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Israel Protests to Britain About Impending Sale of Chieftain Tanks to Libya

Israel has formally protested to Britain against its impending sale of Chieftain tanks to Libya, it was learned here today. The British Ambassador, John Barnes, was summoned to the Foreign Ministry yesterday where Foreign Minister Abba Eban officially conveyed to him Israel’s attitude toward British arms sales to Arab countries that openly state their intention of making war on Israel. Meanwhile, the British Foreign Office today dismissed as “oversimplification” charges by Israel’s Defense Minister Moshe Dayan that Britain reneged on an agreement to sell Chieftain tanks to Israel after testing the tanks in the Negev and accepting suggestions by Israeli technicians for their improvement. A Government spokesman said that Gen. Dayan’s version was an “oversimplification of a complicated situation” but refused to go into details. He would not comment on Israeli design changes allegedly introduced to the tanks or on the possibility of their being sold to Libya.