SUMMARY RECORD OF A MEETING BETWEEN THE CONCILIATION COMMISSION
AND THE DELEGATIONS OF THE ARAB GOVERNMENTS
Held at the Hotel de Carillon, Paris,
On Thursday, 4 October 1951,
at 11 a.m.
The Commission would be glad to hear any comments which the Arab delegations might have to make in support of their declaration, and any other observations or questions concerning the conference’s programme of work. The Commission, for its part, was ready to explain its position, and accordingly had prepared a memorandum which answered questions raised by the Arab delegations at its last meeting with them, mainly concerning the structure and competence of the Commission and the nature of its proposals. The memorandum would be communicated to the Arab delegations in the course of the day.
H.E. ABDEL MONEM MOSTAFA Bey (Egypt) was glad that the Arab delegations’ draft declaration had been favourably received by the commission.
He was unable, however, to see why the Commission attached such importance to a declaration in the sense of the preamble to its proposals. In his statement at the previous meeting between the Commission and the Arab delegations, the Chairman had emphasized that no useful settlement could be considered in an atmosphere of hostility (SR/PM/6, page 3). Mostafa Bey considered that an entirely gratuitous affirmation, in view of the fact that, at the moment, a state of peace existed in Palestine. Peace was the result of a state of mind, not a mere affirmation. For their part, the Arab Governments had always respected the provisions of the Armistice Agreements. Israel, on the other hand, had systematically violated them; the Egyptian representative did not intend to refer in detail to the violations, as they were a matter for another United Nations organ. The attitude of the Arab Governments was sufficient evidence of their pacific intentions, whilst the attitude adopted by Israel betrayed its expansionist and aggressive aims.
He recognized, with the Commission, that efforts must be made to create a pacific atmosphere, but he recalled that a results had been negative, however, because Israel, strongly supported by certain great Powers, had behaved like a conqueror in Palestine. Israel had always claimed to want peace, but the kind of peace she wanted was not in accordance with the General Assembly resolutions.
Despite the situation, the Arab delegations had tried to meet the Commission’s wishes as far as they felt able to do so. It was with that intent that they had drafted a declaration which practically corresponded to the preamble to the commission’s proposals. He expressed the hope that it would very soon be possible to proceed to consider the proposals.
H.E. FAWZI Pasha MULKI (JORDAN) said his delegation fully appreciated the Commission’s intention to create an atmosphere favourable to a settlement of the outstanding problems and assured it that his Government would do its utmost to cooperate with the Commission to that end. He nevertheless felt bound to point out that the way in which the Arab countries had fulfilled their obligations under the Armistice Agreements, the replies they had given to the three-Power declaration and the declarations they had subsequently subscribed, were ample proof of their pacific intentions; the Commission should be satisfied on that score and should be able to begin the discussion of its proposals, without asking for further assurances from the Arab Governments.
Desirous, as it had always been, of cooperating with the Commission, the Jordan delegation had studied with the other Arab delegations the draft declaration presented by the Commission. It had made every effort to understand the Commission’s position and to meet its desires as nearly as possible. It was with that intent that the Arab delegations had prepared a draft declaration, similar to the Commission’s draft. He hoped that the Commission would find that it was satisfactory and dissipated any doubts as tot he Arab Governments’ intentions and would consequently enable the Commission to perform its task of conciliation fully and proceed to the study of practical problems.
He supported the remarks of the representative of Egypt.
H.E. ADNA el ATASSI (Syria) shared the opinions of the representatives of Egypt and Jordan. He added that the Arab delegations had studied the Commission’s draft with great care and, in drafting their own text, had done their utmost to satisfy the commission; he was glad that the latter had appreciated their effort. However, the two drafts differed to some extent, which was not surprising, as the Commission’s position obviously differed from that of the Arab delegations. For the latter, the whole question of Palestine remained unsolved. Israel had not respected the General Assembly resolutions: she had occupied demilitarized areas, driven the Arab from their homes and failed to conform to the General Assembly resolutions concerning the repatriation and compensation of refugees. In brief, Israel’s attitude during the last three years and its activities concerning Lake Huleh were by no means encouraging and betrayed her Government’s aggressive intentions. The position which the Arab delegations were obliged to adopt in the face of such a situation made it difficult for them to go as far as the Commission would wish. The Syrian representative hoped, nevertheless, that the Arab delegations’ draft declaration would satisfy the Commission and so enable it to proceed without delay to the study of the comprehensive proposals.
H.E. AHMED Bey DAOUK (Lebanon) was glad that the Commission had favourably received the draft declaration of the Arab delegations, for it was proof of the sincerity of the pacific intentions of Lebanon and the three other Arab countries and a source of satisfaction to all countries in the world interested in peace in the Middle East. He hoped that it would be possible to publish the declaration and that Israel would make a similar one. It was obvious that if she did not, the Arab delegations’ declaration would have to consider null and void. He added that his delegation was now ready to study the Commission’s proposals.
The CHAIRMAN thanked the representatives of the four Arab Governments for their observations. Their declarations proved their sincere desire to cooperate with the Commission and were very encouraging On its side the Commission could assure them that it too hoped to proceed as soon as possible to the examination of the proposals.
He emphasized that the efforts of the Arab delegations to meet the Commission’s suggestions and the remarks they had just made had certainly enabled some progress to be made. He recognized also that the Commission’s position was obviously somewhat different from that of the delegations, but he did not doubt that with good will on the part of the Commission and understanding on the part of the parties, their points of view could be brought together.
In answer to the Lebanese representative, he emphasized that the commission must deal with the two parties on an equal basis. Accordingly, its draft declaration would likewise be communicated to the Israel delegation. However, the Commission thought that it was too early, as yet, to publish the declaration of the Arab delegations. It was true that the Commission had now officially received it, but it felt the need to take a clear stand. It was the Commission’s earnest desire that it would be possible to announce an agreement showing the existence of an atmosphere favourable to the pursuance of the discussions. He added that the Arab delegations would be notified in advance of any decision which the Commission might take concerning the announcement of such an agreement.
H.E. ABDEL MONEM MOSTAFA Bey (Egypt) pointed out that the Arab delegations had presented a draft declaration in order to do the Commission a service rather than to satisfy its wishes. The Arab Governments wanted peace in accordance with the terms of the United Nations resolutions. It was of little importance whether Israel did or did not accept such a declaration: Mostafa Bey dealt with the Commission, not with the Israelis.
Furthermore, he thought there should be no difference of opinion between the Commission and the delegations on that score; indeed, there was no such difference of opinion, any more that there was, at bottom, between the Arab States and Israel. United Nations intervention in Palestine had been disastrous for the Arab States and generally speaking, for peace and security in that part of the world. Be that as it might, the General Assembly had adopted several resolutions and the Arab States asked that they should be applied. The Commission had been set up as an organ of the General Assembly for that purpose, and its duty was to conform to the Assembly’s resolutions; therefore, there should be no misunderstanding.
The Egyptian representative nevertheless awaited with impatience the explanations which the Commission had declared itself ready to give concerning its proposals and he hoped it would soon be possible to proceed further.
He wished in addition to draw the commission’s special attention to two documents which were of fundamental importance and to which he would often refer: the Lausanne Protocol of 12 May 1949 –- taking into account the negotiations and events leading up to it -– and a memorandum dated 15 June 1949 from the Secretariat of the Commission to the Egyptian delegation communicating the text of a declaration by the Government of Israel dated 9 June 1949.
H.E. ADNAN el ATASSI (Syria) wished to make clear that in speaking of differences of opinion between the Commission and delegations, he had had in mind the question of the declaration and not the substance of the problem a whole; in that connection, there were General Assembly resolutions which had not been respected by Israel. The situation that had prevailed for three years did not permit the Arab delegations to share the excessive optimism shown by the Commission in its draft declaration. He also recalled the fact that the Commission’s duty was to see that the General Assembly resolutions were carried out.
The CHAIRMAN stated that to show understanding towards the parties was not the Commission’s only duty. It had other duties, as was clearly indicated in the memorandum he had referred to, which would be communicated to the Arab delegations very shortly. When he spoke of differences of opinion between the Commission and the Arab declaration; he thanked the representatives of Egypt and Syria for their complementary remarks in that connection.