320.2AA/8–350: Telegram

The Ambassador in Egypt (Caffery) to Ambassador John B. Blandford, at Beirut


22. For Blandford. Embassy today enquired Foreign Office re progress Egypt’s reply PRA proposals. Following information given:

Egypt favors cooperation “in principle”.
Egypt insists that nothing be done to prejudice right of refugees to return to homes. Therefore, will cooperate only in short term project.
Since matter is primarily a UN one, UN has no right to disown refugees after June, 1951.
In view of UN responsibility, Egypt feels that its contribution should only be in the same proportion as its UN contribution, that is, 79 percent (a percentage which it hopes to have reduced).1
Hopes to forward communication to Kennedy along above lines in near future although final decision not yet taken.2

Sent Beirut 22, repeated information Department 226, repeated Arab capitals unnumbered, Tel Aviv unnumbered, London unnumbered, Paris unnumbered, Asmara unnumbered.

  1. The Department, in reply on September 6, stated that the Egyptian position as set forth in paragraph 4 was unreal in “view necessity place UN refugee finances on voluntary basis due lack interest in many UN members in subscribing quota for refugee aid. Egypt contributions have in past exceeded suggested .79% quota materially, taking concessions and services into account” (telegram 194 to Cairo, 320.2AA/8–3050). The Department, as early as August 18, had informed Ambassador Blandford that it was “disturbed small nr contributions PRA as contrasted UNRPR and effect this may have on GA consideration question continuation PRA.… Dept hopes PRA report to GA can show broader based fin support and suggests PRA endeavor obtain largest possible nr commitments to contribute before GA” (telegram 129, identified also as Unrap 46, to Beirut, 320.2AA/8–1850). The UNRPR had functioned in 1949.
  2. Lebanese officials, on August 24, stressed to Major General Kennedy their country’s “inability accommodate refugees for settlement within country and suggested their transfer to other Arab states willing and able receive them for settlement pending political solution Palestine problem and refugee repatriation. Promised cooperate re works projects (two of which have already started) provided they temporary and not tend settle refugees in Lebanon” (telegram 135, identified also as Rapun 54, from Beirut, 320.2AA/8–2950).