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A/AC.25/SR.247
8 October 1951

Original: English



UNITED NATIONS CONCILIATION COMMISSION FOR PALESTINE

SUMMARY RECORD OF THE TWO HUNDRED AND FORTY-SEVENTH MEETING
held in the Hôtel de Crillon, Paris,
on Monday, 8 October 1951, at 3.30 p.m.

CONTENTS

-- Letter from the Commission to the delegations concerning the non-aggression declaration

-- Invitation to the parties to discuss the Commission’s proposals
-- Preparations for the discussion of the proposals
-- Movable property abandoned in Israel by Arab refugees (W/71)
-- Co-operation between the Commission and the Advisory Commission of UNRWA

PRESENT
Chairman:Mr. PALMERUnited States of America
Members:Mr. MARCHALFrance
Mr. ARASTurkey
Alternates:Mr. BARCOUnited States of America
Mr. de NICOLAYFrance
Mr. TEPEDELENTurkey
Secretariat:Mr. de AZCARATEPrincipal Secretary


LETTER FROM THE COMMISSION TO THE DELEGATIONS CONCERNING THE NON-AGGRESSION DECLARATION

Mr. de AZCARATE (Principal Secretary) announced that the letter concerning. the non-aggression declaration had been handed to the five delegations on the previous day. So far there had been no reactions from them and they had not yet given their official replies. The Commission’s first task seemed to be to take a decision concerning the publication of the letter.

Mr. ARAS (Turkey) thought the letter should be published before the delegations replied.

Mr. BARCO (United States) reported a conversation he had had that morning with Mr. Divon of the Israel delegation. The latter had informed him of that delegation’s surprise and concern upon receipt of the letter. It had the impression that the Commission had decided to communicate Israel’s proposal to the Arab delegations before doing anything else about it. It also thought that in considering the Arab delegations’ proposal satisfactory, the Commission was placing all the Arab countries on an equal footing, i.e. in the same position as Egypt, concerning the undertaking to refrain from acts of hostility. Mr. Divon had added that the Israel delegation would not be in a position to reply to the letter just yet; she remained ready to make a sincere attempt to find ways of pursuing the negotiations but was in a difficult position. Mr. Barco had pointed out to Mr. Divon that it was not legally possible to alter an Armistice Agreement by a unilateral declaration; Mr. Divon had recognized that but had claimed that it was politically possible. He had stated that his delegation would give priority to the consideration of the question of the declaration over that of the Commission’s proposals. He had indicated in that connection that his delegation continued to hope that it would be possible to draw up an agenda, which would be preferable, as a basis of discussion, to the Commission’s comprehensive proposals.

Mr. Barco had not raised the question of the publication of the letter but he presumed that Israel would prefer publication to be deferred. He thought that the Commission ought, nevertheless, to have an assurance that no disclosure concerning the letter would be made to the press. It was important that the Commission should be the first to make it public and that it should not be compelled to do so as the result of the appearance of articles in the press.

The CHAIRMAN agreed with Mr. Barco that if the Commission decided to postpone publication of the letter in order to satisfy Israel, it must obtain an assurance from that delegation that it would keep it confidential. It would perhaps be well to recall in that connection that regrettable disclosures in the past had already placed the Commission in an embarrassing position. In addition, if the Arab delegations expressed the wish to have the letter published as soon as possible, the Commission could always gain time by saying that it was awaiting their official reply.

Mr. ARAS (Turkey) re-emphasized the fact that the declaration was not the object of the conference, but only a means of proceeding to the consideration of the comprehensive proposals which were its real purpose. Indeed, a declaration unaccompanied by a settlement of differences would have no practical value. Only after the examination of the proposals would it be possible to have a useful study of the declaration with a view to completing it. He thought it would be wise to defer publication of the letter for at least a week.

Mr. MARCHAL (France) also thought, in the light of Mr. Barco’s indications, that publication of the letter should be postponed as long as necessary. He was not surprised at Israel’s reaction and recalled that he had mentioned such a possibility at the time of the drafting of the letter. Israel’s fears for the future were well founded. In fact, he was more preoccupied by the fact that Israel had not yet announced her readiness to discuss the proposals. If she insisted on the need for an agenda, the situation would be somewhat difficult. He recalled that from the outset he had been in favour of an agenda; but he thought the Commission should maintain the decision it had taken.

The CHAIRMAN thought Israel’s attitude was encouraging in spite of appearances; every time the Israel delegation had asked the Commission to refrain from doing something and the Commission had done it, Israel’s representatives had expressed their surprise or regret but had not broken off relations, which showed that they sincerely wished to co-operate. The Commission’s only intention in postponing publication of the letter was to make things easier for Israel and so enable her, in turn, to meet the Commission’s wishes. Such tactics might perhaps even strengthen the Commissions position. Consequently, it would be wise to postpone publication of the letter for a week.

It was so decided.

INVITATION TO THE PARTIES TO DISCUSS THE COMMISSION’S PROPOSALS

The CHAIRMAN pointed out that this question was already partially settled by the decision the Commission had just taken concerning the first item on its agenda. Moreover, it would be difficult to invite the parties to discuss the proposals before they knew how the Commission proposed to open the discussion. He invited the Commission to pass on to the next item on its agenda which concerned that question.

It was so decided.

PREPARATIONS FOR THE DISCUSSION OF THE PROPOSALS

The CHAIRMAN recalled that the question of compensation. for war damages (paragraph 1 of the Commission’s proposals) was strictly a matter for settlement between the States concerned, in which States that had no claims to put forward should not take part. He informed the Commission that Mr. Andersen, in a letter to the Principal Secretary, had stated that the economic expert would like to communicate to the Commission certain information which could not be inserted in the Office’s report. The Commission should inform the Office that it would be glad to hear from him.

The Chairman thought it was time to prepare the explanations and additional information which the Commission was to give to the parties when discussion of the proposals opened. The main difficulty in that connection was to avoid revealing to them at the first meeting all the details on each subject. It would be sufficient to give them just enough additional information to enable them to have a better understanding of the Commission’s intentions and the meaning of its proposals. It was to be hoped that such information would dissipate the fears of some delegations and encourage them to start considering the proposals.

Mr. ARAS (Turkey) shared the Chairman’s point of view and thought the method he proposed was a good one. In his opinion, the Commission should again emphasize that the proposals were comprehensive and that concessions by any one party on a particular point would only have full value if they were part of a comprehensive settlement, unless, of course, the parties made mutual concessions on the same point.

Mr. de AZCARATE (Principal Secretary) wished to say a few words concerning some work already done or being done by the Secretariat. Its function was to prepare working papers on each paragraph of the proposals in order to provide the Commission with the necessary elements for its discussions with the parties. Concerning the first proposal, on war damages, he had already given indications as to how that question, a legal one, was to be dealt with. The Commission’s legal officer would be asked to prepare a working paper forthwith. The second proposal, concerning repatriation, had already been studied by the Secretariat and a working paper had been prepared. The same applied to the third proposal, on compensation for property abandoned by non-returning refugees. The Secretariat had prepared three working papers on the subject: a draft statement by the Chairman to open the discussion, a summary of the chapter of the Refugee Office’s report that dealt with the valuation of Arab land and a brief survey of the question of movable property. He added that proposals 2 and 3 were the ones on which the parties were most impatient to have further enlightenment.

The release of Arab assets, dealt with in proposal 4, had been the subject of long negotiations and there was considerable documentation on the subject. He thought the Commission might ask the Office’s economic expert to come himself and prepare the necessary papers on the lines of the Commission’s proposals.

Nothing had yet been done about paragraph 5. It seemed wise for the Commission to concentrate at present on the first four paragraphs; it would always be possible to work on the necessary documentation for paragraph 5 while the first four were being discussed. He thought the Commission should try to be ready to open discussions on the substance of the proposals as soon as possible. Accordingly, it ought to meet alone, between the meetings with the parties, in order to keep its preparations up to date.

The CHAIRMAN agreed that the Commission ought henceforward to meet regularly and study one of the Secretariat’s working documents at each meeting.

Mr. ARAS (Turkey) stated, by way of information, that he had learned that the Israel Government had asked General Riley to recommend that the Security Council not take a decision concerning Lake Huleh. But the Council had given a decision upon it. It was clear that Israel wanted to retain her sovereignty over the demilitarized zone and over the Jordan in that area and insisted upon the maintenance, in that area, of the frontiers established under the Mandate. As Egypt had failed to conform to a recent resolution of the Security Council, Israel and Egypt were now on an equal footing and Israel was following the Commission’s discussions more attentively, in view of the discussion which was to take place in the General Assembly.

The CHAIRMAN recognized that General Riley’s task was becoming more and more difficult on account of Israel’s attitude. Israel was becoming daily surer of what she wanted and progressively less ready to make concessions, in the knowledge that she would thus considerably strengthen her position for the time when the questions would be discussed.

MOVABLE PROPERTY ABANDONED IN ISRAEL BY ARAB REFUGEES (W/71)

The CHAIRMAN proposed that the working paper on the subject should be studied at the next meeting.

It was so decided.

CO-OPERATION BETWEEN THE COMMISSION AND THE ADVISORY COMMISSION OF UNRWA

Mr. MARCHAL (France) recalled that the Commission had considered meeting the Advisory Commission with a view to the preparation of the reports. He pointed out that the Advisory Commission was due to arrive in Paris at the end of October, whereas the Conciliation Commission had made little progress in its work. It would perhaps be wise to inform the Chairman of the Advisory Commission of the state of affairs.

It was so decided.


The meeting rose at 5.30 p.m.


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Lettre aux délégations concernant la déclaration de non agression; relation UNCCP-UNRWA - 247e séance de CCNUP – Compte rendu Français