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General Assembly

15 January 1948


Lake Success, New York,
Thursday, 15 January 1948, at 11.00 a.m.

Chairman:Mr. LISICKY(Czechoslovakia)
Members:Mr. Medina(Bolivia)
Mr. Federspiel(Denmark)
Mr. Morgan (Panama)
Mr. Francisco(Philippines)
Mr. Bunche(Secretary)

1. Time of Meeting

It was agreed that meetings should commence not later than fifteen minutes after the appointed time if a quorum should be present, taking into account that Members had found it difficult, due to transportation difficulties to reach Lake Success at the scheduled hour.

2. Relations with the Press

The Commission discussed briefly the reports which had appeared in some of the New York newspapers on the statement made at the sixth meeting of the Commission by Sir Alexander Cadogan. Members were assured that no leakages had occurred either from Members themselves or from the Secretariat.

It was agreed that the Secretariat should issue a short statement on behalf of the Commission, explaining the Commission’s policy concerning certain matters discussed during closed meetings. The statement ead as follows:

“With regard to the policy of the Commission in keeping in strictest confidence some of the information made available to it in the course of its meetings it may be stated that this policy has been decided upon solely in view of the gravity of the present situation, in Palestine, because of which some of the information received does involve the safety of a considerable number of people there.”

3. General Discussion on the Statement made by Sir Alexander Cadogan at the Sixth Meeting with a View to the Preparation of a List of Questions to be put to Him.

The Commission decided to discuss first the question of immigration and the opening of a seaport and its hinterland in the Jewish State to provide facilities for immigration, on the basis of the statement made by Sir Alexander Cadogan and the provisions of the General Assembly’s Resolution, paragraph 2, Section A of Part I, (document A/516).

In this connection the Chairman drew the attention of the Members to the Working Paper on Control of Immigration (document A/AC.21/W.7) and to Part II of the draft list of questions to be put to the representative of the United Kingdom, prepared by the Secretariat.

Mr. MORGAN (Panama) asked whether or not the Provisional Council of Government of the Jewish State which, by the terms of paragraph 4, Section B of Part I of the General Assembly’s Resolution, was to be established and functioning under the general direction of the Commission by 1 April 1948, would not be competent to deal with the question of immigration.

The CHAIRMAN replied that the Provisional Council of Government would not have any areas under its control by that date, as the present position of the Mandatory Power was that it alone would be responsible for administration until the exact date of the termination of the Mandate. This was a different position from the earlier one expressed during the initial discussions in the Partition Sub-Committee of the Ad Hoc Committee on Palestine when it was assumed from a statement made by the United Kingdom representative that the Mandatory Power would gradually relinquish the administration of Palestine to the Commission. He thought the United Kingdom representative should be asked by the Commission to explain and justify this change of policy. He was also of the opinion that the suggestion made by Sir Alexander Cadogan that the Commission should enter Palestine only two weeks before the termination of the Mandate did not allow the Commission sufficient time in that country to prepare or the assumption of its duties and that this question also should be taken up with the representative of the Mandatory Power.

After an exchange of views on the interpretation of the provisions of sub-paragraphs 2 and 3 of paragraph 2, Section A of Part I of the General Assembly’s Resolution it was unanimously agreed that it was the responsibility and duty of the Commission to ask the representative of the Mandatory Power for an authoritative statement as to its intentions in the matter, it being the general consensus of opinion nevertheless, that as the Mandatory Power was lawfully responsible for the administration and the maintenance of law and order in Palestine until the termination of the Mandate, the Mandatory Power was not legally bound to open up a seaport in the Jewish State before 1 February 1948 if it found it difficult to do so.

It was agreed however, to defer the final decision as to what position the Commission should take if the Mandatory Power replied that it had exerted its best endeavours to ensure the opening of the seaport in accordance with the provisions of the General Assembly’s Resolution but due to the present conditions in Palestine was unable to do so, until further information on the matter had been received from the United Kingdom representative.

The Commission then turned to consideration of the suggested questions on immigration to be put to the United Kingdom representative in Part II of the Secretariat draft list.

Draft question. 1 was approved.

Draft question 2 was amended to read: What are the plans of the Mandatory Power with regard to the recommendation in paragraph 2, Section A of Part I of the General Assembly’s resolution which reads as follows: “The Mandatory Power shall use its best endeavours to ensure that an area situated in the territory of the Jewish State, including a seaport and hinterland adequate to provide facilities for a substantial immigration, shall be evacuated at the earliest possible date and in any event not later than 1 February 1948.”

Draft question 3 was deleted.

The meeting rose at 1.15 p.m.

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