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February 11, 1966 - Image 6

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1966-02-11

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

`U.S. Arms Deal With Arab States Came
After Agreement on Tank Sales to Israel'

(Continued from Page 1)

fense of Israel, and were regarded
as part of the 'U.S. policy to main-
tain the stability and the balance
of armaments in the Middle East.

been in accordance with our es-
tablished policy."

(The New York Times reported
last Friday from Cairo that the
Soviet Union refused to sell nu-
The State Department's confir- clear weapons to Egypt but pro-
mation of the tank deal with mised President Nasser nuclear
Israel was couched in similar protection if Israel developed
terms regarding the balance of such weapons. The reports were
power in the Middle East. Poin't- attributed to Western embassies
in Cairo but were described as
ing out that it could not remain
indifferent to the "massive" still not officially confirmed. The
sales of Soviet arms to the Mid-
refusal and the pledge were as-
dle East region, the State Depart. serted to have been made in dis-
ment declared: "Over the years, cussions in Cairo last December
to meet modernization require-
between Egyptian officials and a
ments, we have sold the govern-
Soviet military delegation headed
ment of Israel various items of
by A. A. Grechko, first deputy
military equipment to help it
defense minister. The Times re-
meet its own defense and in-
port said that though neither
ternal security requirements.
Egypt nor Israel have atomic
These have included Patton
weapons, fears of an atomic arms
race in the Middle East are wide-
State Department officials said spread).
Recent press reports claim-
they could not say specifically that
ing that the State Department
the supply of tanks to Israel in-
has sought to check Israel by
volved an assumption that the U.S.
arrangement was a substitute for deferring action on loans to Is-
a West German deal to supply Is- rael were denied categorically by
the department.
rael with various armaments. But
A statement issued by the De-
they indicated that it was fair to
draw such a conclusion. The West partment declared: "The Depart-
German government canceled an ment categorically denies that any
$80,000,000 arms deal with Israel Israeli requests for aid are being
in October 1964. It was presumed held up for any reason. Several
here that the U.S.A. has also taken matters are under discussion, but
up the remainder of that German- there is no deliberate hold-up."
Meanwhile, the U.S. Defense
Israeli contract.
Department advised Sen. Jacob
The full text of the statement
issued by the State Department K. Javits, New York Republican,
Feb. 5, in which reference was that it had not signed any con-
tract with the Rheinmetall Arms
made for the first time to the
Co. of West Germany, a firm
U.S. arms deal with Israel read as
which has refused even token
compensation to World War II

"There has been a recent spate
of news stories relating to re-

ported sales of military equip-
ment by the United States to
various countries in the Near
East. The established United
States policy has been to refrain
from becoming a major supplier
of arms in this area while re-
taining the option of helping the
countries of the area meet their
defense requirements through
occasional, selective sales.
"These exceptions to our gen-
eral policy have been based on
careful case-by-case examination
and a determination that such a
sale would not be a destabiliz-
ing factor. The United States has
made over the years repeated
quiet efforts to encourage lim-
itations on arms buildups in the
area. Until those bear fruit,
however, the United States can-
not be indifferent to the poten-
tially destabilizing effect of mas-
sive Soviet sales of arms to the
"Over the years, to meet mod-
ernization r e q u i r e ments, we
have sold the Government of Is-
rael various items of military
equipment to help it meet its
own defense and internal sec-
urity requirements. These have
included Patton tanks.
"We and the British recently
have agreed to provide an air
defense system to Saudi Arabia,
the United States component

being Hawk missiles. Similarly,
in 1962, we sold the Hawk mis-
sile to Israel to provide the basis

for an air defense system. We
have also had a small military
assistance program in Jordan un-
der which we have furnished
that coun t r y with modest
amounts of military equipment
and services, including Patton
tanks. It is our policy not to
discuss the specifics of these
types of transactions. According-
ly we are not in a position to go
into the details of military ma-
terial furnished individual coun-
tries, beyond stating that sup-
plies to these countries has

slave laborers.

Replying to a request for infor-
mation on the matter from Sen.
Javits, the Defense Department
said that the matter of such a
contract was still being reviewed
by the research and development
ordnance experts of the depart-
Sen. Javits made his inquiry
after reports that a multi-million
dollar arms order was to be
awarded to the West German firm.
He said he had decided to look
into the issue after questions about
the reported transaction were
raised by the Bnai Brith Organiza-
tion and Mayor John V. Ryan Jr.
of Springfield.
In another development in the
matter, Rep. Leonard Farbstein,
New York Democrat, said he would
introduce legislation in the House
to prevent the government from
making such a contract with the
West German firm.
Declaring that he would seek to
amend the annual military appro-
priation bill to block any such
contract, he noted that the com-
pany was still directed by former
Nazi Party members.
He said he would call for imme-
diate consideration of the amend-
ment by the Appropriations Com-
mittee so that it could be included
in the first money bill to be ap-
proved by the House this year.
He added he would call for a floor
vote on such an amendment if it
was not included in the forthcom-
ing appropriation measure.
The circumstances, which could
lead to a $75,000,000 contract for
Rheinmetall Company, of Dussel-
dorf, were disclosed in protests by
Dr. William Wexler, international
Bnai Brith president, to Secretary
of State Dean Rusk and Secretary
of Defense Robert S. McNamara.
Dr. Wexler said his organization
"deeply deplores the possibility
that Rheinmetall, second largest
arms manufacturer for the Nazi
Reich, would be rewarded with a
favorable contract, nothwithstand-
ing stubborn refusals "to recogn-
ize moral obligations to some 1,000
survivors of slave labor who were
brutally exploited."

Many of the survivors of the

group exploited by Rheinmetall
are now U.S. citizens. Efforts by

Jewish organizations to negoti-
ate agreement with Rheinmetall
proved futile, although the


6—Friday, February 11, 1966

Nuremberg Tribunal had ruled

that N a z i exploiters of slave
labor like Rheinmetall per-
petrated a crime against human-
ity, and were legally responsible.
A German high court decision

was subsequently made against
Rheinmetall. The plaintiffs were
two Jewish women now living in
New York. But these claims were
deferred until a final peace
treaty. Such a treaty is unlikely
at present because of Soviet poli-
cies. Agreement to compensate
victims was made by Krupp, I. G.
Farben and other German com-
panies, but the alleged ex-Nazi
Party members who direct Rhein-
metall have adamantly refused to
even consider the matter. They
are Otto Paul Caesar and Ernst
Dr. Wexler protested that such
dealings with an alleged Nazi firm
undermines American declarations
on behalf of human rights. The
matter has also been discussed
with West German Ambassador
Heinrich Knappstein. The mayor
of Springfield is interested in the
issue because an old arsenal in
his city has been closed down. He
told the President that the Spring-
field facility could produce the
same weapons for which a con-
tract is being awarded to a firm
managed by two "pioneer Nazis."

Imbalance Still Exists,
Jerusalem Source States

(Direct JTA Teletype Wire
to The Jewish News)

JERUSALEM — The disclosure
of the U.S. sale of a number of
Patton tanks to Israel led Israeli
sources Tuesday to comment that
while the security aspect of the
transaction was its most important
aspect, it also had considerable
political importance.
These sources said that the State
Department stand that the trans-
action was meant to prevent an
arms imbalance in the Middle East
reaffirmed U.S. recognition of the
need for Israel to maintain a rea-
sonable military strength as a de-
terrent to Arab aggression.
These sources noted that the


State Department had indicated
that the decision to provide the
tanks was made several months
ago, meaning that it was prompted
by the imbalance that then existed.
Since then, it was noted, Egypt
had received additional weapons
and other Arab countries had re-
ceived arms commitments from
the United States and Britain,
which had increased the imbalance
(In Washington, Rep. Leonard
Farbstein, New York Democratic
member of the House Foreign Af-
fairs Committee, commended the
State Department for publicly an-
nouncing the sale of tanks and
other military equipment to Israel.
He said that he learned of the
transactions some time ago and
insisted that the news be released
by the State Department because
Arab intelligence was already
aware of the deal and that an-
nouncement would serve notice on
the Arab public that the United
States "intends to maintain the
arms balance in the area."

Eshkol Reports on Defense;
Says Security Not Deteriorated

Minister Levi Eshkol told the Par-
liamentary Foreign Affairs and
Security Committee that Israel's
security had not deteriorated since
he assumed the Defense Portfolio
2 1/2 years ago.
He made the statement in reply
to a question about charges made
by former Premier David Ben-
Gurion in which Ben-Gurion had
accused Eshkol of bringing poli-
tics into Israel's defense activities.
The Premier commented that the
charges w e r e completely un-
founded and were, in any case,
so nebulous that reply was impos-
After hearing the Premier, the
committee agreed not to ask Ben-

LONDON (JTA)—Maurice Edei-
men, president of the A_nglo-Jew-
ish Association, expressed hope
that British Premier Harold Wil-
son might find it possible on his
forthcoming visit to Moscow to ob-
tain Soviet support for a peace
initiative in the Middle East.
He told the Council of the AJA
that while world attention was
being focused on the war in South
Vietnam, the arms race between
Israel and the Arab states "again
gathers momentum." He asserted
that because Israel was obliged to
consider counter measures, the
hope of creating a nuclear-free
zone in the Middle East was fad-


Referring to Wilson's Moscow
visit, the AJA chairman said that
to prevent an Arab-Israeli conflict,
with the grave possibility of es-
calation, the Great Powers must
make a concerted effort to bring
the conflicting parties to the con-
ference table.



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