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United States, Russia Deny Report of Agreement to Limit Arms to Mideast

The United States and the Soviet Union both denied categorically today that an understanding or agreement on an arms embargo to the Middle East had been reached here between the U.S. and the Soviet delegations. A report that the Russians and the Americans had discussed here a “tacit curb” on arms for the Middle East appeared in The New York Times today.

A spokesman for the U.S. delegation said that, “the U.S. is interested in arrangements whereby arms shipments to the Middle East be a matter of public record as enunciated by President Johnson last June 20. However, it is quite misleading, and certainly premature, to state that at this time we have an understanding or an agreement with the Soviet Union on registering or curbing arms to the Middle East. This subject was not discussed in talks with Foreign Minister Gromyko and other USSR representatives in New York this week.”

According to the report, such discussions have been held between William C. Foster, chief U.S. disarmament negotiator, and the USSR’s foreign minister, Andrei A. Gromyko.

(In Washington today, Carl Bartch, the State Department spokesman, entered a similar denial about alleged U.S.-USSR talks this week regarding limitation of arms shipment to the Middle East. He specifically denied that either Secretary of State Rusk or Mr. Foster had discussed the subject with Mr. Gromyko. Mr. Bartch said also, in answer to inquiry, that he was unable to say why this subject was omitted during the talks in New York this week between representatives of the U.S.A. and the USSR.)

The American spokesman declined to comment on another part of the report which stated that the U.S. had “accepted the idea” that the proposed Middle East arms embargo agreement be postponed until the Arab states had received replacements for the Soviet-supplied arms which Egypt Jordan and Syria lost during the Six-Day War last June.

The Soviet delegation, denying the report, simply stated that it considered this information “an invention,”

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