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Khrushchev Backs Arabs in Water Diversion Controversy

May 11, 1964 - In Cairo today, Premier Khrushchev gave strong Soviet endorsement to the Arab stand against Israeli diversion of Jordan River waters.

The visiting Soviet leader told applauding legislators that Israel had “robbed Arabs of their own sources of water” by her plan to use the river to irrigate the Negev.

In an hour-long speech this morning before the new National Assembly of the United Arab Republic, Khrushchev praised the country’s “Socialist progress” under President Gamal Abdel Nasser and condemned Israel as a “stooge of the imperialists.”

He declared: “We support the just demands of the Arab countries that Israel should implement the United Nations resolutions on Palestine.”

These resolutions provide for repatriation or financial compensation to Palestinians who lost their property or homes in the war that followed the creation of Israel in 1948.

Khrushchev credited “Arab Socialism” with the gains the U.A.R. has accomplished. “We Communists are aware of what you have achieved and share your happiness as you follow the path of Socialism,” he declared. “Socialism gives the maximum welfare to the people.”

In the U.S., Senator Ernest Gruening charged that Khrushchev’s current visit to the U.A.R. showed that Nasser had been serving as “the Kremlin’s stooge” in a drive by Moscow to seize control of the Middle East’s oil.

The Alaska Democrat called on President Johnson to change U.S. policies toward the Middle East to prevent such a take-over. He also urged the President to summon the leaders of Arab nations and Israel to a joint conference to persuade the Arabs to renounce their pledges to destroy Israel.

“We should make it clear beyond any possibility of doubt,” he said, “that the U.S. will not tolerate an Egyptian attack on Israel,” and that U.S. power “stood ready” for instant retaliation as “a deterrent to Cairo’s atomic force.”

After his address to the Assembly today, Khrushchev took his family and members of his party on a sightseeing tour that included a visit to the Pyramids.

Tomorrow, he will visit a number of factories, including a Soviet-aided pharmaceutical plant.

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