New York (Feb. 1)
A demand that the United States in cooperation with other of the United Nations establish an international commission to aid in the development of the Near East, including Palestine, Transjordan, Syria and Lebanon, was voiced Saturday, at a conference on the economic problems of the Near East, held at the Roosevelt Hotel here under the auspices of the Institute of World Economics.
Lieut. Edward A. Norman, addressing the conference reviewed the economic progress of Palestine since the last war emphasizing that Palestine, located in the center of the region known as the Near East, is the logical site for an industrial structure geared particularly to the needs of its own part of the world. “Palestine’s development until now has been carried forward mainly by or through taxation at the ultimate expense of the immigrant element, but there is no doubt that it has brought great benefits to the people who already were dwelling there,” he said. He urged the “acceleration of the modernization and development of Palestine, where such a strong foundation already has been laid, so that it can serve as that much needed leaven to lift up the whole of its own section of the surface of this earth.”
Emanuel Neumann, former member of the Executive of the Jewish Agency for Palestine, in proposing that with America taking the initiative “the United Nations establish an international commission to aid in the economic development of the Near East,” said, “the peoples of the Near East should be encouraged to establish an Economic Development Council as an instrument of uncoerced cooperation in which all elements, races and faiths and all legitimate economic interests should be represented.” Such a council, he declared, should be a non-political body having no legislative function and devoting itself exclusively to economic problems.
Dr. N. William Hazen of the Board of Economic Warfare, endorsed the proposal that the countries in the Near East adopt a plan of economic cooperation aimed at raising the standard of living of all of the fifty million inhabitants of the area and Dr. Philip K. Hitti, distinguished Orientalist and Professor of History at Princeton University, presented a picture of the historical background of the peoples in the Near East. Other speakers at the Conference included Lawrence T. Beek, distinguished engineer, now associated with the Board of Economic Warfare; Prof. William F. Albright of Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore; Prof. S. Ralph Harlow of Smith College, Northampton, Mass,; Prof. William S. Haas and Prof. G.E. Von Grunebaum, both of the Iranian Institute and School for Asiatic Studies; and Dr. John Van Ess, who devoted forty years to educational activities in the Near East.