PARIS (Nov. 23)
A reliable French source told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency today that France has no intention of lifting the arms embargo on the Arab states that the late President Charles DeGaulle imposed on the belligerents in the 1967 Six-Day War. The source was responding to a report in Beirut’s French language newspaper, “L’Orient-Le Jour,” which claimed yesterday that sources close to the French Premier’s Office indicated that France was on the verge of lifting the embargo.
The source said France was not even considering such action at this time and described reports to the contrary in the Arab press as “trial balloons” and “a political maneuver.” The sources pointed out that a move with such important political implications would have to be decided, by the President himself.
(Reports from Paris reaching New York today said France was considering lifting the embargo in response to Israel’s air raids on Syrian military posts and terrorist strongholds twice this month, especially the attack two days ago.)
The Lebanese newspaper said that two ministerial commissions were set up to study the implications of the political repercussions of lifting the arms embargo at home and abroad. It implied that the move was intended to enable Egypt to become a major customer of France for arms.
Egypt has been trying to obtain arms contracts in Western Europe, particularly in France without success. Britain is the only Western power that has agreed to sell heavy arms to Cairo although Britain stipulates that the arms it sells must not alter the Middle East military balance. France sells arms to Libya which it does not regard as a 1967 belligerent.