Defense Departments Says Israel and Arabs Have Balance of Arms

Defense Department spokesman William Beecher, confirming a report that the U.S. National Security Council has made a study of the military strength of the Middle East countries, said today that a balance exists between Israel and her neighbors. “We are determined to keep that balance,” Beecher said. Sufficient arms, he said, will be provided to Israel to maintain its capability.

Pentagon sources afterwards told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that “balance” in the U.S. view was Israel’s capability in relation to Egypt and Syria. Asked whether the power of Jordan and Iraq, that also participated in the Yom Kippur War, were excluded from the Security Council’s estimate, the Pentagon sources said they could be included to the extent their forces might engage in warfare against Israel. They indicated, however, that the extent of Jordanian and Iraqi participation last Oct. was not significant.

BALANCE MUST MATCH ALL ARAB STATES

Israel’s view of balance, it was understood here, is that it must match the capability of all Arab countries that had actively participated in the Yom Kippur War and also Saudi Arabia and others that might enter into another attempt against her. A leading American military authority told JTA that President Ford is to decide whether a military balance exists and the extent to which Israel should be supplied with weapons. The White House, when queried by JTA, refused to discuss the NSC report. At the State Department, spokesman John King said he was not aware of any Department study of what its position would be if Israel used U.S. supplied weapons outside of Israel “like in Lebanon.”

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