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Report That Russians Plan to Establish Naval Base at Socotra Causes Concern

Military circles here are taking seriously reports that the Soviet Union plans to establish a naval base on Socotra, a large, sparsely Inhabited island in the Arabian Sea, 200 miles east of Africa and 250 miles south of the Arabian peninsula. The island commands the shipping lanes between the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf. Israeli military circles say that a Soviet naval installation there would be a threat to Israeli shipping to and from the Gulf of Aqaba but believe that the most serious threat is not to Israel but to the Western powers. They say that the Soviet plans appeared to be directed at control of access to the oil rich Persian Gulf area which supplies much of the oil for Western Europe and Japan.