Search JTA's historical archive dating back to 1923

Britain Says Egypt and Israel Seek to Develop Nuclear Warheads

April 29, 1964
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Three of England’s leading daily newspapers–the Times, the Daily Express, and the Guardian of Manchester–reported here today, in connection with the meeting of the Central Treaty Organization in Washington, that both Egypt and Israel are attempting to develop some types of tactical atomic warheads.

According to the Daily Express, CENTO delegates have been told in Washington that Britain has ” evidence” that both Egypt and Israel are trying to develop “minor nuclear warheads.” These, the newspaper stated, are made of conventional high explosives with radioactive materials which, when they explode, spray nuclear materials over a broad area. “Israel” said the Daily Express, “might produce such warheads, possibly with French help, and Egypt could have them only with Russian help.”

The Times, reporting that the Russians have supplied Egypt with minor nuclear war-beads, and saying there was “evidence” that Israel might soon have such weapons, declared: “It is not suggested that Israel and Egypt are about to shower radioactive dust over each other, or that open warfare of any sort is imminent. But the British are evidently impressed with the seriousness of the Middle East situation. Their feelings do not appear to be wholly shared in the United States Department, where the failure to move the Egyptians out of Yemen has led to no form of pressure more severe than diplomatic representations.”

According to the Ghardian, the possible development of a serious crisis in the Middle East this year is causing the British Government some anxiety. These anxieties, stated the newspaper, are twofold “and, in both instances, Nasser is seen as the chief culprit. ” One of the difficulties, the Guardian said, is the “mounting Arab belligerence against Israel over the Jordan waters. ” The other trouble is seen to be related to Egypt’s anti-British campaign.

“If Israel and its Arab neighbors follow the policies they have threatened over the Jordan, ” said the Guardian, “an explosion can be expected this summer.” The newspaper adds that Britain is inclined to take seriously the possibility that both Israel and the Arab states might, in the near future, acquire nuclear warheads for tactical purposes and, if they did so, “a conflict in the Middle East would clearly be very dangerous for the world at large.”

Recommended from JTA