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U.S. Urged to Seek Replacement of Arab Employees in U.N. Refugee Work

The United States was urged today in a report on the Middle East to seek the replacement of Arab employees of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency by a United Nations Middle East Peace Corps composed of volunteers from other countries than the countries involved.

Senator Ernest Gruening, Alaska Democrat, who submitted the report to the Subcommittee on Reorganization and International Organization of the Committee on Government Operations of the U.S. Senate–of which he is a member–pointed out that over 99 percent of the employees of the UNRWA were themselves Arab refugees. He stated that these employees had been given the task of rehabilitating the Arab refugees, an objective contrary to beliefs of the Arab refugee employees.

A Middle East Peace Corps replacing the Arab refugee employees would assist them in their own resettlement and would help rehabilitate as many as possible of the Arab refugees into useful, productive citizens, the Gruening report said. The report, based on a study which the Senator made on U.S. foreign aid in the Middle East, stressed the fact that over 50 per cent of the Arab refugees were not born in Palestine.

Senator Gruening, reporting on his visit to Cairo and study of the U.S. aid program to Nasser, concluded that America is subsidizing Nasser’s militarism and aggression. The report recommended that continuance of aid to Egypt be conditioned on its carrying out the terms of the UN settlement of the Yemen dispute and “Egypt’s reversal of her present armament policy so as to cease production of missiles, warplanes, submarines, and other implements of war clearly designed for aggressive purposes.”

CHANGES IN U.S. LOANS TO ISRAEL AND OTHER COUNTRIES SUGGESTED

The Gruening report called attention to complications concerned with loans to Israel and other countries that are repayable in local currency. When repaid in local currency, the local money is mostly loaned for the economic development of the aided country. Because the loans are repayable with interest, the fund of local currencies available is constantly increasing. An example cited in the report was Israel.

“Our aid program in Israel is at an end and the aid mission withdrawn. However, during the next 10 years, our embassy in Israel will be called upon to negotiate new loans in Israeli pounds in the amount of $250, 000, 000. Our total aid program to Israel from 1953 to 1962 was $392, 000, 000.”

The report asked: “Will not the interference of the United States in the local economic development of a nation be resented so long after the original loan has been made and when we are loaning not dollars but local currencies?” It expressed fear that “the United States will never be able to get off the treadmill unless Congress lays down some ground rules as to how such local currencies should be spent in the future.”

The report suggested re-negotiating the loan agreements wherever possible, offering great inducements for repayment in dollars. A second suggestion was the establishment of an education trust fund in those countries where our aid program is at an end and loans repayable in local currencies are outstanding.

STOPPAGE OF U.S. ECONOMIC AID PROGRAM FOR SYRIA RECOMMENDED

Senator Gruening said that except for keeping commitments previously made, the U.S. economic assistance program for Syria should be stopped. He added that the U.S. economic assistance program for Jordan should be continued at the same or higher levels with a review of our technical assistance projects to concentrate more upon projects of a more immediate beneficial nature to Jordan’s economic development.

The details of the Gruening program for the Arab refugee situation were as follows: The United States should exercise immediate leadership in and out of the United Nations, offering, if necessary, to pay the total cost, but making every effort to have the cost shared, in proposing the following program:

1. The establishment of a UN Middle East Peace Corps, along the lines of our own Peace Corps, composed of volunteers from countries other than the countries involved, to work with the refugees in a well-financed program to educate and train the refugees, to help them obtain employment in the Arab countries or elsewhere, to assist financially in their resettlement in their places of employment, including resettlement grants and the granting of loans and grants from Public Law 480 Proceeds.

2. Present local-hired employees of UNRWA should be replaced by Peace Corps employees, who should be international public servants, as soon as these local-hired employees of UNRWA can be retrained and placed in jobs elsewhere, being given training and resettlement grants, financial assistance in resettling their families, purchasing homes, etc.”

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