Washington (Jul. 1)
State Department spokesman Charles Bray advised the press today to treat “with reserve” reports about any United States initiative to fit Israel into some kind of western defense framework. The reports, which emanated from unidentified sources in Israel, were to the effect that Israel be incorporated into a loose defense framework with the United States, Western Europe, Iran and Turkey. Bray described the sources as “unusually cloudy.” He did not deny the reports. Some sources here linked the reports with the unusual visit of Richard Helms, Central Intelligence Agency head, to Israel, which ended today. The sources here said they had been informed that Israeli officials purportedly were concerned about the “possibility” of a Soviet naval blockade and that one of Helms’ assignments on his Israeli visit was to evaluate Israeli intelligence data on that “possibility.” Another report circulating here was that one of the purposes of Helms’ visit was to reassure the Israelis that, despite delays by the Nixon Administration in answering recent requests for additional arms, the Administration still supported Israel’s security. Those sources said the Helms’ visit was leaked as an effort to strengthen the picture of United States-Israeli cooperation.