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State Dept. Backs Jordan’s Diversion of Water from Reaching Israel

A State Department spokesman said today that the United States Government has no objection to a Jordanian dam that is part of the Arab scheme to divert the headwaters of the Jordan River.

State Department spokesman Robert McCloskey said diversion plans announced by the Jordanian Government do not appear to the State Department to be inconsistent with the 1955 unified plan for utilization of Eric Johnston for utilization of regional water resources. Mr. McCloskey referred to a Jordanian Government announcement that work on Mokheiba Dam, an aspect of the Arab cooperative scheme to divert headwaters of the Jordan River, would begin within two months.

“The United States,” he said, “does not take exception to the Jordanian announcement” and feels that Jordan’s intentions do not violate the spirit of the Johnston plan. He was asked if the United States was assisting Jordan financially in construction of the controversial dam. He replied in the negative. In addition to his other comments, Mr. McCloskey read the following formal statement as the official U. S. position in response to the diversion plans announced by Jordan.

“The development of water resources of the Jordan River and its tributaries is of great importance to the countries of the area and has our support. The problem is to ensure that withdrawals by each state respect the interests of other riparian states. The 1955 unified plan for the Jordan Valley worked out by the late Eric Johnston following a United Nations technical survey contained recommendations for equitable allocation of water among the riparian states and for effective international supervision. We believe the plan represents an equitable standard for fair and rational use of the waters.”

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