JERUSALEM (Sep. 30)
Switzerland has not made diplomatic approaches to Israel over the reported sale of secret jet engine plans to Israel by a Swiss engineer, the Foreign Ministry said yesterday. The Ministry spokesman addressed newsmen in connection with foreign press reports that Switzerland might lodge a protest with Israel in the case of alleged industrial espionage. Israeli officials have so far refused to comment on the affair. (The Swiss Government has decided against any immediate action against the engineer but will decide what to do when more details are available, it was reported from Bern.)
According to Hans Walder, the Swiss attorney general in Bern, detailed plans, models and tooling instructions for the manufacture of engines for the new French Mirage III “S” jet fighter were stolen from the Sulzer plant at Winterthur last year and smuggled to Israeli agents in West Germany. A 43-year-old technical department head at Sulzer. Alfred Frauenknecht, was arrested for the theft and reportedly confessed. According to Mr. Walder he was paid $200,000 by the Israelis who began receiving the blueprints in the fall of 1968. The Sulzer plant manufactures the Mirage engines under a license from the French firm of Marcel Dassault.
The Mirage III “S” jet is an improved version of the Mirage III “C” which is the backbone of Israel’s combat Air Force. Fifty Mirage V jets which Israel purchased from France for $200 million two years ago were embargoed by former President Charles de Gaulle and remain undelivered.