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Eisenhower Hints Consideration of Israel’s Request for U.S. Arms

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President Eisenhower said today that the United States does “not intend to contribute to an arms competition” in Egyptian-Israel fighting “because we do not think such a race would be in the true interest of any of the participants.”

The President also said, however, that this country continues “willing to consider requests for arms needed for legitimate self-defense.” Mr. Eisenhower’s prepared statement was read at a news conference here by Herbert Hoover, Jr., Under-Secretary of State, who said in reply to a question that the President’s stated willingness to consider such requests left the way open for further study of Israel’s request for arms.

Presidential Press Secretary James Haggerty said Mr. Eisenhower considered the statement so important he asked Mr. Hoover to personally read it to the press. The statement was drawn up by the President after a 30 minute conference with Mr. Hoover.

The President said: “All Americans have been following with deep concern the latest developments in the Near East. The recent outbreak of hostilities has led to a sharp increase in tension. These events inevitably retard the search for world peace.” He emphasized that insecurity in one region is bound to affect the world as a whole.

In what appeared an appeal to the Soviet Union, Mr. Eisenhower said:” I hope that other nations of the world will cooperate in this endeavor, thereby contributing significantly to world peace.”

The President reaffirmed the Tripartite Declaration of 1950 under which the United States, Britain, and France guaranteed the existing Arab-Israel borders. He said the United States believed this was a policy which would best promote “the interests and security of the area.” True security in the Near East, the President said, “must be based upon a just and reasonable settlement.”

Mr. Hoover, when asked if limited defense arms shipments to Israel could be made without creating an arms race, said: ” I would certainly think so.”

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