Congressional Committee Decides to Reduce U.S. Aid for Arab Refugees

The Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Representatives decided today to reduce this year by five percent the United States contribution to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees, and urged complete termination of U.S. participation in that budget as soon as feasible.

The cut was decided upon by the committee in connection with the Administration’s foreign aid bill, which included $16,000,000 as the American contribution to UNRWA’s 1965-66 budget. The committee reduced this figure by $800,000. In explaining its action, the Foreign Affairs Committee reported to the House:

“For a number of years, this committee has urged that greater effort be exerted to reduce the (Arab refugee) rolls and promote the absorption of these people into the normal economic life of the Near East region. Unfortunately, very little progress has been made in that direction. The number of (food) ration recipients is higher today than it was four years ago.

“The committee is strongly of the opinion that further gradual reductions should be made in the U.S. contribution to this activity in the coming years, with a view toward complete termination as promptly as feasible of U.S. assistance for this program.”

It was noted here that Congressman Leonard Farbstein, New York Democrat, had earlier urged the U.S. Government to promote a program of gradual elimination of the Arab refugee problem by consecutive annual reductions in the refugee rolls.

(In Cairo, the Arab League charged today that the United Nations Relief and Works Agency was “serving Zionist imperialist policies by assisting the one-million Palestine refugees to emigrate to the United States and Australia.” It said the agency had “caused serious harm to the Palestine issue” by reducing the number of Palestine refugees in refugee camps.)

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