SUMMARY RECORD OF THE TWO HUNDRED AND FORTY-EIGHTH MEETING
Held in the Hôtel de Crillon, Paris,
on Tuesday, 9 October 1951, at 11 a.m.
MOVABLE PROPERTY ABANDONED IN ISRAEL BY ARAB REFUGEES (W/71)
The CHAIRMAN invited the Commission to take a decision concerning the suggested action outlined in the Working Paper prepared by the. Secretariat (W/71), in particular the method of evaluating Arab property proposed in paragraphs 6 and 7.
Mr. ARAS (Turkey) wished first to refer to the question of the definition of the term “property”. He recalled that in the relevant General Assembly resolution the term had been taken to mean both movable and immovable property and the Commission had kept to that definition; hence there seemed to be no need for a further decision.
As to the evaluation of movable property, he thought the Commission should agree to the suggestion of taking as the basis 10 per cent of the value of the immovable property. According to the Refugee Office’s report this represented about an average figure.
Mr. MARCHAL (France) agreed with Aras. The procedure suggested for evaluating the movable property was the only efficient one for something of so fluid a nature. He thought, however, that the Refugee Office should be asked to give further justification for the 10 per cent figure and further: explanations of the suggested procedure of counter-checking (paragraph 7).
Mr. BARCO (United States) pointed out that there was a contrast between the percentages cited as examples in paragraph 6 and that suggested by the Refugee Office as a basis for the assessment in Palestine. He therefore thought it important to ask the Office whether their estimate was based on the property of merchants and bankers rather than that of village people. The time factor was also important: before the Commission presented its detailed proposals it must, if possible, know what sum would be required to cover compensation for movable, as well as immovable property, as the parties would certainly ask for information about both.
In answer to a query by Mr. ARAS (Turkey), Mr. FISHER (Political Officer) explained that the purpose of point 3 of the Commission’s comprehensive proposals was not to decide at the present stage upon the mode of disbursement of proportion of the individual compensation, but merely to establish the amount of a global sum to be paid by Israel to a trustee; it would be for the trustee later to decide upon the method of individual payment, distributing it pro rata to individuals. The 10 per cent figure was the basis for the global estimate and had no relation to the amounts that might eventually be paid to individuals.
After a further discussion relating mainly to the distinction between merchandise and other movable property, the CHAIRMAN proposed that the Refugee Office be asked to take the following action at the earliest possible opportunity:
1. to reconsider the percentage figure, bearing in mind the Commission’s intention that the percentage should cover all kinds of movable property, including merchandise;
2. to submit a more detailed explanation of the methods whereby the percentage figure could be checked against other available data.
It was so decided.
Mr. MARCHAL (France) stressed the necessity, when the time came to place detailed proposals before the parties, of making clear that the suggested procedure for evaluation related to a method of calculating the global figure and not to individual compensation.
ELABORATION OF POINT 2 OF THE COMMISSION’S COMPREHENSIVE PATTERN OF PROPOSALS (W/72)
The CHAIRMAN invited the Commission to express its views on the working paper of 6 October 1951 on repatriation drawn up by the Secretariat (W/72).
Mr. ARAS (Turkey) felt that the Commission should avoid, at present, taking any decision on repatriation which would involve interpreting the relevant General Assembly resolution. Conditions had changed, making repatriation now impossible; the question had become a matter of negotiation and any figures the Commission might put forward could serve only as bargaining points.
The CHAIRMAN felt that it was the Commission’s duty, however, to give the parties some statement indicating what was now meant by repatriation.
The PRINCIPAL SECRETARY explained that the Secretariat’s memorandum was not intended as anything more than an elaboration of point 2 of the Commission’s pattern of proposals and that it did not go beyond the terms of the General Assembly resolutions.
Mr. MARCHAL (France) agreed that it would serve as a useful guide in the Commission’s verbal. explanations to the parties, but thought it would be unwise at present to quote any figures in the discussions with them.
Mr. ARAS (Turkey) agreed, pointing out that, for instance, it would be better for the Commission to refrain from giving any definite indication of Israel’s absorptive capacity: conditions were changeable and in any case a country’s absorptive capacity was always a relative factor, dependent on many elements.
The CHAIRMAN assumed the sense of the meeting to be that the memorandum be accepted as a discussion point and not as a decision.
Biens meubles des réfugié; Développement de proposition 2 de la Comission - 248e séance de CCNUP (Paris) - Compte rendu Français