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U.S. Seeks to Counteract Israel Arguments Against Arming Iraq

February 16, 1955
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Aiming to counteract arguments against the United States sending arms to Iraq–which are advanced by Israel, as well as by American supporters of Israel–the State Department today made public a statement lauding Iraq and justifying American munitions grants to that Arab country.

The statement asserts that “the United States Government has maintained a position of impartiality” with regard to arms purchased commercially by Middle East governments in this country, and arms purchased with special government dispensation because they were not commercially available. It emphasizes that regarding these two types of arms exports the American Government did not discriminate either against the Arabs or Israel.

The American policy in supplying arms to the Middle East countries, the statement declares, is guided by the principles set forth in the Tripartite Declaration of May 25, 1950, issued by the United States, Great Britain, and France. It says the considerations outlined in the declaration have been reflected in the decisions of the United States to issue export licenses for arms purchased commercially and to make it possible for Middle Eastern governments to purchase certain arms not available on the commercial market.

Because sale of arms has been relatively limited, it has been a matter of growing concern to the United States that “the area remains relatively defenseless against possible outside aggression.” As a result, Mutual Security funds were allocated for military assistance to countries of this area, the statement explains.

“Evidence of Iraq’s determination to deal effectively with domestic Communist activities may be found in recent severe measures taken by the government against membership in the Communist Party and Communist activity,” the statement declared. “In addition to these measures, the government is attempting to lessen the appeal of Communism by raising the general living standards through the land reform and other measures and through an economic development program for which seventy percent of the country’s considerable oil revenues are earmarked.”

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