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President Johnson Pledges to Finance Israel’s Desalination Plant

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President Johnson has promised Premier Eshkol that the United States Government will take part in the financing and implementation of construction of the multi-million dollar Israel nuclear desalination project, it was learned here today.

Myer Feldman, who served the late President Kennedy as White House advisor on Jewish Affairs, met yesterday with Premier Eshkol and reportedly delivered to the Premier the President’s pledge. It was assumed that Premier Eshkol would ask Mr. Feldman to deliver a personal reply to the President and that after that intensive negotiations would begin in Washington on steps for implementation. Construction of the nuclear desalination plant–a joint American-Israeli undertaking–is expected to start next year after study and planning phases are finished in the next few months.

The United States took part in the initial exploratory phases of the pioneering project through a joint United States-Israel Committee which was set up after Mr. Eshkol met with the President in Washington in 1964. While it had been widely expected that the United States would also participate in construction of the plant, the President’s message was the first clear indication that it would do so.

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