WASHINGTON (Feb. 17)
The State Department today, for the first time, made known that the United States “favored” the sale by West Germany of American tanks and other arms to Israel–a transaction which was canceled by the Benn Government under pressure from Egypt.
State Department spokesman Robert McCloskey said there were diplomatic discussions between the United States and Bonn “prior to the sale agreement, and we made it clear to the Federal Republic (West Germany) that we favored the sale of tanks to Israel.”
In response to questions, Mr. McCloskey indicated the United States did not concur in Chancellor Ludwig Erhard’s termination of his agreement with Israel. The United States also, he said, opposed the Egyptian invitation to East German leader Walter Ulbricht, He stated that the “United States would give sympathetic consideration to a request from the Federal Republic for use of our good offices on their behalf in the Middle East.”