WASHINGTON (May. 25)
A subcommittee of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee may go to the Near East for an on-the-spot investigating of the Arab refugee problem, it was indicated today by chairman Alexander Wiley of the Senate Committee.
John B. Blandford, Jr., former director of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees, who testified today before the Near Eastern Sub-committee of the Foreign Relations Committee, was asked by Sen. Wiley what he thought of a Congressional investigation on the scene. Mr. Blandford said it was always helpful to view such problems at first hand. He advised, however, that they not try to cover too much ground or too many places.
Asked by Sen. Wiley how a reconciliation of Arabs and Jews could be effected, Mr. Blandford said that because of the nature of his agency he could not get involved in other political issues, but he suggested that one qualified expert might be able “to go back and forth chipping away at the problem.”
Another witless, Millar Burrows, Professor at Yale University, suggested to the subcommittee that “the restoration of a substantial piece of territory, such as Western Galilee, is one of the most logical, just, and practicable things that can be done to promote a real solution of the Arab refugee problem.” He also suggested that funds paid to the refugees could come from indemnity paid to Israel by Germany.
The Rev. Karl Baehr, executive director of the American Christian Palestine Committee, told the Senate Subcommittee that responsible opinion has been expressed that the Arab states do not really want to solve the Arab refugee problem but wish to keep the issue alive as a political football.
“The Arab war against the United Nations decision created not only the Arab refugee problem, numbering today by U.N. count some 880,000, but made inevitable the expansion of the Jewish refugee problem, for it made untenable the position of substantial Jewish communities in the Arab world.” Rev. Baehr said.
He pointed out that the Israelis were willing to make compensation for the land abandoned by the Arab refugees and thus to facilitate their resettlement in Arab lands. The basic reason the Arab refugee problem has not been solved, he said, is that “the armistice agreements are in force, but they are serving not only as a necessary prelude toward a signed peace, but as a cover behind which economic and political warfare may be carried on against Israel.”
Rev. Baehr openly charged that “the political campaign against Israel centers in the United Nations and in the Arab refugee camps.”