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The Johnston Mission:
Background & Overview


Johnston Mission: Table of Contents | Ike Announces Mission (1953) | Mission Failure


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In 1953, President Eisenhower announced the appointment of Eric Johnston as his special representative to undertake discussions with Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon on a comprehensive plan for the development of the Jordan Valley. The engineers and lawyers of both sides agreed the division of the waters he worked out was a fair and reasonable one and there was no doubt the project would greatly benefit the countries concerned. Probably Jordan stood to gain the most, as a considerable area of the lower reaches of the river in Jordan territory could have been irrigated and hence opened to settlement by the Palestine refugees idle in their camps. Two hundred thousand refugees, it was said, could be so settled. Johnston’s plan was derailed, however, by the Syrians, who would not agree to anything that would benefit Israel, even if the Arab States would thereby achieve greater benefits. By late 1955, the Johnston mission was abandoned.


Sources: Bard, Mitchell G. and Moshe Schwartz. 1001 Facts Everyone Should Know About Israel. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2005.

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