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Britain and France Reported to Be Major Suppliers of Arms to Israel

Britain and France are the major suppliers of defensive arms to Israel, the New York Times reported today in a Washington dispatch which drew on diplomatic informants for its sources.

The United States is providing Israel with a lesser supply of weapons, the Times said, describing Washington’s sales to Jerusalem as “the smallest part of the flow of supplies.” While Washington has neither agreed to nor rejected an Israel “shopping list” of $75, 000, 000 worth of military supplies submitted late in 1955, “this country encouraged Britain, France and Canada to sell the Israelis such major weapons as tanks and jets, ” the Times report said. Canada was pictured as not selling Israel arms at this time.

United States supplies to Israel were said to consist “for the most part” of anti-tank guns, ” including recoilless rifles. This was said to have pleased the Israelis because previous U.S. sales have consisted mainly of semi-military supplies like trucks, half tracks, other vehicles and spare parts.

The limited American arms sales grew out of an exchange of letters between Israeli Premier David Ben Gurion and President Eisenhower after the Iraqi coup last July. Initiated by Mr. Ben Gurion, who pointed out that this development had caused Israel concern, the correspondence led to an exchange of meetings between Secretary of State John Foster Dulles and Israel Ambassador Abba Eban.

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