Israel Government Ponders Approaching Moscow on Submarine Issue

The Israel Government has not as yet made any approach to the Soviet Government with regard to Moscow’s sending submarines to Egypt and bombers to Syria, but the Foreign Ministry here is preparing material and is studying the question of what kind of an approach should be taken toward the Moscow move, it was learned here today.

Israeli circles consider Moscow’s action is a subject more suitable for discussion between Israel and the Western Powers than between Israel and the Soviet Government, both because Israel alone cannot hope to influence a major change in the Soviet policy and because the presence of Soviet submarines in the Middle East is no less a headache for the Western Powers than for Israel.

In clarifying its next move with regard to Moscow, the Foreign Ministry has consulted Joseph Avidar, Israel’s Ambassador to Moscow, who is now here. However, it has not yet been decided whether the presentation to the Soviet Government should be made through Ambassador Avidar upon his return to Moscow, or by Foreign Minister Golda Meir to the Soviet Ambassador in Israel.

The Israelis see four main issues involved in the Soviet arms delivery program: Continuation of the arms supplies as a means of interference in the Middle East; an attempt to prove to the Arab states that despite the Eisenhower Doctrine and the recent show of force by the U.S. Sixth Fleet the USSR will stand by the Arabs staunchly; a continuation of the anti-Israel policy as part of a program of maintaining maximum tension in the area; and an attempt to impress the West with the fact that the USSR must be a party to any Middle East settlement.

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