SUMMARY RECORD OF THE FORTY-SECOND MEETING
Lake Success, New York
Wednesday, 18 February 1948, at 3.00 p.m.
REPORT BY THE CHAIRMAN ON HIS INTERVIEW WITH MR. CREECH-JONES
The CHAIRMAN gave a brief account of his meeting with Mr. Creech-Jones, the United Kingdom Colonial Secretary, earlier in the day. He stated that the views expressed to him by Mr. Creech-Jones were similar to those expressed to the Secretary of the Commission the day before. (document A/AC.21/SR.41). On his part, he had told Mr. Creech-Jones quite openly that it was in the interest of the United Nations and of the United Kingdom Government itself that the latter should give its fullest co-operation to the Commission and not raise unnecessary obstacles and difficulties. As an instance of the lack of co-operation on the part of the Mandatory Power he mentioned their attitude on the question of the Secretariat Advance Party to Palestine, which had now been satisfactorily settled.
The CHAIRMAN also referred to the objections raised by the Mandatory Power against the arrival of the Commission in Palestine prior to 1 May, namely, its anxiety to avoid any overlapping of powers and security considerations. The approach of Mr. Creech-Jones to this question was identical to that of Sir Alexander Cadogan. The CHAIRMAN had pointed out that he saw no reasons for the United Kingdom Government’s anxiety in that respect. No overlapping of powers could take place inasmuch as the Commission had taken note of the stand of the Mandatory Power, namely, that the Mandatory Power was exclusively empowered and responsible for security and the maintenance of law and order in Palestine until the date of the termination of the Mandate. The CHAIRMAN had expressed the opinion that it could not make very much difference to the Mandatory Power whether the Commission arrived two weeks before the termination of the Mandate or several weeks earlier than that. Since the Mandatory Power stood prepared to provide for the Commission’s security in the last two weeks before the termination of the Mandate, which would no doubt be the most critical period from the point of view of security, he did not understand why it could not agree to the Commission’s arrival at an earlier date.
The CHAIRMAN had raised the question of procedure in negotiations between the Commission and the Mandatory Power. Mr. Creech-Jones thought that the procedure should be less formal than it had been to date. The CHAIRMAN pointed out that since the preliminary questions which had been posed by the Commission so far had been important matters of principle, some formality had been unavoidable.
Concerning the immediate questions to be taken up in London, Mr. CREECH-JONES indicated that his Government wanted to deal with the liquidation of its assets in Palestine. However, the CHAIRMAN thought that the Commission would have to insist on dealing with other questions which might not touch upon special British interests but were nevertheless of importance to the Commission. The question of liquidating British assets was in all probability one which should not be dealt with by the Commission but by the Governments of the Arab and Jewish states when they were set up.
The CHAIRMAN announced that Mr. Creech-Jones would meet with the Commission on the following day when be would make a general statement and would be prepared to answer questions. He added that he had warned Mr. Creech-Jones to expect some questions which he might find disagreeable, implying criticism of the attitude of the Mandatory Power.
The CHAIRMAN stated that his impression upon the conclusion of his interview with Mr. Creech-Jones was that the position of the Mandatory Power continued to be as it had been previously.
It was agreed that a specific list of questions to be put to Mr. Creech-Jones would not be prepared beforehand and that the Members would be free to ask any questions they wished.
The SECRETARY circulated a list of those of the previous questions prepared by the Secretariat which had not yet been answered, in case the Members might wish to ask any of them.
MEMBERSHIP OF THE PREPARATORY ECONOMIC COMMISSION
Mr. MALANIA (Secretariat) submitted the names of three Latin-American economists which the Commission might wish to consider as members of the Preparatory Economic Commission. The first was Mr. Daniel Cassio Villegas of Mexico, Professor in Economics at the University of Mexico and author of widely-known books on economics. He was highly recommended by the Economic Affairs Department of the Secretariat and favourably commented on by Mr. Lopez-Herrarte, Liaison Officer of the International Bank. He was known to be ready to accept a post with the Commission.
The second name was that of Mr. Guillermo W. Klein of Argentina, who had been a high official of the Central Bank. He was a lawyer specializing in taxation, banking and fiscal policy. He was highly qualified but was regarded by the Economic Affairs Department as being a second choice to Mr. Villegas. He had been approached informally and said he would be ready to accept in principle but had certain reservations.
The third name was that of Mr. Roberto de Oliveira Campos, Economic Adviser to the Brazilian delegation, member of that delegation at the Bretton Woods Conference, as well as at the International Trade Conference and the UNRRA Conference at Atlantic City, and Member of the United Nations Committee on Post-UNRRA Relief. He was considered as very able but perhaps a little too young for the post. He had not yet been approached.
It was decided that Mr. Daniel Cassio Villegas would be asked to join the staff or the Preparatory Economic Commission,
COMMUNICATION FROM MR. FLETCHER-COOKE CONCERNING A PAYMENT TO THE SUPREME MOSLEM COUNCIL
The view was expressed that the sum of £P300,000 appearing in the above communication, dated 17 February 1940, seemed unduly great. Mr. Federspiel (Denmark) was charged with taking this matter up in the course of his current negotiations with the Mandatory Power.
The CHAIRMAN pointed out that upon examination of the matter the Commission might find that the Mandatory Power had sound reasons for the size of the sum in question, but that a matter of principle was involved here: they should have consulted the Commission before making their decision. He noted that it might be one of the questions to take up with Mr. Creech-Jones when the Commission met with him on the following day.
COMMUNICATION FROM THE JEWISH AGENCY CONCERNING JEWISH GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS IN PALESTINE
The Commission took note of the above communication from Mr. Horowitz of the Jewish Agency for Palestine, dated 13 February 1948. It was decided that the Secretary would ask for additional information regarding the grade of the officials in question and the branches of the Government they were serving.
It was noted that the reason for Mr. Horowitz’s asking that the communication be kept confidential was not clear.
COMMUNICATION FROM MR. FLETCHER-COOKE CONCERNING TARIFFS AND TAXES
It was agreed that, inasmuch as Palestine was a free trade country it stood to benefit from application to it of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade concluded in Geneva. The Commission would therefore suggest to the Mandatory Power that it adhere to that Agreement. This would also be consistent with the Commission’s principle of preserving as far as possible the continuity or Palestinian affairs.
COMMUNICATION FROM MR. FLETCHER-COOKE CONCERNING A TELEGRAM FROM THE JEWISH COMMUNITY COUNCIL OF HAIFA
With reference to the above communication, dated 17 February 1948, it was noted that the account it contained of the incident in question did not altogether coincide with that which had been given by the Jewish Agency.
A copy of the relevant portion of the communication would be forwarded to the Jewish Agency for their information.
PRELIMINARY CONSIDERATION OF THE SECOND MONTHLY PROGRESS REPORT TO THE SECURITY COUNCIL
It was agreed that the Report would be brief, and would not deal with matters which might create an anti-climax to the Commission’s Special Report on Security nor distract the Security Council’s attention from it. It would simply be a record of the work of the Commission in the period following that covered by the last Report. It was observed that the Commission’s session with Mr. Creech-Jones scheduled for the following day would in all probability be of value to the Commission in shaping the Report.
RELATIONS WITH THE PRESS
It was brought to the Commission’s attention that a dispatch in the New York Times of the previous day based on a statement by Mr. Francisco (Philippines) was at variance with the agreed position of the Commission on the matter involved. Mr. Francisco’s statement, according to the New York Times was that a peaceful settlement in Palestine should be attempted even if that meant altering the timetable of the implementation of the resolution.
The CHAIRMAN noted that this was a very important question which should he discussed by the Commission as early as possible, but that discussion of it would be postponed until Mr. Francisco was present. He asked Mr. Roxas (Philippines), Observer for Mr. Francisco, to convey to the latter that the question had been raised and would be dealt with at the first opportunity when Mr. Francisco was present.
SECRETARIAT ADVANCE PARTY
The SECRETARY stated that the Secretary-General had informed the press that the Secretariat advance party, consisting of six people, would be leaving for Palestine at the end of the week and that he had given the press the names of five of the six persons.
The CHAIRMAN noted that although the advance party was the responsibility of the Secretariat, the Commission was entitled to expect that the duties of the advance party would be those given it by the Commission in the approved check list. The Secretary reassured him in this regard.
The meeting rose at 4.20 p.m.