WASHINGTON (Jul. 13)
A State Department spokesman denied today that it had stopped granting export licenses to commercial companies to ship items from the American munitions control list to Israel. The Jewish Telegraphic Agency had received reports that requests for licenses for all types of military equipment were being held up in the Defense Department by an allegedly pro-Arab aide to the Secretary of Defense. Sen. Henry Jackson told the JTA yesterday that the present delay in answering Israeli arms requests was a collusion on the part of both State Department and Defense Department officials. (See special interview on Page 4).
The State Department spokesman said that there was no interruption of the “continuing military supply relationship with Israel.” He added, in answer to JTA questions, that there was “no noticeable increase or decrease” in the number of export licenses issued and that the licenses are issued “constantly.” Israeli sources here say that Israeli concern and Defense Minister Moshe Dayan’s complaints of lack of American supplies last week referred to planes rather than other kinds of equipment on the munitions control list. State Department officials said today that Asst. Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, Joseph J. Sisco, had no firm plans to visit Israel as was reported. They added that no preconditions, as had been reported in the press, were set down by either side. Sisco, they added, would emphasize the American efforts for an interim settlement if he made the trip, but he probably could not escape discussions on the delay in answering Israeli arms requests, according to reliable sources.
The State Department officials refused to discuss the conditions under which the decision on the Phantomo would be made, and declined to say whether an American view that the balance had shifted was a necessary prelude to a positive decision on the planes. The New York Times reported that State Department officials did not think that recent heavy shipments of aircraft to Syria and Egypt upset the balance in the Middle East.