I wish to call to your attention a critical situation which now exists
with respect to the financing of the Palestine Refugee Program of the
United Nations. This program of relief to Arab refugees displaced from
Palestine was carried on during the fiscal year 1951 through contributions
from participating countries, including a contribution from the United
States of $25,450,000. The Mutual Security Program now before the Congress
includes a request of $50,000,000 for the United States contribution
to this program in the fiscal year 1952.
In the July Joint Resolution making temporary appropriations, no provision
was made for the Palestine Refugee Program. The program was carried
forward during July, however, through the use of existing stocks and
funds from other sources. Available resources are now nearly exhausted.
One of the principal causes of tension in the Near East is the miserable
state of the hundreds of thousands of Arab refugees from Palestine.
A major step forward was recently made when the Arab League went on
record in favor of a massive program of resettlement of Palestinian
refugees in the Arab States. Grave damage to this program is likely
to result if the present aid program collapses because of a temporary
shortage of funds.
I therefore urgently request that the pending continuing resolution
provide $2,000,000 for the month of August and $3,000,000 for the month
of September. Such a contribution is essential to prevent the starvation
of many refugees and to avoid a deterioration in the present critical
situation in the Near East.
HARRY S. TRUMAN