Israel and Arabs Agree in Lausanne to Cooperate with U.N. Economic Survey Group
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Israel and Arabs Agree in Lausanne to Cooperate with U.N. Economic Survey Group

Israel and the Arab states agreed here today to cooperate in an economic survey of the Middle East aimed at hastening settlement of the Palestine refugee problem, Reuptake reported. The survey was proposed by Paul A. Porter, American member of the United Nations Conciliation Commission, in separate meetings today.

The report said that the survey group will be composed of about 40 members. They were chosen today by the Conciliation Commission, but their names will not be announced until U.N. General Secretary Trygve Lie approves them. The names have been cabled to Lake Success for approval.

The new group is expected to meet in Lausanne next week and to leave soon afterwards for the Middle East. Its chairman will neither be an American, nor a Frenchman, nor a Turk, a spokesman for the Conciliation Commission said.

The survey will be based chiefly on existing data and will cover the economic situation of all countries affected by the Palestine war. A period of about six weeks would give the group time to complete its work for a report to be included in the Conciliation Commission’s report to the United Nations General Assembly next month.

It is believed here that the survey may link in with the tentative United States plan for economic development in the Middle East under President Truman’s “Point Four” program. This plan might include subsidies for the resettlement of refugees. Meanwhile, work continues here on two problems: The reunion in Israel of Arab families dispersed by the Palestine war and the mutual “unfreezing” of Arab and Israel assets blocked during the war.

A general questionnaire, dealing with all aspects of the Palestine problem, has been submitted to both sides by the Conciliation Commission. The Israel delegation has already completed it and the four Arab states are expected to do so by Monday. Commission circles attach great importance to this document, which they think may decide the whole course of future negotiations.