Britain Firm on Refusal to Supply Israel with Defensive Arms

British Laborites made another unsuccessful attempt today to get the British Government to agree to supply Israel with arms to offset huge supplies of war materiel obtained by the Arab states from Soviet bloc countries.

This time Barnett Janner asked whether the government would take steps, together with the United States and France, to enable Israel to obtain arms to match warships obtained by Egypt from Poland, including two destroyers. Mr. Janner pointed out that the destroyers were capable of laying mines as part of the blockade of Israel, an action inconsistent with the conditions laid down in the Tripartite Declaration.

In reply, Anthony Nutting, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, insisted that the government has “no definite information” of the matter raised by Mr. Janner and that in the meantime Britain’s “policy on arms to the Middle East countries remains as stated” by Foreign Secretary Selwyn Lloyd March 28 when he spoke of maintaining a balance of arms. “If we get definite information, we shall take it into account in deciding on arms delivery policy,” Mr. Nutting promised. He said also that both quantity and quality of arms are taken into consideration in deciding on arms deliveries to both sides.

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