UNITED NATIONS, N.Y. (Feb. 17)
The United States today pledged to contribute $24, 700, 000 in cash and foodstuffs in 1965, to aid the Arab refugees being sheltered and fed by the United Nations in four regions of Israel’s borders, but warned that the UN agency performing this task must effect, especially by “long-needed rectification” of its relief rolls.
The American pledge and statement were made here by U. S. Ambassador Francis T. P. Plimpton, at the UN’s annual pledging conference, convened in the General Assembly hall this morning to raise funds for financing the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East.
Altogether, today, nearly $34, 000, 000 was pledged in cash, goods and services toward UNRWA’s 1965 budget, totaling more than $36, 000, 000. In announcing Washington’s pledge, Mr. Plimpton also told the UN that his Government plans on reducing its pledge by at least $1, 000, 000 next year.
He said that, in any event, America’s share of the 1965 UNRWA payments would be no more than 70 percent of the amounts raised. He told the UN that Washington felt its share of UNRWA contributions, which are made on a voluntary basis, has been “unduly high.” Since the agency started operating in 1950, the U. S. A. has consistently contributed 70 percent of the total budgets, giving this UN operation a total of about a half billion dollars.
UNRWA aids more than 1, 200, 000 Arabs on its rolls, most of them sheltered in camps, in the Gaza Strip, which is under Egyptian administration, and in Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. The issue of “clarification” of the relief rolls, swollen with the names of many thousands of refugees known to be dead, as well as with many other ration-card holders known to be ineligible for the relief has been a tough one here for years. Laurence Michel more, the American head of UNRWA, had promised last fall to submit a special report to this year’s Assembly, dealing with “rectification.” However, due to the fact that this year’s Assembly had been prevented from debating any issue, this report has not yet been filed.
Among other pledges announced today were one of $5, 400, 000 by Britain, $1, 200, 000 by Canada, $500, 000 by West Germany, and nearly $300, 000 by France. The 13 Arab members of the United Nations pledged altogether a total of about $500, 000 which, they said, they will give to UNRWA in “goods and services.”