PARIS (Jun. 2)
Yesterday’s sweeping victory of the Gaullist Presidential candidate Georges Pompidou has further diminished chances of an early lifting of the embargo on aircraft, military equipment and spare parts imposed against Israel by former President Charles de Gaulle, diplomatic observers said today. Although M. Pompidou faces a run-off election with the runner-up in Sunday’s voting. Acting President Alain Poher, political circles give the latter small chance of up-setting the Gaullist. M. Pompidou polled 44 percent of the vote to M. Poher’s 23 percent. Communist candidate Jacques Duclos received 21 percent.
M. Pompidou, a former Premier, is expected to continue Gen. de Gaulle’s Mideast policies for the time being if he wins the presidency. This would greatly dim Israel’s prospects of receiving 50 Mirage V jet fighters, bought and paid for over a year ago, but still under embargo in a French hanger. M. Pompidou has only come out in favor of “Mideast peace” and has hinted that a general embargo on all arms to the area should be enacted.
M. Poher, during the early part of his campaign, promised to “re-examine” the de Gaulle embargo which he called “unjust and unacceptable.” Circles friendly to Israel believed that a Poher victory would at least lead to a reconsideration of the embargo and presage changes in France’s openly pro-Arab policies.
Now, political circles say, the only chance of a Poher victory in the run-off elections two weeks hence is by Communist Party support. However, a “price” would have to be paid for this and it is believed that one concession M. Poher would have to make to the Communists would concern the Middle East on which the French Communist Party firmly backs the Moscow line.
French aircraft manufacturer Marcel Bloch-Dassault, the man whose works built the Mirage plane, has expressed conviction that the de Gaulle embargo on the Mirages will be lifted soon. M. Bloch-Dassault also denied that his factory, or any other in France, was planning to sell Mirages or any other military aircraft to Iraq or other Arab states. The manufacturer made this statement shortly after French Defense Minister Pierre Messmer visited the International Air Show at Le Bourget airfield on the outskirts of Parts.
An Israeli delegation led by Gen. Zvi Tsur, special adviser to the minister of defense, was due to arrive in Paris for the show tomorrow. The three-man delegation does not plan to meet with M. Messmer or any other top French officials. France had first decided not to invite Israel “or any of the other Middle Eastern belligerents” to the air show. After de Gaulle’s fall and under the pressure of the French Aeronautical Manufacturers’ Association, invitations were sent out, reversing the de Gaulle decision.