WASHINGTON (Jul. 22)
The State Department today acknowledged that a quantity of corn provided to Egypt for free distribution to the poor was sold, and announced that action has been instituted for repayment by Egypt for amounts illegally sold.
State Department spokesman Robert McCloskey said the United States relied upon statistics provided by the Egyptian Ministry of Agriculture. The Department’s version was that the corn, valued at $23,700,000, was provided for humanitarian reasons and the “beneficial effect” the deal might have on American-Egyptian relations.
The Department disputed the contention of the U.S. General Accounting Office that the food was granted on the basis of allegations of crop failure and impending famine, when it was later revealed these claims were untrue. According to the State Department, cotton worms found their appetites unsatisfied by cotton and switched over to corn during the year in question.
The grant was made in 1961. Egyptian misuse of the food and deficiencies of verification by the State Department were revealed to Congress yesterday by the General Accounting Office. It could not be immediately determined how much repayment is being sought. The G.A.O. charge was that almost half of the 186,000 tons of corn provided was improperly exploited in Egypt.