WASHINGTON (May. 10)
Chairman J. W. Fulbright of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, indicated today that he might include a “fact-finding and inspection visit” to Israel on his Near Eastern itinerary.
The Arkansas Democrat, whose recent attacks on Israel and her alleged “pressure group” supporters in the United States created heated controversy, will depart by air tonight for Cairo. He said his plans for traveling in the Near East were still “tentative,” adding that he would definitely visit the United Arab Republic but might also stop in Israel and Jordan.
He indicated concern over the Arab refugee problem and said he was mindful of that situation as a stumbling block to regional peace.
Meanwhile, it was revealed today by Senator Albert Gore. Tennessee Democrat, that Senate-House conferees on the Mutual Security Bill have submitted to State Department pressure and nullified his amendment, thus allowing the continued fraudulent use of “Arab refugee” ration cards in Jordan. The Gore amendment was designed to end corruption in the use of American funds by requiring re-certification of Arab refugee status.
The State Department objected to the Gore amendment, claiming that any attempt to authenticate the claims of Arabs in Jordan to being actual refugees from Palestine and examination of holders of UN refugee ration cards would weaken the “pro-Western elements in the Hussein regime.”
Senator Gore cited many instances of fraud, financed by U.S. funds, in Jordan. His amendment provided that no American funds were to go for the ration program after January 1, 1961, except for the issuance of rations to those Arabs whose refugee eligibility had been established and certified after July 1, 1960.
The State Department claimed that adoption of the amendment would cause Arab hostility against Israel in Jordan to be diverted into anti-Americanism. The Department acknowledged an element of corruption but said it must not probe through the Gore amendment if dire consequences to the Hussein regime were to be averted.
Taking the State Department’s proposals, the Senate-House conference extracted the teeth from the Gore amendment. New wording was substituted for Senator Gore’s provisions that release Jordan of responsibility for re-certifying Arab refugee status. The new phrasing of the measure makes it permissive on the President, if he should see fit on advice of the State Department, to make whatever corrective steps he might deem expedient. No action would be incumbent upon him, actually.
Senator Gore made known that he was displeased with the scrapping of his amendment, which was adopted by a majority vote in the Senate. Chairman Fulbright of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee supported State Department efforts to shield the Arabs. The Department was also backed by Senate Minority Leader Everett Dirsken, Illinois Republican.