JERUSALEM (Dec. 30)
Israel Foreign Minister Golda Meir, speaking in Knesset (Israel’s Parliament) last night, warned the United States and Britain that their supplying of military aid to Jordan and Saudi Arabia can lead to a new arms race in the Middle East since it would upset the present balance of arms in the area.
Jordan has been receiving Patton tanks from the United States under military assistance programs and Saudi Arabia is to receive $400,000,000 worth of modern arms from Britain and the United States. The Patton tank is described as a modern 50-ton tank. The influx of American and British arms to the Arab countries is provoking great concern in Israel.
“Israel” Mrs. Meir told the Parliament,” will take all steps necessary in order to safeguard, nurture and even enhance the deterrent strength of its armed forces.” She emphasized that “a strong Israel with a well-equipped army is the only guarantee for peace in our area; therefore it is essential to strengthen Israel in order to keep the peace.”
Mrs. Meir pointed out that the provision by the Western powers of arms to the Arab countries is a serious matter for Israel because of the efforts of the Arab countries to consolidate their military power in a united Arab command whose major purpose is “to destroy Israel.”
(In Washington, it was confirmed that the United States Government has been supplying 50-ton Patton tanks to Jordan, having started shipments secretly last fall. Involved in the new military assistance to Jordan are said to be 50 to 100 of the Pattons plus certain arms for infantry. The arms deal was confirmed by the State Department.)