WASHINGTON (Jan. 7)
The United States intends to give to Israel development loans totaling $20,000,000 this year, in addition to the more than $20,000,000 in the safe of surplus agricultural commodities for local currency, in the framework of an existing U.S.A. -Israeli, three-year agreement, it was learned here today. The figures were revealed during the recent Senate Appropriations Committee hearing on the American foreign aid program. A transcript of the hearing was issued today.
The hearing also disclosed that Egypt will receive this year about $150,000,000 in surplus agricultural commodities, plus an undisclosed sum in development loans which amounted to $36,000,000 last year. Jordan is down for $34,000,000 of U.S. funds in direct support of its budget; Yemen is to get $5,200,000 in aid of capital projects, while Iraq is to get $16,000,000 of American farm surpluses.
The data showed further that the United States will provide military assistance to Saudi Arabia, mostly through the sale of equipment and through some grants for training. Under a last-minute decision, the transcript showed, Lebanon will also get U.S. aid in the form of military equipment.
Senator Allen J. Ellender, Louisiana Democrat, questioned David Bell, director of the Agency for International Development, both about the assistance to Israel and about the grants to the Arab states. Referring to the help to Saudi Arabia and to Lebanon, he said: “The moment Israel finds out about this, and Nasser finds out about it, you are going to see repercussions in that area.”
Senator Ellender also objected to what he termed “too easy” terms under which grants are made to Israel. In reply, Mr. Bell told the committee that the Israelis have agreed that their economy was improving rapidly enough, so that the United States should be in the process of terminating economic aid to Israel. Grant aid to Israel, he said, had already been terminated, and terms for development loans have been stiffened, having gone up by stages from three-quarters of one per cent in 1962, to two per cent in 1963, and three and a quarter per cent this year.
He said that, in spite of the fact that Israel’s receipt of funds under the West German reparations program is getting lower, “the Israeli economy will become stronger.” According to Mr. Bell, the Israelis are facing a very “rough” economic problem. However, he held, “they have shown great energy, great competence, great technical skill–and, so far, they are doing very well indeed.”