WASHINGTON (Feb. 3)
The Soviet Union is believed to have informed the United States that it will furnish Egypt and possibly other Arab nations with more arms of the latest type because of American supplies of arms to Israel. That intention is understood to have been stated in a message delivered to the White House by Soviet Ambassador Anatoly F. Dobrynin personally on Sunday. The message reportedly blamed the U.S. for the recent escalation of Israeli military operations against Egypt.
The Soviet note was described here as a response to an American note, delivered about ten days ago, replying to the Soviet note of December 23 rejecting the American proposals for an Israeli-Egyptian settlement. This American note, to which no publicity was given at the time, also criticized the Soviet for repudiating an agreement reportedly reached between Secretary of State William P. Rogers and Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko on the acceptance of the Rhodes formula for Arab-Israeli negotiations.
A Foreign Ministry spokesman in Jerusalem said today that no Soviet ultimatum of any kind has been received by Israel from any source. He was commenting on foreign press reports that the Soviet Union had warned Israel, through the Western powers, that it would intervene unless Israel desists from its air attacks on Egypt.
RUSSIA ALSO SEEN AS OPTING FOR PEACEFUL SOLUTION OF MIDEAST CRISIS
The increased military activity by Israel is believed to have occasioned the brief but urgent calls on Prime Minister Harold Wilson, of Britain and President Georges Pompidou of France by the Soviet ambassadors in London and Paris yesterday. The Russian envoys are believed to have stressed their government’s growing concern over events in the Middle East. Diplomatic sources however discounted rumors that the Soviets warned they would intervene in the Middle East to avert an Arab military defeat like the one they suffered at Israel’s hands in June, 1967. (A Foreign Office spokesman in London
Moscow is known to be under strong pressure from Egypt to provide it with the latest model Soviet fighters and bombers to offset Israeli aerial superiority and with latest electronically controlled ground-to-air missiles. The Kremlin is also weighing the effects that new American arms shipments to Israel would have on Soviet influence in Egypt and the entire Arab world. Israel has asked for additional U.S. Phantoms and Sky hawk jets and President Nixon announced last Friday that he will decide within 30 days whether Israel will get them.
The very fact of Mr. Nixon’s announcement indicates to most diplomats that Israel will be given at least part of the arms it asked for. They note that if the President intended to reject Israel’s requests he would not have told the world in advance when he planned to make his decision. According to reports from Cairo. Israel has been using U.S. Phantoms in its latest attacks on Egypt. Twenty-two of the supersonic jets are said to have been delivered to Israel so far out of 50 approved by the Johnson Administration. The Soviets are expected to balance the Phantoms by supplying Egypt with the new MIG-23.