SUMMARY RECORD OF THE TWO HUNDRED AND FOURTIETH MEETING
held in the Hotel de Crillon, Paris, on Friday,
21 September 1951, at 5.40 p.m.
QUESTION OF PRESS COMMUNIQUES
The CHAIRMAN informed the Commission that after the meeting just concluded with the Israel delegation, he had informed Mr. Maurice Fischer (Israel) that the Secretariat of the Commission would reply to his delegation’s letter concerning the press communiqué of 17 September. Mr. Fischer had expressed the view that the communiqué might have been more favourable and suggested the possibility, in future, of issuing two press communiqués; one by the delegation and one by the Commission. At the end of the conversation the Chairman and Mr. Fischer had reached agreement on the matter of form.
Mr. JANKOWSKI (Press Officer) explained to the Commission that he had just had a conversation with Mr. Najar of the Israel delegation, who had informed him that that delegation had been considerably annoyed by the press communiqué in question. He had suggested a-text of a communiqué for the meeting just concluded. The text contained a fairly detailed report of the meeting and Mr. Jankowski had pointed out to him that it was not customary to report the Commission’s discussions and the various speeches in detail in press releases, which had to be extremely brief. He had suggested that Mr. Fischer should confine himself: to stating in the communiqué that the publication of the proposals had been delayed in order to enable the Israel Government to study them. Mr. Fischer had not agreed to that suggestion, his view being that it should be indicated that the Israel Government considered the presentation of the proposals premature.
The CHAIRMAN thanked Mr. Jankowski for his explanations and thought it would be preferable for the Commission to take a decision concerning the press communiqué covering the previous meeting. In his view, it was impossible to publish a communiqué stating that publication of the proposals had been delayed because one of the parties thought the proposals ought not to be published. However, in view of the delay in presenting them, it would be quite natural to state that publication had been held up in order to give the Government concerned time to Study them.
Mr. ARAS (Turkey) pointed out that the way in which Israel wished to have the delay in publication presented was not very favourable to herself, for the wording that the Israel delegation had proposed would suggest to the public that Israel was responsible for the delay. Perhaps that should be pointed out to the Israel delegation. On the other hand, a delegation could always say that it had not received instructions from its Government owing to delay due to Government procedure. That was an entirely legitimate reason. He thought, therefore, that it would be better to avoid suggesting that Israel was responsible for the delay in the publication of the proposals and suggested that the communiqué should state that the Commission had thought fit to delay their publication in order to allow the delegation concerned a reasonable time to study the text and contact its Government.
Mr. MARCHAL (France) thought that care should b taken to avoid repetition of an incident such as that raised by the preceding press communiqué. Moreover, it was certainly inappropriate for the text of a communiqué to be discussed with the parties before it was issued. They would be able to tell the press anything they wished except information which the Commission might decide to keep confidential. In addition, he agreed that press communiqués should be brief.
Concerning the communiqué in question, he thought that, in order to compensate for the omission in the previous communiqué it could be stated that Israel reiterated its intention of co-operating to the full with the Commission. Concerning the publication of the proposals, it could be stated that the Commission had thought fit to delay it in order to allow the Government concerned the time to study them and would decide in due course as to the time of their publication.
Mr. de AZCARATE (Principal Secretary) recalled that it had not been the custom in the past to publish a press communiqué at each meeting; Contacts with the press had taken place through a Press Officer, and at Lausanne, for instance, the Commission had only occasionally drafted communiqués. Those communiqués had been more extensive.
The CHAIRMAN approved the method suggested by the French representative and thought that a communiqué drafted in that sense would be quite acceptable.
Mr. FISHER (Political Officer) pointed out that if that method were adopted, no newspaper would fail to conclude that the Commission was dominated by the Israel delegation. He thought the Commission should indicate that the Israel delegation was to have the same length of time as the Arab delegations and that the proposals would therefore be published on such and such a date.
Mr. BARCO (United States) supported Mr. Fisher’s suggestion, which he thought very wise. In fact, the Commission’s earlier decision had been to publish its proposals in order to avoid rumours. But rumours had occurred and it was time to put an end to them. The wording; suggested by Mr. Fisher would have the advantage of settling the question once and for all.
Mr. MARCHAL (France) did not fully agree with Mr. Fisher’s suggestion or Mr. Barco’s point of view; he thought the Commission should not commit itself in advance by undertaking to publish the proposals on a given date.
The CHAIRMAN similarly thought the Commission should not take any decision other than for the immediate future; it should not commit itself in advance by taking a decision which would have an effect extending beyond the present instance.
As a result of the above exchange of views the Commission decided to draft the press communiqué as follows:
“A meeting between the United Nations Conciliation Commission for Palestine and the Israel Delegation took place on Friday, 21 September 1951. In the course of the meeting the Israel Delegation reiterated its readiness to co-operate with the Commission.
“After the Delegation of Israel had replied to the statement made by the Chairman of the Conciliation Commission at the opening of the conference, the text of the Commission’s proposals, which had been given to the Arab Delegations on Monday, 17 September, was handed to the Delegation of Israel.
“These proposals will be published after all interested Governments have had an opportunity to study them.”
Document in PDF format
Réponse de la Comission à la lettre de la Délégation d'Israël relative au communiqué de presse du 17 Septembre - 240e séance de la CCNUP (Paris) - Compte Rendu Français