Government Urged to Consider Israel-arab Arms Balance in Sale of Chieftain Tanks

Three members of the House of Lords urged the government today to take into consideration the interests of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the military balance between Israel and the Arab states in its current negotiations for the sale of 50 Chieftain tanks to Libya. The matter of the tanks was brought up by the Earl of Cork, Lord Janner and Lord Shinwell. Replying for the government, Lord Lothian said the points raised were uppermost in the minds of the government during the present negotiations. He said he could not go into the matter further at this time because discussions with the Libyans were in progress. Lord Cork observed that there was anxiety in many quarters about this issue and that the interests of NATO and the Egyptian-Israeli military balance had to be considered. Lord Janner said the government must bear in mind that Libya is entering into a federation with Egypt, the Sudan and Syria and has declared that she would use any tanks supplied to her against Israel. Lord Shinwell asked for assurances from the government that if Chieftains are supplied to Libya, Israel will also be provided with comparable equipment, inasmuch as tanks sold to Libya could well be transferred to Egypt.

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