NEW YORK (Sep. 27)
The United States and Britain appealed to the Soviet Union today not to encourage an armaments race between the Arab countries and Israel, emphasizing that they. too, had decided not to encourage such a race, it was revealed by a spokesman for both countries.
The appeal was made following a private meeting between U.S. Secretary of State John Foster Dulles and British Foreign Minister Harold MacMillan held in New York today on the United States decision “in principle” to sell arms to Egypt to prevent her from accepting arms from Soviet Russia. The British Foreign Office announced in London today that Egypt had informed Britain that she had accepted the Soviet offer.
An official communique issued jointly by Secretaries Dulles and MacMillan following their private talk, read: “There has been and continues to be complete harmony of views between the two governments. Both governments base their policies on the one hand to enable the various countries to provide for internal security and for their defense, and on the other to avoid an arms race which will inevitably increase the tension in the area. They will continue and hope that other governments will continue to be guided by these principles.
BRITAIN, FRANCE OBJECT TO U.S. DECISION TO SELL ARMS TO EGYPT
Earlier today, it was reported from London that the British Government strongly objects to the Washington decision to supply Egypt with arms and that the French Government was considering today an official protest. A British official in London said: “American is embarking on a slippery slope if it agrees to furnish arms to a country under virtual threat of blackmail.”
The U.S. decision to sell arms to Egypt was confirmed yesterday in Washington by State Department officials who declared that this was a move to offset a Soviet offer to supply arms to Egypt in exchange for cotton. Any weapons the United States would provide Egypt, officials stated, would be for strictly defensive purposes and not to encourage aggression against Israel.
Anticipating a strong protest from Israel. State Department officials said that requests by Israel for relatively insignificant amounts of military equipment requiring export licenses were also being considered. The officials indicated that the quantities considered for Egypt are considerably larger than those for Israel. However, they added that Egypt was a larger country than Israel and had requested more than Israel.
State Department press secretary Lincoln White said that the arms to be sent to Egypt would not be sufficient to set off an arms race between Egypt and Israel. But other sources disclosed that the arms involved would be worth about $10,000,000. State Department sources said that Russia was willing to give Egypt MIC jet fighters, tanks, artillery, infantry weapons, and naval craft including at least one submarine. It was believed that Soviet technicians would accompany the arms to train Egyptian soldiers and that several months of training would be required.