U.S. Rejection of Arab Bid for Arms Indicated by Assistant Secretary of State
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U.S. Rejection of Arab Bid for Arms Indicated by Assistant Secretary of State

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American rejection of the Arab bid for arms aid, allegedly to fight Communism, was broadly hinted today by George C. McGhee, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, in an address here before the national convention of Young Democratic Clubs.

Mr. McGhee said that the Near Eastern problems “are not the result of Communist influence, and that their solution does not lie in the strengthening of the military forces of the Near Eastern states, or in their defense against Soviet encroachment.”

(Washington diplomatic sources said recently that Arab diplomats approached the United States for arms under the military assistance program. Iraq, Transjordan and other Arab states reportedly asked for American tanks, welf-propelled artillery, and jet fighter planes for defense against Communism.)

The Assistant Secretary blamed both Israel and the Arab states for not arriving at a solution of differences. He said: “As in all young nations, nationalistic factors obstruct the ability of these countries to act together constructively in their own best interests, or to achieve that measure of regional and international cooperation upon which depends the solution of many of their major problems. Although the actual hostilities in Palestine have been brought to an end, a state of peace does not yet exist. Until a permanent and lasting settlement of the Palestine problem can be achieved, both the Arab states and Israel will continue to maintain the heavy psychological and financial burdens of military preparedness, to the detriment of economic recovery and stabilization.”


Explaining the economic approach to a final settlement through the Clapp mission, Mr. McGhee said: “It is obvious that some of the problems which prevent relaxation of Arab-Israeli tensions and retard restoration of stability are economic dislocations arising from the Palestine hostilities.” Solution of the Arab refugee problem also depends upon economic factors–the new economic factors under which refugees repatriated to Israel must live and work; public works and development projects which must be undertaken to assimilate the refugees into the economic structure of the area as useful and productive citizens. Finally, long-range economic development must be stimulated and encouraged if there is to be a basis for lasting peace in the Near East.”

Mr. McGhee made it clear that “outside financial and technical aid will be required to translate that formula into reality.” The President has expressed the readiness of the United States to consider the assistance which we might properly extend, under the auspices of the United Nations, towards any program formulated by the Economic Survey mission which will contribute to restoration of peace and stability in the Near East,” he emphasized. “The problem presents a perfect opportunity for the application of the President’s Point Four program.”

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