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Story U.S. to Sell Israel Jets Viewed with Skepticism; Seen As ‘carrot’ in Talks

August 5, 1971
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Knowledgeable sources here voiced skepticism today over a story today in the New York Times that the Nixon Administration was considering a proposal to modernize Israel’s aging Air Force by agreeing to sell Israel as many as 110 jet planes over the next three to four years. White House and State Department spokesmen both said they had no information about any such plan. State Department spokesman Robert J. McCloskey described the report as “rather highly speculative.” He added that Assistant Secretary Joseph J. Sisco did not take with him to Israel “any specific proposal regarding their (Israel’s) military needs, including aircraft,” although it was “entirely likely the subject would be discussed.” The sources said that the reported proposal did not fit into anything that was known about Israeli-United States discussions on military assistance and dismissed the story as possibly “wishful thinking.” Other sources, however, indicated that there was some basis for the Times report that such a plan was under consideration as a political action to give Assistant Secretary of State Joseph Sisco a powerful “carrot” in his as yet unsuccessful efforts in Israel to persuade Israeli leaders to be more “flexible” on U.S. proposals for an interim Israeli-Egyptian agreement to permit reopening of the Suez Canal.

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