SUMMARY RECORD OF THE ONE HUNDRED AND NINETY-FOURTH MEETING
held in New York on 17 November 1950 at 3.30 p.m.
Exchange of views on the draft resolution of sponsored by the delegations of France, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States
Mr. PALMER (United States) said that the draft resolution was now before the Commission was not necessarily in the final form in which it would be presented to the Ad Hoc Political Committee.
The members of the Commission felt that the draft resolution was, on the whole, quite a satisfactory one. Mr. de BOISANGER (France) suggested that the sub-paragraph which directed the Conciliation Commission “to continue its consultations with the parties concerned regarding measures for the protection of the rights, property and interests of the refugees” was unnecessary and redundant, in view of the other provisions of the draft resolution.
All the members of the Commission were agreed that it would be preferable for the sponsoring delegations to present the draft resolution to the Ad Hoc Committee immediately without entering into further discussions with other delegations.
Mr. PALMER (United States) remarked that it was in an attempt to produce a balanced resolution that the sponsoring delegations were holding extensive discussions with other delegations. He felt, however, that a point could be reached beyond which no further advantage could be gained from continuing such discussions before the presentation of the resolution.
The CHAIRMAN stated that he was advising his delegation that it would be desirable to present the draft resolution as soon as possible. It could then be amended in the light of any suggestions which might be brought up in debate in the Ad Hoc Committee.
Mr. PALMER (United States) wished to draw the Commission’s attention to an extract from the statement made by Mr. Eban, the representative of Israel, to the Ad Hoc Political Committee on 7 November 1950. In referring to Israel readiness to co-operate on the question of compensation (a readiness which the Commission was glad to note), Mr. Eban had said: “We accept the principle that any funds which Israel may agree to defray for compensation be credited to the integration fund instead of being displaced in individual payments”.
Mr. Palmer pointed out that this statement appeared to imply that the principle of payments made by Israel being credited to an integration fund, instead of to the individuals entitled to compensation, had been put forward by one of the United Nations bodies — which was not the case. He wondered whether it would be wise to allow this statement to go unchallenged, as it might give rise to misunderstandings in the future.
He felt that it was very important that any payments made by Israel on account of compensation should be clearly earmarked by refugees who were entitled to compensation.
The CHAIRMAN pointed out that the implication of the 11 December resolution was that compensation should be paid individually, and therefore the suggestion of paying a lump sum into an integration fund was contrary to the sense of that resolution.
Mr. PALMER (United States) held that the method of payment of compensation was a matter for study and recommendation by the Committee of Experts on Compensation. The Commission had an obligation to protect the individual refugees who were entitled to receive compensation. That obligation involved a dual responsibility: that of preventing wastage of a small sum by individual refugees, and that of preventing the money paid as compensation from becoming mixed up with the fund for the resettlement of refugees in general.
The CHAIRMAN agreed that it was important that the work of the Committee of Experts on Compensation should not be prejudiced in advance.
Mr. de BOISANGER (France) did not feel that the statement made by the representative of Israel to the Ad Hoc Committee could be taken as other than an expression of the opinion of the Israel Government. He wondered whether it might not be unwise for the Commission at the present time to take any step which might lead to a debate in the Ad Hoc Committee on the subject of compensation — a discussion which would inevitably be long drawn-out.
It was clear that the Government of Israel should pay compensation on the basis of the rightful claims of each individual. As regards the way in which the payments would be used, that question was no concern of the Government of Israel but would be decided by the Commission in accordance with the best interests of the refugees.
Mr. de Boisanger thought that the Commission should instruct the Committee of Experts on Compensation to study two main problems: firstly, the basis on which compensation should be paid (methods of evaluation, payment etc.); and secondly, the utilization of the sums obtained (payments to individuals, etc.). The views of the Governments concerned on those questions could be obtained by the Committee.
The possibility was envisaged by Mr. PALMER (United States) that when a call was made to member nations for contributions to the integration fund for Palestine refugees, a sum would be offered to that fund by the Government of Israel, with the proviso that it be considered as apart payment of compensation.
If such a situation should arise, the members of the Commission considered it important that Israel’s contribution should be protected for use only by those refugees who were entitled to compensation, otherwise there was a danger of legal complications arising in connexion with individual claims for compensation.
It was agreed' that the matter was one which could be settled by discussion between the Commission and UNRWA, on the basis of the recommendations of the Committee on Compensation and the opinions of the Governments concerned.
At the suggestion of the Principal Secretary, it was decided that this question should be placed on the agenda for the Commission’s first meeting with UNRWA on its return to the Middle East.
Committee of Experts on Compensation
The CHAIRMAN proposed that a representative of Israel and a representative of the Arab countries should be requested to assist the Committee of Experts on Compensation in its work, in the capacity of consultants. He felt that his arrangement would enable the Committee to keep in close touch with the points of view of the Governments concerned and consequently to at realistic results.
Mr. de BOISANGER (France) and Mr. PALMER (United States) felt that it might be preferable for the Commission not to take any advance decision but to leave the Committee on Compensation to decide whether it wished to request the assistance of consultants. This was agreed.
Statement to be made by the Chairman to the Ad Hoc Committee
It was agreed that the statement which had been approved by the Commission at its 193rd Meeting would be read by the Chairman at the next meeting of the Ad Hoc Committee on point (c) of the Palestine question.
Blocked Accounts: report by the Principal Secretary
The PRINCIPAL SECRETARY reported that the arrangements for meetings between Jordan and Israel experts on the question of blocked accounts had reached an impasse. He recalled that the Finance Minister of Jordan, after agreeing to nominate experts to discuss technical arrangements for unfreezing blocked accounts, had found it necessary to refer the decision to the Jordan Cabinet for further confirmation. The Cabinet had decided against designating representatives to take part in the proposed meetings until the Israel Government agreed to fix a date for reimbursement. The Commission’s economic advisor was keeping in close touch with the Jordan Government, but it seemed that the Cabinet’s decision closed the door on the progress which the Commission had hoped would be achieved towards the release of a part of the blocked refugee accounts.
In reply to a question from Mr. PALMER (United States), the PRINCIPAL SECRETARY stated that Suleiman Pasha had suggested to Mr. Servoise that he try to secure the support of the Foreign Minister. In the opinion of the economic adviser, the present political background was unfavourable to any step which might be interpreted as a move towards an agreement, and the proposed meetings were unfortunately linked with the general political situation.
The Commission regretted that difficulties had arisen in the way of carrying out the proposed plan for releasing blocked accounts, which would have contributed much to ease the plight of refugees in Jordan.
The Principal Secretary was requested to instruct Mr. Servoise to keep in touch with the authorities concerned with the question.
It was agreed that on its return to Jerusalem the Commission would consider what further action should be taken in connexion with blocked accounts.
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Echange de vues sur le projet de résolution présenté par les délégations des Etats-Unis, de la France, des Royaume-Uni et de la Turquie - 194e séance de la CCNUP (New York) - Compte Rendu Français