WASHINGTON (Oct. 25)
House Republican Leader Gerald R. Ford of Michigan said today that the United States Government should immediately lend a modern, well-equipped destroyer to Israel to replace the Elath sunk Saturday on the high seas by Egyptian-manned attack boats carrying Soviet missiles. Mr. Ford said the Administration has not sufficiently appreciated the extent of Soviet involvement with the Arabs and the developing confrontation in the Middle East. He reminded a press conference that the Soviet Fleet was using Egyptian ports as fueling bases and benefitting from Egypt’s oil resources.
(Dispatches received in London and Washington said that three Soviet naval ships were to arrive in Port Said tomorrow or Friday on a “good-will” visit. The Cairo newspaper Al Ahram said today the ships were coming on a “friendly visit” intended as a deterrent to a large-scale attack by Israel.)
Rep. Ford said Israel deserved the same consideration as other nations menaced by Russia and should be given a destroyer under an existing loan program on an identical basis. Such a move would display American resolve in answer to the Soviet involvement in the missile sinking of the Elath, he said. He thought the provision of a destroyer would deter mounting Soviet-Arab pressure. A former naval officer, Rep. Ford said that battle-ready destroyers were available from present U.S. reserves.
‘THOUSANDS’ OF SOVIET MILITARY ADVISORS ARE IN EGYPT, HALPERN CHARGES
Attention of Congress was directed today to the presence of “thousands of Soviet military technicians and advisors in Egypt” by Rep. Seymour Halpern, New York Republican, who said “the U.S. Administration’s refusal to point a finger merely invites an intensification of Soviet-Arab collaboration to Israel’s great danger.”
Rep. Halpern said that “when the State Department said it could not find fault with Egypt in the sinking of the Elath it indicated a tendency to avoid facing the grim fact of escalation that has occurred in the Middle Eastern conflict. This evasion by our policy-makers will only tempt the Russians to send more men and weapons into the Arab states. It will only contribute to refusal of the Arabs to come to the peace conference table.”
Rep. Leonard Farbstein, New York Democrat, told the House today he was “deeply disappointed” by the response of the U.S. Government to the sinking of the Elath and the refusal of the State Department to place the blame on Egypt. He termed the U.S. stand “unfortunate” and asked: “Are we to let the Middle East be a proving ground for Soviet missiles with Israel as their target?”