WASHINGTON (Nov. 8)
An official State Department spokesman announced today that “the United States has reached no decision with respect to the sale of arms to Israel.”
Authoritative State Department sources denied reports that Israel might receive “considerable” quantities of American arms. Because the Department wishes to avoid an arms race, these sources said, a “trickle” of defensive munitions might be sold to Israel under an existing reimbursable arrangement.
State Department press spokesman Lincoln White pointed out that the United States has such a reimbursable agreement with Israel “as it has with other countries.” He said “the United States has stressed repeatedly that it will consider the sale of arms for legitimate self-defense but will not participate in an arms race.”
“That has been our traditional policy and there has been no change,” he declared. He expressed the view that the United States could sell Israel “small quantities” of arms without becoming involved in an arms race. (In New York, the press reported today that the United States is considering the question of selling jet fighters and anti-submarine weapons to Israel in view of the fact that the Egyptians are said to be getting 100 MIG jet planes and a number of submarines from the Communist countries.)
U.S. CHECKS WITH FRANCE AND BRITAIN ON ARMS SOLD TO ISRAEL
It was made clear from what Mr. White and other sources had to say that Israel could not realistically expect early shipments of “significant” quantities of American arms. It was indicated that the United States is now consulting with the French and British governments to determine what arms those countries have provided or plan to send to the Near East. Under the Tripartite Declaration of 1950, it was said, the Department will carefully scrutinize French shipments to Israel before a decision on approving items on an Israel list. The list is expected but has not yet been submitted to the Department.
Asked if the State Department considered Israel’s arms request in the category of “self-defense” or “arms race, “Mr. White said he could not answer in the absence of a specific Israel list. He revealed that Egypt’s application for U.S. arms is now “dormant” and indicated that no U. S. arms shipments are contemplated at this time for Syria or Saudi Arabia. Iraq, he added, represented “a different situation” in which arms are granted free under the military defense assistance program. Arms supplies for Iraq will continue to flow and shipments may even be increased as an answer to Communist encroachment in the region.
Asked about possible American adherence to the Baghdad “northern tier” pact, Mr. White said the United States looked with favor on the Baghdad pact but was “not thinking n terms of adherence at this time.”