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Truman Confers with Head of U.N. Economic Mission for Middle East; Discuss Objectives

Gordon R. Clapp, American chairman of the U.N. Conciliation Commission’s Palestine economic survey mission, today conferred with President Truman at the White House.

Later, at a press conference, Mr. Clapp said that the President “reflected intense interest in the success of the mission because of its economic problems which, until solved in part at least, will make permanent peace difficult to achieve”.

Mr. Clapp, who is the head of the Tennessee Valley Authority, told the newsmen that he expects to remain in the Middle East “from two to three months,” visiting Palestine, Lebanon, Transjordan and Syria. Speaking of projects designed to aid the resettlement of Arab refugees, he said that he envisioned no “grand development” scheme. He added, however, that a number of small projects put into operation early would not necessarily preclude a more comprehensive development scheme later.

The immediate objective of his mission, he stated, is to “study the possibilities of finding underdeveloped areas where there is enough water and good land so that when it is properly developed people can move in and live”. The survey group will also study the relationship between the regions in which refugees may be resettled and the larger surrounding areas. Mr. Clapp emphasized that the group will “let somebody else think about political boundaries”.

Mr. Clapp will leave New York Wednesday night by air for Lausanne, headquarters of the Conciliation Commission. From there he will proceed to Geneva to confer with technical exports and to review data on the Middle East. His stay in Switzerland will be brief. He expressed the hope that he would be able to arrive in the Near East, where the survey mission’s headquarters will be chosen by the U.N. Secretariat, by the end of the week.

Before leaving the United States, Mr. Clapp will confer with Dr. Ralph J. Bunche, former acting Palestine mediator, and Paul A. Porter, American member of the Conciliation Commission. A number of members of the mission will accompany Clapp from this country to Switzerland, and he will pick up the others when he meets his three deputies.

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