would be ridiculous to tell a sovereign state” from whom it could buy arms. With reference to Syrian arms negotiations with Russia, the Ambassador said “any government would like to insure its defense by any means ” The main threat to Syria’s security he said, comes from Israel He said that the Arab States at present are “inadequately armed.”

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