WASHINGTON (Jan. 7)
The U.S. government is not necessarily opposed to the sale by France of jets and other arms to Libya, officials here said yesterday. They also disclosed that the administration may have no real objection to France taking over the Wheelus Air Force Base in Libya if leftist pressures force the United States out.
State Department officials contend Washington would prefer that France arm and assist Libya rather than have the Soviet Union enter the vacuum.
Meanwhile, three additional Soviet destroyer escorts have been reported to have entered the eastern Mediterranean through the Bosporus as part of the growing Russian buildup in the Middle East. Reports received in Washington said that more than 40 Russian naval units are assembling.
It was also reported Tuesday that the Soviet navy sent its big helicopter-carrier Moskva into the Mediterranean again to rejoin the Red fleet there. The warship is equipped with missiles and is capable of landing powerfully armed airborne task forces.
According to the London Daily Mail Tuesday, Moskva’s reappearance may have been a move to bolster Arab morale after recent Israeli military successes. But the paper said it could also suggest that Russia is losing patience with the Arabs as a result of the loss to Israel of such top secret Soviet equipment as the radar unit which Israeli commandos snatched from an Egyptian base last week.