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Meadow, New York, on Monday, 28 April 1947
at 4 p.m.
7. Election of the Chairmen of the main committees
The PRESIDENT: The sixty-ninth meeting of the General Assembly, summoned for its first special session, is called to order.
I wish to announce the names of the representatives who have been elected as chairmen of the six main committees:
First Committee: Mr. Lester B. Pearson (Canada)
Second Committee: Mr. Jan Papanek (Czechoslovakia)
Third Committee: Mahmoud Hassan Pasha (Egypt)
Fourth Committee: Mr. Herman G. Ericksson (Sweden)
Fifth Committee: Mr. Jozef Winiewicz (Poland)
Sixth Committee: Mr. Tiburcio Carias (Honduras)
We have now completed the elections necessary for the constitution of the General Committee. In accordance with rule 26, this Committee is composed of the President of the Assembly, its seven Vice-Presidents and the chairmen of the main committees. It will convene for its first meeting tomorrow morning at 11 a.m. in Room A.
In accordance with rule 33, the General Committee shall at the beginning of each session consider the provisional agenda, together with the supplementary list, and shall make a report thereon to the General Assembly.
Since the General Committee will require a short time to perform this task, the Secretary-general assumed, in arranging the provisional agenda, that the plenary meeting would be Committee.
I should also like to add that the Secretary-General has referred to me certain communications from organizations which have asked for the opportunity of expressing their views concerning the items of business for which this special session was convened. If there are no objections, I shall ask the General Committee to consider these communications and make recommendations tomorrow, after its first session, to the plenary meeting with regard to the procedure for dealing with this matter.
I should like to hear whether there are any objections or whether any of the representatives wish to discuss the suggestion I have just made.
Mr. JAMALI (Iraq): I have just one question. I should like to know the names of the organizations referred to by the President before the matter is referred to the General Committee.
The PRESIDENT: The first communication is a letter from the Jewish Agency for Palestine, directed to Mr. Trygve Lie, Secretary-General of the United Nations.
The second is from the Progressive Zionist District 95, New York, Zionist Organization of America, addressed to the Secretary-General.
The third is from the Hebrew Committee of National Liberation.
Mr. JAMALI (Iraq): May other agencies apply in the same way and receive the same consideration?
The PRESIDENT: In accordance with our rules of procedure, all suggestions of that nature have to be referred to the General Committee, and the General Committee has to report back to the General Assembly concerning the adoption of these suggestions. We shall naturally consider communications from all groups who wish to ask the United Nations for consideration of their own views.
Mr.JAMALI (Iraq): Thank you very much.
Mr. EL-KHOURI (Syria): I have just a short remark to make. I have the impression, if I have understood you correctly, that the meeting of the General Committee is to be held tomorrow at 11 a.m. and the General Assembly meeting at 12 noon. That will leave only one hour for the General Committee to complete the agenda and submit its report on it. I do not think that one hour is sufficient time for that purpose.
The PRESIDENT: I agree entirely with the Syrian representative that I have been trying to rush our work too much. I think that the General Committee will be able to consider these matters tomorrow, and I shall call the plenary meeting of the Assembly for Wednesday at 11 a.m. I think that will be most suitable to all of us for our business, and I thank you for your suggestions and observations.
If there are no representatives wishing to peak, I shall adjourn the meeting. I am sure that on Wednesday we shall receive a report from the General Committee for our consideration and our decision.
Colonel HODGSON (Australia): I have the report of the Credentials Committee which I would like to read on behalf of the Committee. Would you be prepared to hear that before we adjourn?
The PRESIDENT: I think the Chair was optimistic about meeting tomorrow one hour letter the General Committee, and pessimistic bout whether the Credentials Committee would port today about the credentials of the representatives. I am very thankful to the representative of Australia, and we shall be glad to hear e report of the Credentials Committee.
8. Report of the Credentials Committee
Colonel HODGSON (Australia): I speak as Chairman of the Credentials Committee. The committee which was appointed by the special session of the General Assembly of the United Nations at its meeting held 28 April 19471/ to report on the credentials of the representatives met at 2 p.m. in Committee Room B, General Assembly Building, Flushing Meadow.
The Committee consisted of representatives of Argentina, Australia, Denmark, Lebanon, Peru, Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, United States of America, and Yugoslavia.
The Committee examined the documents emanating from fifty-five Member States which were submitted to it by the Secretariat. It found that the credentials conferred upon representatives of twenty-two Governments of Member States fully satisfied the requirements of rule 20 of the provisional rules of procedure for the General Assembly.
This applies to the following States: Belgium, Canada, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Egypt, France Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Iceland, India, Iran, Iraq, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway Peru, Sweden, Syria, United Kingdom, United States of America, and Yugoslavia.
Provisional credentials were submitted for representatives of the remaining States.
At its next session the Committee will examine the original credentials of the representatives of Governments which have submitted provisional credentials. The Committee proposes that the representatives of these countries shall, in the meantime, be seated provisionally with the same rights as other representatives.
The PRESIDENT: I want to thank the members of the Credentials Committee for the work they have done.
Mr. ARCE (Argentina) (translated from Spanish): I have, also provisionally, accepted the ruling of the Credentials Committee as just explained to us by the Australian representative, with one reservation which I should like to repeat before the Assembly.
As I understand it, diplomatic representatives, ambassadors and ministers who have been permanently accredited to the United Nations and have duly presented their credentials to the Secretary-General, are legally and juridically qualified to represent their respective countries at all times, at any meeting or session of any of the organs of the United Nations.
I quoted my own case, but there are others. In September last, the Head of the Argentine State granted me credentials as permanent representative to the United Nations, bearing the signature of the Minister for Foreign Affairs, and so long as those credentials are not withdrawn, anything said in the name of Argentina by me as the representative so appointed, should be taken by the United Nations Secretariat as legally valid. Against this, the Australian representative, who is Chairman of the Credentials Committee, invoked the curt and rigid text of rule 20. The ruling is there, I admit. But there are two points I should like to make; the first that the ruling cannot — and does not — invalidate international usage with regard to national representatives, and cannot be applied.
For that reason, I propose to introduce in the competent committee an amendment to apply to special sessions; for many countries have no time to send in papers more or less in order with gilt edges and seals. I think the United Nations ought to pay more attention to world peace and security and less to such formalities. And as the Ministers for Foreign Affairs of the fifty-five Member States of the United Nations are known to the Secretary-General, a telegram ought to suffice as credentials for a special session.
I do not want to raise any difficulties at this meeting of the special session; I say this only to make my views clear, and I have the intention of taking up the matter again at a suitable opportunity.
The PRESIDENT: Before I call on the representative of Australia, I should like to explain that the interpretation suggested by the representative of Argentina has to be considered by a special committee of the General Assembly which meets a week before the General Assembly for discussion of this matter of procedure, credentials and other matters. In the case of this special session, this matter was decided by the Credentials Committee whose report we heard a moment ago.
I now call on the Chairman of the Credentials Committee.
Colonel HODGSON (Australia): I feel that I should clear up this point. It was discussed at some length in the Credentials Committee. It is not a question of a strict interpretation adopted by the Chairman at all. Whether or not any representatives think a question is legal, we are bound by rule 20 which is mandatory and which lays down that credentials shall be signed by the Head of the State or by the Minister for Foreign Affairs. Consequently, until that rule is amended or modified, it stands and the Committee has no discretion whatever. Therefore, before the meeting closed this morning, I suggested to our colleague, the representative of Argentina, that as the Committee has another meeting before this session closes, he might well consider the advisability of recommending to this Assembly an amendment to make this particular rule a little more flexible in order to bring about the desiderata he had in mind.
Mr. CASTRO (El Salvador): With regard to the interpretation of rule 20, I think it is important to see whether this rule really requires that the credentials should be signed by the Head of the State or by the Minister for Foreign Affairs. Rule 20 merely states: "The credentials shall be issued either by the Head of the State or by the Minister for Foreign Affairs." A cablegram sent by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of a country to the Secretary-General of the United Nations is undoubtedly something that has been issued by the Minister of Foreign Affairs. Therefore, it does not seem necessary that the credentials should actually be signed, and presented with the signature of the Minister of Foreign Affairs. A cablegram that has been sent by him to the Secretary-General is undoubtedly a document or a paper that has been issued by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, and that is in full compliance with rule 20.
The PRESIDENT: Are there any other observations?
H.R.H. Prince WAN WAITHAYAKON (Siam): Mr. President, we thought that a telegram from the Minister of Foreign Affairs appointing the permanent representative would be sufficient. In my case, I have presented letters to the Secretary-General appointing me permanent representative to the United Nations. The Secretary-General has also received a telegram from the Siamese Minister of Foreign Affairs which states that I represent Siam at this special session of the General Assembly.
I am quite willing to send a telegram to my Government—and I will do so today—but I should like to point out that air mail may take anywhere between ten days and twenty days, sometimes thirty days. I do not know how long this session is going to last, but I should like consideration to be given to my case. It is certain that the letters of credence will be sent, but owing to the distance, I am not at all sure that the letters will arrive before the end of the present session. In any case, I can assure you that we have acted in good faith.
The PRESIDENT: As there are no more speakers, the Assembly is adjourned.
1 See sixty-eighth meeting, page 2.
The meeting rose at 4.45 p.m.