Eban Asks State Dept. for Speedy Decision on Israel’s Arms Request

Israel Ambassador Abba Eban sought action, today on Israel’s arms purchase application in a 75 minute session with George V. Allen, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs.

Mr. Eban related Israel’s continuing and growing concern over the increasing imbalance of regional military strength as a result of Egypt receiving a heavy flow of munitions from British and Communist sources. He stressed to Mr. Allen the need of Israel for arms for legitimate self-defense.

Questioned after the meeting, Ambassador Eban declined to discuss the status of the arms request and refused to say if he was optimistic. Asked if Israel was pleased by the President’s State of the Union message, Mr. Eban replied that he was pleased with any announcement that envisaged a settlement, but added that the continuing arms imbalance in the Near East was not conducive to such a settlement. “In fact,” he said, the arms imbalance has “the opposite result.”

Mr. Eban said in reply to another question that Israel’s bid for a security pact did not arise in today’s meeting. He indicated that the arms list held priority today as an aim of Israel diplomacy.

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