McGhee Files: Lot 53 D 468

Memorandum by the Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern, South Asian, and African Affairs (McGhee) to the Secretary of State 1

Subject: Visit of Mr. Abraham Feinberg, at the Suggestion of the President.


Since Mr. Feinberg’s visit on April 5 (Tab A),2 the following events have taken place relating to the Israel request for $150 million grant-aid:

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On May 24, the President recommended to the Congress the adoption of a Mutual Security Program with recommendations for: $23.5 million in economic aid for Israel, $23.5 million in economic assistance for the Arab States, $50 million for the Arab Refugee Program, and authority for $41.5 million in direct grants of military assistance to supplement purchases on a cash reimbursable basis by the states of the area.

On May 27, one hundred and fifty-five members of the House of Representatives urged early study and favorable action on bills to authorize economic aid to Israel. It is significant that their statement made no specific reference to the Congressional bill of April 2 authorizing $150 million for Israel. Other than that, there have been no outstanding efforts to push the Congressional bills authorizing $150 million for Israel. It is believed that the Israel government is aware that the Department does not favor a grant of $150 million to Israel and considers that the Mutual Security Program incorporates the total aid for the Near Eastern countries which the United States is prepared to grant this fiscal year.

On July 5, Jacob Blaustein, President of the American Jewish Committee and a prominent oil man, told me he did not think that the Mutual Security Program provided sufficient economic assistance for Israel. He was aware of the need for an impartial and objective program for the Near East, and suggested that the allocations for Israel and the Arab states be raised from $23.5 million to $75 million apiece. He said that if this were possible, he was sure he could get Congressional leaders to withdraw their bills for $150 million. He did not wish the Department’s aid bill, which he supported generally, to be embarrassed by Congressional debate on the $150 million grant-aid bills. I explained to Mr. Blaustein why we could not raise the figures.


1. If your discussion with Mr. Feinberg discloses that he is still interested in the passage of the $150 million aid bill to Israel, it is recommended that you inform him (a) that the Department believes that the plan for the Arab states and Israel outlined in the Mutual Security Program provides a fair, impartial and generous plan of assistance for the area; (b) that the sum proposed for Israel takes into account Israel’s request for $150 million grant-aid; (c) that the $50 million for the Arab refugees could be considered as much an indirect aid to Israel as to the Arab states; (d) that United States budgetary limitations, as well as the needs of other areas of the world, preclude assistance to Israel in any greater amount.

2. You might wish to tell Mr. Feinberg that the United States has already provided considerable assistance to Israel, as follows: (a) $135 million from the Export–Import Bank; (b) $100,000 for technical [Page 776] assistance; (c) $87,580 under the Exchange of Persons Program; and (d) $23,101,867 worth of free assistance from the Department of Agriculture in the form of surplus agricultural commodities out of an approximate total of $47 million to all countries for the same period.3

  1. Drafted by Mr. Waldo; sent also to Mr. Matthews.
  2. The memorandum of conversation of April 5 is printed on p. 619.
  3. No memorandum has been found with respect to a further conversation by Mr. McGhee with Mr. Feinberg.