NEW YORK (Dec. 30)
The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations charged today that French foreign policy placed France “at the side of Russia in fanning the fires of conflict in the Middle East.” The charge was contained in a telegram to the French Ambassador in Washington, Charles Lucet, protesting a reported $400 million French arms deal with Libya. The Jewish leadership group said it was “dismayed by the evident pro-Arab, anti-Israel stand” of the French Government.
“Having entered into an arms deal with Libya to supply the most sophisticated planes and tanks, the French administration at the same time continues its inequitable embargo on the supply of essential defense material to Israel in breach of its international agreement,” the telegram said. It said that “Libya’s alliance with Egypt and its own lack of need for such quantities of advanced weaponry make clear the ultimate destination of these arms.”
The telegram noted that French President Georges Pompidou plans to visit the United States early next year. It urged him “to reassert the traditional French position of concern for human values by lifting its embargo against Israel, a small people bent only on surviving.” He added that “we with our fellow Americans would hope to be able to welcome France’s President as the representative of a government which will have abandoned power machinations in the competition for oil and illusory Arab power and which will once again have proclaimed its greatness by supporting the cause of justice and peace.”