WASHINGTON (Jun. 25)
Secretary of State John Foster Dulles today denied knowledge of a reported American move to solve the Arab refugee problem. He told a press conference that he knew of no talks reportedly conducted by the United States with friendly governments on the feasibility of a new international effort to solve the Arab refugee problem.
The report on which Mr. Dulles was queried emanated from Washington and was attributed to “diplomatic circles.” It said that Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge, U.S. representative at the United Nations, has been discussing the Arab refugee problem quietly with other governments at the United Nations for nearly a month. “U. N. Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold also is reported exploring the matter informally,” the report alleged.
According to the report, neither the Arab countries nor Israel have been brought into the talks thus far, but they may be approached later if the current discussions demonstrate prospect of success.
At his press conference today, Secretary Dulles said the position of the U.S. Government with regard to the Arab refugee problem continues to be that enunciated in the past. He said he was not a ware of any new development. He termed the Arab refugee issue “a great humanitarian problem” that the United States would like to see solved. But he added that he regretted very much that “Egyptian propaganda” at this juncture makes a solution more difficult. This was in reference to Egyptian allegations that the United States, in collusion with Israel and Arab states friendly to the United States, was plotting a settlement at the expense of Arab refugees.
Mr. Dulles indicated, however, that he did not preclude the possibility of exploratory moves because this would be in line generally with American policy. It was the standard position of the United States to work continuously toward a settlement, he pointed out. At the same time, he emphasized that he knew of no such talks as those reported today which alleged activity on the part of Mr. Lodge and Secretary General Hammarskjold.
Secretary Dulles said that he met last week with Henry R. Labouisse, director of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees. He indicated that this meeting was in line with the general standing policy and that there was nothing exceptional about it.