Israel Resumes Drainage of Huleh Swamps; Acts with Consent of U.N. Authorities

Israel today resumed work on the Huleh swamp drainage project in the Israeli section of the demilitarized zone, in accordance with a decision of the United Nations authorities here, announced during the weekend by Gen. William E, Riley, U.N. Chief of Staff. No incidents were reported.

Gen. Riley also announced that he will continue investigations with a view to concluding arrangements with the Arab owners of the seven-acres of land affected by the drainage project to accept compensation or exchange their present holdings for other land in the demilitarized zone. If agreement with the Arab landowners cannot be reached, Gen. Riley may find it necessary to seek further instructions from the U.N. Security Council.

The Arab newspaper Adifaa, published in the Arab-hold Old City of Jerusalem, today reported that the Syrian Government sent a telegram to its representative at the United Nations in New York instructing him to protest the decision authorizing Israel to resume work in the Jewish section of the Huleh area. The report said that the Syrian representative was ordered to inform the United Nations that his government does not accept the decision.

Officials of the U.N. truce commission, meanwhile, today continued interviewing Arabs transferred out of the demilitarized zone in the Huleh area by the Israel Government, to ascertain whether they wish to return to their former homes. The interviews are being conducted without the presence of Israel Army or police officers. The Israel Government has agreed to this procedure.

AMERICAN OFFICER DESIGNATED CHAIRMAN OF MIXED ARMISTICO COMMISSION

Gen. Riley today designated Col. Samuel G. Taxis, an American, as chairman of the Syrian-Israeli Mixed Armistico Commission. He announced the appointment after consultations with officials of the Governments of Israel and Syria. Col. Taxis replaces the French chairman of the Armistico Commission whose handling of the Syrian-Israeli dispute was bitterly criticized by the Israelis.

It was also announced by the U.N. Truce Commission today that after more than 34 years of service, Gen. Riley has, at his request, been placed on the retired list of the United States Marino Corps. He was retired with the rank of Lieutenant-General, but is subject to recall to active duty by the President. At the same time, he will continue in his present post of U.N. Chief of Staff.

U.N. headquarters here announced that Helger Anderson, director of the Palestine Conciliation Commission’s Refugee Office, arrived today in Beirut, one of the first steps in his courtesy trip which will bring him into personal contact with the highest ranking government officials and with United Nations organs in the Middle East.

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