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No Arms for Israel Now, Dulles Says; Indicates Waiting Policy

October 19, 1955
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Secretary of State John Foster Dulles indicated today that the United States has no immediate plans to provide Israel with arms to maintain a balance and offset Communist arms shipments to Egypt. He hinted at a “wait and see” attitude.

Mr. Dulles was asked at his press conference whether the Tripartite Declaration of 1950 did not obligate the United States to make arms available to Israel to maintain a balance of power. He replied that he did not think he could draw a definite conclusion because American policy must be applied to facts and, to some extent, the facts were still obscure. The declaration, he noted, embodied two broad, explicit concepts: the desire to avoid a power imbalance and the desire to prevent an arms race.

The United States, Mr. Dulles said, could not yet judge the military significance of the Czech-Egyptian arms deal and would need to know the quality, types and quantity of the arms to be supplied to Egypt. He added that the “business of second-hand arms” was difficult to appraise accurately.” He raised a question about the actual value of the “discards” supplied by the Soviet bloc and said it was hard to judge whether such weapons would considerable increase Egypt’s military strength.

The Secretary of State said the Middle East question was not on the agenda of the Oct. 27 Geneva conference but that it would be permissible to put it on the agenda if all the foreign ministers agreed. A discussion of the Middle East problems might evolve as a “by-product” of the conference, he noted. He disclosed that he had discussed the Middle Eastern crisis twice with Soviet Foreign Minister Molotov and that Mr. Molotov had not then or since made any proposal about adhering to the 1950 Tripartite Declaration.

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