WASHINGTON (Sep. 23)
A Canadian diplomatic source here today expressed surprise that “credit” is being given by some to Secretary of State John Foster Dulles for Canada’s agreement to sell 24 jet fighter planes to Israel.
This source indicated a view that the transaction was made despite rather than because of Mr. Dulles’ attitude. Sec. Dulles’ responses in discussions of the matter between the United States and Canada were described as “evasive” and marked by a refusal “to share responsibility.”
State Department press spokesman Lincoln White confirmed during the week-end that the United States was consulted by Canadian Government on its decision to sell the jets to Israel. Mr. White was asked if the United States had any objection to the Canadian-Israel jet transaction. He replied that he was not aware of any objection, but added it was not clear in his own mind if the State Department approved. The planes, he said, were made under a U. S. patent license but not under an American contract. Therefore, he explained, the question of direct official approval did not arise. Canada did not need official U. S. approval to close the deal, he pointed out.
Asked why Canada consulted the U. S. on the matter, he said it was a friendly gesture on the part of an ally. Mr. White was asked about the status of Israel’s application for arms from the United States. He replied that there had been no change on this matter.
Israel Ambassador Abba Eban expressed Israel’s gratification at the sale by Canada of Sabre jet planes to Israel. Asked if the transaction might encourage the United States to sell such arms to Israel, Mr. Eban said he would not like to confirm or deny the implications contained in this question.
Mr. Eban was interviewed at the State Department following a meeting with William Rountree, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs. The purpose of his call at the Department, Mr. Eban said, was a discussion of economic and financial matters, including Israel’s pending application for an Export-Import Bank loan.
Chairman Philip S. Bernstein of the American Zionist Committee for Public Affairs today welcomed the sale of jets by Canada to Israel, stating that “this and other developments in the last few weeks clearly indicate that the Western Powers including our own government are taking a realistic view of the dangers in the region and the need for vigorous action to keep the peace.”