State Department Announces $23,500,000 Grant-in-aid for Israel; Arabs to Get Same Sum

A grant-in-aid in the amount of $23,500,000 for Israel, under the economic part of the mutual security program for the Middle East, has been allocated by the U.S. Government subject to the approval of Congress, Assistant Secretary of State George C. McGhee revealed here today addressing the University of Virginia Institute of Public Affairs. The figure of $23,500,000 in similar aid for Arab stayed was announced by Mr. McGhee.

“The military assistance requested for the Arab states and Israel follows logically from the policy agreed to by the governments of the United States, France, and the United Kingdom in May, 1950, at the conference of the foreign ministers in London, “Mr. McGhee said, “At that time the three governments issued a declaration known as the Tripartite Declaration, recognizing that the Arab states and Israel need to maintain a certain level of armed forces for internal security and to play a part in their defense and that of the area as a whole. The three nations also indicated that they would take immediate action in the event of aggression by one state in the area against another. This was a strong declaration and I am glad to report that the reaction of the countries in the area to the declaration has on the whole been salutary.”

Speaking of the funds proposed, Mr. McGhee said: “the President has proposed that up to ten per cent of the $415,000,000 requested may be utilized in the Arab states and Israel if he determines such action is essential to the security of the United States. This will permit the United States, for the first time, to assist those states directly in building up their defensive capabilities. The government believes that it is in the U.S. interest to preserve and strengthen the ties of these states with the U.S. and the west; to maximize the will of the Arab states and Israel to cooperate in resistance to any expansionist tendencies of the USSR; and to create strength and stability in depth for the benefit of the area as a whole by encouraging the countries to increase their indigenous defensive capabilities, to strengthen their internal security and reduce area rivalries.

“As is well known,” Mr. McGhee pointed out, “the partition of Palestine left bitter feelings among the Arab states and peoples. I regret to say that these feelings have not yet been dissipated.” He added that “the U.S., on the basis of a policy of strict impartiality as between Israel and the Arab states, has sought through the United Nations and through all other possible means, to obtain a solution to the issues which remain from the Palestine nation I am sorry, however, to state that little progress has been made, ” Mr. McGhee continued. “The principal issue remaining from the Palestine question is the future of almost 900,000 Arab refugees. The plight of these refugees is tragic. They are a ready target for anti-Western propaganda and constitute a source of instability in the area. Their bitterness over the loss of their homes and lands is understandably deep. The U.S. has participated financially and in other ways in trying to solve the problem of the refugees.”

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