Question of Palestine home
1 December 1947
VERBATIM RECORD OF THE 33rd MEETING
Lake Success, New York
Monday, 1 December 1947 at 3.00 p.m.
President: Mr. Francis SAYRE (United States of America)
NOTE. Any corrections of the originals of speeches in this record, provided for in rule 47 of the rules of procedure of the Trusteeship Council, should be submitted in writing within two working days to Mr. E. Delavenay, Director, Editorial Division, Room CC-87, Lake Success. Corrections should be accompanied by or incorporated in a letter written on headed notepaper and enclosed in an envelope marked “Urgent” and bearing the appropriate document symbol number.
(Interpretations of speeches will be replaced in the official records by full translations from the originals.)
The PRESIDENT: I declare the thirty-third meeting of the Trusteeship Council open.
DISCUSSION OF RESPONSIBILITIES OF TRUSTEESHIP COUNCIL CONCERNING FUTURE GOVERNMENT OF PALESTINE
The PRESIDENT: I have just received a letter from the Secretary-General, dated 1 December 1947, which I should like to read.
“I have the honour to draw your attention to the Resolution adopted by the General Assembly on 29 November 1947 concerning the future government of Palestine, in which it is requested that ‘the Trusteeship Council be informed of the responsibilities envisaged for it in this plan.’
“In this connection, I enclose herein a copy of document A/516, in Part III of which are set forth the responsibilities under reference.”
Accompanying the letter is a copy of document A/516, with which you are all familiar, and in Part III of which is set forth these responsibilities concerning Jerusalem. That involves a tremendously important and critical responsibility which is cast upon the Trusteeship Council. I presume that in order to discharge this responsibility we should get to work at once.
What are the desires of the Trusteeship Council with respect to the procedure which we should follow in tackling this job? Are there suggestions to be made as to how we can go to work on this matter?
Mr. GERIG (United States): It seems to the delegation of the United States that perhaps the normal procedure would be in this case -- as in other similar cases -- to have a small working party, or working committee, of five or six members possibly, who might be appointed by the President, in consultation with the Assistant Secretary-General. There may be other means of selection of the five or six members, but the small group selected might begin almost immediately to see what groundwork needs to be done to give effect to this resolution and then report back to the Trusteeship Council.
I should imagine that there would be a good deal of spade work to be done to familiarize themselves with the matter in connection with the Government of the City of Jerusalem and to compile various types of documentation that would be necessary and to draft plans in some detail for the consideration of the Trusteeship Council. That is not a very original idea, I admit, but in the absence of any other suggestion, I suggest that consideration be given to that procedure.
The PRESIDENT: All the members are familiar with part of these responsibilities. I now read from page 19 of document A/516: “The Trusteeship Council shall within five months from the approval of the present plan elaborate and approve a detailed Statute of the City which shall contain
the substance of the following provisions,” and so forth. In other words, among our other duties in this connection is the elaboration of a detailed statute which is to become the framework for the government of Jerusalem for some ten years presumably; so that it is an undertaking which requires the most careful kind of study and consideration.
I am hoping that our Council can dispose of its other business before Christmas. I am somewhat doubtful whether we can hope that such a statute as I have just mentioned can be carefully and adequately formulated before Christmas. I suspect that it involves a working committee such as has been suggested getting down to work immediately with such expert assistance as it will need, continuing its work constantly through the present session, possibly referring knotty problems on which it desires further elucidation to the Trusteeship Council while it is in session, and then presumably continuing that work after Christmas, if necessary, with the idea of submitting the work for final approval to a special session, perhaps, of the Trusteeship Council called during the winter to approve or modify the work.
That is the general, rough outline which I have in my mind’s eye. I wonder whether that general idea meets with the approval of the Trusteeship Council.
We have before us now a motion that the President, after taking the matter up with the Assistant Secretary-General in charge of Trusteeship Affairs and with his advice and in collaboration with him, appoint a committee of perhaps five or six members of the Council to form a working committee, with the idea that that Committee get down immediately to hard work and that the committee be assisted by such technical help as it may require. The committee is to be empowered, I take it, to make no final decisions but to work on its task and to refer matters from time to time to the Trusteeship Council, the final decisions to be taken by this Council.
That is your motion, Mr. Gerig?
Mr. GERIG (United States): Yes.
The PRESIDENT: As there is no further discussion, we shall vote on this motion.
The motion was carried by nine votes to one.