WASHINGTON (Jul. 9)
Official American sources said today that the Soviet Union had already replaced one-half the number of jet planes lost by Egypt and Syria during the six-day war with Israel and about one-quarter of the number of tanks and vehicles. The Russians were also believed to have sent additional SAM ground-to-air missile systems to Egypt.
Walt W. Rostow, President Johnson’s special assistant on international security affairs, told a nationwide television audience today that the Soviet resupply of arms to the Arab states had been “substantial” but that it was too soon to say flatly that the Soviets had opted for resumption of the arms race. Appearing on the “Meet the Press” program, Mr. Rostow said it had been clear since 1955 that Russia had been trying to expand its influence in the Middle East.
Ambassador Avraham Harman of Israel drew attention to the “massive resupply” of Soviet arms to Egypt and other Arab states when he appeared on a Washington television program today. In response to questions about assurances that the United Nations Security Council would consider other issues after Israeli forces were withdrawn to the pre-June 5 borders, Mr. Harman cited past Soviet vetoes blocking Security Council action, stressed that the countries of the Middle East should not be “pawns in anybody’s hands,” and said it was up to the people of the region to solve their problems.