Israel and British Government Deny Britain Would Sell Israel 400 Chieftain Tanks

Israel and the British government both denied today reports that Britain would sell Israel 400 Chieftain tanks. The report was printed in the Cairo magazine “Rose El Youssef.” The Israeli Embassy said no purchasing mission was in Britain. British officials said they knew nothing of the alleged negotiations. In the House of Commons, Labor MP Robert Brown asked Minister of State Joseph Godber whether the new deliveries of Soviet arms to Egypt have caused the Heath government to reverse the Wilson government’s embargo on Chieftains to Israel. Minister Godber said he would stand by the government’s statement of July 6. Foreign Secretary Sir Alec Douglas-Home said then, in response to a similar question, that “It Is not our practice…to comment on the details of particular arms transactions,” but that the government would “consider each application for arms sales carefully on its merits…” Minister Godber agreed with MP Brown, however, that the Chieftain decision was one of urgency and great importance. Pro-Arab MP Christopher May-hew charged that Israeli policies were almost as unpopular In the United Nations as those of South Africa, but Mr. Godber replied: “I have heard similar arguments with regard to the Arab states.” Mr. Mayhew recommended an arms embargo on any Mideast country that rejects unanimous Security Council peace resolutions, to which Mr. Godber replied: “There Is no evidence that major suppliers would agree to that embargo.” MP Gerald Kaufman sought assurances that no tanks would be sold to Libya.while being dented to Israel. Mr. Godber said the government had no desire to give either side In the Middle East an advantage.

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