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December 22, 1967 - Image 17

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1967-12-22

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

Arms-for-Israel Decision Delayed till February

WASHINGTON—President Lyn-
don B. Johnson has deferred a de-
cision on supplying important new
arms to Israel, including Phantom
Jets, at least until the February
visit of Israeli Prime Minister Levi
Eshkol, highly-placed U.S. officials
disclosed Tuesday.
These off icials said that the
White House was convinced that
no dangerous arms imbalance cur-
rently existed in the Middle East
because of the supply of 48 Doug-
las Skyhawk Jet Bombers to Israel.
The Skyhawks were purchased in
1966 and are now being manufac-
tured and delivered. Off icials
pointed out that the Skyhaws rep-
resented more than numerical re-
placement of Israel's losses in
the Six-Day War because Israel is
alleged to have lost fewer aircraft
than the total of Skyhawks. Some
of the losses were described as ob-
solescent types.
Officials said that the latest
administration evaluation, fully

shared by the President, did not
see the Soviet role as such at this
juncture to justify a greater
American involvement in Is-
raeli defensive requirements. It
was said that the situation could
change during the first half of
1968. If so, appropriate conclu-
sions would be drawn.

President Johnson was authori-
tatively depicted as wishing to
avoid a policy that would bracket
the United States with Israel's de-
fense equipment in the same role
that France previously played.
This would restrict American flexi-
bility in dealing with the Arabs
and with changing situations, it
was said.
Another factor pertained to do-
mestic political considerations that
would naturally influence the Pres-
ident's timing on matters involving
Israel in 1968, an election year, ac-
cording to sources close to the
President.
The current assessment is that

the United States has responded

adequately to the Israeli defense
situation as it exists at the year's
end. But the matter remains under
active study and consideration. It
was apparent, however, that long-
term military needs of Israel are
not at this moment an issue of great
priority at the White House and
certainly not at the State Depart-
ment.
President Johnson's personal ad-
viser on international security af-
fairs, Walt W. Rostow, met with
Congressmen of the Jewish faith in
response to complaints that the ad-
ministration's response to Israel's
military supply requirements had
been inadequate, it was learned.
Rostow met with the Congress-
men at the Capitol. He declined to
make any commitment of the new
Israeli needs that were dramatized
by the French suspension of con-
tracted plane deliveries to Israel
The White House official indicated
that the matter might be con-
sidered in due course.
Participants in the meting em-
phasized that the United States
must take responsibility for the
sale of arms, especially aircraft,
to Israel, in view of President de
Gaulle's policies. France had been
the major supplier of the Israeli
aviation needs.
The Congressmen who took part
in the meting, were representatives
Leonard Farbstein. Benjamin Ro-
.enthal, James Seheur, Herbert
Tenzer. T ester Wolff all New York
Democrat , : Joshua Eilberg, Penn-
sylvania Democrat: Samuel . Frie-
del. Maryland Democrat; Charles
Joelson, New Jersey Democrat:
and Seymour Halpern, New York
Republican. They represented a
majority of the Jewish members of
Congress.

did not "pose any immediate
military threat" to the United
States and her allies. But Russian
activities "do bear careful watch-
ing," he added.

McCloskey's remarks pertained
to the massive Soviet resupply of
weapons to the Arabs and to re-
ports of greater Soviet naval and
air activity in the region. He de-
clined to estimate the number of
Soviet military advisers in Egypt.
Other State Department officials
saw no cause for alarm over
Russian activities in support of the
Arabs. They said the public should
not assume that all the Russians in
Egypt were military men because
many were engineers and tech-
nicians aiding with irrigation and
agrarian reform projects.
Questions were raised at the
State Department about the Ameri-
can evaluation of Soviet military
operations in the Middle East be-
cause of anxiety express by some
NATO countries. The NATO For-
eign ministers, at their winter par-
ley approved a proposal for the
study of the growing menace creat-
ed by Soviet activity in the Middle
East. Israel has also indicated that
she regards the Russian buildup and
shipments to the Arabs as danger-
ous to Israeli security.
Russia now has over 50 warships

in the Mediterranean, including her
latest guided-missile cruisers. Ad-
ditionally, there are estimated to be
between 10 and 20 submarines and

numerous support ships of various
types.
Opposition Congressmen have re-
cently accused the administration
of responding only to the Commun-
ist threat to Vietnam while ignor-
ing a dangerous Russian movement
into the Middle East and Mediter-
ranean.

IiNestia Claims
U.S., Britain Are
Rearming Israel

(Direct JTA Teletype Wire
to The Jewish News)

UNITED NATIONS—The Soviet
government newspaper I z v e s t i a
claimed in an article published

Dec. 13 that the United States and
Great Britain were rearming Israel
"as a striking force in the struggle
against the independent Arab
states."
The article, signed "Observer,"
w s summarized in the weekly re-
view of the Russian press distrib-
uted by the Soviet mission to the
United Nations Wednesday.
The article said that Britain's
embargo on arms deliveries to the
Middle East "after the Israeli at-

a

tack on the Arab states last June
conformed to the UN charter" but

that Britain subsequently resumed
arms deliveries to Israel, which

"followed in the steps of Wash-
ington." The article referred to the
U.S. intention to supply Israel with
A - 4 Skyhawk fighter bombers this
year in fulfillment of a prior com-
mitment. "Thus," said Izvestia,
"the United States and Britain, the
Mates chiefly responsible for turn-
ing Israel into a militarist state,
again help to arm Israel and play

into the hands of the Tel Aviv ex-
tremists in their attempts to con-
solidate their hold on the occupied

Arab territories."

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He was asked by one of three
interviewing newsmen: 'Do you
'consider that this country has the
same kind of unwavering commit-
ment to defend Israel against in-
vasion as we have in South Viet-
nam?"
The pro:Went re , lied "We don't
have a SEATO (South East Asia
Treaty Organization) treaty, if that
is what you are asking. We have
made clear our very definite inter-
est in Israel and our desire to
preserve peace in that area of the
world by many means. But we do
not have a mutual security treaty
with them (Israel) as we do in
Southeast Asia."

Egyptian Editor Sees

Dim Peace Prospects
ISTANBUL (ZINS) — There are
no chances for a political or mili-
tary solution of the crisis in the

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The State Department sought
to minimize the dangers created
by the Soviet military build-up
in the Middle East and Mediter-
ranean areas. State Department
press spokesman Robert J. Mc-
Closkey said the Russian actions

Middle East, according to the edi-
tor of Al Ahram, semi official or-
gan of the Egyptian government.
Its editor, Haikel, a close friend
of President Nasser, contends that
the United States, as the only
power capable of influencing in-
definitely in order to hamper the
flow of Soviet weapons to Vietnam.
No military solution is in pros-
pect, Haikel said, because Israel
lacks the capacity to defeat Egypt
whose military power is now
stronger than before the Six-Day
War. Egypt is yet too weak to de-
feat Israel.
On the relations between Egypt
and other countries Haikel pre-
sents the following chart: With Sov-
iet Russia—excellent; with France
—half satisfactory; with England—
almost s atisfactory; with the
United States—very bad, with no
hope for an improvement in Egyp-
tian-American relations in the fu-
ture.

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LBJ Reiterates 'Interest' in Israel
Cites Lack of Mutual Security Pact

• • •

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• • •

WASHINGTON—President John-
son reaffirmed Tuesday night the
United States' commitment to Is-
rael durin•, a nationally televised
interview in which he noted, in
response to a question, that the
United S'ates did not have a mu-
tual security treaty with Israel:

MORIS HUPPERT

/1

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