PARIS (Apr. 8)
A substantial group of French Senators demanded last night that the Government abandon its “one-sided” “anti-Israel” stance in the Middle East and bring its policies in line with its claims of “neutrality and objectivity.” They assailed the French arms embargo as a “unilateral” measure that works against Israel while “Russia arms Egypt, Syria and Iraq and France arms Libya, Algeria and some of the oil producing emirates. Foreign Minister Maurice Schumann replied to the critics with a vehement defense of the embargo and France’s Mideast policies. Sen. Andre Montell, of the Centrist Union who is president of the Foreign Affairs Committee, told M. Schumann, “We do not ask you to become pro-Israeli but we demand that France adopt a policy which does not endanger Israel’s right to a free and independent existence within secure and recognized borders.”
The Foreign Minister said that under present circumstances France cannot consider releasing 50 embargoed Israeli Mirage jets or reverting to a policy of “selective embargo” which would enable Israel to obtain spare parts for its Mirages. M. Schumann said, “The fact that the United States refuses to sell additional Phantoms to Israel goes to show what we have said all along that Israel still enjoys undisputed air superiority over the Arab states.” He repeated his earlier assertion that France-Israeli relations will improve only when Israel accepts the Security Council’s Nov. 22, 1967 Mideast resolution and cooperates fully with the Four Power consultations on the Mideast.