State Dept. Evasive on Americans Working on Military Rockets in Egypt

A State Department spokesman today declined to state the present United States policy toward American citizens working in the Egyptian military rocket industry but said that the Department was looking into reports of the employment of Americans in such work.

He was asked to define U. S. policy toward such activity by American scientists, in connection with a report today from Cairo that two Americans have been working there secretly for the Egyptian rocket system, and that the two have worked in American space industry before accepting the engagements in Egypt. The Cairo report also said that U. S. Embassy officials in Egypt have acknowledged that they had “heard” of the activities by the two men for some time, but declined to say whether the reports were correct.

The two American rocket experts were reported to have taken up further development of the Egyptian rocket program after the chief West German scientist in charge of the program, Prof. Wolfgang Pilz, had returned to Germany. The West German rocket teams had developed three rockets with estimated ranges of 180 to 370 miles. Each of the rockets could hit Israeli targets from bases in the Sinai.

Robert McCloskey, State Department spokesman, said the Department had no information on the situation and could neither confirm nor deny the engagement of Americans in the Egyptian rocket program. Other U. S. officials said they knew of no legal barrier that would prevent American scientists who so desired from working for Egypt. It was pointed out that they would not be violating United States laws unless they were former Federal employees or had worked on Government contracts and had revealed secret information to a foreign employer.

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