OF THE UNITED NATIONS PALESTINE COMMISSION
Lake Success, New York
Thursday, 29 January 1948, at 3.00 p.m.
CONCLUSION OF THE SECOND READING OF THE FIRST MONTHLY REPORT TO THE SECURITY COUNCIL
The CHAIRMAN called the attention of the Commission to the revised new Section 13 - Security considerations – of the first monthly report to the Security Council.
Section 13 was adopted with a minor drafting change.
The first monthly report to the Security Council as a whole was approved.
The SECRETARY stated that the report would be brought out in document form for submission to the Security Council.
CONSIDERATION OF VIEWS PRESENTED BY THE REPRESENTATIVE OF THE JEWISH AGENCY AT THE TWENTY-THIRD MEETING ON 27 JANUARY 1948
At the CHAIRMAN’S request, the SECRETARY read a summary of proposals for the armed militia of the Jewish State in Palestine, prepared by the Secretariat from a Memorandum on establishment of Armed Militia for the Jewish State submitted by the Jewish Agency for Palestine.
The CHAIRMAN pointed out that paragraphs l and 2 of the summary required a decision on principles.
The view was expressed that, as it was the duty of the Commission, under the resolution of the General Assembly, to establish Provisional Councils of Government after consultation with democratic parties and other public organizations, it was necessary to clarify the basis of the Commission’s relations with the Jewish Agency for Palestine. It was necessary for the Commission to deal with a body representing the Jews in Palestine; that body should be determined after contact with the Jews in Palestine had been established, either through the Jewish Agency or directly. The actual formation of a militia in the Jewish State should be discussed with the Provisional Council of Government, or with some authorized preparatory body. It was, however, highly desirable that preliminary steps should be taken to equip forces already existing in Palestine to prepare them to carry on defence. Such forces might become the nucleus of the future militia. Steps in that direction should be taken in consultation with the Jews in Palestine and with the Mandatory Power.
The CHAIRMAN stated that the Jewish Agency could be considered as trustee for the future Provisional Council of Government of the Jewish State. There was no essential difference between his view on the subject and the view that had just been expressed. The Commission should assist the Jewish Agency to equip a local defence force, and should request the Mandatory Power to permit the Mishmar system of defence to become general in the Jewish area of Palestine.
In reply to a question, he observed that the Hagana was a centrally organized force with a high command, and that its members received regular military training; it could not be considered as consisting of small scattered groups. The chief difficulty in the way of transforming it into a regular militia would be removed if the Mandatory Power were to recognize it as not illegal.
While a militia could not be formed until a Provisional Council of Government had been established, preliminary preparations could and should be made.
It was stated that it would be beneficial for the Jewish State, and incidentally would be appreciated by the Mandatory Power, if the Commission could prevail upon the Jewish Agency to undertake the liquidation of the terrorist Irgun organization. It was a matter in which the Commission might discreetly take the initiative.
The CHAIRMAN observed that the Jewish Agency at present was hardly able to cope with the problem, which, he agreed, was an important one. Once a regular militia existed, the Provisional Council of Government would be responsible for suppressing terrorist acts.
As regards preparatory work for the organization of a Jewish militia, he suggested that common sense dictated that it should begin at once. The Commission could inform the Arab Higher Committee of its action and offer to do for the Arabs in Palestine what it was doing for the Jews in the preparatory work, the Commission could use the services of the Jewish Agency without conferring upon if any authority greater than that which it already possessed:
The Chairman’s suggestions were accepted by the Commission.
It was decided that paragraph 2 of the summary, in its present wording, could not be accepted by the Commission.
It was agreed that any discussion of paragraphs 3 and 4 would be premature.
The CHAIRMAN remarked, with reference to paragraph 5, that not only “general political and military control” over the militia, but the choice of its high command was the responsibility of the Commission. Any liaison between the Commission and the militia would therefore be in the nature of relations between a superior and a subordinate body:
It was agreed that paragraph 6 was acceptable to the Commission.
The CHAIRMAN, speaking with reference to paragraph 6, stated that it was necessary that training and recruitment should begin before the termination of the Mandate; for that, the consent of the Mandatory Power was required, He appointed Mr. Francisco (Philippines) to enter into negotiations on the subject with the representative of the Mandatory Power. A member of the Secretariat would be seconded to assist hit in that task.
With reference to paragraph 7, the CHAIRMAN inquired whether a list of potential military advisers could be made available.
The SECRETARY replied that a list of persons who had indicated a desire to serve as military advisers to the Commission could be made available. Some of those persons however; might not be willing to serve directly under the Jewish Agency.
The opinion was expressed that paragraph 7 should not be accepted. The Jewish Agency could hire military its own military advisers; assistance by the Commission in that enterprise would be unwise.
It was suggested that the Jewish Agency might be asked for a detailed plan.
Paragraph 7 was not accepted. It this decided to ask the Jewish Agency for more detailed views on the matter.
The CHAIRMAN pointed out that sub-paragraph (a) of paragraph 8 had been considered previously in a different context. Sub-paragraph (b) had been drafted on the assumpation that there would be no international armed [Missing].
With regard to subparagraph (b), it was decided that the Commission, in discussions with the Mandatory Power, should ask only for permission to train and equip forces before the termination of the Mandate. Those forces could not however, begin a function until that time.
It was pointed out that sub-paragraph (c) of paragraph 8 was in effect a development of paragraph 6, which had been accepted.
The CHAIRMAN stated that the subject dealt with in paragraph 9 was of considerable importance. It might be advisable to ask the Jewish Agency to explain in what manner the Commission was requested to assist in the procurement of arms and equipment for the militia.
With regard to paragraph 10, he suggested that the Jewish Agency might be advised to approach the various Governments concerned individually.
The SECRETARY remarked that the Security Council could, at most, appeal to States under the terms of the General Assembly’s resolution, to implement that resolution by permitting shipments of arms to those supporting it.
Mr. VIGIER (Senior Political Adviser) stated that, once the Provisional Council of Government in the Jewish State had been formed, the Commission could ask the Security Council to declare that the Provisional Council of Government was entitled to purchase arms under the Commission’s control.
The CHAIRMAN requested the Secretariat to supply a list of States which had placed an embargo on the sale of military equipment to Palestine. Paragraph 10 of the summary could be reconsidered when they list was ready.
With reference to sub-paragraph (a) of paragraph 11, he remarked that the Mandatory Power had already detected such a suggestion. That sub-paragraph, therefore, could not b accepted.
Sub-paragraph (b) of paragraph 11 was accepted by the Commission after being amended to include both arms and equipment.
The CHAIRMAN stated, with reference to sub-paragraph (c), that Mr. Francisco, in his conversations with the representative of the Mandatory Power, should determine the exact nature of the Trans-Jordan Frontier Force. If it was a unit of the British army, its equipment would remain the property of the Mandatory Power.
With regard to sub-paragraph (d) of paragraph 11, it was suggested that the question should be put to the Mandatory Power in connection with discussions concerning other property of that Power.
In the course of the discussion the CHAIRMAN observed that the Mandatory Power had already stated that it would not assist implementation of the General Assembly’s resolution, inasmuch as that resolution had not been accepted by both parties concerned.
The Chairman then called attention to the fact that in paragraph 12, the word “maintenance” should be deleted. It was only the formation of the militia, that is to say, its initial equipment, that called for financial investments beyond the capacity of the Jewish resources.
There was general agreement that of the four possibilities presented in paragraph 12, only the one outlined in sub-paragraph (d) deserved serious consideration.
The opinion was expressed that if the Commission were to obtain the promise of a loan to be made when the Jewish State had been formed, that promise might serve as a guarantee, under which the Jewish Agency for Palestine might be able to obtain a loan immediately.
The CHAIRMAN agreed with that opinion. In reply to the statement that the various proposals of the Jewish Agency were subject to modification if an international force was organized, he stated that, even in that case, a militia would still be required.
The recommendation contained in sub-paragraph (d) of paragraph 12 was accepted by the Commission.
RELATIONS WITH THE PRESS
Mr. BARNES (Public Relations Adviser) suggested that the Commission, now that it had reached the action stage of its work, might divulge to the Press the decisions taken during the meeting.
The CHAIRMAN replied that Mr. Barnes might inform the Press that the Commission considered it necessary to make arrangements for the organization of a militia at the earliest possible date, without waiting for the termination of the Mandate, and had decided to begin negotiations on the subject with the Mandatory Power, through the offices of Mr. Francisco, the Philippine representative. The Commission had accepted the offer of assistance made by the Jewish Agency for Palestine, and wished to emphasize the fact that it was ready to make similar arrangements for the Arabs in Palestine. The Commission had also discussed the procurement of loan facilities for the Jewish State, and stood ready to consider similar facilities for the Arab State.
CONSIDERATION OF TIMES OF FUTURE MEETINGS
On a formal motion, it was decided that future meetings of the Commission would be held from 2.00 to 6.00 p.m.
TRANSFER OF ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS FROM CYPRUS TO PALESTINE
The CHAIRMAN appointed Mr. Morgan (Panama) to negotiate with the representative of the Mandatory Power concerning the transfer of illegal immigrants from Cyprus to Palestine. A member of the Secretariat would be seconded to assist him in that task.
The meeting rose at 5.40 p.m.