WASHINGTON (Feb. 22)
Eighteen additional tanks for Saudi Arabia, for which export permits are pending, may be held up until an equitable Middle Eastern arms policy can be worked out it was revealed today by Rep. T. E. Morgan, head of a House subcommittee which met with Assistant Secretary of State George V. Allen in executive session for three hours. Rep. Morgan made it clear that he did not think U. S. arms sales for Israel would be forthcoming until an equitable arrangement emerges.
Asked if he was satisfied with the State Department’s “on again-off again” policy toward Saudi Arabia, Rep. Morgan said he was not fully satisfied with the Department’s explanation. He added that he was satisfied that the United States is treating and will treat the Arab states and Israel equally. Asked if he thought the State Department could formulate an equitable arrangement, Rep. Morgan said the State Department would have to answer that.
In its meeting with Mr. Allen today the subcommittee received a general review of the Middle East situation with particular reference to arms shipments to that area. Mr. Allen confined his remarks to shipments that has been made thus far. He deferred any answers as to future shipments until Secretary of State Dulles is consulted. Mr. Dulles will appear before the House Foreign Affairs Committee next week on this issue.
The subcommittee explored with Mr. Allen the possibility of relaxing tension throughout the area. This included the development of the Jordan Valley and other water resources. Mr. Allen said he was “happy to have had the opportunity to appear before the Middle Eastern subcommittee. “He said the meeting was “full, frank and certainly as far as I am concerned, friendly.” Asked whether he discussed the Israel arms application Mr. Allen replied: “You can be sure that every question was thrown out during the three hour meeting.”
Secretary of State Dulles will appear Friday before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in response to its demand that he explain the Saudi Arabian tank deal. On Sunday afternoon Mr. Dulles will deliver a 30-minute policy speech for the Philadelphia Bulletin Forum on the Middle East arms situation. Under Secretary of State Herbert Hoover Jr., will also appear before the Senate committee on Friday.
It was learned, meanwhile, that six B-26 four-engine bombers have already been shipped to Saudi Arabia. Lincoln White, State Department press officer, disclosed today that a number of applications for arms for the Middle East have been approved but have not yet gone out. He said, however, that these came within the $16,000,000 figure cited in the State Department’s statement last week.
Mr. White said the State Department had no answer to Israel’s request for arms and this was the status of the matter. He stated he had no information on Israel’s supplementary request of last December for naval equipment, principally anti-sub marine equipment, and added that he did not know whether a reply to Israel on arms could be expected soon.