WASHINGTON (Mar. 2)
The 30-day deadline which President Richard M. Nixon set for announcing a decision on Israel’s request for additional Phantom jet aircraft came and passed today with no word from the White House. There was no indication that any decision had been reached. Authoritative sources said the various options available to the President were still being studied. Mr. Nixon said at a press conference Jan. 30 that the U.S. “Will consider the Israelis’ arms requests based on the threats to them from states in the area,” and a decision would be made in 30 days. Five days earlier the President said in a message to American-Jewish leaders that the U.S. was prepared to supply military equipment to friendly governments, like Israel’s, “to defend the safety of their people.” The delay in announcing a decision on the Phantoms was attributed by sources here to events in the Mideast since Jan. 30 and to technical and diplomatic analyses which have complicated the President’s decision-making task.
Congressman Leonard Farbstein said today he was certain the United States would accept Israel’s order for additional Phantom jets and other military equipment whenever there appears any indication or likelihood that Israel’s deterrent strength in the Middle East is endangered. The New York Democrat was asked by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency to comment on the White House delay in announcing a decision on Israel’s request for more Phantoms. Rep. Farbstein said the U.S. would sell more jets to Israel because that country “is the West’s only buffer against domination of the Middle East by the Soviet Union.”