NEW YORK (Aug. 22)
A top official of the American Machine and Foundry Corporation of New York said today it had rejected an Arab League Boycott committee demand that it refuse to service the atomic reactor the corporation had helped Israel to build.
Milton Barall, vice-president of the corporation’s international division, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that a report from Damascus that the corporation had been removed from the Arab League boycott list after 14 months was correct. He added, however, that the corporation not only had not pledged it would refuse service to Israel but that on the contrary, it had sent a letter to the boycott committee that it would continue to provide necessary services for the atomic reactor.
Mr. Barall said that he and Frank White, president of the international division, met with Israeli officials at the Israel Embassy in Washington on August 3 and gave that assurance to them. He explained that while the corporation had contractual obligation with Israel after the reactor was completed, it felt it did have a moral obligation to fill orders for parts and fuel needed to keep the reactor functioning. He said the corporation had so informed the Arab League Boycott committee.
Asked why he thought the corporation’s name had been dropped from the banned list, since the corporation had declined to make the demanded pledge not to provide any further services to Israel, Mr. Barall said the corporation had protested against the ban to the boycott committee and that he assumed this was the reason the corporation’s name had been removed from the list.
He added that it was quite likely that AMF would be restored to the list after the boycott committee received the letter. However, despite the possibility, the decision had been made to reject the boycott committee demand, he said. The decision had been approved by the corporation’s president, Moorhead Patterson, before his death a few weeks ago, he revealed.
Mr. Barall said that AMF officials had discussed the issue also with officials of the State Department and the Atomic Energy Commission, partly because the corporation’s help to Israel had been made available under the United States Atoms for Peace program. He said the letter to the boycott committee emphasized that the reactor had been built for peaceful purposes and that the same assistance was available to Arab countries.
The corporation, he disclosed, had been negotiating with the boycott committee after the ban was imposed but that negotiations were broken off by the corporation when the boycott committee insisted that the corporation pledge it would not provide any services to Israel.