WASHINGTON (Jan. 22)
State Department sources sounded a pessimistic note today on Israel’s request for American arms, which was repeated here yesterday by Israel Ambassador Abba Eban who pointed out that Israel’s peril “is progressively mounting.”
Mr. Eban visited the State Department yesterday to “re-open” conversations on Israel’s application for arms purchases. Secretary of State John Foster Dulles was unable to see him, so the Israel diplomat discussed the matter with Assistant Secretary George V. Allen. The conversations lasted over an hour.
In the opinion of State Department officials, the resolution adopted last week by the United Nations Security Council condemning Israel for its recent retaliatory raid on Syrian military positions would delay consideration of Israel’s arms application. These officials indicated that Secretary Dulles promise this month to take a “fresh look” at the application following the decision of the Security Council was linked with the nature of the decision.
One official, however, said it was “not realistic” for Israel to expect favorable action on the arms list for a considerable time. His explanation was that the major goal of U. S. Middle East diplomacy at this time is to win Egypt away from Soviet influence, Sale of U.S. arms to Israel, he said, would jeopardize American efforts in Cairo. If these efforts succeed, he said, Israel may see peace with the Arabs and have no need for additional arms.
CHAIRMAN OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS COMMITTEE OPPOSES ARMS TO ISRAEL
Chairman James P. Richards of the House Foreign Affairs Committee asked Secretary of State Dulles not to approve Israel’s pending arms list. He met Friday with Mr. Dulles and discussed a number of foreign issues, including the Middle Eastern situation. Congressional sources said Rep. Richards told Secretary Dulles that “Zionist pressure to secure action on the Israel application should be overlooked in the final determination of policy. He sought to counter requests from other Congressmen that the State Department approve the sale of arms to Israel. Questioned personally, Congressman Richards avoided discussion of the matter.
Indications came today that the Senate will review American diplomacy in the Middle East. Sen. Mike Mansfield of Oklahoma, a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, called for a Congressional review of what he called Secretary Dulles “diplomacy of the brink.” He said the Soviet diplomatic offensive “has jumped the wall of containment in the Middle East.” Chairman Walter F. George of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee endorsed Sen. Mansfield’s proposal for a review.
Meanwhile, State Department sources said today that word was received here through official channels that a very large percentage of Communist arms contracted by Egypt have arrived. Government officials also revealed that information has been received in Washington that over 150 Soviet bloc military technicians are now in Egypt. The main mission of these experts is to assemble arms arriving from Czechoslovakia. A considerable number are aircraft mechanics specializing on jet planes. Premier Nasser of Egypt had informed U.S. Ambassdor Henry A. Byroade that he decided to admit 30 technicians. But word that five times that number have arrived came this weekend, causing concern to American officials.
The French Government was informed yesterday on the talks completed last week between British Middle East expert Evelyn Shuckburgh and George V. Allen, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, when French Ambassador Maurice Couve de Murville called on Mr. Allen. The Ambassador sought information in connection with the forthcoming talks involving President Eisenhower and British Prime Minister Eden.
Senator Paul M. Douglas, of Illinois suggested today that the forthcoming Eisenhower Eden conference on Middle East problems should include advisers who are “not merely staff members who attend to emphasize Arab interest” but also advisers familiar with the Israel situation. He named as desirable participants James G. McDonald, former U.S. Ambassador to Israel, and Edward Lawson, present Ambassador.