PARIS (Jul. 24)
The French paper Le Monde reported today that France is on the verge of signing a contract with Saudi Arabia providing for the sale of 38 Mirage-111-E planes. This Mirage model is described by the manufacturers, the Dassault-Breguet group, as a modern “deep intervention” and penetration plane. Le Monde said that delivery will start early next year.
The paper said that France won the contract in the face of stiff American competition. Two American firms. McDonnell-Douglas which manufactures the Phantom, and Northrop which produces the F-5, have tried to squeeze France out of the market.
According to Le Monde, Israel has urged the American government to prevent the sale of Phantoms to Saudi Arabia but Washington has decided to overrule this objection. Sixty F-5s have already been delivered to Saudi Arabia and Phantoms are also due to be supplied, according to Le Monde. A Saudi military mission is currently in Paris and French official sources confirmed to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency the Le Monde report.
The Religious Zionists of America opened their national convention tonight in Jerusalem.