New York (Nov. 5)
United Nations approval of Palestine partition will mean little unless it is implemented by a Jordan Valley Authority which could provide cheap power for industry and water for the Negev, Henry A. Wallace said tonight, addressing a Dinner on Palestine sponsored by the Progressive Citizens of America.
“Large financial interests should cooperate with the World Bank in making the JTA a reality and the northern Negev a garden as soon as possible after the majority report of UNSCOP has been adopted,” the former Vice-President said.
He reported that he had found no expectation in Palestine that “there would be serious conflict between the Jewish and Arab peoples of Palestine once partition was an accomplished fact. No matter what top-flight Arabs may say, there is no indication that the rank and file of the Arab people are preparing to use any type of violence,” he continued. Wallace said that without adequate U.N. enforcement, King Abdullah of Transjordan might move into the Arab section, but there is no danger of invasion from north or the east.
Abdullah told him that he planned to visit the U.S. within the next year or two, Wallace said, expressing the hope that when the Transjordan monarch is here a program can be worked out for a JVA. He said that Abdullah has little interest in developing industry in Transjordan, but would like to develop the port of Aquaba to enable him to export grain without using the Suez Canal.
The number of people that will eventually be able to settle in Jewish Palestine depends on how much water is made available to the Negev from the Jordan, he said. He stressed that a JVA would recuire the cooperation of both the Jews and Arabs as well as a large amount of capital from the United States.
Declaring that “modern Jewish Palestine is the most extraordinary tribute to the power of a small number of devoted people,” Wallace stated that “he was most eager to see Jewish Palestine make a great success. I am convinced that the Arab people will be greatly benefitted thereby, not harmed… I am convinced that the common interests of the two people is great and that there is no need for conflict unless outside interests stir it up.” A successful Jewish Palestine, he added, “means much to the peace and prosperity of the Near East.”
Other speakers at the dinner included Michael M. Nisselson, president of the Amalgamated Bank and treasurer of the PCA, and Ira A. Hirschmann, former representative of the War Refugee Board and UNRRA. Mr. Nisselson said that the U.S. holds the key to a solution of the Palestine problem and that if a compromise between the American and Russian implementation plans is not reached, “we shall have the final proof that behind all our protestations of good faith, is nothing but the determination to bring Palestine within the meaning of the Truman Doctrine and to continue stubbornly on the road to war.”