WASHINGTON (Sep. 3)
The Israel Embassy is continuing what it regards as satisfactory negotiations on a list of important arms it seeks to buy. In the meantime, the State Department announced today that “relatively small quantities” of defensive military supplies have been sold to Israel.
Today’s State Department expression does not mean that the new major arms list submitted by Israel has been acted upon. It pertains to the relatively unimportant items for which export licenses have been issued to Israel for some time, including the last two months.
The reference by the State Department to the provision of military supplies to Israel was not meant to indicate approval of the Israel “shopping list” submitted this summer after the pro-Nasser upheaval in Iraq. Rather, said a high State Department official, today’s comments were intended to refute Egyptian propaganda that the United States has agreed to furnish Israel an important amount of arms.
The Israel Embassy is planning continued talks with the Department and regards negotiations are developing in a satisfactory manner. Joseph Reap, spokesman for the State Department, who made today’s official announcement, said:
“The United States has never been and is not now a major supplier of arms to Israel. News reports published in Cairo and reported to Washington to the effect that the United States has agreed to provide large quantities of offensive arms to Israel are incorrect. While it is not the policy of the United States Government to release information as to military purchases here by other nations, it can be said that relatively small quantities of arms of a defensive character were purchased by Israel from the United States.”
He declined to make known the dollar value of the equipment sold or to specify its type or nature.