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75 Congressmen Appeal to Secretary of State for Arms to Israel

Seventy-five members of the House of Representatives, representing both parties, joined today in a letter to Secretary of State Dean Rusk, requesting “effective measures” to strengthen Israel’s defenses” to deter aggression. They indicated that they wanted the United States to provide arms to Israel directly, as it is doing for Jordan and Saudi Arabia.

Noting that the Soviet Union was shipping arms to Egypt, Syria and Iraq while the United States was supplying modern weapons to Jordan and Saudi Arabia, the Congressmen — 55 Democrats and 20 Republicans — said: “We are not complacent about any of these developments. We are aware of our commitment to oppose aggression in the area. We are mindful that the concentration of hostile and well-equipped armies on all Israel’s frontiers presents a constant threat of an attack too swift to be prevented by external intervention on the part of other states.”

The Congressmen declared that “in view of this continuing danger, we believe it is imperative that the United States take effective measures to strengthen Israel’s defenses in order to deter those who menace its security. In our judgment, the tactics of indirection pursued in the past are no longer adequate or appropriate.”

They added they were “gravely concerned” about Arab military preparations to implement anti-Israel decisions at the Arab summit conference. They pointed out that the arms buildup was a “direct result of the policies of President Nasser of Egypt, who has promised that a war with Israel is inevitable.” They said that “Arab states acquire arms because they are encouraged by Egyptian promises or because they fear Egyptian expansionism. Consequently, Israel is compelled to increase her defense preparations at great cost to her economy.”

They portrayed Israel as a friendly and progressive democracy and stated that people committed to freedom “look to us to help Israel to defend itself and, at the same time, to do all in our power to bring about a lasting peace settlement.”

Assistant Secretary of State Raymond A. Hare appeared at a closed session of a subcommittee of the House Foreign Affairs Committee to answer questions on United States policy in the Middle East. He was asked questions on the resumption of U.S. aid to Egypt, the acquisition of American arms by Jordan and Saudi Arabia, and the stand of the State Department toward Israel’s request for American arms.

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