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Source: Department of Public Information (DPI)
13 October 1949
Department of Public Information
Press and Publications Bureau
Lake Success, New York

Press Release PAL/534
13 October 1949

(The following was received at UN Headquarters from the Press Officer
with the Palestine Commission, Beirut.)

The first phase of the work of the UN Economic Survey Mission for the Middle East will come to an end this week when the Mission will visit Baghdad upon the invitation of the Iraqi Prime Minister, Nourri Said Pasha.

Gordon Clapp, Chief of the Mission, accompanied by the Vice-chairman and the Principal Secretary of the Mission, is scheduled to arrive in the capital of Iraq on October 14.

Before leaving his headquarters in Beirut for his trip to Baghdad, Mr. Clapp told a press conference about the first phase of his work.

"Our conversations with the Arab and Israeli governments have dealt primarily with the urgent problem of the plight of Arab refugees," he said. "The United Nations funds which have provided food and shelter for these refugees will be exhausted within 30 to 60 days. Our Mission is expected to report and make recommendations to the United Nations about November 1.

"The Mission, acting within its terms of reference, and after careful study and discussions with various governments, believes that employment opportunities should be provided for able-bodied refugees in those areas where they are now located. Whenever possible, a chance to work should provide a substitute for mere relief.

"The Mission has made clear that such temporary work relief will not prejudice any rights which the Arab refugees may have for repatriation or compensation under the General Assembly resolution of 11 December 1948.

"With this mind, the Mission has discussed the plight of the refugees with each Government and State. With the assent and cooperation of each Government it has begun the technical examination of local public works programs which could be started if a substantial part of the funds could be obtained through international assistance. The Mission's engineering, agricultural and other experts have conducted a field investigation in Jordan, Arab Palestine and the Gaza area. Similar field investigations and technical discussions are progressing with technical experts of Lebanon and Syria. The exploration of need for similar temporary work programs in Israel, for Arab and Jewish refugees dislodged from their lands and villages as a result of recent hostilities, has also begun in Israel.

"After completion of its report on the need for continued relief and for works programs, the Mission plans to begin discussions and examinations in the field of longer range economic development projects in each of the respective countries in cooperation with the Governments concerned. From these studies, the Mission hopes to be able to report later about the need for long range economic developments, and about the plans and priorities which each Government has in mind and on the general estimates of the amounts required to finance the various possible programs within each country.

"In its later report the Mission will give consideration to the need of establishing an international agency through which technical counsel and financial assistance, may be made available to interested countries and which may have feasible economic development schemes prepared."

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