WASHINGTON (Jun. 21)
Aid for Israel, estimated at approximately $65,000,000 in economic support funds and a potential share in military allocations, remained intact in the Mutual Security Bill following a vote Friday by the House of Representatives which approved the entire $4, 998, 732, 500 measure.
However, this represented only the first step the bill must hurdle before it is translated into law. It now goes to the Senate. Later the actual allocation of funds must again be approved by both houses and it is expected that this last phase may see the most determined efforts to reduce the amount of the appropriation.
(The New York Times today reported that the United States has decided to offer separate arms aid to Arab governments “in a move to bolster the strategic Middle East against communism.” The report said that American ambassadors will be instructed–as soon as Congress makes funds available–to notify Arab nations of United States willingness to begin such negotiations. )
SENATE COMMITTEE SAYS DURABLE ARAB-ISRAEL PEACE POSSIBLE
Meanwhile the Senate Foreign Relations Committee issued a report on the Mutual Security Act in which the Committee declares that it “is hopeful that a Middle East Defense Organization will come into existence during the fiscal year of 1954 and that a durable peace settlement can be arrived at between Israel and the Arab states.”
The Committee said it was mindful of the unrest within the area and “strongly of the opinion that, in the absence of a collective organization and an Israel-Arab peace, the strictest controls and supervision over military end-item assistance should be exercised.” Assurances that this will be done were received by the Committee, it reported.
Israel-Arab peace, the report said, “would bring nearer to realization the hopes for a Middle East defense organization and would also make possible a better coordinated regional attack on the economic problems of the area. “
The committee said it was “under no illusions that the program of military, economic, and technical assistance for the Middle East recommended in this bill is by itself a solution to the area’s problems, or that it will by itself solve even the United States’ problems in the area. A great deal more needs to be done, politically and diplomatically and particularly in the approach to the area as a whole in American policy making.”
Speaking of the Arab refugees, the committee said; “Primary responsibility for these unfortunate victims of hostilities rests upon the states of the Near East, as would readily be apparent if the United Nations were to curtail or stop its program. It is incumbent upon these states, therefore, to do their utmost to reconcile their interests with each other to the end that progress may be made during this necessarily limited period while assistance from outside the area is available. “
“Israel,” the committee said, “Faces the most difficult kind of economic problems. A large population, principally with an urban background, has been imposed upon a small agricultural country with few resources. An economic boycott is maintained against Israel by the Arab states with who it is technically still at war. “
According to the report, “the Arab states face different, but no less serious problems which are deserving of equally sympathetic consideration on the part of the United States.”