WASHINGTON (May. 20)
Grave concern was felt in government circles today following an announcement in Cairo that the Egyptian Government has concluded an arms deal with Poland similar to the one reached recently with Czechoslovakia. The announcement came on the heels of a report that Egypt is also negotiating an arms deal with Communist China.
Some Administration leaders are reportedly pressing for a blunt warning to Egyptian Premier Nasser that unless he ends his arms deals with the Communist states he can expect no more aid of any kind from the United States. This view is said to compliment that of the British Government which is reported to favor an economic boycott of Egypt.
Other circles within the Administration favor a more easy-going policy in reference to the-Egyptians, arguing that since the United States cannot–for political reasons–give the Arab states arms, the Egyptian Premier cannot be clamed for going to other sources.
Washington views the possible Cairo-Peking rapprochement as an attempt by Col. Nasser to evade what appears to be a forthcoming United Nations-initiated arms embargo on the states of the Middle East. Communist China is not a member of the UN and would not be bound by such a prohibition.
Until recently, it was the official American view that Col. Nasser’s deal with Czechoslovakia was a “one shot” affair and that when Egypt achieved a certain level of armaments it would halt further shipments and turn its attention to economic development rather than to pan-Arabism as opposed to Western friendship and to war against Israel.
The Soviet Union was reported here yesterday to have delivered to Egypt this week-end 21 large jet aircraft suitable for use by paratroopers. It was also reported here that as Egypt receives modern military aircraft, she sells her obsolescent planes to Saudi Arabia or other Arab states, thus spreading war materiel all over the Middle East.