LONDON (Jul. 2)
The British Government asserted today that the balance of arms in the Middle East was still in favor of Israel. Two government spokesmen in Commons maintained this view in the face of persistent questioning from both Labor and Conservative benches.
Asked by a Conservative MP whether he would order a halt to British arms shipments to Egypt now that the British withdrawal from Suez had been completed, Foreign Secretary Selwyn Lloyd replied negatively. He refused to answer directly a question by Laborite Emanuel Shinwell on whether Britain was currently sending arms to Egypt, and in the next breath told a Conservative concerned with whether British arms sent to Egypt would end up in the hands of North African Arabs fighting. France, that he had not said arms were being shipped to Egypt at the present time.
When Barnett Janner, Labor, pointed out that Soviet destroyers had been received by Egypt and asked whether the British Government would consent to a meeting of the signatories of the Tripartite Declaration of 1950 to consider restoration of the arms balance, A. D. Dodds-Parker, Parliamentary Undersecretary for Foreign Affairs, said he knew of the arrival of the Soviet destroyers at an Egyptian pot. But, he asserted, this development was counterbalanced by the arrival of two ex-British destroyers in Israeli ports.
Mr. Janner reminded the Undersecretary that at the same time that Britain sold Israel two destroyers it sold a like number to Egypt, which meant that the Arab state was still ahead. Once again Mr. Dodds-Parker avoided a direct reply, merely noting that the two ships Britain sold to Egypt had not yet arrived at an Egyptian port.