WASHINGTON (Feb. 15)
A delegation of the U.S. Senate — headed by Sen. Wayne Morse, Oregon Democrat — which visited Israel in December issued a report today indicating that it “did not receive the impression of any rising concern at possible attacks on Israel.” It emphasized that “nevertheless, there is an undeniable uneasiness at what the Israelis believe is their vulnerability to attack” and that there is a strong feeling in Israel “that the United States should take a more active role in providing military assistance to Israel.”
The report, issued by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, also dealt with American financing of nuclear desalination in Israel. Noting that preliminary engineering studies on the $200, 000, 000 nuclear desalting project have been completed, the report said figures indicate that such a facility could not be self-liquidating except if capital were provided at a charge lower than that which is currently available in financial markets.
“It seems likely, therefore, that at some time in the near future a policy decision will be required to determine whether there are political and other considerations which might justify the United States and Israel jointly to finance a desalination plant of this type even though there may be questions as to its economic feasibility because funds would need to be made available at a rate of interest no higher than two percent, ” the report stated.
The Morse report said: “Shipment of arms by the Soviet Union and its satellites to Egypt and the provision of U. S. military assistance to other neighbors of Israel keep the subject of Israeli military defenses constantly before the public. But, as a result of its consultations, the delegation did not receive the impression of any rising concern at possible attacks on Israel. Nevertheless, there is an undeniable uneasiness at what the Israelis believe is their vulnerability to attack. Although the Israel Government has received most of its military equipment from France, there is a strong feeling that the United States should take a more active role in providing military assistance to Israel.
“The delegation notes, without comment, that if extensive hostilities were to break out in the Middle East the U.S. supply of military equipment would be available not only to Israel which has received it in the past but to Arab countries as well, some of which are currently receiving military equipment from the United States. Thus again the United States would be open to the serious charge of supplying the weapons of war to both sides. “
MUCH IMPRESSED WITH ISRAEL’S PROGRESS OF THE LAST 15 YEARS
Notation was made by the delegation that “Israel continues to improve its per capita income; the annual figure is now about $1, 000. ” The report said that continued growth in industry and an expanding population have brought to the forefront the problem of providing fresh water for industrial and agricultural purposes. The delegation was “much impressed with the progress that has been made in Israel over the past decade and a half ” and the confidence with which the Israeli people have developed their economic and political institutions.
In stating its conclusions, the delegation noted wide divergencies in the five Asian nations visited in per capita gross national product. Israel had the highest — $940 — and Afghanistan the lowest, $70. The delegation said the countries visited — Israel, Japan, India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan — “gave varying degrees of recognition to the need to unshackle individual initiative in order to speed their own development. ” The delegation questioned whether the United States “should continue unstinting support of governments whose philosophy negates full utilization of available private capital and initiative. “
The report said: “The delegation doubts whether the long-range national interests of the United States and recipient nations are served by foreign aid which encourages governmental enterprise in areas of economic activity where private enterprise has proven its value. An examination of the annual growth rates of underdeveloped countries gives conclusive evidence that maximum economic freedom promotes maximum growth. U.S. aid programs should be directed to that end. “