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Pact on Jordan Waters Will Determine Extent of United States Aid

The Foreign Operations Administration made known today that the Arab states and Israel have been informed that the United States “in assessing the needs of individual countries for assistance, will give considerable weight to the degree to which there is a willingness to cooperate in the solution of regional problems such as the use of the waters of the Jordan basin on a regional basis.”

The F.O.A. reported that it found it “encouraging” to note that the water development plan submitted by Presidential representative Eric Johnston “is being seriously studied and appraised by the interested countries.”

These facts were revealed when the F.O.A. issued a regional narrative statement explaining its ideas on the assistance program in the Near East for the fiscal year of 1955. The report stated that the Israel Government has taken “extraordinary measures” in recent months to put its economy on an orderly basis.

“These measures,” the report said, “plus a substantial increase in exports and the realization of German reparations payments, has brightened the economic outlook considerably, but not to a degree where further development assistance is no longer necessary. It is estimated that there can be a substantial reduction from the amounts of this type of assistance furnished in prior years,” The F.O.A. noted that “American and other free world Jewry have made significant contributions” to helping to resettle refugees arriving in Israel and to establish the economy of the state.

Citing what was described as “nearly a million” Arab refugees, the report said these Arabs represent “a continuing source of friction and an unbearable strain on the economy of the Arab states in which they have been given refuge.” To help solve this problem, the F.O.A. recommended that attention be given to “creating new economic opportunities in the Arab states, for both refugees and non-refugees, in order to create a political climate in which the country governments can justify to their own people the permanent settlement of the refugees.” Aid will be given in the fiscal year of 1955 to undertake such projects in Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, and Egypt.

The F.O.A. reported that despite certain differences, “support for American policy has remained strong in Greece, Turkey, and Israel.” It added that “even in the Arab states, where bitterness on the subject of Israel militates against full accord, there is a certain body of goodwill, to which American assistance has made a significant contribution.”

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