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State Dept. Confirms New Soviet Military Supplies to Egypt, Syria; Mum on Power Balance

July 13, 1971
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The State Department refused to comment today on a New York Times story that recent escalated shipments of the latest Soviet MIGs to Syria and Egypt upsets the military balance in the Mideast. The Department spokesman assured reporters that the U.S. has a long-standing commitment to keep the military balance in the region. But he refused to give the details of how the Administration would implement its policy. The spokesman refused to comment on charges by Israel Defense Minister Moshe Dayan last Saturday that Israel did not have a regular flow of arms from the U.S. because of Egyptian pressure on Washington not to supply Israel with warplanes. State Department officials however confirmed the Times story which included particulars of Soviet aid to Egypt and Syria. According to the Times, the UAR received nearly 100 MIG-21s since the cease-fire went into effect in Aug. 1970, with delivery of eight in June 1971 alone, as well as 80 transport helicopters, including 16 in June. The Times reported Syria shipments at a total of 21 of the latest model MIG-21s, nine older MIG-17s, and five Sukhoi 7 fighter-bombers and 22 MIG-8 helicopters. Intelligence experts quoted by the Times interpreted the supply of the helicopters to mean that the USSR has decided to provide the Arabs with greater mobility in desert or mountain warfare.

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