LONDON (Jun. 11)
A Labor Member of Parliament tried unsuccessfully today to have the House of Commons take up a reported “Government proposal to sell Libya Chieftain tanks which it refused to sell to Israel.” According to Reginald Paget, a deal was about to be closed for the sale of some $96 million worth of British arms to Libya including a large number of the latest and most powerful model Chieftain tanks and Abbot mobile guns.
Mr. Paget said that Israel had placed an order for $144 million worth of Chieftain tanks about a year ago which the Defense Ministry was anxious to accept. He asserted that the sale was held up by the foreign Ministry which thought that it might compromise Britain’s position in the Four Power Mideast talks. Mr. Paget said that the sale of these weapons to an Arab power would seriously compromise Britain’s non-partisan role. He insisted that either the Foreign Secretary or Defense Minister come before the House to explain. The Speaker over-ruled Mr. Paget’s request.
Israel’s Premier Golda Meir, who arrived here today, denied a report in the Daily Express that she was going to protest to the British Government about the reported sale of Chieftains to Libya. (There was no comment in Jerusalem on the newspaper report. An Israel Government spokesman referred reporters to Mrs. Meir’s statement at the London Airport.)