371. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Lebanon1

175. Verbatim text. Department plans issue following press release 10:00 a.m. Friday, July 24:

“The United States Development Loan Fund today announced basic approval and commitment of funds for a $5, 000,000 loan to the Banque de Credit Agricole, Industriel et Foncier (BCAIF), a private Lebanese development bank with 40 percent government participation located at Beirut, Lebanon. Details of the loan agreement are to be negotiated.

The funds made available by the DLF will be re-lent by BCAIF to help develop new industrial establishments in Lebanon as well as to participation of private capital in industrial development activities.

Established in 1954, the BCAIF so far has assisted only in the modernization and expansion of existing agricultural, real-estate, and industrial enterprises. Commercial credit is about the only form available in Beirut, and the establishment of new industries has been hampered for want of long-term credit. Proceeds of the DLF loan will be used only for longer-term loans for the industrial department of BCAIF’s operations.

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Industrialization is basically important to Lebanon, an area half the size of New Jersey, with only 25 percent of its land arable and a rapidly increasingly population which now totals 1, 500,000. At present there are 1, 800 industrial establishments employing 5 or more persons. These establishments hire a total of 40, 000 employees.”

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 783A.5–MSP/7–2059. Official Use Only. Drafted by E.B. Goldmann in NEA/P. Cleared in NE/P by Harold Sims and in P by Kretzmann.