WASHINGTON (Jul. 16)
Foreign Minister Abba S. Eban of Israel said yesterday he had no comment on the issue of possible United States supply of military equipment to Israel. He said his weekend meeting here with Secretary of State Dean Rusk was a periodic and normal exchange of views and involved a “general discussion chiefly on the political aspects of the situation on how to get peace.”
Following the meeting at the State Department, Mr. Eban, accompanied by Ambassador Avraham Harman, had a further meeting with Assistant Secretary of State Lucius Battle and other officials.
Mr. Rusk had appeared before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Friday in a session which dealt largely with Middle East developments. He defended the American policy of providing arms to some of the Arab states and predicted that it would be continued. Members of the committee, disturbed because American weapons had been used against Israel rather than against Communist or pro-Communist elements, asked Mr. Rusk if he believed arms sales to the Arabs had turned out to be “wise policy.” The Secretary snapped: “Yes, I do.” He said the Administration wanted to avoid a “polarization” in the Middle East in which all Arab arms would be Russian and all Israeli arms would be American.
Mr. Rusk predicted that the policy of providing arms to the Arabs would be continued. He held that a reason that American munitions supply to the Arabs should not be halted was that it helped prevent cohesion of the Arab states. He said the Arab states were not in complete accord on policies toward Israel and the rest of the world.
UNITED STATES TO PRESS FOR FULL DAMAGES IN U.S.S. LIBERTY CASE
Members of the Committee said Mr. Rusk had promised Committee Chairman J.W. Fulbright, Arkansas Democrat, that a bill for full damages and compensation for all deaths and injuries arising from the Israeli attack in June on the U.S.S. Liberty will be submitted to Israel.
Sen. Fulbright told Mr. Rusk when he appeared before the Committee that many members of Congress remained “extremely upset” over the Liberty affair. He asked the Secretary to explain the Administration’s attitude. Mr. Rusk said all inquiries into the Liberty attack indicated the incident was “in no way justified” and added that “I do not believe we have had adequate justification from Israel.”
Mr. Rusk promised to submit to the Senate body the report of a U.S. Naval court of inquiry and all information obtained from the Israeli Government. The Liberty was attacked while operating off the battle zone in a clandestine manner as an intelligence ship, according to authoritative sources. Israel has maintained that the ship was mistaken for an Egyptian vessel and the attack halted the moment that appropriate identification was made.