WASHINGTON (Oct. 30)
Israel’s Ambassador Yitzhak Rabin met today with Parker T. Hart, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, in what was described as “the beginning of a series of meetings on various levels” to discuss the possible sale of Phantom Jet fighter-bombers to Israel. U.S. sources said that considerable time would be required before the negotiations reach a stage requiring a report by the Secretary of State to the President. Some of the discussions will involve Defense Department officials.
Reports here indicated that the State Department would like to block the transaction or delay it until after the election in the hope of persuading the next President to avoid a final conclusion of the sale. Department sources have indicated that Pentagon officials and some Israeli experts will participate in the talks. But they insist that a final decision has not been reached and that conditions attached to the sale of the Phantoms have yet to be resolved. Those in the State Department who oppose the sale would like to see conditions imposed that Israel could not accept. They believe that the United States should not be linked with Israel’s requirement for sophisticated weaponry because it might damage American diplomatic objectives in Arab countries by creating an impression of U.S. collaboration with Israel.