Eban Asks U.S. to Arm Israel if Egypt is Armed by Communist Lands

Israel Ambassador Abba Eban made a public plea last night for United States weapons to redress the balance of power in the Middle East if Egypt and other Arab states receive arms from Communist countries. Mr. Eban’s appeal was made in the course of an interview on the nationally televised program “Meet the Press.”

Commenting on the report that Czechoslovakia would sell arms to Egypt, he said that the Western Powers should make it clear they intend to maintain the balance of power in the Middle East. He urged the powers which “had saved the peace in Asia and Europe” to apply the same principles in the Middle East. He suggested diplomatic action for this purpose.

Mr. Eban, who noted that Israel is continuing to ask for American guarantees as well as arms, opposed the idea that it would be better for the U.S. to arm the Arab states rather than permit the Communist bloc to do so. This would mean that all the Arab states would have to do to obtain arms would be to threaten to accept them from the Communists.

Mr. Eban denied that Israel had more arms than all the Arab states together. He noted that Israel was prepared to make peace, which Egypt was not. At the same time, he stressed that Israel would not sit “like a rabbit to allow the snake to get big enough to devour it.” The Israel envoy spent and hour and a quarter in conference with Secretary of State John Foster Dulles last Friday discussing the Egyptian arms situation.

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