WASHINGTON (Aug. 27)
State Department spokesman John King today said there has been a continual flow of Soviet arms to Egypt in recent months. Commenting on reports that the Russians were sending new weapons to Egypt including long-range guns that could reach behind Israeli defensive positions in the 32-mile Suez Canal zone – SAM-2 and SAM-3 missiles, radar and amphibious craft – Mr. King said, “We have seen reports. As far as we can tell there has not been any suspension in the flow of Soviet arms to Egypt in recent months. I can only add, as I think you all know, we have repeatedly sought to engage the Soviet Union in serious arms limitation talks in the Middle East, thus far without success.” He added that he had no details and could not confirm reports of new weapons and long-range guns. In response to a question, he said he had no information about reports that the U.S. was moving new reconnaissance equipment to the Middle East and he referred his questioner to the Defense Department for information. Informed that the Defense Department had referred the questioner to the State Department, Mr. King said he would “check into the matter.”
According to unofficial reports here today, the U.S. plans to use its most sophisticated aerial reconnaissance system in the Mideast–a system that will provide President Nixon with photographs only minutes after they are taken by U-2 planes. A building in the Suez Canal area would be electronically linked by satellite to the Pentagon, the New York Times correspondent Jack Gould reported. The transmitting device, called Compass Link, is a one-of-a-kind unit, the Times reported, and is currently in use in Southeast Asia, although Washington was said to consider accurate data more important in the Mideast than in Indochina.
Mr. King refused to comment on reports from the summer White House in San Clemente, Calif., that the United States was prepared to join Russia in a two-nation peace keeping force. “I’m as aware as you are of the San Clemente report. There is an ample record,” he said in a reference to the 48-page transcript that was made public last night of briefing for Western newspaper editors and publishers. Mr. King said that he was not prepared to “elaborate, explain or interpret” the reports from San Clemente. Mr. King had no comment on the Egyptian charges of Israeli violations of the cease-fire or on Israel’s detention of two Algerian officials who were taken from a BOAC plane which landed at Lydda airport on August 14. (In New York, a spokesman for the United Nations said that Secretary General U Thant has been in touch with the Israeli Mission to the UN “all along” on the situation. No immediate comment was available from the Israeli Mission.)