TEL AVIV (Dec. 8)
The past commanders of six American veterans organizations declared yesterday that the balance of power must be maintained in the Middle East in the interests of the free world and said they would urge President Richard M. Nixon to provide Israel with all the arms it needs to counter the heavy flow of Soviet arms to the Arab states.
The veteran leaders issued their statement at a press conference held on the occasion of Pearl Harbor Day, the 28th anniversary of America’s entry into World War II. They had just completed a 10 day tour of Israel and occupied territories and had meetings with Israeli Government and military leaders.
The group consists of Claude L. Callegary, of Baltimore, past commander of the Disabled American Veterans; Ted C. Connell, Killeen, Tex, Veterans of Foreign Wars; Eldon James, Hampton, Va., and John Davis, Arlington, Va., both American Legion; Ralph Hall, Wheaton, Md., Amvets; Cooper Holt, of Silver Springs, Md., Veterans of Foreign Wars; Robert O’Leary, Baltimore, Catholic War Veterans; and Malcolm Tarlov, Norwalk, Conn., Jewish War Veterans of the United States. They were accompanied on their Israeli tour by Bernard Direnfeld, Cleveland, present national commander of the JWV.
Their statement said, “It is our personal conclusion that Israel seeks only a guaranteed peace with attendant recognition, security and protection from invasion and intimidation. It is our further belief that the United Nations may best serve the cause of peace and continue to contribute to the solution of the problem facing the nations of the Middle East by using its influence to bring about direct negotiations between the parties involved.”
The Veterans added that they “doubt seriously that the Soviet Union could be an impartial participant in any negotiations in view of its policy of fomenting continuing armed strife by providing startling amounts of arms and material to Egypt, Syria and Iraq.”
“The volume of Soviet arms for the Arabs is obviously not for defense and is a threat to Israel,” the statement continued. “Since a balance of power may be at stake, it is in the best interests of the U.S. and others of the free world to act favorably on requests from Israel for materials necessary to maintain a proper balance of power.”