U.S. Arms to Iraq Spell No Danger to Israel, Official Testifies

The State Department’s view that American military aid to Iraq does not threaten Israel was expressed by John Jernegan, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, in testimony on the Mutual Security bill released yesterday by the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Mr. Jernegan stated that U. S. military aid to Iraq should be an “assurance” to Israel that Arab states, such as Iraq, linked to states like Turkey and Great Britain, which “quite obviously” are not enemies of Israel, are “not going to engage in adventures against her.”

Mr. Jernegan expressed the view that “the key to the solution” of the Arab-Israel dispute “may be an attack on the problem of water, which is the basic resource needed for the development of the area.” The State Department official was referring to the Johnston water development plan. He told the Foreign Affairs Committee that the largest amount of the $65,000,000 proposed for economic assistance to the Arab states and Israel would go for the unified Jordan Valley development plan.

NO OTHER ARAB STATES WILL RECEIVE U. S. MILITARY AID

Col. H. H. Critz, of the Department of Defense, stated that no additional Arab states will receive military assistance from the U. S. during the coming fiscal year. Brig. Gen. James K. Wilson, director of the Office of Military Assistance, Department of Defense, testified that the military assistance program to Iraq will not be increased in the fiscal year 1956.

The House Foreign Affairs Committee also released its report on the Mutual Security authorization bill which recommended continuation of economic aid and technical assistance to Israel. A total of $73,000,000 in economic aid to the Middle East is contained in the bill which will be considered in the House of Representative this week. No country breakdown of this regional total was released, but it is estimated in Washington that $30,000,000 is earmarked for Israel. Of $41,000,000 in technical assistance funds recommended for the Near East, $2,000,000 is earmarked for Israel.

The Foreign Affairs Committee reported that economic assistance has aided the Israel Government in assimilating refugees and improving its foreign exchange position. The committee noted that land area under cultivation in Israel has been tripled since 1948. Increases in industrial and agricultural production in Israel were also reported by the committee.

The committee was reporting on the Mutual Security bill that was approved by the Senate several weeks ago. This bill merely authorizes continuation of the Mutual Security program during fiscal year 1956. Both the Senate and House must approve additional legislation appropriating funds to finance the program.

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