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House Report Says Soviet is Expanding Its Military Power in Mideast

The Soviet Union is expanding its military power in the Middle East and building up the armed forces of the radical Arab states, the House Appropriations Committee and defense subcommittee has reported in connection with recommendations for new defense appropriations.

According to the House evaluation of developments in the Middle East, “the Soviet Union continues to expand its influence and military presence. Whether they have formally established naval bases in the Mediterranean is less important than the fact that such bases are available for their use.”

It was pointed out that, “president Nixon’s initiative in seeking the cooperation of the Soviet Union in ameliorating the Arab-Israel dispute and reestablishing peace in that region has yet to bear fruit. Our Government’s efforts to achieve an agreement on the limitation of arms shipments to both sides in that conflict have also been unsuccessful.”

“Meanwhile,” said the report, “the Soviets continue to equip, supply, train, and encourage the military forces of the more radical Arab states in that region. In this environment, the presence of the U.S. 6th fleet in the Mediterranean is making a major contribution to the stability of the region.”