U.N. Palestine Commission Makes Public Its Instructions to Economic Survey Mission
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U.N. Palestine Commission Makes Public Its Instructions to Economic Survey Mission

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The U.N. Palestine Conciliation Commission today made public its instructions to the economic survey mission, revealing a broad approach to the solution of the Arab refugee problem and the improvement of the economic situation in all of the Middle East countries which suffered by the Palestine war.

In its mandate the Commission called upon the economic group established under the chairmanship of Gordon R. Clapp of the United States to examine the economic situation in the affected countries with a view to mending war-created dislocations, to facilitate the repatriation, resettlement and rehabilitation of the refugees including the payment of compensation to them, and to promote economic conditions for the maintenance of peace and stability in the area.

The Commission instructed the experts to recommend an operational plan for carrying out this program together with estimated costs and methods of financing. It authorized the mission to work out its problem with the assistance of the interested governments and all of the specialized agencies and international organizations of the U.N. which can render technical assistance.


Commenting on the terms of reference, Mr. Clapp told a press conference today that his group had received the assurances of all the governments that their technicians and experts will cooperate with those of the U.N. mission.

Mr. Clapp said that he was leaving for Lausanne today where he will receive last minute reports from the Commission. He will then spend one and a half days in Geneva where he will confer with U.N. specialized agencies located there. He will proceed to Beirut where he expects to arrive Sunday night. From there be will go to other Middle East points later.

At Lausanne Mr. Clapp will also meet a number of technical deputies to the mission. They will proceed to the Middle East as quickly as possible. Among the newly-appointed technicians are Sir Herbert Stewart, British agricultural expert in the Middle East, and William Voorduin, American engineer associated with the Tennessee Valley Authority and similar projects abroad. An expert in the financial aspects of the survey will be designated soon.

Mr. Clapp would not admit that the mission has already visualized the development of the Jordan Valley Authority as the chief target of its ultimate plan. However, Mr. Clapp did admit that the contacts of the mission will be chiefly with Israel, Transjordan, Lebanon and Syria, the countries mainly interested in the Jordan project. He did not exclude contact with Iraq, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

In its instructions to the mission, the Conciliation Commission suggested the following lines of operation:

1. Explore economic measures which the interested parties can take without outside financial assistance.

2. Examine proposals and past plans and surveys of economic development projects requiring outside assistance which will make possible the absorption of the refugees on a self-sustaining basis in the shortest possible time and with minimum expenditure.

3. Examine economic projects which can provide temporary employment of refugees who are not absorbed in the major developments scheme projected by the mission and which require outside assistance.


In addition, the Commission called upon its economic group to estimate the number of refugees who cannot be supported by these projects and the amount of time it will be necessary to keep them on relief. It called upon the mission to study the problem of compensating the refugees for property losses sustained in the war. It asked that the mission make broad studies of refugees’ requirements in health, education and social service.

Finally, the Commission called on the experts to propose “an organizational structure within a United Nations framework” which will coordinate and supervise this farflung program.

Mr. Clapp said he hoped that his mission will make its first interim report on or about November 1. Asked to explain how these developments projects will be linked with the refugee problem, Mr. Clapp said that the mission has in mind long-range projects which could conceivably extend over a period of ten to forty years.

He stressed, however, that the settlement of the refugees cannot wait so long. Therefore, he said, the mission will devise a series of two short-term projects within two to three years consisting of dams, irrigation schemes and the reclamation of broad land areas in such a manner that eventually they would add up to a total and unified economy.

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