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Sen. Douglas Hopes Israel Could Be Enrolled in Military Assistance Pact with U.S.

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The hope that Israel could be enrolled in a military assistance pact with the United States was expressed by Sen. Paul H. Douglas, leading Democratic sponsor of financial aid to Israel, at a closed hearing of the Senate Armed Services and Foreign Relations Committees on the Mutual Security Act now being debated on the Senate floor. The hearing was held several days ago, but the details were not made known until today.

Before suggesting the mutual assistance pact idea, Sen. Douglas lauded the Israel army. He said: “It should also be remembered that Israel’s army is much more of a military asset than armies of the Arab states. The Arab armies have been shown to be pretty ineffective except perhaps that of Transjordan, and no one knows what will happen to that army now since the assassination of their king.

“The Jews have developed, to everyone’s surprise, a tremendously effective army,” he continued. “Now it is true that that army is not committed to defend Iraq against invasion or to defend Persia against invasion, but neither is the army of Greece or Turkey. I only wish we could get a mutual assistance pact in which we would not merely underwrite each country, but they would agree to defend each other.”

Last night, Sen. Douglas introduced amendments to the Foreign Aid Bill which would restore to $50,000,000 each, grants to Israel for refugee settlement and to the Arab states for Palestine Arab relief and resettlement. The bill reported to the Senate by the Foreign Relations and Armed Forces Committees had cut these grants to $40,000,000 each.

Sen. Douglas also proposed an increase in the overall amount for Middle East aid from $122,500,000 recommended by the Committees to $160,000,000. The amount originally sought for this purpose by the Administration was $175,000,000. Sen. Douglas said these additional sums could be taken from funds allotted in the bill to European countries.

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