Israel May Ask Western Powers for Submarines, Ben Gurion Indicates
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Israel May Ask Western Powers for Submarines, Ben Gurion Indicates

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Israel may ask the Western Powers for submarines to balance the Russian subs delivered to Egypt, Premier David Ben Gurion indicated tonight in a television interview broadcast by Britain’s Independent Television network.

Asked whether Israel had officially asked any of the Western Powers for arms to balance Russian submarine deliveries, Mr. Ben Gurion said: “We may ask.” Pressed about what kinds of arms Israel would want, Mr. Ben Gurion said: “Well, first of ail, defensive arms against submarines and perhaps also some submarines.”

The Premier indicated his belief that the three Egyptian undersea craft were being operated by crews from outside Egypt. Asked where he thought these subs would operate, he said possibly the Mediterranean, the Red Sea or the Gulf of Akaba, but that was a question for the Egyptian command, “or perhaps some command of some Great Power.” He emphasized that if these U-boats interfered with Israeli shipping in the Gulf of Akaba, Israel would have to answer with the same means–“not only from beneath the waters but perhaps from above.”

When the interviewer asked him to comment on Egyptian President Nasser’s statement that Mr. Ben Gurion was not to be trusted and that he talked peace while he planned war, the Israel Premier said that Col. Nasser could “test our sincerity and sit down and see whether we mean peace or not.” While he did not necessarily trust Col. Nasser, the Premier noted, he was ready to “negotiate peace with anybody who is ready to negotiate peace.”

What Israel wanted from Egypt in the form of a settlement, he said, was a stopping of warfare and then cooperation. In return, Israel would offer peace and cooperation. He could not visualize the same situation arising which had led to the recent Sinai-Gaza campaign and did not think another such operation would be necessary.


The Arab refugees cannot be accepted back in Israel unless the Jewish refugees who have since arrived are expelled, Mr. Ben Courion said. “We are not going to do that,” he added. He confirmed that negotiations had been going on between Israel and some of the refugees, although he was It too hopeful. Yet, he continued, “one ought always to be in some hope.”

Israel, the Premier stated, could absorb another 2,000,000 Jews, but whether it would get them depended on the policy of a Great Power which had to let them out. Asked to comment on the recent changes in the Kremlin high command, he doubted that the changes would make much difference in the Soviet Union’s foreign policy.

He thought that a Middle East settlement could be reached without agreement among the major powers, but felt that such an agreement would make a Middle East settlement much easier. He expressed a willingness to see Israel-Arab border rectifications by mutual consent.

The future of Israel, Mr. Ben Gurion said, lay mainly in the efforts which Jews in Israel were ready to make for the development of the country; building it up, conquering the desert, integrating the immigrants and fostering science. The major problems in this sphere, he said in conclusion, were integration of the immigrants and cultivation of the desert.

The Israel Premier played down the importance of recent Syrian border clashes, stating he did not see them as new warfare. “But it is worrying us,” he admitted, “because it may be due to an internal struggle in different groups in Syria and perhaps also to the instigation of some foreign power.”

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