WASHINGTON (Sep. 11)
Defense Department experts, acting in conformity with information from U.S. intelligence agencies on the mounting Soviet military build-up in Arab states, recommended to President Johnson prior to his B’nai B’rith address that he approve the sale of Phantom jet fighter-bombers to Israel, congressional sources disclosed today. These sources said that they were puzzled by the President’s failure to act in view of the massive sentiment favoring the transaction which only the State Department opposed. They said the President was fully aware of the presence of Soviet air force and military personnel in Egypt and of the growing ratio of Arab supersonic airpower numerical supremacy over Israel. The Arabs now enjoy an estimated 5 to 1 supremacy in supersonic jets with some evaluations placing the edge as high as 6 to 1.
Congressmen asserted today that if the President continues to hold back the supersonic jets required by Israel, they will be forced to demand that the public be given more details on the extent of the Soviet build-up in Egypt and other Arab states.