WASHINGTON (Jul. 17)
The United States policy of providing arms to Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Iraq and Lebanon at a time when their rulers threaten Israel in public statements was criticized in the House today by Representative James Roosevelt.
“Saudi Arabia, which is now supposed to be the great and good friend of democracy in the Middle East, persists in its campaign against Israel with demands that the Straits of Tiran and the Gulf of Akaba be closed, “he pointed out. The California Democrat said that if the United States continues such military aid to the Arab states “then we either have to provide arms to Israel or else we must answer the Arab threat against Israel by entering into a firm security pact with that country.”
He pointed out that when the United States gives arms to the Arabs without requiring them to make peace with Israel “they are likely to interpret our grants as a blessing on their policy.” He said the granting of arms to the Arabs in advance of a peace settlement does not make for peace but “feeds the military ambitions of the more aggressive elements and it prejudices the attainment of a peace settlement.”
Rep. Roosevelt stressed that Syria and Egypt are receiving arms from Russia while Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Lebanon are being furnished with arms by the United States. He said: “the one country that gets arms from neither the Russian nor the United States is Israel – the only country which is completely and irrevocably committed to the defense of the free world.
“It was a shocking fact that, notwithstanding our substantial gifts of arms to Iraq, that country is more violent in its threats against Israel than any other country in the Middle East, “Rep. Roosevelt declared. He urged an increase in economic aid to Israel in view of increased flow of immigration there. He said many Congressmen were concerned and expressed a view that support of Israel was vital for peace and basic American interests.