JERUSALEM (Nov. 15)
Foreign Ministry officials claimed today that massive Soviet shipments of aircraft to Egypt from March through May, 1971 upset the Middle East power balance which has not yet been redressed. The officials were commenting on a statement by Secretary of State William P. Rogers, published in the Nov. 22 edition of the American magazine US News and World Report that “the Soviet Union in the last four or five months has operated with some restraint as far as (arms) shipments (to Egypt) are concerned.”
The Israeli officials did not dispute Rogers’ assertion but claimed that shipments of MIG-21s and Sukhoi-7 bombers to Egypt last spring were not balanced by American shipments of aircraft to Israel. Israel at the time was receiving the last of the Phantoms sold under previous arrangements with the Nixon administration. The officials described them as “a very small number.”
They noted that still later the Soviets introduced their MIG-23s to Egypt, the world’s fastest and highest flying combat plane. Some sources claimed that the Russians have also sent Egypt their new Sukhoi-11 light bombers. The sources said that if these reports are correct, the information contained in Rogers’ interview did not include all the facts.
The Israeli officials also referred to Rogers’ insistence that the six points he outlined in his speech before the United Nations General Assembly last month did not constitute American proposals regarding an interim Suez agreement between Israel and Egypt. Rogers told the magazine that “We have not adopted any substantive position on any of these six parameters that I outlined. We have no blueprint of our own that we have put forward.” According to the Israelis, Rogers’ remarks appear to be a step toward rebuilding the credibility of the US role as an intermediary in Israeli-Egyptian negotiations.