Question of Palestine home
26 July 1949
SUMMARY STATEMENT BY THE SECRETARY-GENERAL OF MATTERS OF WHICH
THE SECURITY COUNCIL IS SEIZED AND OF THE STAGE REACHED
IN THEIR CONSIDERATION
Pursuant to rule 11 of the provisional rules of procedure of the Security Council, the Secretary-General submits the following statement of matters of which the Security Council is seized and of the stage reached in their consideration on 23 July 1949.
12. THE PALESTINE QUESTION
By letter dated 2 December 1947 (S/614), the Secretary-General requested that the President of the Security Council draw the Council's attention to General Assembly resolution 181 (II) of 29 November 1947, concerning the future government of Palestine, and particularly to paragraphs (a), (b) and (c) of the operative part of that resolution.
At the 222nd meeting (9 December), the President stated that the Security Council had received the above-mentioned letter of the Secretary-General (S/614). It was decided to postpone discussion of the matter.
At the 243rd meeting (10 February 1948), the Security Council considered the first monthly progress report (S/633) of the United Nations Palestine Commission. The Council agreed that it should take note of that document and postpone further discussion until it had received the specia1 report which was due shortly.
The Security Council at the 253rd to 255th and 258th meetings (24 to 27 February 1949) considered the first monthly progress report (S/663) of the United Nations Palestine Commission to the Security Council and the Commission's first special report (S/676) to the Council covering the problem of security in Palestine. The representatives of Egypt and Lebanon, following their requests dated 7 December 1947 (S/617, S/618) were, in accordance with a previous decision of the Council, invited to participate in the discussion without vote. The Jewish Agency for Palestine, was, at its request, invited to the Council table for the purpose of supplying such information and rendering such assistance as the Council might require. At the suggestion of the President, the Council agreed to grant the same privilege to the Arab Higher Committee if it so requested. Draft resolutions were introduced by the representatives of Colombia (S/684) and the United States (S/685). The representative of Belgium submitted an amendment (S/638) to the United States draft resolution. The representative of Colombia later withdrew his draft resolution.
It the 260th through 263rd meetings (2 to 5 March 1948), the Security Council continued consideration of the two aforementioned reports of the United Nations Palestine Commission. At the 262nd meeting, the President requested that the representatives of the United States and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics consult together in an effort to formulate a mutually acceptable version of the United States draft resolution (S/685). At the 263rd meeting, representatives of the United States and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics reported on the results of their consultations, and the representative of the United States amended his draft resolution accordingly. The representative of Belgium announced that he would accept certain of the changes made in the United States amended draft resolution for incorporation in the Belgian amendment (S/688). Thereupon, the Belgian amendment as revised was put to the vote paragraph by paragraph but, failing to obtain the required number of affirmative votes, was not adopted. The amended United States draft resolution was also voted upon paragraph by paragraph. The preamble, the first part of paragraph 2, providing for consultation between the permanent members, and the final paragraph calling on all Governments to prevent disorders, were adopted. The accepted paragraphs of the amended United States draft resolution (S/691), put to the vote as a whole, were adopted by 8 votes, with 3 abstentions (Argentina, Syria, United Kingdom).
At the 267th meeting (16 March), the Council heard statements by the representatives of Lebanon and Syria.
At the 270th meeting (19 March), members of the Council who had participated in the consultations among the permanent members reported on the results of their discussion. Discussion was continued at the 273rd, 274th, 275th and 277th meetings (22 March to 1 April 1348). At the 277th meeting, a draft resolution (S/704) introduced by the representative of the United States, as amened by the representative of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, calling for a truce in Palestine was adopted unanimously. Another draft resolution (S/705) introduced by the representative of the United States, requesting the Secretary-General to convoke a special session of the General Assembly regarding Palestine, was adopted by 9 votes, with 2 abstentions (Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics). The Secretary-General announced that the special session would be convoked on 16 April 1948.
The representative of Colombia introduced a draft resolution at the 282nd meeting (15 April) containing the terms of a truce in Palestine. This resolution as amended (S/723) was adopted at the 283rd meeting (17 April 1948) by 9 votes, with 2 abstentions (Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics).
At the 287th meeting (23 April), a draft resolution (S/727) introduced by the representative of the United States and calling for the establishment of a Truce Commission to supervise the implementation of the resolution adopted by the Council on 17 April (S/723) was adopted by 8 votes, with 3 abstentions (Colombia, Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics).
At the 289th meeting (7 May 1948), the President informed the Council that a cable (S/730) had been received from the Jewish Agency concerning the invasion of Palestine by foreign forces, and that information had been requested from the Palestine Truce Commission on this matter. (The Commission's reply and a statement from the Mandatory Powers are contained in document S/733).
At the 291st meeting (12 May), the President drew the attention of the Council to two cablegrams (S/741 and S/742) from the Truce Commission in Palestine concerning negotiations for a truce in Jerusalem. The Council approved the general outlines of the reply to be made by the President.
At the 292nd meeting (15 May), the President brought to the attention of the Council a letter and enclosed cablegram received from the Jewish Agency for Palestine (S/744) and also a cablegram from the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Egypt (S/743) concerning the armed intervention in Palestine of the Government of Egypt.
At the 293rd meeting (17 May), the representative of the United States introduced a draft resolution (S/749) describing the situation existing in Palestine as a threat to the peace and breach of the peace within the meaning of Article 39 of the Charter, and ordering a cease-fire within thirty-six hours after adoption of the resolution. The representative of the United States also submitted a list of questions, which he proposed should be addressed to all parties concerned, to obtain additional information. This questionnaire was studied at the 294th and 295th meetings (12 May), adopted as amended (S/753) and addressed to the parties concerned, with a request for a prompt reply.
At the 296th meeting (18 May), the representative of the United Kingdom introduced an amendment (S/755), to the United States proposal for a cease-fire order (S/749). Their proposal was studied at the 297th to 299th and 301st meetings (20 to 22 May), and the draft resolution as amended was adopted by 8 votes, with 3 abstentions (Syria, Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) at the 302nd meeting (22 May).
At the 303rd meeting (24 May), the President announced that the reply of the Provisional Government of Israel (S/779) accepting the terms of the Security Council resolution 22 May had been received. It was agreed, at the request of the Arab States, because of communication difficulties which had been encountered by their Governments, to extend by forty-eight hours the time-limit imposed by that resolution. At the 305th meeting (26 May), the representative of Iraq, acting on behalf of all the Arab States, submitted a reply (S/792) to the Council resolution of 22 May.
At the 306th meeting (27 May), the representative of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics submitted a draft proposal, subsequently revised, which set forth that the Security Council, considering that its resolution of 22 May had not been carried out, in view of the refusal of the Arab States to comply with it, and considering that military operations in Palestine were increasing and that as a result the situation in Palestine constituted a threat to peace and security within the meaning of Article 39 of the Charter, ordered the States involved in the Palestine conflict to secure the cessation of military operations within thirty-six hours after the adoption of the resolution (S/794/Rev.2). The representative of the United Kingdom also submitted a draft resolution (S/795/Rev.2) calling for a cessation of all acts of armed force for a period of four weeks, during which time the United Nations Mediator would contact the parties with a view to making recommendations to the Security Council for an eventual settlement in Palestine. At the 308th meeting (28 May) the representative of France introduced a draft resolutions (S/793/Rev.2) calling for the cessation of all hostilities in Jerusalem.
At the 310th meeting (29 May) the Council voted on two proposals before it. The revised proposal of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (S/794/Rev.2) was rejected. The draft resolution of the United Kingdom (S/795/Rev.2) as amended by the United States, France and Canada, was voted upon paragraph by paragraph, and adopted (S/801). The representative of France then announced that he would not insist that a vote be taken on his proposal (S/798/Rev.2).
At the 311th meeting (2 June 1948), the President drew the Council's attention to the replies of the parties to the resolution of 29 May. The President declared that their acceptance was to be considered as unconditional; and it was agreed that the time-limit for the actual cessation of hostilities should be fixed by the United Nations Mediator, that this time-limit should be as short as possible, and that all parties concerned should comply with the Mediator's instructions in these matters.
At the 313th meeting (3 June), it was agreed that the Mediator should be given full authority to act within the terms of the resolution and interpret it in a way he deemed correct. Only if that interpretation were challenged should the matter be submitted to the Council.
At the two following meetings (314th and 317th, of 7 and 10 June), the Council discussed the question of the military observers. The truce in Palestine went into effect on 11 June.
At the 320th meeting (15 June), it was agreed that all communications from interested parties should be submitted to the Mediator and that he should exercise the discretion of reporting to the Security Council such complaints and their disposition as he seemed appropriate. It was understood that this procedure would not preclude the parties from addressing any communications directly to the Council. It was also agreed to request Member States to report on steps taken in the implementation of the resolution of 29 May.
The representative of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics submitted a draft resolution (S/841) providing for the appointment of military observers by States Members of the Security Council wishing to participate in the designation of such observers, excluding Syria, and limiting their number of such observers to fifty persons. This draft resolution was rejected by a vote of 2 in favour (Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) and 9 abstentions.
At the 331st meeting (7 July 1948), the Council voted on a draft resolution (S/867) submitted by the representative of the United Kingdom appealing to the parties to accept a prolongation of the truce. The resolution was adopted by 8 votes, with 3 abstentions (Syria, Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics).
It was agreed that the President should send a cablegram to the Arab States requesting immediate information on the actual situation in Palestine and in particular on their attitude towards the observance and prolongation of the truce.
At the 333rd meeting (13 July), the United Nations Mediator, Count Folke Bernadotte, presented an oral report to the Council supplementing his previously submitted written report (S/888)) on the situation in Palestine.
At the 334th meeting (13 July), the representative of the United States submitted a draft resolution (S/830) describing the situation in Palestine as a threat to the peace within the meaning of Article 39 of the Charter, and ordering the Governments and authorities concerned, pursuant to Article 40 of the Charter, to desist from further military action and to issue cease-fire orders to this effect to their forces. The representative of Syria introduced a draft resolution (S/894) requesting the International Court of Justice to give an advisory legal opinion as to the international status of Palestine after the termination of the Mandate.
The United States draft resolution and the various amendments presented were discussed at the 335th to 337th meetings (14 and 15 July).
At the 338th meeting (15 July), the United States draft resolution as amended was adopted by 7 votes to 1, with 3 abstentions (Argentina, Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Socialist Republic, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics).
At the 339th meeting (27 July), the Council continued discussion on the Syrian draft resolution (S/894). The representative of Colombia submitted an amendment (S/921), which specified that the request should not delay or impair the normal course of mediation.
At the 340th meeting (27 July), the Syrian draft resolution as amended was voted upon and rejected by a vote of 6 in favour, 1 against (Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic) and 4 abstentions (Canada, France, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, United States). At the came meeting, the representative of the United Kingdom submitted a draft resolution (S/923) designed to support the demand of the Palestine Truce Commission for the release of five employees of the Jerusalem Electric Corporation who had been abducted by the Irgun Zvai Leumi, and calling for their surrender to the Truce Commission in Jerusalem.
At the 343rd meeting (2 August 1948) the Council decided to request the Mediator and the Governments and authorities concerned to supply information regarding the following questions: (1) the question of Jewish displaced persons; (2) the question of Arab refugees in Palestine and neighbouring countries; (3) the question of relief and assistance to both Arab refugees and Jewish displaced persons; (4) the question of Jewish refugees detained on Cyprus.
At the 349th meeting (13 August), following the receipt of a cablegram (S/963) from the United Nations Mediator concerning the destruction of the pumping station at Latrun, the Council requested the Mediator to take all necessary steps to ensure the water supply for the population of Jerusalem.
By a cablegram dated 18 August (S/977), the Mediator informed the Security Council that further deterioration of the situation in Jerusalem might lead to a general resumption of hostilities, and he therefore requested that the Council take prompt action with a view to giving effect to its resolution of 15 July. At the 354th meeting (19 August), in response to this request, the representatives of Canada, France, the United Kingdom and the United States jointly submitted a draft resolution concerning truce violations which was voted on paragraph by paragraph and adopted (S/983).
In connexion with the Mediator's report regarding the demilitarization of Jerusalem (S/979), it was decided to cable him that the Council relied on him to make all efforts to achieve speedy results in the matter, to which the Security Council attached serious importance.
The Council also decided to transmit the record of its discussion on the question of Palestinian-Arab refugees and Jewish displaced persons to the Economic and Social Council and the International Refugee Organization.
By cablegram dated 17 September 1948 (S/1002), Dr. Ralph Bunche, personal representative of the Secretary-General, informed the Security Council of the assassination in Jerusalem of Count Folke Bernadotte, United Nations Mediator, and Colonel Sérot of the French Air Forces, a United Nations observer.
At the 358th meeting (18 September), the Council paid tribute to Count Bernadette and Colonel
Sérot and adopted a resolution (S/1006) requesting the Secretary-General to keep the flag,of the United Nations at half-mast for a period of three days, authorizing the Secretary-General to meet all expenses connected with the death and burial of the United Nations Mediator, and resolving to be represented at the interment by the President of the Council or the person whom he might appoint for the occasion. The Council also approved two cablegrams (S/1003) which the Acting Secretary-General had sent on 17 September empowering Dr. Bunche to assume full authority for the Palestine Mission until further notice and requesting General Lundstrom, Chief of Staff of the Mediator to make the fullest investigation of the circumstances of the shooting.
At the 365th meeting (14 October 1948), the Council considered documents S/1018, S/1022, and S/1023 concerning the assassination of the Mediator and the supervision of the truce. A draft resolution (S/1032) was submitted by the representatives of China and the United Kingdom requesting the Provisional Government of Israel to submit, at an early date, an account of the progress made in the investigation of the assassinations. This resolution, as amended by the representative of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, was adopted at the 367th meeting.
At the 367th meeting (19 October) the Council adopted a resolution (S/1044) endorsing the conclusions of the Acting Mediator's report concerning the situation in the Negeb (S/1042), stating that the indispensable condition to the restoration of the situation was an immediate and effective cease-fire, and setting forth conditions which might be considered as the basis for further negotiations designed to ensure that similar outbreaks would not occur again and that the truce would be fully observed in the Negeb.
By letter dated 23 October (S/1049), the Acting Mediator informed the Council of the replies of the Egyptian Government and of the Provisional Government of Israel to the Security Council resolution of 19 October and to his subsequent communication fixing the time for the simultaneous cease-fire in the Negeb at 12 noon, 22 October 1948.
After discussion at the 373rd and 374th meetings (26 and 28 October), the delegations of China and the United Kingdom introduced a draft resolution (S/1059) endorsing the Mediator's order of 25 October calling for a withdrawal of military forces to the positions occupied on 14 October, and appointing a committee of the Council to examine urgently and to report on the measures which it would be appropriate to take under Article 41 of the Charter, if either party or both should refuse to comply with that order. At the 375th meeting (29 October), a number of amendments to this draft resolution were submitted (S/1059/Rev.1 and Rev.2, S/1061) and a sub-committee (Sub-Committee 16) was established (S/1062) to prepare a revised draft resolution in consultation with the Acting Mediator. Sub-Committee 16, submitted its report (S/1064) on 2 November 1948.
During the Council's discussion of the report at the 376th and 377th meetings (4 November) amendments to the draft resolution contained therein were submitted by the representative of the United States (S/1067); and the representative of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic submitted a new draft resolution (S/1068). The United States amendments were adopted and the draft resolution as a whole (S/1070) was then adopted by 9 votes to 1 (Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic) with 1 abstention (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics). The resolution called for a withdrawal of the forces which had advanced beyond the position held on 14 October and for establishment of a permanent truce line. A committee of seven members of the Council (the five permanent members with Belgium and Colombia) was appointed to give advice to the Acting Mediator, if required, and to report to the Council.
The Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic draft resolution was rejected by a vote of 2 in favour (Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics), 1 against (Syria), and 8 abstentions.
Following upon the discussion of a question from the representative of Lebanon, the representative of the United Kingdom submitted a draft resolution (S/1069) providing for the extension of the scope of the truce resolution to the situation in northern Palestine. The Council adjourned without taking a decision on the United Kingdom proposal.
At the request of the Acting Mediator, the Security Council held its 378th and 379th meetings in private (9 and 10 November), after which the Council resumed public discussion at the 380th and 381st meetings (15 and 16 November) to consider the draft resolution (S/1069) submitted by the United Kingdom representative at the 377th meeting and the suggestions of the Acting Mediator submitted in the form of a draft resolution (S/1076), at the 378th meeting, together with the amendments (S/1077) submitted by the representative of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. A new joint draft resolution (S/1079) introduced by the Canadian representative, supported by the representatives of France and Belgium, called upon the parties to seek agreement forthwith by negotiations, conducted either directly or through the Acting Mediator with a view to the immediate establishment of an armistice.
During the discussion, the representative of the United Kingdom withdrew his draft resolution. The suggestions of the Acting Mediator, as amended and endorsed by the representative of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics were rejected by a vote of 2 in favour (Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics), and 9 abstentions. An amendment submitted to the joint draft resolution by the representative of Syria, which would have applied the Council's resolution of 4 November (S/1070) to the Galilee area, was rejected by a vote of 3 in favour and 8 abstentions. The joint draft resolution (S/1080) was adopted paragraph by paragraph, by 8 votes, with the representatives of Syria, the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics abstaining, except on the fourth and fifth paragraphs, which the representative of Syria voted against.
In letters dated 1 December 1948 (S/1093 and S/1096), the permanent representative of Egypt and the Chairman of the delegation of Lebanon requested that the question of the implementation of the Council's resolution of 4 November be placed on the agenda of the Council's 383rd meeting, to be held on 2 December. These letters were discussed at the meeting, but the proposal for the inclusion of this item was not adopted.
At the 394th through 396th meetings (27 to 29 December 1948) the Council considered various communications (S/1126, S/1147, S/1151, S/1152 and S/1153) reporting alleged truce violations by the Israeli forces. The representative of the United Kingdom submitted a draft resolution (S/1163 and S/1167) and the representative of France submitted amendments thereto (S/1168).
At the 396th meeting, the Council voted on the United Kingdom draft resolution and the amendments thereto, paragraph by paragraph. The resolution as amended (S/1169) was adopted by 8 votes with 3 abstentions (Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, United States). The resolution called upon the parties in the southern Palestine hostilities to order an immediate cease-fire and to implement without further delay the resolution of 4 November and the instructions issued by the Acting Mediator in accordance with sub-paragraph (1) of the fifth paragraph of that resolution. The resolution also instructed the Committee appointed on 4 November to meet on 7 January 1949, to consider the situation in southern Palestine, and to report on compliance with the present resolution and with the resolutions of 4 and 16 November 1948.
By letter dated 6 January 1949 (S/1187), the Acting Mediator informed the President of the Security Council 1 that the Government of Egypt and the Provisional Government of Israel had unconditionally accepted a proposal providing for a cease-fire, to be immediately followed by direct negotiations under United Nations chairmanship on the implementation of the resolutions of 4 and 16 November.
By cablegram dated 23 February 1949, the Acting Mediator informed the Security Council that an armistice agreement between Egypt and Israel was being signed on 24 February at Rhodes (S/1264 and S/1264/Add.1).
By cablegram dated 11 March 1949 (S/1284), the Acting Mediator informed the Security Council that Israel and Transjordan signed a General Cease-Fire Agreement on 11 March at Rhodes.
By cablegram dated 23 March 1949 (S/1296/Corr.1 and Add.1), the Acting Mediator informed the Security Council that a General Armistice Agreement was signed by Israel and Lebanon on that day.
By cablegram dated 3 April 1949 (S/1312), the Acting Mediator informed the Security Council that a General Armistice Agreement had been signed between the Hashemite Jordan Kingdom and Israel.
By letter dated 19 April 1949 (S/1310 and A/838), the Secretary-General transmitted to the Security Council the second progress report of the United Nations Conciliation Commission on Palestine.
By letter dated 3 May 1949 (S/1315), the representative of Israel transmitted to the Security Council a report on the assassination of Count Folke Bernadotte and Colonel Sérot.
By letter dated 21 June 1949 (S/1341 and A/927), the Palestine Conciliation Commission submitted its third progress report.
By cablegram dated 20 July 1949 (S/1353), the United Nations Acting Mediator on Palestine informed the Security Council that a General Armistice Agreement had been signed by Syria and Israel on that day.