SUMMARY RECORD OF A MEETING BETWEEN THE
CONCILIATION COMMISSION AND HIS EXCELLENCY ABDEL HADI PASHA,
PRIME MINISTER OF EGYPT
held in Cairo on 13 February 1949.
The CHAIRMAN explained the Commission’s mission and gave a brief review of its conversations with the Egyptian Foreign Minister.
He stated that the Commission was aware now of the Foreign Minister’s point of view with regard to Jerusalem and the refugees.
The questions of the general peace settlement of boundaries and other territorial matters had been left unfinished, since there had been no time. He asked the Prime Minister for his views on these questions.
The PRIME MINISTER welcomed the Commission and promised that the Egyptian Government would do everything within its power to assist in the achievement of peace.
He pointed out that territorial decisions should be discussed after the refugee problem had been solved and after the rights of the refugees had been recognized. After that the rest of the problems would be simple if the Rhodes talks succeeded and if the Jews respected the resulting armistice as the Egyptians had respected it.
The CHAIRMAN thanked the Prime Minister for his promise of help and stated that if the Commission had Egypt’s cooperation and comprehension it would be a great asset towards the Commission’s success.
He agreed that the refugee question was urgent and pointed out that it could not be solved independently of the peace settlement. If a means were found to return the refugees to their homes and war were to be resumed, it would mean greater misery for the refugees. However, a way would have to be found in the meantime to put an end to their distress. The talks taking place in Rhodes were for the purpose of securing an armistice, which, was only a means to an end. The Commission wished to increase the speed of the proceedings by discussing all other problems such as Jerusalem, the refugees and territorial questions.
The PRIME MINISTER replied that the Egyptian Government was both practical and eager to establish peace. It had accepted all the resolutions of the Security Council.
He agreed that it was true that the Rhodes talks were a means to an end but remarked that those who respected the means would also abide by the objectives. It was necessary to accept the fact that a favourable atmosphere would have to prevail for the Rhodes talks to be successful. It could be brought about only by respect for the Security Council resolutions.
The refugee problem was one of first priority, and the General Assembly’s resolution stated that a solution would have to be found “as soon as possible”. No action of the Egyptian Government could be interpreted as delaying the solution of that or of any other problem in the area.
Mr. ETHRIDGE stated that the Commission was doing everything within its power to secure an armistice as quickly as possible. The members of the Commission, not only as such but also as representatives of their Governments, desired to see peace, established in this part of the world as soon as possible. The United States Government wished it not only for the sake of the United Nations but also for the peace of the world in general.
With regard to the urgent matter of the refugees, he informed the Prime Minister that the, Commission was going to meet Mr. Griffis immediately after the present meeting. These conversations, however, should not delay the Commission’s work on other matters. The Commission could simultaneously study the refugee problem, encourage the armistice talks and concern itself with the problem just mentioned by the Chairman.
The PRIME MINISTER replied that he was glad to learn from Mr. Ethridge, not only as a member of the Commission but also as a representative of the United States Government, that everything was being done to encourage the Rhodes talks. Everyone who wished to see the United Nations succeed would like to see the Rhodes talks succeed. If the other party could realize this wish of the Great Powers they would not continue in their intransigent attitude and success would be achieved.
He pointed out that mutual confidence was necessary in order to achieve a just international solution. He repeated that his Government intended to coordinate wholeheartedly with the Conciliation Commission for the purpose of achieving practical and beneficial results. He promised the Commission to give careful study to its written questions.
It was agreed between the Prime Minister and the Commission that though the suggestions of the Commission would be submitted in writing in the form of an aide-memoire, the replies of the Egyptian Government need not be given in writing and should preferably be conveyed to the Commission at its next meeting between the Prime Minister or the Foreign Minister before it left Cairo.
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Réunion avec le Premier ministre égyptien concernant les réfugiés, les questions territoriales et les négociations - CCNUP - Compte rendu Français