SUMMARY RECORD OF A MEETING BETWEEN THE CONCILIATION COMMISSION
AND THE DELEGATIONS OF THE ARAB STATES
held in Lausanne on Wednesday,
29 June 1949, at 10:30 a.m.
The CHAIRMAN observed that while the present meeting would be the at plenary meeting of the Commission until 18 July, when it would again meet the Arab delegations, the General Committee and the Committee on Jerusalem would continue to function during the recess, and it was possible that the delegations might be asked to send representatives to some meetings of the Committees.
The Commission had met with the Israeli delegation the preceding day, and Dr. Eytan had at that time commented upon a letter he had sent the Commission the evening before on the subject of certain measures relative to the refugees. Since Dr. Eytan had expressed the wish to discuss that letter with the General Committee for the purpose of amplifying or clarifying certain points, the Commission would therefore transmit the letter to the Arab delegations the following morning, after the General Committee had held its discussion.
The Chairman had informed the Israeli delegation that as a result of the Commission’s recent meeting with the Arab delegations it was apparent that the latter maintained their previous position, namely, that the boundaries indicated on the map attached to the Protocol remained the basis of negotiation.
Dr. ATASSI (Syria) wished to stress the fact that the Arab delegations had accepted the map in question simply as a basis for discussion, but that the Arab States did not consider that the lines of that map marked the limit of their territorial claims. The Protocol mentioned “territorial adjustments” which the Arab delegations would wish to discuss at a later moment.
The CHAIRMAN reassured the Syrian delegation as regards the wording of his own statement to the Israeli delegation, and once more expressed the desire of the Commission to hear the views of the Arab delegations concerning territorial adjustments.
Dr. ATASSI (Syria) observed that the progress of the Lausanne meetings had not as yet made it possible for the Arab delegations to enter upon a discussion of such adjustments, since there was still no evidence of good will on the part of Israel as regards the solution of more urgent problems.
MULKI PASHA (Hashemite Jordan Kingdom) informed the Commission that according to information he had received the preceding day from Amman, 1500 Arab villagers had recently been driven from their homes in the village of Baqa al Gharbiya, in the Tulkarm region of central Palestine. In view of the fact that the refugee problem was even now under discussion, he requested that the Commission should take note of the incident and express to the Israeli delegation a strong desire that the present difficult situation should not be further aggravated by such occurrences.
The CHAIRMAN requested full details of the incident as soon as they were available, and affirmed that the matter would be brought to the attention of the Israeli delegation, probably during the afternoon meeting of the General Committee.
Mr. HARE observed that the meetings had now reached a stage where the tendency was to speak of “deadlocks”. While fully recognising the obstacles which had impeded the progress of the talks, he felt that in the second stage of the meetings it should be possible for the delegations to breakaway from the present fixed positions. The first part of the session had not been a failure in any way; the nature of the problems had been greatly clarified, and it now remained to work toward their solution, He hoped that during the coming interval imaginations would be active and consultations with Governments fruitful, so that when the talks were resumed it would be possible to move forward rather than to remain at a standstill.
MOSTAFA BEY (Egypt) felt that certain questions which had been taken up during the course of the meetings deserved further commentary. First, he recalled that the Arab delegations had asked for certain emergency measures to preserve the property of the refugees. He had recently talked with a member of one of the refugee committees, who had remarked that the refugee representatives had now been in Lausanne nearly two months and were still unable to return; he had wondered who would be responsible for damage to their property. He had asked the Egyptian representative to draw the attention of the Commission to the situation, in order that the Commission might take up the matter with the Jewish representatives and fix responsibility.
With regard to Mr. Hare’s hope that the talks, when resumed, might proceed in a more realistic and constructive spirit and might include full discussion of the territorial question, Mostafa Bey pointed out that questions could only be examined on the basis of certain established principles. His delegation felt that the repatriation of the refugees was in itself both an end and a means : an end, because the refugees obviously had the right to return to their homes; and a means to an end, because it would serve as a guide for the formulation of Arab territorial claims. As things stood at present, there was no basis on which the Arab delegations could present territorial proposals; in his delegation’s view such proposals could not be made until the refugees had been repatriated. Unless the Commission could exert pressure upon the Jewish representatives for the return of the refugees, he was doubtful of the chances of success of the Lausanne talks.
The CHAIRMAN wished to point out that two months had not elapsed since the Arab memorandum on refugees had been received, as that memorandum was dated 18th May, and the Israeli delegation’s reply had been delayed.
He supported Mr. Hare in saying that a hopeful attitude should still be maintained on the question of solving the general problems before the Commission and thought the situation might possibly improve after representatives had consulted their respective governments during the recess. The lack of speed of the Commission’s work was perhaps inevitable at this stage.
FOUAD BEY AMMOUN (Lebanon) agreed that the first phase of the Commission’s work had indeed been constructive insofar as it had resulted in the signing of the Protocol of 12 May. That no further progress had been achieved was the fault of the Jews, who had shown no readiness to implement the Protocol.
Recalling the statements made in a constructive spirit by all the Arab delegations at their last meeting with the Commission, he expressed the hope that the Commission’s work would take a more satisfactory turn after the recess. That would depend on a change of attitude on the part of the Jews.
MOSTAFA BEY (Egypt) wished to comment on paragraph 21 and 22 of the Commission’s Third Progress Report to the Secretary-General, which recommended the renewal of credits for relief for Palestine refugees. He recalled, in that connexion, conversations he had had in New York with Mr. Griffis, Director of the United Nations Relief for Palestine Refugees, on 21 April 1949, in which he had expressed the view, which he still maintained, that the solution of the refugee problem lay in bringing pressure to bear on the Jews for the return of the refugees rather than in allocating credits for their relief. He thought, moreover, that financial aid for refugees went beyond the Commission’s terms of reference.
The CHAIRMAN emphasized that it was not by any means the Commission’s view that the solution to the refugee problem lay in financial aid. For humanitarian reasons, however, it was imperative that some assistance be granted the refugees in order to alleviate their plight until some satisfactory settlement was arrived at. It would be unfortunate if, as the representative of Egypt thought, such financial aid were to diminish the strength of the argument for the return of the refugees, but he did not think that should be the case. As for whether the Commission were competent to make the recommendations, contained in the Report, he pointed out that the General Assembly’s Resolution on the refugee question specifically stated that the Commission should keep in close contact with the United Nations Relief for Palestine Refugees. It was therefore perfectly in order for the Commission to lend its support to the effort being made to secure funds for the Relief Agencies.
Finally, he wished to thank the Arab delegations for their assistance and to express the hope that the Commission’s work would progress more rapidly when they reassembled after the recess.
FOUAD BEY AMMOUN (Lebanon), on behalf of the Arab delegations, wished to express their gratitude to the Commission for its work and their hope that its efforts would lead to positive results.
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Ajustements territoriaux, le rapatriement des réfugiés et la réinstallation, propriété des absents / réunions avec les délégations arabes – CCNUP 24e séance (Lausanne).- Compte rendu analytique Français