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Official Israeli Circles Withhold Comment on Nixon’s Latest Arms to Israel Speech

Official Israeli circles have offered no comment on President Richard M. Nixon’s statement at his press conference last Friday that he would decide within 30 days on Israel’s request for more American weapons and financial aid. His statement received far less attention in the local press than his message to an American-Jewish leadership conference in Washington Jan. 25 asserting that the United States would not let Israel fall behind its foes in military strength.

Some commentators said the President’s press conference remarks were just a re-affirmation of his earlier statement. Government circles maintain that both indicated that the U.S. had abandoned any hope that the Four Power and Two Power talks on the Middle East would achieve any results. Some observers said the French-Libyan arms deal prompted Mr. Nixon to announce when he would decide on Israel’s armament requests. They noted that it was unusual for the U.S. to make such an announcement. Ordinarily, arms deals are announced after the fact or not at all, they pointed out.