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Sartch Silent on Report That State Department Offering Israel F-8 Crusader Jets

State Department spokesman Carl E. Bartch declined comment today on published reports that the Department is seeking to replace lost Israeli F-4 Phantoms with older and Inferior F-8 Crusader Jets. The Department was said to be urging LTV Vought Aeronautics, a division of Ling-Temco-Vought, Inc., to persuade Israel to accept Crusaders, which supposedly would not anger the Arab states as much as Phantom sales. The Crusaders are capable of Intercepting MIG-21s, but do not have the Phantoms’ range and overall usefulness. It is also reported that Israel has contracted for more American bombs for use against Egyptian positions on the Suez Canal. Mr. Bartch, asked to comment on the Joint Egyptian-Soviet communique on the Middle East released last Friday In Moscow, replied: “There’s nothing in there that Is directly addressed to the (American) peace Initiative.” The spokesman said Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser had not yet reported his official reaction to the Initiative, but “the sooner the better.”