WASHINGTON (Dec. 11)
The Pentagon yesterday completed its study of the list of arms requested of the United States by Israel and returned the list to the State Department, it was learned here today.
The Defense Department’s evaluation of the arms list, which reportedly asked some $50 million worth of weapons, said that the arms requested were of a “defensive nature.” Many of the arms requested were available, the Defense Department said. Those that were not available, officials were known to have said, were relatively unimportant.
Although the arms list has been kept secret, both because of protocol and at Israel’s specific request, it is understood that jet planes intended to offset the Communist-manufactured MIG 15’s received from Czechoslovakia are on the list, as are anti-tank guns and vessels useful in destroying submarines, which Egypt has on order with the Communist bloc.
The report of the Defense Department on Israel’s request completes the first phase of “consideration” of the arms list by the United States Government and returns the matter to the hands of the State Department, where Secretary of State John Foster Dulles will make the final decision, after consultations with the Treasury and other government departments.
(Addressing a Jewish National Fund dinner in San Francisco last night. Sen. Estes Kefauver, Democratic hopeful in the Presidential race in 1952 and again in 1956, called upon the United States to supply Israel with defensive arms. While he expressed opposition to an arms race in the Middle East, he said that as long as Egypt had obtained arms from the Communist bloc the U. S. should give arms to Israel.)
SHARETT HITS “MALICIOUS DISTORTION” OF ISRAEL POSITION
Israel’s Foreign Minister, Moshe Sharett, this week-end refuted as a “malicious distortion” a newspaper report from Washington alleging that Israel’s position in regard to peace talks is “rigid.” In a statement referring to an article which attributed the information to “informed sources” at the capital, Mr. Sharett declared:
“The article about my talk with Secretary of State John Foster Dulles distorts the picture. I have not heard from the Secretary of State that Egypt is ready for negotiations even through mediation. On the other hand, we can see through this article the malicious intent on the part of the source to discredit Israel by painting Egypt’s alleged willingness to accept mediation against Israel’s unwillingness to agree to territorial concessions. It is a complete distortion to imply that the Government of Israel is not ready to enter peace negotiations and that it has to be prodded into it. On countless occasions, Israel has declared her readiness for negotiations without prior conditions if the other party is also willing to negotiate on such a basis.
“At the same time, the Government of Israel deemed it necessary to make it clear to the United States Government that she is opposed to any territorial concessions. Israel does not submit prior conditions to direct negotiations with Egypt or any other neighboring state, and it is an untruth to talk about prior conditions on Israel’s part in this respect.”