Johnson Plan on Solving Arab Refugee Problem Reported in Washington
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Johnson Plan on Solving Arab Refugee Problem Reported in Washington

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Details of what is purported to be the special plan for the solution of the Arab refugee problem prepared by Dr. Joseph E. Johnson, special envoy of the United Nations Palestine Conciliation Commission, were reported in the press here today.

The report was credited to the Chicago Daily News Foreign Service. It said that Dr. Johnson, who prior to preparing the plan visited Israel and the Arab countries, has submitted to Israel and the Arab states the following proposals:

1. Appointment of a new United Nations administrator and staff charged with the duty of carrying out the 1948 UN General Assembly resolution for repatriation (to former homes in Israel) or resettlement of the refugees in Arab countries.

2. Individual refugees and heads of families would be given confidential questionnaires. They would make a “preliminary choice,” retaining the right to change their minds latex. Possible choices would include return to former property in Israel; resettlement in Arab countries; resettlement elsewhere in the world.

3. The UN agents would consult Israel on possibilities for repatriation, and Arab and other countries specified in the preliminary questionnaires regarding resettlement.

4. Israel would be asked not to set a maximum number of returning Arabs it would admit. However, Israel would retain the right to reject individual Arabs as security risks, subject to UN over-all surveillance and review. Refugees would be expected to uphold the laws of Israel. An impartial body to hear disputed cases would be established.

5. A special UN fund consisting of voluntary contributions from governments and the world would be set up to help the refugees become integrated. Israel would be expected to make a substantial contribution to the fund.

6. Israel, with help from the UN and friends-mainly the U. S. -would be required to pay indemnities to Arabs who lost property in Israel. All refugees would be entitled to a UN fund indemnity covering the hardships undergone by them, something like a veterans bonus.

7. The Arab host governments (Egypt, Syria, Jordan, and Lebanon) and Israel would be invited to name representatives to a council of advisers to the UN administrator.

8. While refugees would indicate preferences on the questionnaires, they would be told from the start that they would not necessarily get their first choice. It would be expected that refugees who have established new lives, with family connections, would prefer not to move to Israel.

United Nations agents would verify records of former property, etc., and determine whether former homes still exist, the possibilities for special indemnities to particular refugees, etc. The UN administrator would set up with Israel a detailed procedure for examining requests. UN agents would keep watch over the refugees moving to Israel, making sure they receive fair treatment. Arab complaints could be appealed to the UN.

Property indemnities would be based on the 1947-1948 values of real estate, and estimated value of movable property, with adjustments for lost interest payments, money depreciation, and rights in community properties such as mosques and churches, the published outline of the Johnson report said.

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