WASHINGTON (Nov. 14)
President Truman’s appointment yesterday of a co-ordinator of economic and technical aid for the Near East was considered here today as a move to bring about a solution, as speedily as possible, of Arab-Israeli problems, especially the problem of the Arab refugees from Palestine which will be one of the main issues discussed at the United Nations General Assembly now in session in Paris.
It was revealed here today that diminution of the Arab refugee problem will be one of the principal functions of Edwin A. Locke, Jr., the newly appointed co-ordinator. He will co-ordinate United States’ and United Nations’ programs for the resettlement of Arab refugees. It is expected that he will replace John Blandford who now heads the U. N. agency handling the Arab refugee problem.
The U.S. Government is moving to implement the mutual security program–under which Israel is to get about $65, 000, 000 in grants-in-aid-as speedily as possible in the Near East to reduce the tension in that area and in the hope that co-operation will eventually be achieved between Israel and the Arab countries in a Middle East Command. Mr. Locke will be responsible, through the Secretary of State, to Mutual Security Co-ordinator W. Averill Harriman.
Mr. Locke, who was given the personal rank of Ambassador, will be empowered to call meetings of directors of the Technical Co-operation Administration in countries in the Near East and to work out with them the program envisioned in the Mutual Security Act for the resettlement of refugees and the strengthening of the Near East. The importance of his post is underscored by the fact that the President announced the appointment. Normally, such an appointment would have come from the State Department.
In announcing the appointment, President Truman said: “Substantial funds for economic and technical assistance in the Near East have been made available by this act. As a result we hope the economies of these states will be strengthened and that new levels of production in both agriculture and industry will be attained, bringing great benefits to the welfare and security of the peoples of this important area. I am confident that Mr. Locke’s mission will inaugurate a new era of friendship and understanding between the peoples of the United States and the Near East. “
Mr. Locke was a special assistant to the President, specializing in aviation problems, in 1946 and 1947. He worked for the Chase National Bank of New York from 1932 to 1940, afterwards going to Washington to join the advisory commission of the Council of National Defense, an early mobilization organization of World War II. Later he went to the War Production Board. In 1947 he returned to Chase National as a vice-president.