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Dulles Said Economic Aid Halted Because Israel Defied U.N.

October 21, 1953
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Secretary of State John Foster Dulles told his press conference today that United States Mutual Security assistance to Israel has been suspended because of what he described as Israel’s defiance of a United Nations request to halt work on a hydroelectric project near the Israel-Syrian frontier. The removal by Israel of its Foreign Ministry from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem provided greater reason for taking more seriously what he said was Israel’s latest refusal to obey the United Nations in the case of the hydroelectric project.

Asked if the Israel Government had been advised of the suspension of aid, Mr. Dulles replied that they know they haven’t got it.

Mr. Dulles said the aid to which he referred was provided in the recently enacted Mutual Security Act and was authorized by Congress as a share of approximately $100,000,000 designated for the Israel-Arab area. He said the deferment of allocations to Israel was decided upon at the time U.N. truce chief Gen. Vagn Bennike asked Israel to halt the project. The decision to cut off aid was not based upon the more recent incidents, Mr. Dulles said.

Aid to Israel was deferred, he said, because it seemed to the United States Government that the State of Israel should respect Gen. Bennike’s decision and that as long as Israel was acting in defiance of that decision it was questionable, at least, as to whether we should make the allocation. He said this government recognized that there was a vital appeal from Gen. Bennike’s decision but that the United States felt that, pending exercise of that appeal. it would have been better that the work be suspended unless Gen. Bennike agreed that it could go on without prejudice to Syrian rights he thought were jeopardized.

Mr. Dulles characterized the hydroelectric project as a water-diversion project. He said that the movement of Israel’s Foreign Ministry entered into the suspension of aid in that it seemed to provide a greater reason for taking more seriously this last refusal and that there was a certain cumulative effect to Israel’s actions.

Mr. Dulles noted that for the first time in the record of Mutual Security legislation, Congress this year did not specify a special amount for Israel but merely indicated that Israel was to share a certain sum with the Arabs. He said that some of this money has already been given Iran and may have been used for other Arab states.

Israel will continue, however, to receive certain minor categories of technical assistance, he indicated. But it is the big allocation of economic aid which has been held up, he said.

A spokesman for the Israel Embassy said the Embassy had no comment to make on the Dulles announcement that economic aid for Israel had been suspended.


Mr. Dulles’ revelation that American aid for Israel had been suspended was made today following a 45-minute talk at the White House with President Eisenhower. Mr. Dulles did not indicate whether or not he discussed this matter at this particular meeting with the President but informed sources felt that a large portion of the conversation was devoted to Israel.

Official sources disclosed that Mutual Security assistance in the amount of $15,000,000 representing a first installment of an estimated $65,000,000 of aid voted to Israel by Congress for the fiscal year 1954, was ready for transfer to Israel by the Foreign Operations Administration several weeks ago but was held up on orders from Secretary Dulles.

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