SUMMARY RECORD OF THE 58TH MEETING
Lake Success, New York
Monday, 29 March 1948, at 3.00 p.m.
CONSIDERATION OF PROPOSAL REGARDING CONSIGNMENT OF WHEAT FOR PALESTINE
The CHAIRMAN brought to the Commission’s attention a copy of a telegram received by Mr. Hoofien from Mr. Horowitz in Tel Aviv regarding the food supply in Palestine and the readiness of the Palestine Government to finance eighty per cent of the value of the foodstuffs to be supplied during the period from 15 May to 15 July.
Mr. REEDMAN (Senior Economic Adviser) informed the Commission that he had been in touch with Mr. Fletcher-Cooke on the matter and was informed by him that he had no knowledge of the above decision of the Palestine Government, but would ask for confirmation and transmit it to the Commission in due course. Mr. Fletcher-Cooke pointed out that this decision might be connected with his letter to Mr. Bunche of 25 March 1948 (Informal Paper UK/86) which referred to the statement of the Jewish Agency regarding certain steps that it would be prepared to take in food procurement.
Mr. Reedman told the Commission that he had been informed by Mr. Litvak, representative of the Palestinian Modern Flour Mills, that he could obtain in the United States and through the firm Cargill, Inc. a supply of 10,000 tons of wheat for Palestine. Mr. Reedman pointed out that two steps would be needed before the transaction could go through: first, an import license would be required from the Palestine Administration and, secondly, an export license would have to be granted by the United States authorities. On this latter point, Mr. Reedman observed that certain difficulties might arise regarding an export license, since the United States as a member of the International Emergency Food Council was bound by its conditions relating to allocations. Mr. Reedman transmitted to the Commission Mr. Litvak’s request that the Commission assist in obtaining these licenses.
He explained to the Commission that the representative of the Modern Flour Mills of Palestine had informed him that the Jewish Agency and other Jewish groups in this country were prepared to finance this transaction and proposed the formation of a syndicate of millers in Palestine through whom the flour would be distributed pro rata. Mr. Reedman pointed out that the price of $3.50 per bushel, C.I.F. Tel Aviv, was based on the standing export price, but was much more expensive than Australian wheat procured through the United Kingdom.
Mr. Reedman outlined the difficulties that arose in the negotiations with the International Emergency Food Council as follows: The International Emergency Food Council might not agree to have this amount of wheat offset against the allocation for the second half of the current year unless it was shipped after the expiration of the present allocation period on 30 June. This would create a great shortage in Palestine for about two weeks after that date, owing to the time lag in shipping and to the lack of stocks. There was a possibility of persuading the International Emergency Food Council to consider these ten thousand tons of United States wheat as an additional amount to be offset against the allocation of the next half year. Also, the International Emergency Food Council required import licenses to be issued by a recognized authority. Mr. Reedman informed the Commission that these conclusions had been arrived at as a result of conversations between Mr. Singer (Economic Adviser) and the Assistant Director-General of the International Emergency Food Council.
Mr. Reedman proposed to the Commission that Mr. Singer be sent to Washington to contact the International Emergency Food Council and ascertain what supplies, in addition to the regular allocation, could be made available.
In answer to questions by the Chairman, Mr. REEDMAN stated that this flour would be exclusively for Jewish use unless the Commission insisted that it be used for the rest of the community as well. Mr. Litvak, he pointed out, was a private business man and the Jewish Agency was prepared to finance the transaction if it did go through.
In summing up, the CHAIRMAN pointed out that all the Commission was called upon to do was to assist in obtaining the licenses from the United Kingdom and the United States authorities, that it should be understood that this amount was to be part of the quota of the second half year allocation, and that they are over and above the regular allocation for the first half year.
Mr. REEDMAN (Senior Economic Adviser) confirmed the Chairman’s statement, expressed the opinion that obtaining an import license from the United Kingdom authorities would present no difficulty, and also suggested that the proposed import of wheat into Palestine should be supported by the Commission only if it were additional to the quantity that it was hoped to obtain through the United Kingdom to complete the International Emergency Food Council allocation to 30 June.
CONSIDERATION OF COMMUNICATIONS RECEIVED BY THE COMMISSION
The CHAIRMAN communicated to the Commission the contents of seven identical telegrams sent to him from Richmond Hill, all expressing appreciation that the Commission was applying itself to the task set forth in the Assembly resolution. The Chairman also read the contents of a communication from Mr. Monderer to the Commission.
CONSIDERATION OF THE DRAFT REPLY TO THE COMMUNICATION RECEIVED FROM THE JEWISH AGENCY CONCERNING THE ESTABLISHMENT AND COMPOSITION OF THE PROVISIONAL COUNCIL OF GOVERNMENT FOR THE PROPOSED JEWISH STATE (Informal Paper JA/35)
The CHAIRMAN called the attention of the Commission to the letter of Mr. Shertok dated 25 March concerning the establishment and composition of the Provisional Council of Government for the proposed Jewish State (Informal Paper JA/35), as well as to a communication by Mr. Shertok dated 24 March giving the text of a statement adopted by the Jewish Agency and the National Council of Jews of Palestine (Vaad Leumi) and communicated to the Security Council on 24 March (Informal Paper JA/34).
The Commission decided to make a detailed reply to Mr. Shertok’s letter of 25 March. As regards the communication by Mr. Shertok of 24 March, the Commission decided to acknowledge its receipt and at the same time to enclose a copy of the Commission’s reply to Mr. Shertok’s letter of 25 March.
Mr. MEDINA (Bolivia) proposed to adjourn the meeting for half an hour in order to enable Members to consult informally on the reply to be given to Mr. Shertok’s letter of 25 March.
There being no objection, the meeting adjourned at 3.40 p.m. and resumed at 4.30 p.m.
The SECRETARY proceeded to read the draft reply paragraph by paragraph. With regard to paragraph 1, the question of the authority of the Security Council to give instructions to the Commission which were not in accordance with the General Assembly resolution, was raised. After referring to the relevant paragraphs of the General Assembly resolution (paragraphs 2 and 14, B of Part I) it was decided to insert a direct quotation of the above points of the General Assembly resolution in paragraph 1 of the draft reply and to qualify the statement regarding the instructions of the Security Council by the words “that it may consider necessary to issue”. Paragraph 1 was then adopted as amended.
Paragraph 2 was adopted after the word “Jewish” was inserted to qualify the term “public organizations in Palestine”.
It was suggested that the last sentence of sub-paragraph a of paragraph 3 be deleted, since the reference made in it to the preceding article of the General Assembly resolution was considered to be irrelevant and only to limit the freedom of the Commission to recognize the Provisional Councils of Government from wherever it may be.
In answer to a request for elucidation of the question as to whether the Commission has to be in Palestine to supervise the Provisional Councils of Government, the Secretary referred to the memorandum of the Jewish Agency of 26 December 1947 which recognized the attitude adapted.
In the last sentence of paragraph 3 of the draft reply under consideration, that is, that the Commission can only carry out its functions of supervising the activity of the Provisional Council of Government when actually in Palestine. The Secretary made it clear that this referred only to the carrying out of the functions of the Provisional Councils of Government and not to their selection; and suggested that the following be added to the last sentence of sub-paragraph a of paragraph 3: “and it is a reasonable conclusion that the Plan envisaged the Commission’s arrival in Palestine as a necessary condition to the active functioning of the Provisional Councils of Government”. Sub-paragraph a of paragraph 3 was adopted as amended to include the full textual quotation of the article of the resolution referred to in the draft reply.
Sub-paragraph b of paragraph 3 (previously paragraph 4) was adopted with minor drafting changes after discussion in which the question of the authority of the Commission to direct and control the Provisional Councils of Government before 15 May and before its arrival in Palestine, was raised. It wa pointed out that the Commission could not delegate authority that it did not possess, owing to the attitude of non-co-operation adopted by the Mandatory Power.
In answer to a request for clarification of the difference between the inability of the Provisional Councils of Government to function and the possibility of their being selected by the Commission, the CHAIRMAN stated that the Commission would proceed with the negotiations for the selection of the Provisional Council of Government for the Jewish State for eventual assumption of function after the, end of the Mandate.
Paragraph 4 (previously paragraph 5) was adopted after minor drafting changes. In reply to a suggestion that the whole question of the Arab State in Palestine and that alone be submitted to the Security Council, the CHAIRMAN reaffirmed the determination of the Commission to take all possible steps for the implementation of the General Assembly resolution.
In regard to the question raised by the statements in paragraphs 5 and 6 of the draft reply (previously paragraphs 6 and 7) regarding, on the one hand, the duty of the Commission to report to the Security Council about the Provisional Councils of Government after 1 April,. and, on the other, the question of the assumption of functions by the Provisional Councils of Government before the termination of the Mandate, it was observed: that the Commission could not report to the Security Council that the Provisional Councils of Government could not function before it had in fact selected them; that the main concern of the Commission was to select the Provisional Councils of Government and then to report their inability to function to the Security Council and to the Secretary-General of the United Nations. It was pointed out that it was in fact possible for the Commission to select the Provisional Council of Government for the Jewish State before 1 April and to report its inability to select the one for the Arab State to the Security Council. The danger of the Commission’s being attacked on legal grounds if it did not select the Provisional Councils of Government before reporting their inability to function, was stressed. The opinion was expressed that the Provisional Council of Government for the Jewish State, once established, would derive its power not from the Commission but from the General Assembly resolution, and could take steps to avoid the chaos that would arise in Palestine, should the Commission be unable to assume such authority before 15 May.
In answer to the attitude expressed above, it was stated that the Commission had already reported to the Security Council that it had taken preliminary steps for the selection of the Provisional Council of Government for the Jewish State, but that it would be unable to function owing to the expressed policy of the Mandatory Power to preserve undivided authority in Palestine until the surrender of the Mandate; that it was apparent that the resolution of the General Assembly had not envisaged the opposition of the Mandatory Power and therefore had not provided for such an eventuality; that the Commission could not imply in its answer to Mr. Shertok that it would establish the Provisional Councils of Government on its own responsibility after 15 May if it could not control them; and that, according to the resolution, the Provisional Councils of Government received their authority progressively from the Commission, and therefore could not exercise it before the Commission itself exercised governmental authority in Palestine.
It was therefore agreed to amend the last sentence of paragraph 6 of the draft reply to read as follows: “that the Provisional Councils of Government, acting under the Commission, can exercise no authority before the date of the termination of the Mandate”.
In paragraph 5 the word “selected” was deleted; the phrase “if it had not already done so” was inserted in the last sentence but one to qualify the statement regarding the need to report to the Security Council, and other minor amendments were agreed upon.
The draft reply to the letter from Mr. Shertok to Mr. Lisicky was adopted in its entirety as amended.
The meeting rose at 6.25 p.m.