WASHINGTON (Sep. 1)
Israel President Zalman Shazar was urged today by a member of the U.S. Congress to use his influence to arrange inspection and study by the U.S. Air Force of the Soviet-built MIG-21 jet fighter flown to Israel two weeks ago by an Iraqi defector.
Rep. Thomas C. McGrath, Jr., New Jersey Democrat, in an address on the floor of the house, noted that the Soviet Union disclosed this week that North Vietnam pilots are being trained in Russia to fly MIG-21 jets against the U.S. air effort in Vietnam, He pointed out that “the MIG-21 which was flown to Israel is the only plane of that advanced model in the free world, and thus offers the only possibility for study by our air force experts.”
The Congressman voiced disagreement with “sentiment within the Israeli military to prevent observation of this MIG 21 by military experts of any foreign government.” He therefore sent President Shazar a personal appeal for intercession because of the President’s recent pro-American statements, and “in view of the stake freedom-loving peoples everywhere have in the Vietnamese conflict.”
Rep. McGrath said that President Shazar, who met recently with President Johnson as a guest of the White House, expressed admiration for the United States and appreciation for military and economic assistance provided to Israel. Accordingly, Rep. McGrath suggested that President Shazar “intercede” to provide the secrets of the MIG 21 to “those fighting for democracy in Southeast Asia.”