WASHINGTON (Nov. 7)
Israel Ambassador Abba Eban in a lengthy meeting with George V. Allen, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, described today the character of new defense problems of Israel as background for Israel’s forthcoming request for U.S. munitions to balance the flow of Communist arms to Egypt. It was indicated that Ambassador Eban would present a formal arms list to the State Department soon, possibly this week.
Mr. Eban said after the meeting that today he had explained Israel’s impressions of the Geneva conference, and briefly covered the same general ground discussed by Secretary of State John Foster Dulles with Israel Foreign Minister Moshe Sharett at Geneva. Mainly, Mr. Eban outlined Israel’s new defense problems which were considered pressing as details became available of the extent and nature of Communist munitions arriving in Egypt. He was accompanied on his visit by Israel Minister Plenipotentiary Reuven Shiloah.
It was learned here today that a list of U.S. arms needed by the Jewish State is now being drawn up by Israel and is expected to arrive in Washington this week, for presentation to the U.S. Government. A demand for jet fighters will be stressed by Israel because of the knowledge that the central item in the Czech-Egyptian deal was MIG fighters and bombers, totalling between 100 and 200, of types so far unavailable to Israel. It is believed that anti-aircraft guns, radar equipment, jet interceptors and ships and equipment for anti-submarine defense will be asked of the U.S.
Some sources here said today the United States probably will supply some anti-aircraft, anti-tank and other armaments to Israel if investigation shows they are needed to balance the Communist weapons being received by Egypt. A basic hope of the United States is to do everything possible to prevent a dangerous arms race in the tense Middle East. “We are going to be strongly opposed to any side which is guilty of aggressive warfare against the other side. I think these are elements which will tend to cause the countries concerned to stop and think, “Mr. Allen said last night in a statement on a television program.
State Department press officer Lincoln White said today that he is not in a position to give any details on the estimate made last night by Mr. Allen that $75,000,000 to $100,000,000 is involved in the arms transaction between Czechoslovakia and Egypt. Mr. Allen revealed, among other things, that no proposal has been discussed involving the sending of United Nations military forces to the Arab-Israel front to prevent the outbreak of an Arab-Israel war.
Mr. White said that the United States Government has definite information that “several” shiploads of Communist munitions have been delivered to the Egyptian Army and has received reports that Soviet bloc military technicians are in Egypt. He also made known that the State Department is in “constant touch” with Egypt and Israel in view of the gravity of the situation and that the Department is continuing to explore ways of preventing war.
The explorations were “actively going forward,” he said. Asked if a reaffirmation of the 1950 Tripartite Declaration was planned, he replied: “All ways and means of being helpful” were under consideration. He stressed that concentration “at the moment” was on the United Nations and said he assumed it would continue in that direction.