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Nixon’s Move to Mine N.vietnam Harbors Not Riskier Than USSR Arming Egypt


Dr. Henry A. Kissinger seemed to imply today that President Nixon’s decision to mine North Vietnamese harbors is no more “an unacceptable risk” than Soviet arming of Egyptian forces along the Suez Canal. The President’s national security advisor pointed out at a news conference that the Soviet supply of sophisticated weapons to the North Vietnamese for their invasion of South Vietnam was the second time in two years that Soviet arms had “fueled military upheavals.” He put the “upheavals” in the context that they had occurred in the two years in which the Soviet Union and the United States have been engaged in preparing for the summit conference which is still scheduled to begin two weeks from now.

The President in his speech last night alluded to the Middle East situation as follows: “An American defeat in Vietnam would encourage this kind of aggression all over the world, aggression in which smaller nations armed by their major allies could be tempted to attack neighboring nations at will in the Mideast, in Europe and other areas. World peace would be in grave jeopardy.”

Observers here recalled the sharp criticism by the President in his report on foreign policy issued last January with reference to Soviet equipment and forces in the Eastern Mediterranean area. State Department sources, queried for a clarification, declined to expand on Dr. Kissinger’s statement regarding the Soviet “fueling of upheavals.” However, it was also recalled that the Soviet Union was the chief supplier of weapons to India’s Armies in the fighting with Pakistan last December.

Although there was no immediate official reaction from the Israel Embassy here to Nixon’s address last night, it was recalled here that Israel’s Foreign Minister Abba Eban had issued a statement on April 21 dealing with America’s escalation of bombing North Vietnam. Speaking at the National Press Club here Eban was asked whether it would “shake your credibility in the United States if the US would pull all Americans out of Vietnam.”

Eban replied: “It was our national feeling, as it was the feeling of many other countries, that there was a strong hope for the de-escalation and, therefore, the eventual liquidation of the conflict. This was the policy of the United States, as enunciated, and it looked as if things were moving in that direction, and therefore, a decision from the north to create and intensify escalation is not only a regional event, it is a grave international event. I wouldn’t like to draw any deductions from it specifically about the Middle East.”

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