UNITED NATIONS, N.Y. (Dec. 11)
A plea for restoration of the arms balance as between Egypt and Israel was made to both East and West this week-end by Abba Eban chairman of the Israel delegation, in an address during the disarmament debate in the General Assembly’s Political and Security Committee.
Conceding that there is “a legal right of sovereign states to buy or sell arms anywhere they choose, ” Mr. Eban told the United Nations that “this legal right, like all others, can either be applied with discretion and prudence–or abused by a lack of judgment and restraint. The question is not of legality, but of basic international responsibility.” Obviously addressing himself to the members of the Soviet bloc, Mr. Eban said: “To those who have sold these arms or publicly defended their sale, we say in full earnestness that relaxation of tension is indivisible. It cannot consistently be upheld as an ideal for the world as a whole–and violated by action which increases tension in the Middle East.”
Appealing to the West, Mr. Eban declared; Some in the Western world may well ask themselves whether they have always shown the self-discipline and absolute equity which their declarations in the Security Council seemed to promise. . . They will obviously have no chance of success at all if the imbalance created by Egypt is allowed to grow without counteraction.”
“My government is convinced that the sponsorship or acceptance of such drastic imbalance in an area of conflict is incompatible with any professed desire to bring about a relaxation of international or regional tension.” He noted that “in the interests of its national survival, Israel will take all legitimate steps to counteract this imbalance and to protect itself against its likely effects.”