F. A. O. Withholds Approval of Arab League As Regional Body for Mid-east

Israel succeeded today in preventing acceptance by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization of an agreement with the Arab League which would have recognized that body as the regional organization for the Middle East, to the exclusion of Israel.

The FAO general assembly’s third commission adopted for submission to the assembly a revised draft agreement between FAO and the Arab League which withheld recognition of the League as the regional organization for the Middle East. The term “regional” which appeared frequently in the draft submitted to the commission, was deleted in each case from the final draft.

The commission thus accepted the Israeli viewpoint, supported by the Belgian, Dutch New Zealand and French delegations, that the draft agreement applied solely to League member states. The commission’s final report to the general assembly stated that “the conference noted the agreement was not intended to affect in any way the activities of the organization in such of its member nations located in the geographical area of the Near East and Africa as are not member countries of the Arab League.”

The term “geographical area” was used, FAO experts said, because of Israel’s exclusion from the FAO Near Eastern region since 1953 because of Arab pressures. The formulation used today restores Israel’s Near Eastern status with respect to FAO to a certain extent.

The commission’s report furthermore included the strongly-worded Israeli reservation: “The Israel delegate placed on the record his reservation to the conclusion of an agreement with the League because of the organization’s political character which does not represent all FAO member nations of the Near Eastern area and does not cooperate with all of them. In his opinion, the League practices policies which are not in conformity with the principles and policies of the United Nations Charter.”

The report may be considered by the FAO plenary session before the end of the week.

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