Past National Commanders of Six Veterans Groups Urge U.S. Jets for Israel Now

The past national commanders of six leading veterans organizations have sent telegrams to President Nixon and Secretary of State William P. Rogers asking the United States to send jets to Israel immediately. The former heads of the Jewish War Veterans, the Catholic War Veterans, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Disabled American Veterans, the AM Vets and the American Legion asked the two policy makers to “reconsider the temporary withholding of military aircraft to Israel.” They added, “Russia’s direct involvement (in the Middle East) eliminates any hope that your previous decision will lessen the flow of Communist arms to the Arab world.” President Nixon declared on his nationally-televised press conference Friday night that if reports of growing Soviet participation in Egyptian military activities were true, it would shift the balance of power in the Middle East. He added that, under those circumstances, it would be “necessary for the United States to reevaluate its decision with regard to the sale of jets to Israel,” Replying to a question, the President said that the Middle East situation had been made “ominous” by reports that Soviet pilots are in the U.A.R. air force “not in a combat but in some other role.” The President concluded his reply on the question by saying that “We have made it very clear, and this is in the interest of peace in that area, that the balance of power must not be changed and we will keep that commitment.”

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