BRUSSELS (Nov. 14)
Dissatisfaction was expressed here today with the lack of effective action by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in face of Soviet penetration of the Middle East and Mediterranean areas and its heavy arms supplies to the Arab states. The criticism was made by the political commission of NATO’s parliamentary assembly, an advisory body, as the foreign and defense ministers of the 15 NATO-member countries went into the second day of their semi-annual ministerial council meeting. The political commission presented a draft resolution asking the NATO Council of Ministers “what efficient and collective means have been undertaken to counteract at the earliest, the threat posed to the Alliance’s vital interests” by the Soviet naval activities in the Mediterranean and its political and military activities in the Middle East.
The Soviet military and naval presence in the Mediterranean and Middle East was high on the agenda of the Council meeting. It was the subject of three major reports, one of them prepared by NATO’s secretary-general, Manilio Brosio, another by strategic experts and the third by military experts. But the organization appeared to have no plans for dealing with the potential threat, particularly as it effects the Soviet’s possible primary target in the region Israel. According to informed sources, it is apparent that NATO’s military experts and various national delegations are reluctant to assume, openly or even secretly, any responsibility in the event of actual Soviet military aggression against Israel. Their reluctance applies to political as well as to possible military counter moves, according to these sources. Asked by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency whether NATO had plans to meet direct Soviet military intervention in the Middle East, Mr. Brosio would say only that the ministers were examining the problem.