WASHINGTON (Dec. 6)
“We are satisfied that Israel’s current defensive needs are adequately provided for,” a high State Department official declared today rejecting the argument that the renewed U. S. aid to Egypt would facilitate Egyptian arms acquisition.
Douglas MacArthur 2nd, Assistant Secretary of State, wrote Rep; Leonard Farbstein, New York Democrat, that Israel was not in immediate jeopardy of Arab attack and that “those who most closely follow Near Eastern policy think a case can be made for decreased tensions over the past six months.” The Department is “cautiously optimistic that this trend will continue.”
Mr. MacArthur cited reports that the Arabs agreed at the recent Casablanca summit meeting that it would take at least four years to match Israel’s military power. “A concomitant was that it would be prudent to move slowly on proposals to divert the head-waters of the Jordan for Arab use since this was expected to precipitate an attack by Israel,” said Mr. MacArthur. “While we are not in a position to confirm the accuracy of these reports, there appears to be little visible diversion activity at present,” he said.
The official said Egypt “counseled against resort to military force against Israel” and “advocated deferment of Arab waters diversion until the United Arab Command is strengthened;” The State Department now believes “that an increasing number of people on both sides of this issue recognize that a solution to the dispute over Palestine must be by political, not military, means.”
The time it will take to move toward an Arab-Israeli accommodation “will depend on a variety of factors including the rate of economic and social evolution in the area, a reduction of fears and suspicions, and the wisdom of area leaders. We believe, also, that the state of American-Arab relations could be a significant factor in this equation,” said Mr. MacArthur.
The military strength of Israel was “recognized as surpassing that of the Arabs,” he asserted, thus explaining the motivation of the unified Arab command. He repeated the previously stated American position that this Government is “firmly opposed to any form of aggression in the area.” He said measures must be taken that men undergoing military training in the “Palestine Liberation Army” be denied refugee rations from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency.