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U.S. Alert to Arab-israel Disputes; Regrets Diversion of Funds to Arms

March 24, 1964
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Secretary of State Dean Rusk told Congress that the United States will continue in its efforts to attain a settlement of disputes between Israel and the Arabs and expressed his regret over the continued diversion of funds to armaments in the Middle East.

Mr. Rusk appeared before the House Foreign Affairs Committee to present the Administration’s foreign aid program for fiscal year 1965, which begins July 1 of this year. In his review of what he described as “key problem areas where U.S. aid is a factor,” the Secretary of State also discussed the Arab-Israel relations.

“The U.S. has continued to provide assistance to Israel and to a number of the Arab states,” the Secretary said. “These nations have a history of conflict and animosity. The U.S. will continue to work for a settlement of the disputes between Israel and her neighbors and for a general settlement in the Near East. There are resources and potential in the area sufficient to provide all peoples with a better standard of living. Resources which are diverted from the job of providing economic growth and are used to build armaments are a regrettable waste.

“Last year the Congress enacted a subsection (1) of section 620 of the Assistance Act, prohibiting assistance to any country which the President determines is engaging or preparing for aggression. The activities of all recipient countries–including those in the Middle East and Asia–are under continual examination by this country but no determination has been made under the provisions enacted last year. I can assure you that careful study is being given in every instance to determine the application of the amendment,” Secretary Rusk declared.

When the above amendment was enacted, speakers in both Houses made it clear that it was aimed primarily to check Col. Nasser’s aggressive intentions in the Middle East. This was, to some extent, implicitly recognized by Mr. Rusk in including his explanations as to why the amendment has not been applied, in that section of his statement which dealt with Israel-Arab relations. It was noted, however, that while in the past the Administration tried to eliminate amendments of such nature from the foreign aid legislation, the bill submitted this year did not contain any attempts to delete the “anti-aggressor” clause from the Act.

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