WASHINGTON (Jul. 19)
Secretary of State Dean Rusk criticized the Soviet Union today for the major resupply of arms to the Arab states in recent weeks but implied that Moscow might have some effect in influencing the Arabs to moderate their refusal to accept the permanent existence of Israel.
(Agency reports from Moscow indicated that two Arab leaders who had sought Moscow’s agreement to a renewal of the Arab war against Israel on a guerrilla basis, left Moscow without having secured pledges of Soviet support for their proposals. The two, Presidents Boumedienne of Algeria and Aref of Syria, are considered the leaders of the extremist war party in the Arab leadership.
(In Amman, King Hussein told newsmen yesterday that if the Western countries did not provide Jordan with arms and equipment to reequip its armies, Jordan would have to turn to the Soviet Union. He said, however, that he hoped the need to ask Russia for arms would never arise.)
Mr. Rusk told a press conference that Russia agreed with the United States on Israel’s basic right to exist and he supposed this was a matter of “some consequence.” He pointed out, however, that the governments of some Arab states could not at present survive if they made any move towards reconciliation with Israel, He indicated that Israel had a legitimate interest in trying to secure peaceful relations with her neighbors.
The Secretary of State took Russia to task for major munitions shipments to the Arabs following the cease-fire. He said this new arms flow created a problem of security not only for Israel but for other Arab countries not receiving as much military aid. He declared that there should be some understanding between suppliers of arms and recipients “to put some ceiling on the arms race in the Middle East.”
Mr. Rusk renewed the appeal, first expressed by President Johnson on June 19 as one of the five principles of a Middle East settlement, for an agreement by all nations supplying arms to the Middle East to report the amounts to the United Nations.