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United Nations Economic Survey Mission for the Middle East, Final Report

(December 28, 1949)

When the talks in Lausanne failed, the Palestine Conciliation Commission established, on 23 August 1949, the Economic Survey Mission headed by Gordon R. Clapp, Director of the Tennessee Valley Authority. In all interim report the Mission recommended a programme of' public works to employ Palestinian refugees. In its final report, the Mission submitted a number of proposals for development projects and said that, if adopted, the projects "call lead the way to a fuller development of' the resources of the countries of the Middle East ... At the same time, since economic and political questions inevitably mingle in human affairs, economic development cannot of itself make peace or progress where the political will to peace is lacking " Text of the Alission's conclusions and proposals.

Conclusions and Proposals

The approach to economic development in the Middle East proposed by the Economic Survey Mission thus includes the following elements:

1. Recognition by the Governments of Middle Eastern countries, by the United Nations and by the Member Governments which desire to proffer friendly assistance to the Middle East:

(i) That peace and stability cannot be achieved in the Middle East until the masses of its peoples are able to enjoy a higher standard of living than at present;

(ii) That the path to a higher standard of living for the population of the Middle East is a long one;

(iii) That, through the efforts of Middle Eastern peoples and Governments themselves, a higher standard of living can only be achieved through the development of the natural resources of Middle Eastern countries which, to begin with, should be reflected in an improved and modernized agriculture, without which substantial industrial opportunity is denied them;

(iv) That the obstacles to economic development leave few opportunities, if any, for the immediate prosecution of large-scale schemes or the fruitful application of large long-term credits for productive, self-liquidating developments;

(v) That the proposed public works programme to provide temporary employment for Palestine refugees, as recommended in the Economic Survey Mission's Interim Report (adopted and approved by the General Assembly of the United Nations, by resolution 302 (IV) dated 8 December 1949), by mobilizing a great body of manpower, now idle, will improve the productivity of the countries where the refugees now reside and can be the start of larger developments;

(vi) That several of the Governments of the countries most directly affected by the recent hostilities between Arabs and Israelis need an opportunity to learn, by doing, the art and skill of planning, organizing and carrying out a development project, conceived on a small enough scale to be within the competence of those Governments. important enough to affect the country's economy favourably, and comprising a sufficient variety of problems and technical requirements to afford overall training in a broad field, while being simple enough to assure success;

(vii) That the process by which the greater resources of the international community and the individual aid of friendly Governments are made available to the Middle Eastern countries must respect the sovereignty while strengthening the competence and independence of the country receiving assistance.

2. Prosecution of the programme of work relief for refugees to be inaugurated by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (established by the resolution of the General Assembly dated 8 December 1949) in such a manner as to shift more and more responsibility for the execution of the programmes on to the shoulders of the individual Governments and to ensure that these programmes for temporary employment include those projects which can add to the productivity of national and regional economies and lay the basis for subsequent larger developments offering a permanent livelihood to more people in the years to come.

3. Establishment by each of the Middle Eastern Governments of a national Development Board, fully contained within the sovereign jurisdiction of its governmental administration, charged with responsibility for planning balanced, overall development, defining and recommending individual projects, and providing for their execution, with the help of such technical and financial assistance from tile international community or friendly Governments as each Middle Eastern Government concerned may seek.

4. (a) Prosecution by the Government of Lebanon of a pilot demonstration project to achieve a complete Survey, field investigation and technical report, preparatory to the ultimate development of the Litani River as a unit.

(b) Encouragement and technical assistance by the international community, or individual friendly Governments, to the Republic of Lebanon in the definition and prosecution of the Litani investigation with an assurance that, should the Government of Lebanon find itself unable wholly to finance this investigation from internal resources, a request for external financial aid would receive careful and friendly consideration.

5. (a) Prosecution by the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan of a pilot demonstration project on the watersheds and stream bed of the Wadi Zerqa, and a pilot demonstration project on the watershed and stream bed of the Wadi Qilt, which will achieve the full and unified development and use of the waters of these wadis flowing into the Jordan River from the east and west respectively; by building storage dams, to stabilize the downstream flow of the wadis and thereby increase the year-round water supply, reduce the damage of floods and add to the areas under irrigation and cultivation; by using the development of these wadis as an opportunity to employ Arab refugees and as an encouragement for them to establish themselves as permanent and productive residents on the lands they thus bring into use; and by using these pilot demonstration projects as a special opportunity to provide technical and administrative experience in the overall planning and actual execution of public works.

(b) Financial and technical assistance to the Jordan Government by the international community, through the funds to be made available by the Member Governments of the United Nations for the refugee works relief programme, in order to begin these projects; together with an assurance that later requests for credits or grants with which to complete these pilot projects will receive careful and sympathetic consideration by the United Nations or by individual friendly Governments, prior to the conclusion of the refugee works programme.

6. (a) Prosecution by the Syrian Government of a pilot demonstration project on the Orontes River in the Ghab Swamps, to reclaim, by drainage and other devices, potentially fertile lands now useless and uninhabitable, and to provide homes and other facilities needed for the people who will be required to populate and till the land thus reclaimed.

(b) Encouragement and technical assistance by the international community, or individual friendly Governments, to Syria in the planning and execution of this project by the Syrian Government, with an assurance that, should the Syrian Government find itself unable wholly to finance this development from internal resources, a request for external financial aid would receive careful and friendly consideration.

7. Creation of a fund, not to exceed $ 10 million, by the Governments which, by action of the General Assembly, are called upon to appoint their representatives to form the Advisory Commission of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees; this fund to be available to the Advisory Commission, until expended, for allocation to Middle Eastern Governments as grants, reimbursable or otherwise as may be determined, for the purpose of facilitating research, technical studies and investigations in agriculture, engineering and other modern scientific aids to development, and assisting in the completion of pilot demonstration projects approved by the Advisory Commission, upon application made by the Middle Eastern Government concerned.

8. Preparation by the Governments of the Middle Eastern countries concerned, in consultation with the Advisory Coinmission of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees and in connection with the functions of that body as laid down in paragraph 7 (b) of the resolution of the General Assembly of December 1949, of plans and recommendations for the further development of the economic and natural resources of the Middle East, with particular reference to those involving economic arrangements between two or more of the countries concerned.

This approach to the economic development of the Middle East and the policies and actions set forth herein are recommended for the early and careful consideration of the United Nations and the Governments whose active implementation of this approach will bring the Middle East into a hopeful and significant era of economic, social and political advance.

Signed at Paris, France on 18 December 1949

Gordon R. CLAPP Chairman

H. Cemil GOKCEN Deputy Chairman

Eirik LABONNE DeputY Chairman

Desmond MORTON Depittv Chairman

Source: Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs