The CHAIRMAN pointed out that the Commission had not yet received a reply from the Arab delegations to its memorandum of 15 August; he hoped that that reply would be forthcoming at an early moment.
The Chairman then informed the Arab delegations of two decisions taken by the Commission. First, an economic survey mission would soon be constituted and begin its work; the recommendations it would eventually make would, he felt, be of great interest to all the Middle East, and he hoped the Arab States would accord the mission their cooperation and assistance. Secondly, the Commission had decided to name a United Nations representative to Jerusalem, in accordance with the specific instructions given in paragraph 8 of the resolution of 11 December 1948. This representative would cooperate with the local authorities and endeavour to see that the status quo was maintained pending final settlement of the Jerusalem question.
At the Chairman's request, Mr. PORTER, explained the functions and proposed composition of the survey mission (see SR/90). The mission was being established in consequence of the Commission’s belief that the economic aspects of the Palestine problem were of paramount importance and that many issues of that problem could be more easily solved within the framework of a general Middle East Development programme. He recalled that one of the questions in the Commission’s memorandum of 15 August had concerned this survey mission; he hoped that during the present meeting the Arab delegations would be able to indicate their attitude on the question, and that that attitude would be one of whole-hearted cooperation.
MOSTAFA BEY (Egypt), supported by the other three Arab delegations, requested that he and his colleagues be permitted to give their reply to the memorandum of 15 August at a meeting the following Monday.
The CHAIRMAN acceded to the request, at the same time pointing out that further delay would be harmful to the common cause, and expressing the hope that the reply of the Arab delegations on Monday would be complete and detailed.
Speaking for his colleagues, MOSTAFA BEY (Egypt) expressed his thanks to the Commission for its efforts in connection with the refugee question, which was the key to the problem of peace in Palestine. With regard to the survey mission, he had stated in his reply to the memorandum of 15 August that the Egyptian Government would accord all possible help and cooperation to the survey mission and would give due consideration to the recommendations it would eventually make.
With regard to the Jerusalem question, he asked for clarification of the Commission’s purpose in sending a representative to Jerusalem.
The representative of Egypt then drew attention to the provision, in paragraph 8 of the resolution of 11 December, that the Security Council should take steps to ensure the demilitarization of Jerusalem at the earliest possible date, and noted that the provision had not yet been carried out. He asked whether the Commission would consider taking steps to implement this provision.
The CHAIRMAN pointed out that the functions of the United Nations representative in Jerusalem were specified in paragraph 8 of the resolution. Since the Commission was unable at present to maintain its seat in the Jerusalem area, it was all the more necessary that it should be represented there by a United Nations official.
With regard to the demilitarization of the area, the Chairman, in the name of the Commission, noted the request of the Egyptian representative, and assured the latter that the Commission would study the matter and decide what steps could be taken.
Mr. PORTER, commenting further on the matter of the survey mission, pointed out that the mission could succeed in developing a basis for solution of the problem only to the extent that it received the full cooperation of the States concerned. At the opening of this new phase of the Commission’s work, the Commission wished it understood that its efforts at conciliation would of be abandoned, but rather continued and intensified.
It having the Commission’s policy to do all in its power to facilitate the opening of direct negotiations between the parties; the establishment of the Mixed Committee of Experts on Blocked Accounts had been welcomed as a first step in the implementation of that policy. The Commission would continue to pursue the same course, and it was its firm hope that the Arab delegations would take note of that policy and would, during the next period, find ways of achieving such direct negotiations.
MOSTAFA BEY replied that as far as his delegation was concerned, the question of direct negotiations did not arise. His delegation was satisfied with the present situation and with the Commission’s mediation; he had full trust in the Commission and hoped it would be possible to achieve a successful solution through the present methods.
The representatives of LEBANON, SYRIA and the HASHEMITE JORDAN KINGDOM associated themselves fully with all the statements of the Egyptian representative.
The CHAIRMAN thanked the Arab delegations for their confidence, but affirmed that Mr. Porter had spoken for the Commission, and that it was necessary to try all possible methods in order to achieve the common goal.
Document in PDF format