884A.00 TA/2–2451

Memorandum of Conversation, by the Chief of the Investment and Economic Development Staff ( Malenbaum )


Subject: Foreign Assistance for Israel.

Participants: Mr. Hyman—Embassy of Israel
Wilfred MalenbaumED

In the course of a chance meeting with Mr. Hyman on Saturday evening, I was given the following information on Israeli activities re foreign assistance:

1. Grant aid for $150 million in fiscal 1952.

Apparently this will be initiated by the Congress rather than in the Executive Branch. It will be introduced in the Senate by Senators Taft and Douglas.2 I was told that Senator Taft was the main supporter of the program and welcomed the idea of bipartisan action, indicating only that his Democratic co-sponsor should be an adequately senior Senator. Taft seemed satisfied with the Douglas alignment. I was told that organized efforts are being made by people in appropriate states to enlist Congressional support. It is anticipated that a significant amount of the money is to be used for food imports, that offshore purchases will be necessary, and that explicit mention will be made of the use of these grant funds “to permit Israel to make its proper contribution to the Arab Refugee Resettlement Program”.

While I was given no specific time indication, I gathered that this matter was being pushed aggressively. There was no desire on Mr. Hyman’s part that his remarks be kept confidential.

2. The Prospective Bond Issue.

Mr. Hyman remarked that he had just come from a meeting called by Ambassador Eban of some 200 leading Jewish businessmen. He indicated that these men were optimistic about the prospects for selling the bonds and that 3 of the businessmen had pledged personal takings of at least one-half million dollars each. I was told that the selling program will begin about May 1, after the hump on the appeal drive. No effort would be made to soft-peddle the oncoming request for bond sales but there was confidence that the issue would not appreciably affect the level of contributions to the appeal.

Prime Minister Ben Gurion is expected to visit this country early in May to spark the opening of the bond drive. I gathered this information was not public.

  1. Memorandum drafted February 26.
  2. Senator Douglas introduced the bill to this end, S. 1247, in the Senate on April 2 on behalf of himself, Mr. Taft, and 34 other Senators.