WASHINGTON (Jan. 16)
Efforts to influence the State Department against the sale of American arms to Israel are being made here by Henry A. Byroade, United States Ambassador to Egypt, who is participating in the Anglo-American discussions on Middle East problems currently being held here. Heading the American group at these discussions is Assistant Secretary of State George V. Allen. The British group is headed by Evelyn Shuckburgh, expert on Middle East Affairs at the British Foreign Office. The results of these discussions will be brought to the attention of President Eisenhower and British Prime Minister Sir Anthony Eden when they start their meetings in Washington at the end of this month.
In questioning the wisdom of U. S. arms sales to Israel. Ambassador Byroade is reported by informed sources to be advancing the idea that Israel is responsible for the Egyptian arms deal with the Communists. According to him, the Communist countries had been offering Egypt arms for many months, but Egyptian Premier Col. Nasser had not reacted to these offers until after Israel’s attack on Gaza last year. Mr. Byroade is reported to feel that the Communist countries would tend to side with the Arabs in an Arab Israel war and he advises the U. S. to avoid identification with Israel.
ISRAELIS IN WASHINGTON WORRIED OVER U. S. STAND ON SALE OF ARMS
Israeli circles here declared last night that a rejection of Israel’s application to purchase American arms would mean an almost inevitable Arab attack within a few months. They indicated that Israel has received no word so far from the State Department to the effect that the. United States has decided to rescind undertakings of President Eisenhower and Secretary of State Dulles concerning, their “sympathetic consideration” of appeals for weapons for legitimate self-defense.
Israel circles feel this undertaking is a commitment that is not compatible with rejection of Israel’s request. Nevertheless, they expressed “profound concern” at the very existence of newspaper reports in this direction. A high Israel source described the contingency as one of “extreme gravity.” The Israel Embassy announced officially that Ambassador Abba Eban is seeking an appointment with Secretary Dules this week to resume negotiations for defensive arms.
Israel circles expressed belief that even if the United States and Israel differ on certain matters, the United States does not want to see the danger of a Middle East war increased by allowing Israel to be exposed to growing peril. It is believed that the timing of Israel’s request for an Eban-Dulles meeting in continuation of arms negotiations is based on Mr. Dulles recent statement that he would give the matter a “fresh look” after the United Nations Security Council debate on the Lake Tiberias incident.
Meanwhile, President Eisenhower indicated today in his message to Congress on the new budget that the United States would continue to supply “basic military equipment” to Iraq. The President also indicated concern over the Arab refugees. He said: “Provision should be made for further contributions for the relief and rehabilitation of refugees from Palestine. In view of the current unrest in the Near East, our continued support is essential both for humanitarian reasons and to assist achieving peace and stability in the area.”