LONDON (May. 19)
According to reports reaching here diplomatic sources in Eastern Europe said today that the Russians are hastening the Installation of SAM-3 anti-aircraft missiles in Egypt and Russian officers will fire them against Israeli planes attacking behind the Suez Canal line. The sources said the Russians will “direct” Egyptian pilots in advanced MIG-21s from radar stations on the ground. If the Egyptians prove unable to handle the planes, the Russians will pilot them themselves to defend the SAM-3 sites, and the Soviet personnel manning them, against Israeli attack. According to Communist sources, Moscow is committed “to the hilt” to the defense of Egypt. If those defenses are in danger of collapsing, Russia may “broaden” the radius of their direct intervention if it considers it necessary. This was taken to mean that in an extreme situation the Soviets would extend direct military support to Egypt close to or within the Suez Canal zone.