Visnews filmed this month the second delivery of cases of American arms at Bezerta naval base, Tunisia, to help equip Tunisia's Republican army, estimated at some 3,500 men.
Visnews filmed this month the second delivery of cases of American arms at Bezerta naval base, Tunisia, to help equip Tunisia's Republican army, estimated at some 3,500 men. Officers checked each case as troops loaded them into trucks.
The U.S. announced last November it had agreed to sell the arms. The announcement followed efforts to smooth ruffled Tunisian feeling in connection with the deal. Tunisia had protested that the U.S. and the U.K., which were both discussing the sale of arms, were allowing France a "veto" over the deal. The "veto" was brought about by France's protest that foreign arms supplied to Tunisia were going over the border to Algerian rebels.
The first shipment of U.S. arms to independent Tunisia was in 1957, This time France was informed of the delivery and consented.
Because of Tunisia's anger last November over the conditions laid on the purchase of arms from the U.S. and the U.K., resident Bourguiba told his countrymen he was making contracts to buy from Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia and Sweden.
At the same time, he said he would never accept conditions of purchase from the U.S. of the U.K. Any conditions were an affront to Tunisia's status as an independent nation, he said.
Observers believed the President had modified his view since the arms delivered now are supplied under the condition that they will be used only for national defence and will not be transferred "to a third party without the consent of France."
In the President's words, foreign arms are needed to preserve Tunisia's sovereignty. Tunisia need 18,00 men, about two divisions, with modern arms.