SUMMARY RECORD OF THE TWO HUNDRED AND FIFTY-FIFTH MEETING
Held in the Hôtel de Crillon, Paris,
on Monday, 22 October 1951, at 11 a.m.
REPLY OF THE ISRAEL DELEGATION (IS/74)
The CHAIRMAN stated that in the opinion of the United States delegation the Commission should reply to the letter of 20 October from the Israel delegation on the following lines: that it took note of the Israel delegation’s inability to meet it on 22 or 23 October and that that meeting was therefore cancelled; that it maintained its position with regard to discussion of the preamble and was not in a position to consider any reopening of that discussion; that it had arranged a meeting with the Arab delegations on the morning of 24 October at which it proposed to give additional information concerning its proposals and therefore, in the interests of fairness, would like to give Israel a similar exposition, if possible on the same day. The Commission in conclusion should emphasize its hope that as a result of that meeting the Israel delegation would find itself able to proceed to the discussion of the proposals. The Chairman had grounds for believing that Israel was ready to discuss the proposals although she was not prepared at present to begin any negotiations with the Arabs on that basis.
Mr. MARCHAL (France) felt that the Commission was faced with a very serious situation. It was not a new situation dating only from the receipt of the latest letter from Israel, but had been foreseen by the Commission since its decision to close the discussion of the preamble. He thought the Commission must stand by that decision but felt it should nevertheless agree to Israel’s request to meet it. It was important to give her an opportunity of expressing her views and to attempt to persuade her that it was in her own best interests to consent to discuss the Commission’s proposals. In the circumstances, to write her a letter might have an effect contrary to that desired; it was better simply to invite her to a meeting.
Mr. ARAS (Turkey) pointed out that the positions of the Commission and the Israel delegation were not altered by the latter’s most recent letter. He agreed with Mr. Marchal as to what the Commission’s attitude should be and also thought that it would be best expressed at a meeting and not by letter. He would, however, accept the Chairman’s decision on that point.
Mr. BARCO (United States) thought the Commission was agreed on the necessity of having a meeting with the Israel delegation as soon as possible. He considered that the best procedure was to send them a letter calling them to a meeting, explaining that they might state their views on the situation referred to in their letter but making clear that the Commission was not prepared to reconsider the preamble but would give Israel the same exposition of its proposals as it intended to give to the Arab delegations.
Mr. MARCHAL (France) further explained his reasons for considering it best not to answer the Israel delegation in writing but simply to invite it to a meeting.
The Commission’s position would be difficult to defend if any step it took at the present stage were to bring about the rupture of the conference. It was important to avoid provoking an unfavourable reaction from Israel at the present juncture, for although her own proposal, in the form of a non-aggression pact, went further than the Commission’s preamble, she had let it be understood that she would be prepared to accept the substance of the preamble. She was justified in her contention that the Arab counter-proposals did not go as far as the Armistice Agreements and she considered that the Commission, in suggesting that they could constitute a basis for the pursuit of negotiations, was not keeping in line with a decision recently taken by the Security Council on the Suez Canal affair.
Correspondence with the Israel delegation since 6 October had brought no results; it was essential to get it to come to a further meeting, and a letter entering into the question of the agenda for such a meeting might only call forth a refusal to attend.
Mr. BARCO (United States) saw the desirability of Mr. Marchal’s suggested procedure, but felt that it would have the disadvantage of letting Israel think that the Commission accepted as agenda what Israel had proposed in her letter.
If the Israel delegation came to the meeting with that understanding and the Commission then faced them with n different procedure they would have a legitimate complaint against the Commission, which would thus be placed in n difficult position.
The CHAIRMAN was convinced that the Commission ought to let Israel know beforehand its intentions as to what was to be the subject of the meeting.
Mr. MARCHAL (France) pointed out that in their letter, the Israel delegation had asked that the agenda to be considered at the next meeting should be the situation outlined in their letter of 6 October; that was not the same thing as asking for a reopening of discussion on the preamble.
The CHAIRMAN agreed but pointed out that Israel had stated that she wanted that to be the only agenda for the meeting. He felt they should inform Israel that the Commission was willing to hear her views but also intended to make its own exposition, clarifying its comprehensive proposals.
Mr. ARAS (Turkey) suggested a compromise procedure. The Commission could write acknowledging Israel’s letter, inviting her to a meeting and stating that it would answer her letter at the meeting:
The CHAIRMAN thought that even such a procedure was open to objection. He was anxious to leave no doubt in the mind of the Israel delegation as to the Commission’s position.
The PRINCIPAL SECRETARY was also of the opinion that the Israel delegation should be informed beforehand of the Commission’s intention concerning the procedure at the next meeting.
After further discussion the CHAIRMAN proposed that the Secretariat should be asked to draft a brief letter of invitation to the Israel delegation, taking account of the views expressed at the present meeting, and that the Commission should meet again in the afternoon to consider it.
It was so decided.
Mr. MARCHAL (France) though he accepted the decision, wished to draw attention to his earlier remarks and to the fact that on previous similar occasions he had pointed out the dangers of the procedure followed. His reasoning had been borne out by events. If the rupture of the conference were occasioned at the present juncture, the Commission would be placed in a very bad position.
TELEGRAM FROM UNRWA
The CHAIRMAN announced the receipt of a telegram from Mr. de Saint-Hardouin, Chairman of the Advisory Commission of UNRWA, asking that the suggested meeting between the two Commissions be postponed until 9 or 10 November. He proposed that an affirmative reply be sent.
It was so decided.
Réponse à la Délégation d'Israël sur la reformulation du préambule, Télégramme de l'UNRWA - 255e séance de CCNUP (Paris) - Compte Rendu Français