WASHINGTON (Aug. 23)
The proposals involved in the American plan for the development of the Jordan River valley which Ambassador Eric Johnston is now carrying with him to Israel and the Arab countries were outlined by President Eisenhower in a report to Congress on the U.S. activities at the United Nations released by the State Department yesterday. Mr. Johnston, who is President Eisenhower’s special envoy for the Middle East, left the United States last Friday and is expected to arrive in Jordan at the end of this week, following a short stop-over in Europe.
During his three-week visit in the Middle East, Ambassador Johnston will confer with the governments of Jordan, Lebanon. Syria and Israel on the American regional development plan for the Jordan waters. He will be assisted by a number of officials of the State Department. His proposals, according to President Eisenhower, involve acceptance by the Arabs and by Israel of the following principles:
1. The limited waters of the Jordan River system should be shared equitably by the four states in which they rise and flow.
2. A neutral, impartial authority should be created to supervise withdrawals of water from the river system in accordance with the division ultimately accepted by all parties.
3. Amelioration of the condition of the Arab refugees in the Palestine area should be a principal objective of the irrigation program for the Jordan Valley.
4. Broad lines of understanding on the total program should be reached at the earliest possible time, not only in the interest of the refugees but in the interests of economic progress and stability in the area.
5. Storage of irrigation waters for the lower Jordan Valley in Lake Tiberians (the Sea of Galilee) should be considered by the parties when the necessity is indicated for using the lake as a principal reservoir.
In his report to Congress. President Eisenhower emphasized that the plan for regional development and full utilization of the waters of the Jordan River and its tributaries was originally prepared for the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees by the Tennessee Valley Authority, together with proposals from an Arab technical committee and from Israel. “As a result of cordial discussions, Ambassador Johnston was able to report that the governments directly concerned had accepted the principle of international sharing of the hitherto contested waters of the Jordan River and were prepared to cooperate with the United States in working out details of a mutually acceptable program for developing the irrigation and power potentials of the river system,” the President indicated.
President Eisenhower also pointed out in his report that the development of the Jordan Valley is considered by the U.S. Government as part of a program for developing large-scale rehabilitation and resettlement of the Palestine Arab refugees, who are now being aided by the UN Relief and Works Agency. He revealed that preliminary work progressed in connection with the proposed developments in the Jordan-Yarmuk Basin and on the Sinai Peninsula.
“Surveys on both these large projects were pushed to completion, and many problems standing in the way of their fulfillment were, if not completely solved, at least more clearly defined and placed on the road to eventual solution,” the President reported. He expressed hope that the efforts of Ambassador Johnston with regard to developing the Jordan waters would soon culminate in an agreement on the part of the countries involved.