WASHINGTON (Oct. 15)
The United States Navy disclosed today that a new NATO naval command has been established in the Mediterranean to strengthen air surveillance of the growing Soviet fleet in that region. The command, to be known as Maritime Air Forces, will be activated Nov. 21 under the command of Rear Admiral Edward C. Outlaw. USN. The Navy said that American. British and Italian aircraft will be employed in the surveillance and that the information obtained would be shared by those nations and would be communicated to Greece and Turkey. Israel is not included in the intelligence reports because it is not a NATO member. Navy sources here indicated that the establishment of the new command reflected the increasing concern felt in NATO circles about the Soviet naval build-up in the Eastern Mediterranean in which high ranking officers see “a new and dangerous situation” developing.
Details of a rapidly growing Soviet naval deployment in the Mediterranean were reported here today in dispatches from the official Turkish Anatolia News Agency. Two Russian military transports loaded with ammunition were reportedly observed passing through the Bosphorus en route from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean. They were accompanied by a cruiser of the Sverdlov class, a type armed with surface-to-surface missiles. Earlier reports from Turkey said that a Soviet cruiser passed through the straits yesterday. It was reportedly the sixth Soviet naval unit to enter the Mediterranean in the past 10 days. Others included a heavy destroyer, a floating dock, a torpedo boat, an ocean-going tug and a missile ship. The Anatolia News Agency reported that in the past two weeks the Soviets have moved two submarines, two sub-repair vessels, five landing craft, an aircraft carrier and several destroyers into the Mediterranean. The new units reinforced a fleet consisting of 10 destroyers, three landing craft, two intelligence-gathering vessels, two submarine depot ships and 10 submarines, among them nuclear-powered craft capable of firing Polaris-type missiles while submerged, the Turkish report said.
In Lisbon today, Gen. Lyman Lemnitzer, Supreme Allied Commander of NATO in Europe, said that if the Soviet Union continued to increase its naval power in the Mediterranean, “we will ask for an increase of NATO naval forces.” In Lisbon yesterday, Gen. Manlio Brosia, Secretary of NATO. warned that a lack of action by NATO countries faced with an enlarged Soviet naval presence in the Mediterranean would not command Russia’s respect and would hinder chances of a political settlement between the Arabs and Israel. Gen. Brosia spoke at the 14th congress of the Atlantic Treaty Association.