SUMMARY RECORD OF THE TWO HUNDRED AND FIFTY-THIRD MEETING
Held in the Hôtel de Crillon, Paris,
on Wednesday, 17 October 1951, at 4 p.m.
REPLY TO LETTER FROM ISRAEL DELEGATION (IS/72)
DATED 14 OCTOBER 1951
The CHAIRMAN wished to make a few personal remarks before considering the reply to the letter from Israel.
It seemed normal that the Chairman should remain in office in the present circumstances and he thanked the members of the Commission for their support in that connection. The function of the Chairman, who was at the same time the representative of a government, did not consist solely in explaining that government’s views. On the contrary, he should try to synthesize the views of the other representatives and his task was greatly facilitated by the presence of his alternate, Mr. Barco, whose functions was to state the point of view of the United States Government. The Chairman was thus enabled to consider the views of the three delegations objectively.
As Chairman and United States representative, the thought the Commission should not continue its work when there was no longer any hope of success. That time had not yet come, but the Commission must envisage its possibility and take care to allow no doubts to persist as to its impartiality. The Commission was convinced that it had always been impartial, but it was possible that the parties did not share that view. Therefore, it was important for the Commission to be doubly careful henceforward, as the situation was becoming more and more critical. It was essential that it should show the greatest patience and avoid precipitating a decision on the grounds that one of the parties was expecting it. In addition, in the interest of its own dignity, the Commission must not be too often on the defensive concerning contentions or objections put forward by the parties.
It should only raise an argument and answer it when to do so was really necessary.
Reverting to the answer to Israel’s letter, the Chairman found the draft text submitted to the Commission entirely satisfactory and emphasized the importance of the Commission’s decision. He thought Israel must be given the opportunity to study the letter fully. Furthermore, it would be wise for the Commission to have a meeting with the Israel delegation before again seeing the Arab delegations. However the latter must not be left in a state of uncertainty and it would be best to fix a definite day for a meeting with them in the following week in order to keep them from becoming impatient.
Concerning the examination of the proposals, the Chairman thought, on reflexion, that it would not be very fair and might even be dangerous, to start with one of the parties if the other was unwilling to start. The first step in the discussion was simply to give the party concerned additional indications, but not sufficient to permit it fully to judge the merits of the proposals; if, for any reasons, the Commission was obliged to stop at that point, a preliminary explanation of that nature might have very unfortunate effects, on the refugees for instance, and in general, on public opinion in all the countries concerned.
Mr. ARAS (Turkey) paid tribute to the excellent way in which the Chairman had conducted the discussions and to his impartiality, a quality which he shared with his predecessors in the chair. His observations were very wise and Mr. Aras recognized that the situation was critical. The Commission must show the greatest patience and a high degree of skill in the limited field of its competence.
Mr. MARCHAL (France) endorsed the Chairman’s remarks both concerning his own functions and the principles to be applied in mediation. Although the Commission was convinced that it had acted in complete impartiality, it should take special care to do nothing which might be wrongly interpreted by others. He fully appreciated Mr. Barco’s assistance and congratulated the Chairman on his wise conception of his own functions.
The CHAIRMAN thanked the members of the Commission on his own behalf and on that of Mr. Barco for their expressions of appreciation and invited them to state their views on the draft of the reply to Israel.
Mr. ARAS (Turkey) considered the draft letter very satisfactory. He proposed, however, that the exact dates of the forthcoming meetings with the, parties should be indicated.
Mr. CONTINI (Legal Adviser) proposed several amendments of form which were accepted by the Commission.
Mr. MARCHAL (France) also approved the draft letter and the suggested amendments.
The draft letter thus amended was adopted.
FORTHCOMING MEETINGS WITH THE DELEGATIONS
The CHAIRMAN proposed that the Commission should meet on Tuesday 23 October with the Israel delegation and on Wednesday 24 October with the Arab delegation. In addition, it ought to meet alone beforehand to study the question of the communication to one party of correspondence exchanged with the other, the .draft reply to the latest memorandum from the Arab delegations and the explanations to be given concerning the comprehensive proposals. He thought the Commission should meet at 11 a.m. on Monday so that, if necessary, it could hold another meeting in the afternoon.
It was so decided.
Réponse à la lettre d'Israël, Prochaines Séances avec les délégations des parties - 253e séance de la CCNUP (Paris) - Compte Rendu Français