SUMMARY RECORD OF THE TWO HUNDRED AND TWENTY-NINTH MEETING
held in the Hotel de Crillon, Paris, on Thursday,
6 September 1951, at 4 p.m.
1. Reply from the Egyptian Government to the Commission’s invitation (AR/48; AR/50)
The CHAIRMAN communicated to the members of the Commission copy of the telegram dated 5 September which he, as Chairman, had sent in acknowledgment of the reply from the Egyptian Foreign Minister. The Commission approved the acknowledgment.
In reply to a question from Mr. Marchal (France) concerning the reference in the Egyptian reply to a conversation in Cairo on 14 April 1950, the PRINCIPAL SECRETARY gave a summary of the statements made on that occasion by the Egyptian .Foreign Ministerx, speaking on behalf of the four Arab States concerned, to the Chairman (Mr. de Boisanger) following the Commission’s proposal for the setting up of mixed committees to study particular problems.
Mr. ARAS (Turkey) pointed out that the Arab States had agreed in April 1950 to send representatives to sit in mixed committees, solely for the purpose of discussing means of implementing the principle of the return of the refugees to their homes. At that time they had made that specific and limiting condition.
2. Arrangements for the opening of the conference and schedule for subsequent schedule for subsequent meeting
The CHAIRMAN explained his ideas as to how the first contacts with the delegations should be arranged. The first official meetings with the Arab delegations and with the Israel delegation should take place on the same day — one in the morning and one in the afternoon — after which there should be at least one day without meetings. He suggested that before the first official meetings, at which he would read the Chairman’s opening statement, he might invite all the members of the delegations to a reception — or, if necessary, to separate receptions — at his apartment. He felt that if the first contacts between the Commission and the delegations were to take place on a pleasantly informal basis, as would be the case at a reception, the cordial atmosphere which they wished to establish for the conference would be more easily obtained.
Mr. ARAS (Turkey) suggested that after the first day, when there would be two official meetings, there should not be more than one meeting with delegations on any one day. He also felt that the Commission might find it useful, after the first official contacts, to arrange its meetings with each Arab delegation separately. He feared that if the Commission were always to meet with the Arab delegations collectively, the discussions would perforce remain much too general. There might be certain questions which the Arab delegations could discuss more easily in separate meetings. However, the attitude adopted on that point by the Arab delegations themselves would naturally influence the Commission’s decision.
After a brief discussion there was general agreement that a decision [MISSED WORD] point should be postponed so that the Commission could take into account the experience of the first days of the conference and the views of the Arab delegations.
It was pointed out that possibly all the representatives of the governments concerned might not have arrived in Paris by 10 September, even though their governments might have accepted the invitation, in which event it would be necessary to postpone the opening date of the conference.
The Commission agreed to leave the Chairman to decide on the opening date after consultation with the other members of the Commission and after informal contacts with the delegations of the governments concerned.
3. Draft opening statement by the Chairman
The CHAIRMAN submitted to the Commission a draft of the statement to be read by him at the first meetings with the delegations. Although the statement did not set forth the proposals themselves, it did give a general indication of the Commission’s intentions and for that reason would require the full approval of all three governments represented on the Commission. He therefore suggested that an early meeting should be fixed to discuss any modifications of substance or of phraseology which the members might wish to put forward,
4. Arrangements for official communication of the report of the Refugee Office and consideration of the future activities of the Office
The CHAIRMAN proposed that the Commission should now consider the instructions to be given to the Refugee Office after the Head of the Office had officially presented his report. He felt that it would be of great assistance to the Commission if the members of the Office were to carry out studies on various questions which might be discussed in the course of the forthcoming conference. He had drafted a suggested programme of work, consisting of the following subjects: (i) the legal aspects and historical background of the question of war damages; (ii) historical precedents and conventions for regulating the rights of riparian State’s (e.g. the Aras, Danube and Rhine Rivers); (iii) the determination of the ability of a State to pay off compensation claims or other debts (e.g. the Dawes Plan); (iv) the legal and economic implications of repatriation of refugees by categories, and historical precedents for such repatriation.
He felt that Geneva would be a suitable place for the members of the Office to work on those studies, in view of the excellent research facilities available there. It would, of course, be possible for the Commission to call upon any individual member of the Office to come to Paris for consultation on a specific subject.
Mr. ARAS (Turkey), pointed out that the question of repatriation had probably already been covered in the Office’s report.
It was therefore agreed that the Commission should request the Head of the Office, after completing his report, to carry out studios on the first three subjects mentioned by the Chairman, and that the study concerning repatriation would be deferred for the time being.
As the Head of the Office was to arrive in Paris that evening, a meeting was fixed for the following morning for the official communication of the report of the Refugee Office.
5. Liaison with UNRWA
The CHAIRMAN informed the members of the Commission that the Director of the Relief and Works Agency had appointed Mr. Fabre as his liaison officer with the Commission during the Paris meetings. Mr. Fabre had asked for an interview with the Chairman, to raise certain points on which Mr. Blandford had requested clarification. An informal talk had therefore taken place between Mr. Fabre and himself the previous afternoon in the Principal Secretary’s office. Mr. de Azcarate, Mr. Barco and — for the latter part of the conversation only — Mr. Aras had also been present.
Mr. Fabre had stated, on behalf of the Director of UNRWA, that insofar as the members of the Agency might be able to facilitate the Commission’s discussions in Paris, they would be most willing to do so.
A conversation had taken place concerning the respective jurisdiction of the Conciliation Commission and the Relief and Works Agency, and concerning the relationship between compensation and reintegration.
Finally, Mr. Fabre had pointed out that the question of the civil rights of the refugees should not be emphasized during the first stage of the reintegration operations, as UNRWA feared that long and useless discussions with the governments concerned would result. It was felt that the economic aspect should have priority and that the question of civil rights could be taken up after the economic side of reintegration had been satisfactorily settled.
The Chairman said that Mr. Fabre was staying in Paris and would maintain close liaison with the Principal Secretary.
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Conférence de Paris; Rapport de 1’Office pour les Réfugiés; Liaison avec UNRWA, - 229e séance de CCNUP – Compte rendu Français