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United Nations Economic Survey Mission (1949)


Mission to recommend effects of 1948 ArabIsraeli war and origins of UNRWA.

On 23 August 1949 the United Nations Conciliation Commission for Palestine (UNCCP) established the Economic Survey Mission, instructing it to recommend a program to assist in the recovery of the countries affected by the 1948 Arab-Israel War. The principal impetus for the creation of the mission was the failure of the UNCCP to make progress toward a political solution of the Palestinian refugee problem, but the UNCCP appointed Gordon R. Clapp, former director of the U.S. Tennessee Valley Authority, to chair the mission, thus focusing instead upon fostering the economic conditions requisite to a peace settlement. Within three months the mission concluded that the large-scale undertakings it hoped would fully reintegrate the refugees, such as Arab-Israeli cooperation in a development project for the Jordan River, were politically unfeasible.

In mid-November 1949 the mission recommended that the United Nations General Assembly both adopt a more circumspect program of public works as a first step toward rehabilitating the refugees, and assist needy individuals. On 8 December 1949 the General Assembly responded by passing Resolution 302, thereby creating the United Nations Relief and Works Agency. The agency coordinated its activities with the local governments and allocated $49 million for eighteen months of operations, but it continued to function after that in order to prevent a further deterioration of the refugees' conditions.

see also united nations and the middle east; united nations relief and works agency for palestine refugees in the near east (unrwa).


Fischbach, Michael R. Records of Dispossession: Palestinian Refugee Property and the ArabIsrael Conflict. New York: Columbia University Press, 2003.

Hurewitz, J.C. The Struggle for Palestine. New York: Green-wood Press, 1968.

Khouri, Fred J. The ArabIsraeli Dilemma, 2d edition. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 1976.

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