D’estaing Says Israel Should Get Arms if She is Threatened

President Valery Giscard d’Estaing defined today what he considered the best kind of Big Power guarantees to Israel–an automatic commitment to step up the delivery of military equipment should there be a shift in the military balance of power in the Middle East or if Israel’s existence is endangered.

The French President made those remarks in a conversation with the Jewish Telegraphic Agency’s European Bureau Chief during a formal luncheon at the Elysee Palace attended by several dozen French and foreign newsmen to mark the first anniversary of the President’s election to office.

The best guarantee is to give a country the means to defend itself, the French leader told the JTA. He said no country could be sure of obtaining the military equipment it needs without a guarantee and cited Egypt’s precarious situation after the Soviet Union halted arms shipments to Cairo last year as an example.

Giscard d’Estaing, who seemed well informed on the subject, said he was sure that UNESCO would relent in its anti-Israel position before the next session of its General Assembly two years hence and that Israel will find itself in one of the geographical groupings from which it was excluded by UNESCO resolutions adopted in Paris last year.

The President refused to be drawn into any discussion of the status of the Palestine Liberation Organization which claims to represent the Palestinian people. However, he told the JTA that the main reason for Israel’s former anger with France was the latter’s insistence that no peace settlement can be concluded in the Middle East without Palestinian participation. He indicated that Israel’s position has changed somewhat and is now a bit closer to France’s. He did not elaborate.

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