LONDON (Jun. 18)
Reginald Paget, a Labor Member of Parliament, charged in the House of Commons yesterday that the Foreign Office decided “unconditionally” to supply Chieftain tanks to Libya, a member of the Arab League at war with Israel. Mr. Paget said the tanks could be passed on to Egypt.
Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary Michael Stewart told the House, “It is part of our general practice in sale of arms that they should be used solely for defense of the country to which they are sold. It was explicitly provided for in this contract as in others.”
Mr. Paget was questioning the Government’s decision to sell the tanks to Libya in light of its failure to act on Israel’s year old order for $144 million worth of Chieftains, a modern tank.
Commenting editorially on the controversy, the London Daily Telegraph said Israel should get the tanks since Britain recently sold Centurion model tanks to Jordan and “Israel’s major enemy. Egypt, has been stuffed with the best Russian tanks.”