Communication from the United Kingdom Government
Regarding Medical Services in Palestine.
May I refer you to Section (4) Medical Services of Paragraph 2 of the note submitted to the Commission on 21st January covering a number of administrative and financial matters.
I have now been informed that the International Red Cross Committee delegates (referred to in the last sentence of Section (4)) have now completed their survey of Palestine and their conclusions have been discussed by them with the Government of Palestine.
It is proposed to establish in Palestine on 1st April a delegation consisting of eight Swiss delegates, assisted by ten Swiss matrons, with headquarters at Jerusalem and offices in Tel Aviv, Jaffa, Gaza, Haifa and Tiberias, with a view to assisting the continuation of all “sanitary” establishments in Palestine in co-operation with institutions at present operating there. These, of course, include the Government, the Red Cross, the Red Crescent and Megan David Adom. The delegation would undertake the allocation and distribution of all relief, personnel and transport and endeavour to co-ordinate all relief contributions to Palestine from outside.
The International Red Cross Committee delegates propose that their committee should appeal for funds for this work, which the committee would supervise and co-ordinate from Geneva, while the Middle East delegation in Cairo would provide contact between the committee in Genera and other Middle East countries. The delegates have discussed the problem with the Arab and Jewish Medical Associations and have acquired a sound appreciation of the local situation as well as considerable public support for their proposed activities in Palestine.
The delegates have estimated the expenditure on staff, transport and maintenance in Palestine for one year from lst April, 1948, at approximately £P60,000. This figure does not include anything for the relief side of the committee’s work. The delegates have represented that without an initial grant to secure immediately the necessary personnel, they would be unable to start work and would probably be unable to launch the committee’s appeal for funds. They have indicated that a grant to cover six months’ administrative expenditures would meet their requirements. The Government of Palestine is, therefore, seeking the approval of His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom for the grant to the committee of £P30,000 from Palestine funds to enable them to proceed with their plans. The delegates have asked that this sum should be paid to the Committee in Geneva as soon as possible.
In view of the fact that this estimate of £P30,000 is based on six months’ expenditure from 1st April, 1948, it is felt that the Commission would wish to be consulted in the matter, It is proposed that the terms upon which the grant would be made would stipulate that any part of the grant not actually spent in Palestine should be refunded to Palestine funds.
The International Red Cross Committee delegates have themselves expressed the hope that their work in Palestine after 15th May will have the full support and co-operation of the Commission.
It is understood that Dr. R. Marti is returning to Geneva to-day and it is hoped that the International Red Cross Committee may be advised of the Commission’s views on this proposal without delay.
I should, therefore, be grateful if you would inform us as soon as possible whether the International Red Cross Committee’s proposals are acceptable to the Commission.