SUMMARY RECORD OF THE FIFTY-THIRD MEETING
held in Lausanne, on Friday, 26 August 1949, at 10:30 a.m.
Mr. BENOIST stated that it was the opinion of his delegation that the introduction of the Committee's Third Progress Report did not contain a sufficiently full account of the Committee’s views on the more delicate aspects connected with the proposals for an international regime for the Jerusalem area. He therefore read to the Committee a statement which his delegation wished to be added to the introduction. The statement read as follows:
“The Committee considers nevertheless that when the Instrument establishing a permanent international regime for Jerusalem is made public and possibly discussed by the General Assembly of the United Nations during its fourth session, the following dilemma will arise: if the plan were to be adopted as a basis for discussion, the State of Israel and the Arab States might consider such adoption as tacit recognition of the territorial situation existing at present with regard to Judea; and if, on the other hand, the Instrument were not discussed, the State of Israel and the Arab States would have reason to believe that the Assembly thereby implicitly abandoned the proposal to establish an international regime for Jerusalem and they might thereupon contemplate proceeding to a division of the Holy City between themselves. The Committee considers that the solution of such a dilemma is not within its competence.
“The Committee believes moreover that it should emphasize the fact that, in view of the superposition and juxtaposition of the various local and international authorities established by the instrument in the Jerusalem area, that Instrument, even if it were adopted by a considerable majority in the General Assembly, would only be valid if it Were then solemnly agreed to by the State of Israel and by the Arab States”;
Mr. ERALP thought that the solution of such a dilemma was indeed not within the competence of the Committee. He did not consider therefore that it would serve any useful purpose to include such a statement.
The CHAIRMAN agreed that the statement contained a contradiction in terms, and that it would not be desirable to add any such remarks to the introduction. Although he fully appreciated the motives on which the French suggestions had been based, he thought that to accept such suggestions would make the Committee’s position appear inconsistent.
Mr. BENOIST did not think the arguments brought forward were conclusive. He considered that since the Committee had been called upon to make a specialised study of the Jerusalem problem, it was the Committee’s responsibility to include a full account of its views in its report and even to state certain matters more frankly than perhaps the Commission itself was able to do. He believed it would be preferable for the Committee to state in its report that such a problem fell beyond its competence than that the Commission be obliged to do so in a covering letter to the Secretary-General of the United Nations when transmitting the Third Progress Report.
The CHAIRMAN pointed out, however, that the Commission would in any event be obliged to take such a decision and that any mention to that effect by the Committee in the report under discussion would not relieve the Commission of that responsibility.
It had always been his understanding that any action to be taken by the Commission in connection with the proposals for the Jerusalem area, the Third Progress Report and the Commission’s responsibilities to the General Assembly, could not be decided upon as yet but would have to be determined at some future date, taking into account further developments in the Palestine problem as a whole. To include such an expression of views would not, therefore, have the results envisaged by the French delegation, nor was it for the Committee to decide that those considerations should be stated.
He could not moreover agree with the French belief that the report as it now stood without such an expression of views would prejudice any .decisions which the Committee would be called upon to take in, the future. The Commission was fully aware of the situation as described in the French statement. Furthermore there was no disagreement at present within the Committee as to the basic facts contained therein It was rather a question of procedure as to whether they should be set forth in the .
Mr. ERALP called the French representative’s attention to the fact that the Committee on Jerusalem was a purely technical committee which had been requested. to prepare a workable draft for an international regime for the Jerusalem area. It was not called upon to make any political comment, except where directly relevant to the articles concerned. The introduction did, in fact, contain no views of a political nature, but merely gave an account of the way in which the Committee had proceeded with its work.
Mr. BENOIST replied that he had no choice but to withdraw his suggestion for inclusion of the statement as a whole. He proposed however that the Committee consider including in the introduction the second paragraph only.
The CHAIRMAN thought it would be highly undesirable to lay stress on any doubts the Committee might entertain as to the practicability of implementing its proposals. To follow such a course might even prejudice acceptance of the plan by the parties concerned. In any case, the Committee had always based its work on the assumption that the General Assembly had complete authority to enforce a plan for an international regime for Jerusalem.
Mr. ERALP thought it would however be useful if some reference were added in the introduction to the fact that the Committee had always sought the cooperation of both parties. Such a reference had been made in the final paragraph of the Second Progress Report, but since the Third Progress Report might be consulted independently in the future as a final report, it might perhaps be advisable to include some mention of that previous statement at the end of the introduction.
Mr. BENOIST acquainted the Committee with the contents of a letter received by the head of his delegation from the French Foreign Minister to the effect that although the French Government much regretted the fact that the idea of a corpus separatum had been abandoned, it was nevertheless ready to give its support to the proposals prepared by the Committee on Jerusalem with the reservation’s set forth in the statement which was at present before the Committee. The French Foreign Minister had further stated that it would be preferable for the Committee’s proposals to be considered for the present as a draft and not in any way binding upon the French Government.
In view of those instructions, Mr. Benoist felt that, if the Committee could not agree to accept inclusion of the second paragraph of the French statement in the introduction, he would be obliged to request that it appear as an annex to the report, with a covering statement to the effect that the French delegation had accorded the proposals for an international regime for Jerusalem its full approval, but nevertheless wished the statement to be included.
He fully realised that to have recourse to such a procedure would be regrettable since the Committee had achieved unanimity in every other respect of the report. Although it did not insist on the exact form which had been suggested, his delegation considered this commentary to be essential to the Instrument.
In response to further remarks by the Chairman who pointed out that the considerations mentioned were equally important to the United States delegation but that they should be discussed by the representatives on the Commission itself, although the Committee would of course agree to the addition of an annex if the French representative maintained his stand, Mr. Benoist agreed to consult his delegation further on the subject.
Examination of revised draft to Comments On Article 11 of Instrument as contained in the Third Progress Report.
The Committee approved the revised draft to the comment on Article 11 with a few minor drafting amendments.
Consideration of amendments to Part C of Third Progress Report (Revised Draft Declaration concerning Holy Places, religious buildings and sites outside the Jerusalem area submitted by the French representative) (Continued).
The Committee agreed to a suggestion by the French representative to amend sub-paragraph 3 of the preamble to read as follows: “SOLEMNLY UNDERTAKES by the present declaration to guarantee the protection of and free access to the Holy Places, religious buildings and sites of Palestine situated in the territory placed under its authority by the final settlement of the Palestine problem or, pending that settlement, in the territory at present occupied by it under the armistice agreements in accordance with the following provisions:”
The Committee agreed to delete the words “or with the examination of individual cases or with preventive security measures” at the end of paragraph 4 and to substitute the following: “police measures, or with the examination of individual requests for access to Holy Places”.
The Committee agreed to substitute “Article2” for Article’s 2, 3 and 4”.
The Committee agreed to redraft the second paragraph to read as follows: “The Government of…..undertakes, to cooperate fully with the United Nations Commissioner or Representative in Jerusalem, to give him all necessary assistance, and to grant him the immunities and privileges necessary for the free and full performance of his functions”.
After discussion, the Committee agreed to amend paragraph 8 to read as follows: “Disputes regarding the interpretation and implementation of the present declaration may be submitted either by the Government of…..or by the United Nations Commissioner in Jerusalem to the International Tribunal set up by the Instrument establishing a permanent international regime for the Jerusalem area. The decisions of the International Tribunal shall be binding on the parties
“Pending the establishment of the International Tribunal in Jerusalem, such disputes may be reported by the Government of ...... or by the United Nations Representative in Jerusalem to the Secretary-General of the United Nations for reference to the appropriate organ of the United Nations”.
The Committee therefore adopted the revised draft declaration submitted by the French delegation, with several further minor drafting amendments.
Document in PDF format