WASHINGTON (Aug. 23)
A member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee today called on the United States to note the escalation of friction caused by Arab attempts to divert Jordan River headwaters, and to declare “firm opposition to the Arab policy of water thievery. “
Rep. Leonard Farbstoin, New York Democrat, told the House that “the silence of this Government in the face of the diversion of Jordan River water by the Arab ‘states merely encourages Nasser and hie minions to further flaunt every rule of international cooperation and good will. “
Noting that the United States suffered a water problem of its own, he said the Arabs could not be permitted “to deliberately deprive Israel of the precious water which is rightfully hers.” “It is indeed time for the United States to speak out in protest,” he insisted.
In a related development today, a proposal that the Secretary of State be required to answer members’ questions on the floors of the Senate and House of Representatives, pertaining to problems in the Near East and elsewhere, was advanced by Rep. Ogden R. Reid, New York Republican, who had served as U. S. Ambassador to Israel. He testified before the Joint Committee on the Organization of Congress that issues like the Arab diversion of the headwaters of the Jordan River could be anticipated, and clear policies enunciated to avoid conflict if the Secretary of State could be questioned directly by members of Congress.
Rep. Reid said that his experience as a diplomat and Congressman led him to believe “there is a clear gap in our constitutional system, ” filled neither by press conferences nor committee hearings. He advocated changes in the rules of the Senate and House to admit the Secretary of State to the floor of each chamber to answer “private notice” questions. The Reid concept would be similar to the procedure now followed in Britain’s Parliament. He made it clear that he had in mind the need for clarification of policies pertaining to the Israel-Arab situation, as well as to other world problems.