Question of Palestine home
1 December 1948
TWO HUNDRED AND TWENTIETH MEETING
Held at the Palais de Chaillot, Paris, on Wednesday,
1 December 1948, at 3 p.m.
Mr. A. COSTA DU RELS (Bolivia).
89. Continuation of the discussion on the progress
report of the United Nations Mediator on Palestine (
Continuation of the consideration of the consolidated
tabulation prepared by the working group (
Mr. SHERTOK (Provisional Government of Israel) thanked the Chairman for allowing him to revert to several sections of the consolidated tabulation which the Committee had already discussed. He referred to the paragraph of the United Kingdom (
) and Colombian (
) draft resolutions listed under section VI which proposed to endorse the recommendation of the Mediator that Arab Palestine be annexed to Transjordan. Mr. Shertok stated that he could see no reason for such a far-reaching departure from the political settlement envisaged in Assembly resolution 181 (II) of 29 November 1947, although it was true that some of the provisions of that resolution did not now conform with reality. There could be no justification for offering a territorial reward for the aggression of the Arab States, which now maintained troops in Palestine in defiance of the Assembly's resolution. Moreover, the United Kingdom and Colombian texts would prejudge this issue. The conciliation commission would have a much better chance of success if its hands were left free in this matter, and if it were guided only by the provision of the Assembly's resolution of 29 November, under which it should try to achieve agreement between the parties.
Referring to section VII of the tabulation concerning Jerusalem, Mr. Shertok said that he could fully understand the feelings of those representatives who had expressed themselves in favour of the principle of an international regime for the whole of Jerusalem. But after the experience of the past year this matter was no longer an academic question of principle. The lamentable reality was that at a time of crisis the United Nations had not been able to discharge its responsibilities under the Assembly's resolution of 29 November 1947, and it could not be assumed that such a situation would not again occur. The draft resolutions attempted to reaffirm the principle of international rule without taking account of the facts of the situation.
The first problem was one of defence and experience had shown that a Jewish force in Jerusalem was indispensable to the security of the Jewish population ; this reality must be taken into account. It was proposed to demilitarize Jerusalem, but how could the Jews of Jerusalem who had saved their lives only by their own efforts be expected to give up their defensive arms and their military connexions with Israel and rely only on the name of the United Nations. He appealed to all delegations to realize the grave responsibility for the safety of many people which the United Nations would undertake without the proper equipment if it accepted the principle of demilitarization for Jerusalem proposed in the United Kingdom draft resolution.
The Assembly's resolution of 29 November 1947 had expected the finances from the economic union of the Arab and Jewish States in Palestine to cover the needs of Jerusalem, but since this union had not come into being, there was no provision for financing an international regime for Jerusalem. From the point of view of its economy, future development, social welfare, etc., Jewish Jerusalem was an integral part of Israel and its needs in these respects could not be met if it were a separate unit. Its ties with Israel were innumerable and any solution for the future of Jerusalem must maintain its territorial continuity and organic unity with Israel.
However, Israel wholeheartedly acclaimed the principle of international authority over the Holy Places and, while agreeing that that principle must have territorial expression, maintained that it could be upheld by internationalizing the Old City of Jerusalem which might include the territory within the ancient wall and any nearby Holy Places. The international authority could be given jurisdiction over all the Holy Places including those in other parts of Palestine. Such an international regime would be manageable from the point of view of finance and defence, and the fact that modern Jerusalem would be connected with Israel would be the surest basis for financial aid to the Holy City.
Mr. Shertok expressed anxiety concerning some of the powers to be entrusted to the conciliation commission and considered that the commission's success as a conciliation body would be prejudiced if it became involved in the administrative field, where it would vitiate its authority by clashing with existing administrative arrangements. He pointed out that several of the draft resolutions provided for the commission to exercise administrative functions in Jerusalem even before it had reported detailed proposals for a permanent international regime to the Assembly for its approval ; the issue would thus be prejudged by the Commission's prior actions.
Referring to section VIII of the tabulation concerning the Holy Places, Mr. Shertok endorsed the provisions of the various draft resolutions except where they made reference to an international regime for the whole of Jerusalem, on which he had already expressed his opinion.
Reverting to the provisions of the United Kingdom draft resolution under section VII concerning access to Jerusalem, he expressed the view that they seemed utterly unrealistic as drafted. When Jerusalem was surrounded on three sides by Arab armies and was still in a state of war, how could the Jewish military authorities be expected to allow any Arab to enter freely and remain in Jerusalem? While the principle expressed might be legitimate, it could be applied only after peace had been established in Jerusalem and the whole question could not be considered in the abstract without reference to the actual situation.
Referring to section X of the tabulation concerning refugees, Mr. Shertok noted briefly his delegation's views that the problem could be solved satisfactorily only in connexion with the final peace settlement, and that it was not a question of the rights of certain individuals but of the collective interests of groups of people. It was not enough to allow these individuals to return when and where they desired, for the question arose as to who was to assume responsibility for their integration in their new environment. The final solution, which could be worked out only after the peace settlement had been concluded must be one to which all Governments would lend their support and co-operation. These facts should find expression in the Assembly's resolution.
Mr. EL-KHOURI (Syria) said he wished to answer some of the points raised by Mr. Shertok. Firstly, Mr. Shertok did not seem to agree that the Arab States should be consulted on the future of Arab Palestine. However, the question had been brought before the Security Council on the basis that the Arab States had intervened at the request of the Arabs of Palestine. The Arab States were concerned in the solution of the problem since almost half of the Arabs of Palestine were now in the surrounding Arab countries. The Palestinian Arabs, who must decide their own fate, depended on their Arab brethren, and the participation of the Arab States in the decision on the future of Arab Palestine would help to bring about a just solution.
Mr. Shertok had said that the Jews would have no security from Arab attacks if Jerusalem were demilitarized, but the Arab forces would also be demilitarized and Jerusalem would be under United Nations control. He recalled that the Arab States had accepted the resolution of the Security Council calling for a demilitarization of Jerusalem, but that the Jews had rejected it. Mr. Shertok had said that it was a matter of life and death for the Jews in Jerusalem to keep armed forces, but the same applied to the Arabs in Haifa and Jaffa, and in other parts of Palestine. Mr. Shertok argued that Jewish Jerusalem should be included in Israel since the people were of the same race, same customs, etc., but the same argument applied to the Arabs in other parts of Palestine under Jewish control.
Section XI. Admission of Israel to United Nations membership (continued)
(Syria) thought the proposals to recommend that the Security Council should give sympathetic consideration to an application by Israel for admission to the United Nations were premature and could not be justified by the Charter or jurisprudence of the United Nations or by the principles of international law. In the first place, membership in the United Nations was based on the sovereign equality of States and the Jewish State could not be considered as having a right to this equality with other Members. The delineation of its boundaries, which were a necessary attribute of any State, was still being discussed by the General Assembly; before a conclusion had been reached how could it be considered as a State eligible for admission?
Another of the requirements for admission to the United Nations was that a State must be peace-loving and the Provisional State of Israel had not proved its qualification in this regard during the last year. On the contrary, its sanctioning of atrocities and its aggression on territory not assigned to it under the Assembly's resolution of 29 November 1947 showed that it was not a peace-loving Stale.
Still another requirement for admission was that a State should be able and willing to carry out its obligations under the Charter, and one of the first of its duties was to abide by the resolutions and recommendations of United Nations organs. The Jews were violating those resolutions time and time again; they had refused to accept the Council's resolution on the demilitarization of Jerusalem and had violated its resolution calling on the parties not to change the existing political and military situation during the truce by proclaiming the State of Israel. The Jews had smuggled arms into Palestine in violation of the Security Council's orders. They had openly and deliberately assassinated the United Nations Mediator in Palestine. Should the United Nations reward them for this crime by admitting them to membership rather than by insisting on the proper punishment?
The Security Council now had twelve applications for membership before it, many of which had been rejected by the great Powers for reasons of no value. Several applicants had not been admitted because they had not acted in conformity with the resolutions of the Assembly on the Greek question. Why should more serious objections be overlooked in the case of Israel, and why should there be such haste in considering its application even before the Assembly had taken a decision on the Palestine question? Certain States had recognized the
authority of Israel although it had been imposed as a result of aggression, but this was not sufficient grounds for admission to membership in the United Nations. He expressed the belief that justice would prevail in the Committee and that a hasty decision in this matter would not be taken.
Mr. EBAN (Provisional Government of Israel) noted that the question of the admission of Israel would shortly be considered by the Security Council, in accordance with the normal procedure, but the remarks of the Syrian representative compelled him to clarify the position of his delegation. In the view of his delegation the question of the admission of Israel should not be confused with the general issues being discussed in another Committee of the Assembly. The significant fact was that the Assembly had already committed itself in its resolution of 29 November 1947 to give sympathetic consideration to the applications of either of the two States envisaged in that resolution. If it should now fail to admit Israel, it would be repudiating its own decision.
Israel fulfilled all the qualifications for membership laid down in Article 4 of the Charter. Firstly, it was a State universally recognized as one of the only stable elements in the present fluid situation in Palestine, and the Mediator's report testified that it exercised all the functions of sovereignty. Secondly, it had indicated its willingness to accept the obligations of the Charter and had a long record of compliance with the recommendations of the United Nations organs. It had come into being in accordance with an Assembly decision and had co-operated with the Security Council for the restoration of peace.
It was, therefore, ironic that doubts on Israel's peace-loving character had been expressed by the representative of Syria, whose country had organized the irregular bands which first tried to overthrow the Assembly's recommendation by force, had defied the Security Council's cease-fire orders of 17
(S/749) and 22 May (
) 1948 and its call to renew the truce in July, and whose country's armies now occupied parts of Palestine with the avowed purpose of frustrating the Assembly's decision of 1947 concerning the future government of Palestine.
In contrast with Syria and the other Arab States, Israel had accepted and complied with all the Security Council and Assembly resolutions. Only Israel had responded positively to the recent significant resolution of the Security Council of 16 November 1948 (
) for the restoration of peace in Palestine. The Arab States, by withholding their reply, indicated their defiance of both the valid Assembly resolution of 29 November 1947 and the Security Council's recent resolution.
The question which the United Nations should ask itself was : should the State of Israel be encouraged to develop its future within the framework of the United Nations Charter? This was not an abstract question for it had a bearing on the action which the First Committee was now considering. Surely the cause of conciliation would be advanced if both parties which appeared before the conciliation commission had the same obligations, bore the same responsibility and enjoyed the same status. At present, one of the parties consisted of five Member States of the United Nations while the other was represented by the Government of Israel alone ; at least the disparity in status could be reduced. Furthermore, if the conciliation commission reached conclusions unpalatable to the Arab States, they could appear and vote in the General Assembly itself which would have to make the final decision. Therefore, it was obvious that the prospects of conciliation would be gravely undermined unless a serious effort were made to place both parties on an equal footing, and the admission of Israel was not only a question of justice and in accord with Article 4 of the Charter, it was also an essential element for the stabilization of international relations in the Middle East.
In conclusion, Mr. Eban again called attention to the solemn commitment in the Assembly's resolution of 1947 which bound especially those who had voted in favour of that resolution, and asked the Committee to give sympathetic support to Israel's application for membership.
FAWZI Bey (Egypt) noted that the Security Council had scheduled a meeting for the next day to discuss the request of the Jews for admission to the United Nations. He said he did not see how the Council could take a decision on this application without prejudging the whole question of the future government of Palestine, including the question of frontiers, which was still being discussed by the General Assembly. He did not see why there was such haste in this matter when other applications had been waiting for years and matters of urgency in connexion with international peace had been left in abeyance.
On the question of substance, he pointed out that according to Article 4 of the Charter an applicant for admission to the United Nations must be a State. In his opinion, no Jewish State existed, and while some States had recognized the
authority of the Provisional Government of Israel, the Arab States had not recognized it, for they considered that this Government was merely an agglomeration of aggressive forces from various parts of the world. But even if Israel were accepted as a State, for argument's sake, was it peace-loving and willing and able to carry out the obligations of the Charter? It was not enough to level accusations without proof, as Mr. Eban had just done; the Arab States could support their accusations against the Zionists with facts. As an example, he referred to the 376th Security Council's meeting (4 November 1948) and asked why the Jewish representative fought to prevent any reference to sanctions if he were not afraid that the guilt of the Jews would be proved. This guilt existed, for the Jews had taken what they believed had been given them by the Assembly's resolution of 29 November 1947, had added the territory which had been casually mentioned in the Mediator's Progress Report and had also taken over additional territory by conquest. Despite this, they still said they were willing to respect the Charter, and carry out its obligations.
Fawzi Bey expressed surprise at the statement of the Australian representative that nothing had occurred to invalidate the Assembly's decision of 29 November 1947. But the grim realities of the situation, to which the Jewish representative had referred, were that the United Nations had been flouted and a whole nation of people had been driven from their homes. Such actions did not indicate that the party responsible for them was peace-loving or willing to carry out its obligation under the Charter. Were the Jews able to carry out those obligations? On the one hand, they claimed that the violations of the truce had been carried out by people acting against the will of the Jewish authorities, and were beyond their control. While he did not wish to exploit the atrocious murder of Count Bernadotte, the way in which he died was symbolic of the deterioration which would take place in Palestine if the situation were not properly handled. If the Zionist leaders were unable to control assassins and to seek out and punish the murderers of Count Bernadotte, the inevitable conclusion was that the Provisional Government of Israel was unable to fulfil its obligations under the Charter. If, on the other hand, it were assumed that the assassinations and the atrocities were committed under the authority of the Zionist leaders, the same conclusion was inevitable.
Fawzi Bey thought the United Nations would wreck its attempts to bring peace to Palestine by considering the Jewish application. He suggested that the Committee ask the Acting Mediator for information concerning the implementation of Security Council resolution (S/1067) of
calling for the withdrawal of troops from certain areas of Palestine. The Arab States had accepted this resolution and wished to give it effect but were not able to do so because the Zionists continued to occupy areas from which they had been requested to withdraw. In the circumstances, how could it be said that the Provisional Government of Israel was peace-loving, and willing and able to carry out its obligations?
He again requested information from the Acting Mediator in regard to the implementation of the Security Council's resolution of 4 November. He noted that his last request, that a Security Council document from which he had read be included in the records in full, had not been complied with.
Mr. AMMOUN (Lebanon) said that the proposal for the Assembly to recommend the admission of Jews of Palestine to membership in the United Nations was contrary to the procedure laid down in Article 4 of the Charter. In the first place, action could be taken only in respect of an application from the State which was requesting admission and in the second, only the Security Council could initiate action on such a request. The sole function of the Assembly was to take a decision on the application after the Assembly had received a recommendation from the Security Council. Mr. Ammoun believed that the remarkable haste shown by the delegations of Poland, Guatemala and Australia in introducing the question contrary to the normal procedure was due to an attempt to obtain the favour of the Jewish community.
The position adopted by those delegations was but further evidence of the race to win the friendship of the Jews, in which the most notable participants were the United States and the USSR. As the Cuban representative had observed, it was remarkable that those two great Powers, which were in direct opposition on almost every other issue, were in complete agreement in supporting the Jewish cause. The United States had been so anxious to accord formal recognition to the Jewish State before the USSR was able to do so that, as Drew Pearson had reported in the
it had had to prod the Jewish authorities to ask for its recognition. Even then, the United States had recognized Israel before the latter had formally requested such action. It was especially remarkable that the United States had recognized the Jewish State within 48 hours after it had been proclaimed when the United States itself had been obliged to wait two years after its own declaration of independence for recognition from the French Republic, although French troops had participated in the American fight for freedom. Moreover, in spite of the Monroe Doctrine, the United States had waited more than 20 years before it had accorded recognition to certain of the Republics of South America. Mr. Ammoun also noted that among the States which had recognized Israel, there were some which, in 1907, had signed a treaty undertaking never to recognize a Government which was established on the basis of revolution and violence.
The Lebanese representative contested the legality of the State of Israel. It could not claim to have been created as a direct result of the November resolution because it had come into being before the termination of the Mandate over Palestine and even before the November resolution had been adopted. The creation of a Jewish State had been the aim of Jewish ambition for many years. It could not possibly be said to be a result of the Assembly's decision because the territory claimed by the Jews was not confined to the area laid down by the November resolution. That alone was evidence that the Jews had acted unilaterally.
Furthermore, the Jewish State had been established on the basis of religion. But as Mr. Bevin had said, religion should not be taken as a basis for statehood. If Israel were recognized by the United Nations, a serious problem would be created not only for the Arab States neighbouring on Palestine but also for all States in which there was a Jewish minority, for the latter would thus come under a double allegiance which would strain their loyalty to the nations of which they were citizens. Mr. Ammoun said that it was possible to name many instances of Jewish statesmen who were torn between loyalty to the nations of which they were citizens and allegiance to the cause of Israel. He cited in particular the case of Mr. Morgenthau, whose predominant interest seemed to be in the cause of the Palestine Jews although he was a United States citizen.
Mr. Ammoun found no justification for the Jewish desire for statehood. The Jews were not being oppressed by the Arabs. On the contrary, the latter had shown an unequalled spirit of conciliation and had gone to the utmost limit in making concessions to satisfy Jewish aspirations. They had even agreed to the principle of a Federal Palestine State which would accord to the Jewish minority privileges of a financial, social and cultural order which were unequalled in any other country of the world. They had made that offer in spite of the fact that the terms of the Mandate had given the Jews the right only of establishing a national home. The present situation had arisen in Palestine as a result of the mandatory Power's failure to observe the terms of the Mandate. The United Kingdom had permitted unlimited Jewish immigration into Palestine so that, at the time of the termination of the Mandate, the Jewish community had found itself strong enough to contest the sovereignty of the Palestinian Arabs.
The Lebanese representative warned the Committee of the dire consequences of accepting the proposal to recommend Israel's admission to membership. It would come as a bombshell to the 50 million Arabs of the Middle East. He recalled a passage from the writings of Theodore Herzl. The prophet of Zionism had said that if a Jewish State was created in Palestine, it would constitute a bulwark of European civilization against barbarism. If the civilization which the Jews wished to protect was epitomized by the regime which they had set up in Palestine with all its atrocities, then the Arabs of the Middle East, together with all the other countries of Asia, would almost certainly prefer barbarism. The people of Asia were daily becoming more convinced that they must unite in rejecting all attempts at domination. They would unite, as Mr. Nehru had urged only recently in the Assembly, in defence of the rights and freedoms which were theirs in common with the peoples of every other Member State of the United Nations.
Mr. CATTAN (Arab Higher Committee) explained that his delegation had not intended to participate in the debate because it did not consider that the Committee was solving the Palestine Question in conformity with the principles of international law and equity. The Arabs were not prepared to consider any solution which was based on the partition of Palestine and therefore would reject unequivocally any attempt at conciliation if it was based on the November resolution, the Mediator's report, or any other formula which included partition. However, Mr. Cattan felt obliged to speak because he could not concede the right of the so-called Government of Israel to represent any part of Palestine. Palestine belonged to its inhabitants and to those who owned the land, but the Jews owned only 7 per cent of the territory and did not represent the majority of the population even in the area which they controlled. Only in respect of the city of Tel Aviv could they claim to represent the inhabitants. In all the other major cities which they controlled, the overwhelming majority of the inhabitants were Arabs.
Furthermore, the great majority of the Jewish community were recent immigrants. In 1922 there were only 50,000 Jews in Palestine while in 1918 the number had amounted to as little as 35,000. Moreover, as a representative of the Mandatory Power had stated at the time of the termination of the Mandate, only one-third of the Jews in Palestine had become citizens. The remainder had no right in Palestine for they were a group of foreigners 70 per cent of whom had come from Eastern Europe. Mr. Cattan thought it would be an action unprecedented in the annals of history for the United Nations to accord recognition to a Government representing a foreign group. It was not surprising that the Polish delegation was pressing for Israel's admission to membership, for the majority of the recent Jewish immigrants were of Polish origin.
He could not agree that the United Nations could admit to membership the Government of a State which had come into being through the expulsion of the majority of the rightful inhabitants of the territory which it claimed and which had a terrible record of atrocity and pillage. How could the United Nations admit a Government which was guilty of profaning the Holy Places in Palestine? To adopt the proposal of Poland, Guatemala and Australia would be to approve the Jewish record of terrorism and would be a flagrant violation of the principles of the Charter. Admission of Israel to the United Nations would destroy all hope of establishing normal peaceful conditions in the Middle East.
Mr. SANDLER (Sweden) drew attention to the statements which had been made concerning the assassination of Count Bernadotte. He was amazed that the delegation of Israel had made no reference to that subject. The Swedish delegation had waited long to hear the outcome of the enquiry into the assassination, and did not consider that the question could be forgotten. On the other hand, Mr. Sandier did not approve of the way in which Count Bernadotte's assassination had been exploited by certain speakers in the debate as an argument against the admission of Israel. Count Bernadotte's name should be respected and his assassination should not be used for purposes of propaganda.
Mr. JORMERD (Iraq) considered that the proposal to admit the Provisional Government of Israel to membership in the United Nations was the most daring and unjust proposal which had been submitted during the present session of the Assembly. What right had the Security Council to admit the application on its agenda when the final political settlement in Palestine had not yet been decided and might not be for some time? He thought the proposal was an attempt to prejudge the issue, and that it was a strategem first to obtain Israel's admission to the United Nations and then to discuss its right to exist. Would it not be more correct to ask the people of Palestine, who were directly concerned, whether the Jewish State was acceptable to them before proposing such action? How could the Committee decide in a few hours a problem which the Mandatory Power had been studying without result for 30 years? It was obvious that the Provisional Government of Israel was anxious to force the issue because it would have everything to gain by obtaining the support of the world community for its cause. But, even if that support was given, the Jewish State would be unable to continue long in existence in the face of the antagonism of the entire Arab world. The proposal was a surprising political manoeuvre. It could not be accepted because as yet no decision had been taken on the territorial boundaries of the Jewish State, peace had not yet been established in Palestine, and no final political settlement had been worked out.
Mr. Jormerd appealed to the Committee to carry out its work in a spirit of wisdom and justice. The Arab delegations and those who shared their viewpoint were surprised at the proposals which were being submitted to the Committee one after another exclusively in the interests of the Jews. Those proposals were undermining the very principles of the Charter and were destroying the faith of the Arab delegations in the ideals of United Nations.
Section XII. Requests to the Security Council
(Syria), speaking on the United Kingdom proposal requesting the Security Council to deal with any attempt to alter the boundaries by force
) reminded the Committee that the November resolution had contained a similar request to the Security Council which the latter had declined to accept because it considered that the Security Council's functions were clearly defined in the Charter, that the Assembly could not add anything to the Charter nor could its recommendations be binding on the Council. Mr. El-Khouri considered that the present proposal was either unnecessary or useless ; unnecessary if it was in accordance with the Security Council's functions under the Charter, because the Council would be obliged to take action for the maintenance of peace and security in any event ; useless, if it exceeded those functions, because the Council could not take any action other than that clearly laid down in the Charter.
There being no comment in respect of the remaining sections of the tabulation, the Chairman declared that the discussion of the tabulation was closed.
DISCUSSION ON THE FUTURE ORGANIZATION OF THE COMMITTEE'S WORK
The CHAIRMAN recalled that the Committee had previously decided that it would discuss and vote upon the draft resolutions which had been submitted in their chronological order. However, it had still to take a decision on the Syrian request that priority be given to the Syrian draft resolution (
) which suggested that the matter be referred to the International Court of Justice for an advisory opinion.
A vote was taken by show of hands. The Syrian proposal on the order of voting was rejected by 20 votes to 20, with 8 abstentions.
Mr. HOOD (Australia) said that the debate had shown that several of the draft resolutions contained similar provisions and that a group of proposals contained in the various draft resolutions and amendments were based on a more or less common viewpoint. He submitted the following draft resolution (A/C.1/407):
" The First Committee resolves that a drafting sub-committee consisting of the authors of resolutions and amendments be created in order to attempt to reconcile the various proposals into a single text, which will when necessary indicate alternative views where agreement is not reached. "
He explained that the procedure indicated would greatly assist the conclusion of the Committee's deliberations and the process of voting.
Mr. GORI (Colombia) supported the Australian proposal. The sub-committee should prepare a consolidated text combining all those provisions which were identical in purpose.
Mr. PARODI (France) observed that the value of the procedure proposed by the Australian delegate would depend on whether it saved the time of the Committee. He would approve the establishment of a co-ordinating sub-committee if it were able to submit a consolidated text by the following morning, but he did not think it would be advisable if the sub-committee was obliged to meet during the time which would otherwise be devoted to plenary meetings of the Committee.
Mr. LIU CHIEH
(China) doubted the value of the Australian proposal. The Committee already had a consolidated text in the tabulation which enabled it to see without difficulty whether provisions were similar or not. He thought it would be better to take the United Kingdom revised draft resolution (A/C.l/394/Rev.2) as the basis for its discussion. Delegations could then submit amendments to that text. He did not consider that the general debate offered a sufficient basis upon which a sub-committee could prepare a single co-ordinated text.
Mr. RUSK (United States of America) shared the doubts expressed by the representative of China. He failed to see how the procedure envisaged would facilitate the Committee's work. In all probability, the sub-committee would submit not a single co-ordinated text, but three or four alternative texts with various amendments to each. Thus, the Committee would find itself obliged to enter into a new general discussion. He thought that a much better procedure would be to take the United Kingdom draft resolutions as a basis for discussion. Delegations with opposing views could then submit amendments to the draft resolution.
Mr. LANGE (Poland) thought it was important to obtain a resolution which would receive the widest possible support. That could best be done by adopting the procedure suggested by the Australian representative for, if the Committee voted upon each of the draft resolutions in chronological order, it would find itself confronted with all the disadvantages necessarily inherent in a vote by mechanical majority. A proposal might be adopted not because it had wider support than another proposal, but because it happened to have been submitted first. He observed that if the United Kingdom revised draft resolution was taken as a basis, the Polish delegation would find itself obliged to submit an amendment to substitute different texts for all except a few paragraphs.
He thought it would be far wiser to establish the co-ordinating sub-committee as proposed, in order to attempt to reach an agreed formulation representing the views of a majority of the Committee. The sub-committee should not be entrusted merely with the task of drafting a comparative text, but should attempt to reach a real expression of the majority's views on the basis of the tabulation. Delegations which held views at variance with those of the majority of the sub-committee would then be free to submit amendments for the consideration of the full Committee. In that way, a somewhat similar result would be achieved to that which had been reached by the
Committee on the Palestinian Question which had created two sub-committees to prepare proposals expressing the two opposing views in the
Committee and had then reached its decision on the basis of those sub-committees' reports.
In reply to the Chinese representative who had argued against the proposal on the grounds that the working group would have prepared a common text if it had been possible, Mr. Lange recalled that the working group could not have done so since its terms of reference had been specifically limited to the preparation of a tabulation.
A vote was taken by show of hands on the Australian proposal for a co-ordinating sub-committee (A/C.1/407). It was rejected by 16 votes to 15, with 17 abstentions.
The Chairman stated that, in accordance with rule 120, the Committee at its next meeting would consider the draft resolutions in chronological order beginning with the revised draft resolution submitted by the United Kingdom.
The meeting rose at 6 p.m.