OF THE UNITED NATIONS PALESTINE COMMISSION
Lake Success, New York,
Thursday, 22 January 1948, at 11.00 a.m.
PRELIMINARY CONSIDERATION OF THE FORM AND SUBSTANCE OF THE FIRST REPORT TO THE MADE TO THE SECURITY COUNCIL.
The CHAIRMAN asked the members of the Commission to express their views concerning the form and substance of the first monthly report to be made by the Commission to the Security Council. He expressed the view that a special report should be made on the problem of enforcement as soon as answers had been received from the Mandatory Power to questions on the subjects of security and administrative responsibilities.
He also raised the question of whether the monthly report should be issued as a confidential document, or as one to be freely circulated.
Mr. SOBOLEV (Assistant Secretary-General) expressed the opinion that the first monthly report of the Commission should be issued as an unrestricted document, to be considered by the Security Council in open session. A closed session, which would be required to consider a restricted document, might prejudice public opinion. Monthly reports, he felt, should always be considered in open session. Matters requiring secrecy might form the subject of special confidential reports.
The Commission fully agreed with Mr. Sobolev’s views on the matter.
The CHAIRMAN then suggested that the report might contain an account of the establishment and composition of the Commission, a mention of its officers and rules of procedure, a review of the task before it, including the time limits for the various stages, a list of the topics discussed by it, and a summary of the questions and responses relating to immigration to Palestine.
The SECRETARY’S suggestion that the report should include a resume of the hearings of representatives of the Mandatory Power and of the Jewish Agency fox Palestine was approved.
It was observed that the report should state clearly the position of the Commission as regards the attitude of the Mandatory Power towards immigration. The Commission could only take note of the Mandatory Power’s decision not to permit increased immigration after 1 February 1948. The report should also indicate the Commission’s views concerning its own responsibilities and those of the Security Council on this matter.
The opinion was expressed that the Commission should make it clear that it had done what was required of it on the subject of immigration, and that if a port was not opened to Jewish immigration on 1 February, that was due to the decision of the Mandatory Power.
The CHAIRMAN stated that the report might contain a mention of the list of questions concerning security and administrative responsibilities, which had been put to the Mandatory Power by the Commission. Answers to some of the questions could be expected shortly.
In reply to a question, the CHAIRMAN stated it as his view that the date on which the Commission might expect to go to Palestine should be decided upon only when answers had been received from the Mandatory Power. He agreed that the first monthly report, should contain a mention of the special report on the subject of enforcement which would follow. That report should present to the Security Council information concerning the general situation in Palestine.
The view was expressed that the Commission should not attempt to keep secret the facts which emerged as a result of its exploratory work. As it was already clear that two Provisional Councils of Government could not be established in Palestine by 1 April, that fact should be brought to the notice of the Security Council.
The CHAIRMAN remarked that the matter would be covered in the special report to the Security Council.
It was agreed that the first monthly report would also contain a mention of information on the question of security received from the Mandatory Power and from the Jewish Agency for Palestine, and that certain discrepancies between the two would be pointed out.
In reply to a question, the CHAIRMAN stated that the Provisional Council of Government for the Jewish State could be selected and established by the Commission before it went to Palestine; the Provisional Council could not, however, enter upon its governmental functions until the termination of the United Kingdom Mandate in Palestine. When formal answers regarding that matter had been received from the Mandatory Power, the Commission could report on it to the Security Council.
LIST OF SUBJECTS SUBMITTED BY THE JEWISH AGENCY FOR PALESTINE.
The SECRETARY presented a brief report on the list of subjects submitted by the Jewish Agency for Palestine. Most of those subjects had been covered either by existing Working Papers, or by the questions put to the Mandatory Power. Working Papers could be prepared by the Legal Adviser on questions 16, 17 and 18, dealing with the measures for continuity and transfer of legal and judicial services and prisons, and on questions 21 and 22, dealing with passports, visas and consular protection. Questions 24 to 31 inclusive, regarding economic and financial matters, would be covered by Working Papers in process of preparation. Question 13, on the transfer of Palestine Government property and assets, had been referred to in the Economic Working Paper (document A/AC.21/W.13) but could be elaborated in greater detail. Finally, no Working Papers had yet dealt with questions 3 and 5, regarding the establishment of an international force and the provision of financial assistance for the acquisition of arms and equipment, but a purely factual background paper relating to the question of an international force was being prepared.
The meeting rose at 1.00 p.m.
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