WASHINGTON (Jun. 19)
Consultations have been opened by the United States, Britain, and France over the arrival in Egypt yesterday of three Soviet submarines, it was learned here today. A belief exists in naval circles here that the submarines may not really be intended completely for Egyptian use. Naval sources feel the Russians desire to increase their prestige in the Arab world by demonstrating their ability to use naval power in the Eastern Mediterranean.
State Department spokesman Lincoln White said today that the United States has a report that three Soviet submarines accompanied by a minesweeper have docked at the Egyptian naval port of Alexandria. Mr. White said the United States is without official information as to whether the submarines have been transferred to the Egyptian Navy. He declined to state the attitude of the United States toward the acquisition of such submarines by Egypt.
It was reported here that two of the three submarines that arrived in Egypt are of the very latest type with an operating range of 20, 000 miles. Such a range is far greater than Egypt itself would require against the Red Sea route to Israel. It is suggested here that Egypt might have succeeded in training a crew for one submarine but it is doubted if the Egyptian Navy could at this time man all three.
Vice Admiral Charles R. Brown, commander of the U.S. Sixth Fleet, said in Madrid today that the presence of the three Russian U-boats in the Mediterranean would affect Allied naval strategy in that vital area. He said: “The presence of Russian ships in the Mediterranean will have some effect on our thinking and possibly our actions, but I don’t know just what.”