WASHINGTON (Feb. 10)
A loan of $15,000,000 to be repaid in Israel currency over a period of 40 years, was announced here today by the Foreign Operations Administration. This is the first American loan to a foreign government under the Mutual Security Act of 1954.
Israel will use the loan to buy surplus agricultural commodities, primarily wheat, cotton and corn. The loan was granted on a technicality in the Mutual Security Act, permitting loans for the purchase of surplus agricultural commodities and requiring that a percentage of grant aid be in the form of long term loans.
An agreement on the loan was signed here yesterday by Ambassador Abba Eban and Gen. Glen Edgerton, chairman of the board of directors of the Export-Import Bank which, is acting as the agent for the FOA. The terms of the agreement provide that Israel is to pay four percent interest.
The loan is part of the larger FOA program for this fiscal year now being discussed with Israel. Counting the sum loaned, a total of $30,300,000 in aid for the fiscal year 1955 has been allotted to Israel. Although Israel will get some further aid, informed sources said the bulk has already been allotted in the $30,300,000 sum. A maximum figure for the year has been discussed by Israel with the United States and that figure has been communicated to Israel, but has not been made public.
In 1949 the Export-Import Bank granted a loan of $100,000,000 to Israel. Another $35,000,000 was extended by the Export-Import Bank in 1951, bringing the total to $135,000,000. Some of the amount extended from this source has already been repaid by Israel.
The State Department announced today that Walter Clay Lowdermilk, consultant to the United Nations on economic development, has been awarded a supplemental grant under the International Education Exchange Program of the State Department to enable him to accept an invitation to head the new Department of Agricultural Engineering at the Israel Institute of Technology and to serve as consultant to the Government of Israel for at least six months. He left on February 5 for Tel Aviv.
In his capacity as head of the Department of Agricultural Engineering at the Israel Institute of Technology, Dr. Lowdermilk will not only direct its activities but will also advise regarding the preparation of syllabi for soil and water conservation courses, train lecturers and provide guidance for a research program in addition to lecturing in these fields. As an adviser to the Government of Israel he will recommend and promulgate sound land and water use policies for the country.