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Clashes Between Israeli Planes and Soviet Technicians in Egypt Spells War with Russia

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Defense Minister Moshe Dayan said today that possible clashes between the Israeli Air Force and the Soviet SAM-3 technicians in Egypt would constitute “war with the Russians, no matter how it is formulated.” In an official interview in the Armed Forces magazine, Bamachaneh, given special significance because it coincided with the visit to the Middle East by Joseph Sisco, United States Undersecretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, Gen. Dayan said of such clashes, “It is not what we want. We do not want to fight the Russians, and with cautious optimism I hope we shall not get to doing it.” Comparing Israel’s position along the Suez Canal to that of the U.S. during the 1962 brink-of-war Cuban missile crisis, he renewed his government’s request for additional American Phantom jets.

(Israel is about to get a more lenient payment schedule on its purchase of 50 Phantom jets in 1968. Paul W.Ward wrote today in the Baltimore Sun. The original contract called for cash payment of two-thirds of the $300 million cost of the planes. The new terms will be cash payment of only $100 million, the rest to be paid in ten years. The easing of credit allowances, Mr. Ward stated, is an outcome of the Nixon administration promise to “respond to certain of Israel’s short term financial requests while studying further its longer range needs” when it turned down Israel’s request for an additional 25 Phantoms and 100 Sky hawk jets. In announcing the Nixon decision, William Rogers, Secretary of State, said there would also be an expanded PL-480 program for purchase of surplus food, under favorable credit arrangements. Mr. Ward stated administration sources said that “the amount involved…is about $40 million and payment is to be made in dollars.”)

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