State Dept. Voices ‘increasing Concern’ over Arms Shipments to Mideast

State Department spokesman Robert McCloskey said today that “we have noted with increasing concern reports of continuing shipments of aircraft and other arms from the Soviet Union to the U.A.R. and other countries of the Near East.” He said these shipments were “significant” and at a level that indicated Moscow is “trying to replace the equipment lost.”

The Department spokesman said that “it seems clear to us that the great powers should be working for a limitation of arms in the Near East and not a resumption of the old race.” He recalled President Johnson’s statement of June 19 that the recent Middle East conflict was “a demonstration of the danger of the arms race in this area.”

In separate statements today, three members of the Senate who have just returned from Israel, urged that the United States supply Israel with the arms and equipment necessary to offset the Soviet supplies to Egypt and Syria.

Sen. Daniel B. Brewster, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said today that “there can be no doubt that the Arabs were the aggressors who began the war” and that the United States should supply arms to Israel to balance the renewed flow of Russian weapons to the Arab states. The Maryland Democrat vigorously opposed all military and economic aid for the Arabs. He said it was “incredible” that America should support any nation with hostile intentions towards Israel.

Sen. Vance Hartke, Indiana Democrat, said that “there is not any question but that we are going to provide arms to Israel.” He said Israel was ready to talk peace but that the Arabs were not and he said he would press the State Department for an American initiative to bring the Arabs to a peace conference.

Another Indiana Democrat, Sen. Birch Bayh, expressed hope the United States would implement its agreement to sell jet planes to Israel and to take other necessary steps.

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