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President Johnson Urged to Authorize Sale of U.S. Arms to Israel

Sen. Hugh Scott, Pennsylvania Republican, today urged President Johnson to provide Israel with American defensive arms, and voiced concern “that, while our attention is focused on Viet Nam, we may lose sight of other explosive trouble spots which threaten world peace.”

In a letter to the President, Sen. Scott said American claims that this nation is not a major or traditional source of arms for the Middle East lost validity when recent huge transactions with Jordan and Saudi Arabia were revealed. He asked the President to authorize Israel to buy necessary defensive arms from U.S. suppliers. “If peace is to be preserved in the Middle East,” he wrote to Mr. Johnson, “Israel must have arms to defend her security and deter attack by Arab states which have threatened to drive her into the sea.”

The Senator noted that, shortly after the United States resumed aid to Egypt, it was reported that the Soviet Union sold Egypt a squadron of Soviet, all-weather MIG-21D jet fighters and Sokhoi-9 interceptors. He drew the President’s attention to the fact that an official Egyptian spokesman “boasted of Egypt’s ability to play both ends.” The spokesman said “the Soviet Union assisted Egypt’s defense and development, while the need for food is met substantially through cooperation of the United States.”

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