WASHINGTON (Sep. 12)
The State Department, acting at the request of President John F. Kennedy, has informed Rep. Seymour Halpern, New York Republican, that the United States–apparently very recently–has provided Israel with “significant amounts” of military equipment as well as “credit facilities” to finance the purchases.
Phillips Talbot, Assistant Secretary of State, wrote Rep. Halpern that “the President has asked that the Department of State reply” to Rep. Halpern’s formal request to President Kennedy for a clarification of the current United States arms supply policy toward Israel. Rep. Halpern had cited Soviet arms acquired by Egypt including late-model jet bombers, jet fighters, tanks, and submarines.
Mr. Talbot told Rep. Halpern: “The Department is in a position to assure you categorically that the arms competition and military situation in the Near East remain under closest scrutiny and constant review at all times in the Executive branch. Israel’s security is a matter of deepest continuing concern, and receives the most careful attention in the Department of State.”
“While Israel has in fact obtained certain of its military requirements from France,” said Mr. Talbot, “acquisitions from that source are by no means exclusive. Other countries, including the United States, have supplied Israel with significant amounts of equipment as well as credit facilities for their purchases.” Accordingly, said Mr. Talbot, “the Department believes that Israel’s defensive requirements are being well met.”
DETAILS TO BE DISCLOSED BY STATE DEPT. TO NEW YORK CONGRESSMAN
Because further details, involving types of American military equipment provided to Israel are of a classified nature, arrangements are being made for a meeting of Rep. Halpern with State Department officials for a personal briefing.
The Talbot communication resulted from a detailed letter that Rep. Halpern sent to President Kennedy on August 21, 1962, outlining Israel’s plight in view of the continuing flow of ultra-modern Soviet jets and other arms to Egypt.
As co-sponsor of the Keating-Halpern amendment to the Foreign Assistance Act, Rep. Halpern had also asked about continued American aid to Egypt in view of that country’s use of its own resources to buy Soviet arms. The amendment opposes assistance to such nations, subject to the discretion of the President.
Mr. Talbot informed Rep. Halpern that “as for United States assistance to the United Arab Republic (Egypt), the Department has taken pains to make clear that United States resources do not increase the capability of the UAR to acquire Soviet arms. In fact, the UAR purchases its arms by sale of cotton which cannot be sold in western countries at marketable prices. United States assistance is largely in the form of food with the balance being tied to procurement in the United States.