OTTAWA (Sep. 23)
Canadian Prime Minister Louis St. Laurent announced this week-end that Canada would sell Israel 24 Canadian manufactured Sabre jet fighter planes. The planes are manufactured in Canada under a license from North American Aircraft Company of the United States and are powered by Canadian-built Orenda jet engines. They are expected to cost $6,000,000.
It became known immediately that the United States had been consulted about the proposed sale and had raised no objections. The U. S. unwillingness to sell Israel such defensive arms have made America’s allies hesitant about delivering them to the Jewish State. Some months ago France shipped Israel 24 Mystery IV jets, after the U. S. had given permission for the planes to be diverted from NATO purchase orders.
In his announcement, Prime Minister St. Laurent declared that the government’s decision was “greatly influenced” by the fact that Egypt had received a great number of jet fighters and modern jet bombers from the Soviet Union. He revealed that Israel had given the Canadian Government assurances that the interceptors would be used only for defense against aggression.
Israel Ambassador Michael S. Comay, who carried through the six-month-long negotiations here, said the sale of the planes would have a “healthy and stabilizing effect on the tense Middle East situation” and would “correct the dangerous imbalance in armament and deter potential aggression.” He called the Canadian action “a characteristic act of friendship” and “at the same time an act of high statesmanship.”