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Peres; Israel Will Drop Its Request for Pershings if Egypt Give Up Its Scud Missiles

Defense Minister Shimon Peres said here last night that Israel would withdraw its request for long-range Pershing missiles from the United States if Egypt reciprocated by giving up its Soviet-made Scud ground-to-ground missiles, “Instead of escalation, let us try the road to de-escalation,” the Defense Minister declared in an address at a dinner of the United Jewish Appeal annual Study Mission. The meeting was closed to the press but Peres’ call for a mutual reduction of missile strength was published and released by the Government Printing Office.

The Defense Minister said Israel sought weapons such as the Pershing not to make war but to deter it. He said Israel was not interested in the Pershing for its nuclear delivery capability, He noted that the Phantom and Sky hawk jets already in Israel’s Air Force could theoretically deliver nuclear devices. Peres said that when Israel bought those planes from the U.S. it was the clear understanding that they would never carry nuclear devices and this understanding has been honored.