Lake Success, New York,
Wednesday, 21 January 1948, at 3.00 p.m.
CONSULTATIONS WITH SIR ALEXANDER CADOGAN, REPRESENTATIVE OF THE GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED KINGDOM
Sir Alexander Cadogan, together with his two assistants, Mr. J. Fletcher-Cooke and Mr. Trafford Smith, were invited by the Chairman to take seats at the table. Sir Alexander Cadogan’s statement, the questions put by Members on points arising from his statement, and the answers by Sir Alexander Cadogan and Mr. Fletcher-Cooke are reproduced in extenso as follows:
The CHAIRMAN: I understand that Sir Alexander Cadogan, representative of the United Kingdom, is in a position today to give us the answers of his Government with respect to the question concerning immigration, and that he will also be in a position to indicate to us a number of problems which, in the opinion of His Majesty’s Government, should be handled jointly by the Commission and the Mandatory Power.
Perhaps we can start with the questions concerning the immigration problem, in accordance with the list which was sent to Sir Alexander Cadogan some days ago.
Sir Alexander CADOGAN (United Kingdom): I am ready to give the’ answers to the four questions which the Commission put to my delegation.
The first question was:
What are the plans of the Mandatory Power regarding immigration prior to the termination of the Mandate and particularly with respect to the present quota of 1,500 Jewish immigrants per month?
The answer to that question is that it is my Government’s intention to maintain its present policy in regard to Jewish immigration into Palestine, under which 1,500 Jews are admitted monthly, until the termination of the Mandatory Administration.
Shall I answer all of the questions first?
The CHAIRMAN: No. Perhaps, should ask the Members if they have any comment or any supplementary questions.
Mr. MORGAN (Panama): It might be more convenient to hear the four replies and then we could continue with the discussion.
The CHAIRMAN: Each way has its advantages and disadvantages. As Mr. Morgan has expressed a wish, we shall go through the four questions and then continue with discussion on the whole matter.
Sir Alexander CADOGAN (United Kingdom): The second question, the Commission will remember is:
What are the plans of the Mandatory Power with regard to the recommendation in paragraph A.2 of Part I of the Assembly’s resolution which reads as follows:
The third question reads:
Would ships carrying unauthorized Jewish immigrants be prevented from going to Tel Aviv and landing there in the period between February 1948 and the termination of the Mandate?
The answer is, yes, in accordance with my Government’s decision that the existing immigration policy is to be maintained until the termination of the Mandate.
The fourth question is:
Does the Mandatory Power intend to transfer all Jewish immigrants presently detained in Cyprus to Palestine? If so, when and under what conditions? (Within the existing quota or otherwise? If within the quota, in what proportions?).
The answer is: His Majesty’s Government have already announced that they cannot permit Jewish illegal immigrants to remain on British territory after the withdrawal of their forces from Palestine.
The arrangements for the removal of the illegal immigrants held in Cyprus are among the responsibilities which have hitherto fallen on the Government of Palestine and form one of the subjects on which my delegation is instructed to negotiate with the Commission.
My Government will be willing to release from detention the ships PAN YORK and PAN CRESCENT for the purposes of their removal, concerning which the Commission may wish to negotiate with the Jewish Agency; that is to say, in regard to the use of the ships.
The CHAIRMAN: Are these two ships at present sequestered by His Majesty’s Government?
Sir Alexander CADOGAN (United Kingdom): We would release them for the purpose of removal, if that would help the arrangements.
The CHAIRMAN: We have now heard the answers to all the four questions as they were put to the representative of His Majesty’s Government.
I should like to know whether there are any comments from members of the Commission, or whether they wish to ask any supplementary questions or ask for a further explanation on the position as stated.
Mr. MEDINA (Bolivia): In connection with question four, will the Mandatory Power allow the Jews in Cyprus to remain in British territory after the withdrawal of troops, or after the termination of the Mandate?
Sir Alexander CADOGAN (United Kingdom): After the withdrawal of troops.
Mr. MEDINA (Bolivia): That means 1 August?
Sir Alexander CADOGAN (United Kingdom): Yes, 1 August.
The CHAIRMAN: This means that the Commission has until 1 August to settle this.
Sir Alexander CADOGAN (United Kingdom): That is so.
Perhaps I might add one point in amplification of my answer to the first question. Of the 1,500 quota, 750 immigration certificates a month are devoted to the illegal immigrants at present in Cyprus.
The CHAIRMAN: This means that it is a continuation of the arrangements as they have hitherto been practised?
Sir Alexander CADOGAN (United Kingdom): Yes.
Mr. FRANCISCO (Philippines): This delegation has no questions to propound?
Mr. FEDERSPIEL (Denmark): I should like to ask one question in connection with question two. May the Commission understand your answer in this way: that the Mandatory Power, at the present time; and in view of the conditions in Palestine, would not be able to use its best endeavours in the interest of the people of Palestine, to provide these facilities for immigration?
Sir Alexander CADOGAN (United. Kingdom): I think the position is that we cannot contemplate a larger flow of immigrants than takes place at present under the quota, and therefore we cannot allow facilities for increasing that.
Mr. FEDERSPIEL (Denmark): May we understand that that is in view of the situation as it is in Palestine at the moment?
Sir Alexander CADOGAN (United Kingdom): I am not quite sure that understand the question.
Mr. FEDERSPIEL (Denmark): May we understand that an increased immigration as contemplated by the United Nations resolution would materially deteriorate conditions in Palestine as they are at the present time?
The CHAIRMAN: “I think your answer to question two means that His Majesty’s Government has thoroughly studied the question and as a result of that study has come to the conclusion which you have just communicated to us?
The CHAIRMAN: They use their best endeavours, but as a result of the study they were, unhappily, not able to comply with this recommendation?
Sir Alexander CADOGAN (United Kingdom): Yes, that is so.
I have received that information in the source of the last thirty-six hours, in reply to a direct question put to them.
The CHAIRMAN: Perhaps it would be interesting to you to know how the matter was placed before us by the representative of the Jewish Agency, when he was heard by the Commission. If it will interest you, perhaps the Secretary will read a passage from Mr. Shertok’s speech.
The SECRETARY: In this connection, Mr. Shertok said the following:
“All this depends on whether the very clear recommendation of the United Nations will be implemented. If it is implemented, if there is a certainty implementing it, then people can wait and we are strengthened in our efforts in advising and counselling people not to take the law into their own hands, not to start on this hazardous voyage, but to wait for their turn and then come in properly and legitimately. If we have no such certainty, if we merely give very vague promises with regard to the indefinite future, then the effectiveness of our warnings and of our admonitions must be very heavily discounted. I am putting the position before you exactly as it is. The country is very tensely awaiting what will happen on 1 February. The country, Jews and Arabs alike, regard this as a crucial test. It so happens that this is the first date; there is a series of dates. There is a date of 1 February; there is a date of 15 May now operating; there is a date of 1 August, and I think there is a date of 1 October. I believe I have mentioned all the dates. It just happens that the immigration date is the earliest of the dates. Therefore, not merely on account of immigration, which is a burning issue in itself, but because that is the first date it has particular importance, crucial importance, critical importance attached to it. It will either be honoured or it will not. Both the Jews and the Arabs from converse points of view will regard this as a test of the seriousness of the United Nations decision, as an earnest indication of good faith, whether it will be implemented or not. A great deal will depend on that.
“I should say there will be a direct nexus, for instance, between undesirable forms of Jewish retaliation and immigration. If there is immigration people will say: ‘Well, we have achieved something; now we can take many blows calmly without reacting. If this is not to come we have been left in the lurch and let down by the United Nations. Therefore, let us take the law into our own hands.’ With regard to the Arabs it will also have a profound psychological effect as to the seriousness of the decision and as to the futility of trying to oppose it by force if this is done. If it is not done, it will be a tremendous encouragement to those who say that by force they can do anything. They will say, ‘Here I have shot and bombed and burned, and the United Nations has taken the hint. There is no immigration on 1 February.’”
The CHAIRMAN: I thought it would be interesting for Sir Alexander Cadogan to know in what way the Jewish Agency has put this problem before us and how they, from their point of view, envisage it.
In this connection, perhaps I may state that Mr. Shertok told us that you prefer not to handle them directly but, through the Commission. I just thought that this was the first sample of this indirect handling through us.
Sir Alexander CADOGAN (United Kingdom): It is interesting to hear that eloquent passage from Mr. Shertok’s remarks. I would only make one comment, and that is that this date, 1 February, is the first date, undoubtedly, that has to be mentioned. It is on rather a different basis from the other dates. Mr. Shertok seems to have tried to impress upon you that considerable doubt will be cast on the ability of the United Nations to deal with this matter, if they fall down over the first date.
But after all, all that the United Nations did was to express the hope “that the Mandatory Power will use its best endeavours to ensure that an area…” Well, we have gone into the matter carefully. It was only a recommendation to us, really. We have gone into the matter carefully and I have already informed the Commission that my Government is unable to do that, and I have given you broadly the reason. Therefore, I hope that, however much you may regret the decision of my Government, it will not impair the authority or the belief in the efficiency of the United Nations.
It is rather outside their power.
The CHAIRMAN: Perhaps I should add the information that we have discussed this matter in the Commission, with respect to our situation, and we practically arrived at the same conclusion, that it is a matter for the Mandatory Power, and that nothing is provided for our Commission, in the recommendation, in the way of intervening, if the “best endeavours” which your Government was asked to use, have had much a conclusion.
Mr. FEDERSPIEL (Denmark): I think, for this reason, that it might be useful, particularly in view of any publication to be made of these answers, that the reasons should be given, as fully as possible, why the implementation of this request is impossible at the moment.
Sir Alexander CADOGAN (United Kingdom): It is mainly the security reason. We felt that if there was an uncontrolled influx of immigrants now, during the period while we still retain the Mandate, it would very largely increase the difficulties and might endanger security to a considerable extent.
Also, it is not asking the Jews to wait very long before our control of immigrants will be removed altogether. We only ask that during that really comparatively short period the situation should not be jeopardized by uncontrolled influx.
The CHAIRMAN: Perhaps it would be useful, in the common interest, to explain the position of His Majesty’s Government rather extensively, because we are concerned with it and we must include this matter in our first report to the Security Council.
It would be useful if we could put into our report, in an extended form, the reasons for the decision of your Government.
Sir Alexander CADOGAN (United Kingdom): Perhaps I con ask for a draft text for that, stating our views.
The CHAIRMAN: Yes. It would not be included as the views of the Commission but as the views of your Government.
Mr. MORGAN (Panama): I should like to ask Sir Alexander whether this Commission may take it as understood that the reply given is a definite reply, with regard to the impossibility of the Government of the United Kingdom to cooperate with this Commission in carrying out the resolution of the General Assembly in connection with the opening of this seaport on the date mentioned.
Also, I wish to ask if this, in effect, implicates the same impossibility to co-operate in the progressive establishment of the Provisional Councils, by 1 August.
Sir Alexander CADOGAN (United Kingdom): I have already stated the position of my Government in regard to question two, and in commenting on Mr. Shertok’s remarks, I also observed that this recommendation about the port was on rather a different footing; it was not a ruling by the General Assembly. The General Assembly asked us to consider The General Assembly resolution stated that “the Mandatory Power shall use its best endeavours to ensure that an area...”
We have given the most favourable consideration possible to that, and we have arrived at the conclusion that we cannot agree to that during the period from the beginning of February until 15 May. That does not mean that we shall not co-operate to the best of our endeavours in carrying out the Commission’s tasks and we certainly shall wish to put no obstacles or hindrances in their way.
The CHAIRMAN: I think, Mr. Morgan, that the answer of Sir Alexander Cadogan contains all the elements about which you asked.
We may now see plainly all the elements of the situation and this particular case of the behaviour of His Majesty’s Government with regard to their co-operation with our Commission cannot be applied to other matters.
I think we may consider as exhausted the part of our consultation which deals with the answers to questions on immigration. I understand that Sir Alexander wished to make a general statement to us concerning the security situation in Palestine just now.
Sir Alexander CADOGAN (United Kingdom): I could certainly do that if the Commission wished me to. I have a statement here which I am afraid is not quite in the form in which I would like it. I hope it would not be trespassing on your time if you let me read it. You will no doubt have a verbatim record of it.
This statement is with regard to the security position, the actual position up to 18 January. In regard to casualties, the following figures deal with the period from 30 November 1947 to 18 January 1948.
The CHAIRMAN: May I interrupt. “Soldiers” means soldiers of the Arab Legion Frontier Force?
Sir Alexander CADOGAN (United Kingdom): Yes, Arab Legion.
There have been no casualties aiming British Government officers but separate records have not been kept in respect of Arab and Jewish subordinate government employees.
Jewish attempts have been made to fix the blame for the present disturbances on the Palestine Administration. As a corrective to these attempts members of the Commission may wish to have the following statement of the Government on Palestine’s policy.
The Government of Palestine is anxious to allow both communities to defend themselves. As regards Jewish areas, arrangements have been made for the withdrawal of British and Arab police from the Tel Aviv-Petah Tikvah area and for the formation there of an armed Jewish “Mishmar” or Civil Guard. In Jerusalem, Haifa and elsewhere, the Jewish Agency on the suggestion of the Government of Palestine has appointed liaison officers between the Hagana and the Palestine Police. Orders were also given during the first week of January that there was to be no search for arms for a month except where there was conclusive evidence that arms had been misused or were likely to be misused, e.g. in attack. It has been made clear to the Jewish Agency that the Government of Palestine will do nothing to obstruct the Hagana so long as the latter act in a purely defensive role but the Government of Palestine is faced with the practical difficulty that in spite of these representations the Hagana continue to carry out outrageous attacks on Arab villages and buildings. The latest instance of this was the blowing up of the Semiramis Hotel by the Hagana. The Hagana are in no sense a disciplined force and incidents are continually occurring in which their members provoke attack.
The National Military Organization and Stern groups are either completely out of control or (as the Arabs believe) are secretly countenanced. In recent exploits by these groups in Haifa and Jaffa they have killed thirty Arabs and wounded some 120 and they continue vigorously to attack the police and army. The Jewish community appears to be still unwilling to heed the warnings so often given by the Administration over the past two years that unless these terrorists are traced and handed over to the police they will not only make any chance of peace impossible, but will also end by destroying the Jewish community itself. But for these outrages; which the Arabs are as incapable of preventing as the Government of Palestine has been in the past, it might be possible to restore the situation to one in which each side would be content with defence fertile time being.
On the Arab side, it is similarly the Policy of the Government of Palestine to assist in the establishment of civil guard forces in the form of municipal and local police in towns and villages. The Jaffa municipal force is now being increased to 300 and it is hoped to recognize similar bodies in the Arab areas of Jerusalem and Haifa where there are responsible Arab elements anxious to give their services purely for the protection of life and property. It is virtually certain that some, at least, of the provocation shown on the Arab side, is offered by lawless and irresponsible elements from outside Palestine who are not amenable to influence or discipline exercised by Palestinian Arabs.
In present circumstances the Jewish story that the Arabs are the attackers and the Jews the attacked is not tenable. The Arabs are determined to show that they will not submit tamely to the United Nations Plan of Partition; while the Jews are trying to consolidate the advantages gained at the General Assembly by a succession of drastic operations designed to intimidate and cure the Arabs of any desire for further conflict. Elements on each side are thus engaged in attacking or in taking reprisals indistinguishable from attacks, but the Jews are evidently determined to cover their aggression by criticisms of the Government for failing to allow them to maintain order or conditions in which implementation of the United Nations Plan is possible. A recent instance of their own lack of discipline occurred in the Imbhmar area of Tel Aviv, from which British force has been withdrawn, when the Jewish Deputy Superintendent of Police was promptly shot by a Jewish constable. The fact is that but for the efforts of the security force over the past month, the two communities would by now have been fully engaged internecine slaughter. The Government of Palestine fear that strife in Palestine will be greatly intensified when the Mandate is terminated and that the international status of the United Nations Commission will mean little or nothing to the Arabs in Palestine, to whom the killing of Jews now transcends all other considerations. Thus, the Commission will be faced with the problem of how to avert certain bloodshed on a very much wider scale than prevails at present.
Publicity has been given to the situation prevailing in the Old City of Jerusalem, and His Majesty’s Government and the Government of Palestine have been accused, inter alia, of allowing the Arabs to blockade the Old City of Jerusalem and to isolate some 1,800 Jewish inhabitants and to starve them out. The Commission will no doubt welcome the following account of how the situation in the Old City of Jerusalem has developed and how it has been dealt with.
The facts are that on 13 December, bombs were thrown into Arab crowds immediately outside the Damascus Gate of the Old City by Jews passing in motor cars. In the explosions which followed seven Arabs were killed and fifty-four injured. These casualties included women and children. As a result of this outrage, credit for which was later claimed by the Igun Zvei Leumi, the Arabs set up road blocks outside the Old City to check the identity of passers-by. These road blocks were cleared away by security forces. On 29 December, the Irgun Zvei Leumi carried out an exactly similar indiscriminate bomb attack at the Damascus Gate, killing eleven and wounding thirty-two Arabs, many of whom were women and children. Two British policemen were also killed in or as a result of this outrage. The Arab immediately re-established their road blocks at all entrances to the Old City. These blocks were recognized by the Government as a reasonable measure of self-defence on the part of the Arabs having regard to the indiscriminate outrages carried by the Irgun Zvei Leumi, but arrangements were made for British police to be attached to them in a supervisory capacity. Ordinary traffic of the Jews in and out of the Old City was, however, brought to an end and this led to an immediate reaction on the part of the Jews, who asserted that 1,800 members of their community inside the Old City were besieged, starved, and about to be massacred.
Throughout the whole period, however, there has been adequate military force within the Old City to protect the Jews and although sniping has taken place on both sides, there has been no question of a general attack by the Arabs. Food has been taken in to the Jews whenever required by strong military convoys and allegations that they have been starving are baseless.
Arrangements have now been made for bona fide Jewish residents or close relatives of residents, who were caught outside the Old City when Arab defence measures were taken, to be admitted under army protection contrary to the allegation that the British are standing idly by; it can be said that but for the intervention of the security authorities. Jews in the Old City would probably have suffered severely in life and property. In fact their total casualties have been two killed and three injured. Far from attempting to help in restoring the situation to normal, the Jewish authorities have resolutely refused to consider requests to withdraw the Hagana and even to remove dissident terrorists, whose aggressive activities have succeeded in preserving an atmosphere of tension and have been largely responsible for whatever sniping has taken place; Jews perpetrated a further bomb massacre at the Jaffa Gate on 7 January when seventeen were killed and thirty-six injured; they have attempted to smuggle unauthorized persons in with the army convoys, and they have, of course, continued their campaign of vilification and abuse against the Government of Palestine.
Negotiations have been in progress with the object of inducing Heads of religious communities concerned to issue an appeal to their respective followers for peace in the Old City. The general situation is now easier and there is reason to hope that such an appeal, if it is made, will have a moderating effect, provided there is no further provocation by either side.
It is considered desirable to emphasize the following points:
(b) Jewish dissidents are still attacking-British army and police personnel.
(c) As regards the Hagana, the provocative, ruthless and aggressive character of its reprisals policy must be stressed and for this reason alone (apart from others) it could not be recognized by the Government of Palestine as a legal defence force. Moreover, it is difficult to see how this body could ever become a national militia for the Jewish State unless that State contemplates racial discrimination so as to exclude its four hundred thousand Arabs from participation in the Security forces of the State.
(d) The Arab Higher Committee in Palestine has been endeavouring to curb Arab violence and is co-operating with the Government of Palestine to this end. It is, however, reported that Palestinian Arabs are now returning after completion of their training in Syria, and the police who engaged a large party of Arabs attacking Jews at Shafr Amr report that its discipline and tactics were far in advance of anything yet encountered.
(e) In the Tel Aviv-Petah Tikvah area from which, as stated above, British and Arab police have already been withdrawn, the Mishear force which the Jewish Agency undertook to establish early in December is still not in being; the Arab municipal police force in Jaffa is working well. The following is a list of the more important incidents reported during the past few days. These are situation reports:
The situation was quieter in the Hebron area. There were many incidents in Haifa, including attacks on both and Jewish buses. Nothing further was reported from the Syrian frontier area. In Nablus, armed Arabs entered the Ottoman Bunk and stole 140 pounds. A Jewish convoy was attacked by Arabs near Beersheba and the engagement was terminated by military and police intervention.
Casualties in these incidents were as follows:
2. 16 January:
On 17 January, police and military visited the area and found the bodies of thirty-five Jews between Surif and Belt Natif; clothing had been removed from the bodies; there were signs of shrapnel, bullet, and dagger wounds. Unconfirmed reports state that seven Arabs were killed and eight wounded.
(b) An Arab house was blown up in Haifa resulting in the death of two adults and seven children and the wounding of three adults and three children.
(c) In other incidents, the following casualties occurred:
3. 17 and 18 January:
According to an unconfirmed report, one other Jew was killed.
(c) In other incidents, the following casualties were reported:
4. 19 January:
(a) During the afternoon of 18 January, unknown persons in unknown circumstances stole thirty-eight rifles, one sub-machine gun with fourteen magazines and five pistols from the Armoury, Police Force Training Centre, Jerusalem.
(b) At noon on 19 January, a bomb was thrown-and Bren gun fire directed at Arabs from a Jewish truck passing through Sarafand El Amr village. Three Arabs were killed shortly afterwards a truck believed to be the one used in this attack was found near Sarafand Camp. The vehicle had been burnt out and bore bullet holes. No trace of the occupants was found.
(c) During the 18-19 January, shots were fired at the Jewish colony of Shear Yashuf near the Syrian frontier. In the morning the body of an Arab believed killed by rifle fire found on colony lands.
(d) In the early hours of 19 January, the Arab village of Tamra near Acre was attacked by approximately 200 Jews with grenades and rifle fire. The following casualties were inflicted on the Arab villagers:
(f) In other incidents, casualties were:
I apologize for taking up the time of the Commission in reading this report, but as I said, I am afraid it is not in a condition in which I could hand it in, in writing, but perhaps your verbatim report will serve your purpose.
This will give you an idea. It is a summary report of the reports which I get, and this brings it nearly up-to-date. If the Commission wishes, I could in the future communicate reports to you.
The CHAIRMAN: I wish to ask you if we could get these reports regularly.
Sir Alexander CADOGAN (United Kingdom): We could give the reports to you two or three times a weekly or daily if you wish.
We shall endeavour to send them in to you, in writing daily. That will keep the Commission up-to-date.
The CHAIRMAN: Are there any questions with respect to the statement have just heard?
Mr. FRANCISCO (Philippines): On the basis of your statement regarding security, is it safe to conclude that there is a breach of peace in Palestine.
Sir Alexander CADOGAN (United Kingdom): Well, you are asking me to decide on a definition, which I think I am not competent to do. I can only give the facts.
Mr. FRANCISCO (Philippines): I have another question. In conflicts between Arabs and Jews, do they use planes, cannons, and mortars?
Sir Alexander CADOGAN (United Kingdom): Not that I know of. I am told there have been reports of use of mortars.
The CHAIRMAN: In this connection, may I add that I was rather puzzled when I heard in the report that traces of shrapnel were found in the corpses of Jews who were ambushed by the Arabs at the Surif quarter. This means that shrapnel comes from artillery.
Sir Alexander CADOGAN (United Kingdom): I do not know what that means. It might be fragments from grenades, or it might be fragments from shells fired out of mortars, but I am told there are reports of mortars having been used. Possibly it is the Arabs who disposed of a certain number of mortars.
The CHAIRMAN: Not the Jews?
Sir Alexander CADOGAN (United Kingdom): I do not think we have had any reports that lead to that conclusion.
The CHAIRMAN: It seems to me that there was something in the newspapers that there is even manufacture of mortars by Jews in Palestine. I read it somewhere.
Sir Alexander CADOGAN (United Kingdom): I am told that searches for arms in Jewish quarters have revealed mortars, but we have not found any proof that they have been used.
Mr. FRANCISCO (Philippines): Do they also use planes?
Sir Alexander CADOGAN (United Kingdom): No, we have had no report of that at all.
The CHAIRMAN: What about the news that there was a Jewish plane which came into some skirmish with the Government reconnaissance plane?
Mr. FLETCHER-COOKE (United Kingdom): The Jews have a Flying Club, with a small number of light planes and reports have been received that these planes have been used to drop messages and supplies to outlying settlements, but there is no evidence of which I am aware to suggest that they are armed in any way.
The CHAIRMAN: The newspapers stated that the Jewish planes shot at the Government planes, but it was not confirmed.
Your information is-that-these planes are not armed and are used only for peaceful purpose?
Mr. FLETCHER-COOKE (United Kingdom): They may be dropping ammunition to these outlying settlements, but no evidence has come to my notice that they are actually armed.
Mr. MORGAN (Panama): There is something that I would like to ask. I should like to ask if these terrorists, to which reference has been made, exist in places that are occupied by the Arabs but where some Jews are also to be found living, because as I understand it, the Palestine Government is using in its police force some members of the Hagana.
Mr. FLETCHER-COOKE (United Kingdom): I do not think it is correct to say that the Palestine Police Force is using members of the Hagana in the security forces.
The only reports that we have as to liaison between the two forces are those referred to in this statement.
The CHAIRMAN: I must confess that I was a little puzzled by this, because the situation seems to be rather two-fold. On the one side the Hagana is not recognized, and is still considered generally, if not illegal, at least not as a recognized military organization; on the other hand, we learn that there are liaison officers from the Palestine Government to Hagana.
Mr. FLETCHER-COOKE (United Kingdom): That is the position.
The CHAIRMAN: That means that it is a matter to be puzzled about.
Mr. FLETCHER-COOKE (United Kingdom): Yes.
Mr. MORGAN (Panama): I wonder if the Commission could know if there are any cities where the Hagana force acts as a militia force, that is to say, that they have in their care the handling of law and order in any Jewish city.
The CHAIRMAN: You mean, Mr. Morgan, exclusively, or in addition to the force of Palestine?
Mr. MORGAN (Panama): Additionally.
Mr. FLETCHER-COOKE (United Kingdom): Mr. Chairman, at no part of Palestine is the Hagana, as you have said, recognized as part of the security forces.
The only Jewish force having some recognition by the Government for the purpose of preserving law and order, is the Mishmar, to which reference has already been made and which, as was already stated, has not actually come into being, although the Government has given its general approval for this small force of about four or five hundred to operate solely in the Jewish area of Tel Aviv and Petah-Tikvah.
The CHAIRMAN: What is the difference between this Mishmar group and the Hagana? The Mishmar men are recruited from Hagana are members?
Mr. FLETCHER-COOKE (United Kingdom): I do not think the Government of Palestine is exactly aware as to who is a member of the Mishmar. The Jewish Agency has undertaken to accept recruits for Mishmar but, as I say, it has not come into being. It may well be that members who have previously received training in Hagana would be accepted in Mishmar.
The CHAIRMAN: It is a sort of additional police force?
Mr. FLETCHER-COOKE (United Kingdom): A sort of municipal police force.
The CHAIRMAN: Who is charged with arming them? The Palestine police?
Mr. FLETCHER-COOKE (United Kingdom): No. The Government of Palestine has declined to give arms for the arming of the Mishmar because they are aware, and in fact the Jewish Agency has admitted it, that they have sufficient arms of their own to provide them with arms.
The CHAIRMAN: So that the situation is that for the Mishmar, it is expressly allowed for the men to bear arms and use them under the orders of the Palestinian police force?
Mr. FLETCHER-COOKE (United Kingdom): Generally speaking, the Mishmar comes under the orders of the local Jewish Superintendent of Police in the Tel Aviv and Petak-Ttkvah area. They use the arms provided from Jewish Agency sources, and, so far as I am aware, it was certainly the intention to grant them licenses to carry arms, as they are granted to many people for use in self-defence.
The CHAIRMAN: To whom is this local Jewish policeman subordinate?
Mr. FLETCHER-COOKE (United Kingdom): He is ultimately responsible to the British Inspector General of the Palestine Police.
Mr. MORGAN (Panama): I should like to ask whether the greater part of the force which is maintaining law and order is to be found on the frontiers, on the rural zones, or in the urban cities?
Mr. FLETCHER-COOKE (United Kingdom): I am afraid I cannot answer a question as to the actual disposition of the security forces, but I should have said they are widespread, both in rural and in urban districts.
Mr. MORGAN (Panama): I should like to ask whether these terrorist movements are carried out simultaneously or in a sporadic form.
Mr. FLETCHER-COOKE (United Kingdom): I think the only way of answering that question is to say that during the past few years these terrorist outrages have occurred almost constantly. We are not in a position to say whether they form part of a plan by the directing authority.
Mr. FEDERSPIEL (Denmark): I understand that the Mishmar is what we call in our working papers temporary, additional police. But how does that fit in with what, in these documents, is called the Palestine Special Constables, of which we have somewhere about 13,000 or 14,000?
Are they armed, or are they merely patrolling?
Mr. FLETCHER-COOKE (United. Kingdom): Every policeman whether a special policeman or otherwise, is armed in Palestine.
Mr. FEDERSPIEL (Denmark): Also the special constables?
Mr. FLETCHER-COOKE (United Kingdom): Yes. Also the special constables.
Mr. MORGAN (Panama): In these forces, which we might pay are made up of international elements, have any conflicts been reported between say an Arab policeman and a Jewish policeman?
The CHAIRMAN: You mean the Palestinian Police Force, the force composed of British, Jews, and Arabs?
Mr. MORGAN (Panama): That is right.
Mr. FLETCHER-COOKE (United Kingdom): I am aware of no such incidents.
The CHAIRMAN: Even during this last period?
Mr. FLETCHER-COOKE (United Kingdom): I must make it clear. For example, during certain of these terrorist outrages, where either Jews or Arabs have blown up certain buildings, policemen of the other race have certainly been killed, but I am not aware of, we will say, a Jewish constable having been shot by an Arab policeman, or vice versa.
Mr. FEDERSPIEL (Denmark): I understood before that you think this special constabulary of five hundred men, or whatever it was, would not be armed, but I would call your attention to a remark made by Mr. Shertok the other day when he said: “In addition, the Jewish Agency has been given permission to recruit a force of 500 men as guard, to be armed with arms to be provided by the Jewish Agency for which arms the British authority is issuing licenses now. We tried to insist that the arms be issued from British Government armouries, but we failed to obtain that. The British said ‘As you have arms, you should provide your own arms’ There was even an argument. I request this matter not be published.”
FLETCHER-COOKE (United Kingdom): That is a fair statement of the position. I think the initiative came from the Jewish Agency. They asked if they might start this organization, the Mishmar. They asked if arms could be provided by the security forces, to which the answer was: as they already had arms, the security forces were not prepared to provide them, but that a limited number of licensee to carry arms would be provided.
Reference has been made to the question of publicity. I think the reason why no publicity was given to this arrangement, was that, in the first place, it might have been misunderstood by the Arabs, and in the second place, the Government did intend to come to similar arrangement with the Arabs, but as that was likely to take some time, it was not considered desirable to make the existence, or proposed existence, of the Mishmar public before the Government had been able to make contact with the Arabs along similar lines, as indeed they now have done. There was a reference to the Jaffa Municipal Police, which in itself is an organization outside the Palestine Police but working with it in Jaffa.
The CHAIRMAN: Is there any such Municipal Police in Tel Aviv as well as in Jaffa, on the same level?
Mr. FLETCHER-COOKE (United Kingdom): Mishmar, only the Mishmar.
The CHAIRMAN: There was no Municipal Police in Tel Aviv before?
Mr. FLETCHER-COOKE (United Kingdom) No. Nor was there in Jaffa.
The CHAIRMAN: Is this a new feature?
Mr. FLETCHER-COOKE (United Kingdom): It is a completely new feature.
The CHAIRMAN: In addition to this new feature in Jaffa, there is still the Palestinian Police in Jaffa, but composed exclusively of Arab members?
Mr. FLETCHER-COOKE (United Kingdom): There may well be even some Jews in the Palestinian Police Force in Jaffa, Jews, British, and Arabs.
The CHAIRMAN: But that is not the case with the Arabs in Tel Aviv?
Mr. FLETCHER-COOKE (United Kingdom): The only Palestine Police remaining in Tel Aviv are Jews, regular members of the Palestine Police Force, from Constables up to quite senior officers.
The CHAIRMAN: As regards this Jaffa Municipal Police, by whom has this fresh force which has just been formed been armed?
Mr. FLETCHER-COOKE (United Kingdom): I suspect, though I am not absolutely certain about that, that the arms were provided by the Palestine Police Force.
The CHAIRMAN: Therefore, do you not agree that there is some discrepancy because for the Mishmar in Tel Aviv, the Jewish Agency was asked to provide the arms and for the analogous body in Jaffa the arms were provided by the Government and the Police?
Mr. FLETCHER-COOKE (United Kingdom): I can suspect that the Government had good reason to believe that the Jewish Agency had sufficient arms to arm the Mishmar and that they did not have reason to believe that the Jaffa municipality had any arms with which to arm the now Jaffa Municipal Police.
The CHAIRMAN: That means the Jaffa Municipality, but not the Arabs generally, because there is some supposition that they are armed too, in an illegal way?
The CHAIRMAN: We are talking about the Police Force and it occurred to me to ask: what is the situation now with the Arab members of the Palestinian Police Force? Are they now deserting?
Mr. FLETCHER-COOKE (United Kingdom): There have been reports of a comparatively small number of desertions. I do not think that they amount to more than perhaps thirty or forty.
The CHAIRMAN: For the, whole country?
Mr. FLETCHER-COOKE (United Kingdom); So far as I am aware. Something of that order.
Both members of the Palestine Police have been carrying out their duties loyally to the Palestine Administration.
The CHAIRMAN: I will tell you why I ask this question. We have received information that during the recent period three hundred odd Arab members of the Palestine Police have deserted, not only with the same number of rifles, but with double the amount, with 559 guns.
Mr. FLETCHER-COOKE (United Kingdom): I should like to make clear that I am not in a position to dispute that information. I merely say that I have no information on that point other than the fact that before I left Palestine I was aware that about thirty had deserted.
The CHAIRMAN: Perhaps you will be in a position to verify this and let us know.
Mr. MORGAN (Panama): I should like to know whether the police force that maintains law and order in Palestine is a provisional force or whether it is, in effect, a fully trained force which has been selected by means of examinations etcetera?
Mr. FLETCHER-COOKE (United Kingdom): The Palestine Police Force is really divided into two parts: what we call the permanent police force, and a large number -- I have not the number in my mind at the moment -- of what are known as temporary, additional constables. The main difference is that the temporary, additional constables are employed almost entirely on guard duty, whereas the Palestine Police as a whole is the regular Palestine Police
The CHAIRMAN: May I interrupt? The temporary, additional constables is a full-time job?
Mr. FLETCHER-COOKE (United Kingdom). It is a full-time job and he may have been acting as a temporary, additional constable for quite a considerable period of time, but is not considered as suitable quality to be a regular member of the police force, and he is merely restricted to carrying-out guard duties.
The CHAIRMAN: Perhaps we may be allowed to use your thorough knowledge of the matter. When we discussed the matter of police, information was provided to us by the Secretariat with regard to the division of the police force in Palestine, and there were different categories of that police force.
First, there was the district police, and then the Jewish Settlement Police, and the Temporary Additional Police, of which there are two categories, general, and railways and ports. Then we have the Palestinian Special Constables. Can you explain what the difference is between these categories?
Mr. FLETCHER.-COOKE (United Kingdom): As I understand it, the District Police are the regular Palestine Police Force posted to a particular district.
The CHAIRMAN: It is the official police force?
With regard to the Jewish Settlement Police, arrangements have been made whereby in most of these, if not all of these Jewish rural settlements, a certain number of Jewish settlement police -- all Jews, of course -- are provided with arms. I am not quite certain to what extent they are paid from Government funds, or whether there is a contribution from the Jewish Agency, but, to all intents and purposes they are regular members of the police force, although their duties are restricted to the particular settlement in which they live.
The temporary, additional constables I have already referred to are a large body of men who are primarily engaged on guard duties, and the special constables are constables who in slightly quieter circumstances are not called upon, but who if the situation warrants it are called upon to perform the most humble of police duties, controlling and guarding, rather than any technical duties connected with the detection of crime.
CHAIRMAN: May I express myself in this way? They are a kind of territorial policemen with much the same relation as the territorial force in Great Britain has with the regular army.
Mr. FLETCHER-COOKE (United Kingdom): I think the conception of a special constable is fairly widespread, and I have no reason to suppose that the functions, duties and status of a special constable in Palestine are different from those elsewhere. He is, to some extent, a part-time policeman, and may be called upon in an emergency.
CHAIRMAN: It is a kind of reserve force?
Mr. FRANCISCO (Philippines): Is there any truth in the newspaper report that arms are pouring in to the Arabs of Palestine from Syria and Trans-Jordan?
Mr. FLETCHER-COOKE:(United Kingdom): I have no information on the point and am not in a position, either to confirm or deny it.
Mr. FRANCISCO (Philippines): Is there any treaty between the British Government and some of the Arab countries, such as Syria and Trans-Jordan, for the supply of war materials?
Sir Alexander CADOGAN (United Kingdom): I am not acquainted with details of that.
Mr. Trafford SMITH (United Kingdom): There are long-standing treaties with Iraq which have been in operation during the last ten year for more for the supply of arms for the Iraqi forces, and such supplies, in accordance with this long-standing arrangement, are continuing.
CHAIRMAN: But that is an old arrangement?
Mr. Trafford SMITH. (United Kingdom): It has been in existence for ten years or more.
Mr. FRANCISCO (Philippines): And the arrangement is still in force now?
Mr. Trafford SMITH (United Kingdom): Yes.
CHAIRMAN: The same applies to Egypt?
Sir Alexander CADOGAN (United Kingdom): I am not sure about Egypt.
Mr. Trafford SMITH (United Kingdom): And Trans-Jordan.
Mr. MORGAN (Panama): Would there be any difficulty in the Commission utilizing the general services of the police which is actually now serving the Government of Palestine?
CHAIRMAN: In what respect and for what period?
Mr. FEDERSPIEL (Denmark): That is among the other questions which have been put.
Mr. MORGAN (Panama): In that case I will withdraw the question.
CHAIRMAN: We now come to the question on the matter which we discussed yesterday. Sir Alexander may be able to answer immediately or, if not; perhaps he will refer the matter to his Government for a reply. The question reads as follows: “What is the attitude of the United Kingdom Government with regard to the possibility and desirability of sending to Palestine in advance of the Commission one or more members of the Secretariat?” In this connection, the Commission has in mind the despatch from Jerusalem of the subject appearing in the New York Herald Tribune yesterday.
Sir Alexander CADOGAN (United Kingdom): I can answer the question up to a point in that I think that if the Commission desires to send certain officials there before the date of their own arrival I do not believe that we should see any difficulty. I do not know what is in your mind as to the length of time in advance of the Commission’s arrival that you contemplate for the despatch of any such officers, but I think that in general my Government would see no insuperable difficulty to the arrival in Palestine of a few officials before the actual date of the arrival of the members of the Commission themselves.
Mr. FEDERSPIEL (Denmark): I think the time envisaged was as soon as possible.
Sir Alexander CADOGAN (United Kingdom): I was about to add a reservation on that point. My Government might have no objection to any date, but I must consult them on the matter’ In Principle, however, they do not wish to oppose the despatch beforehand of Officials serving the Commission.
CHAIRMAN: Could you tell us what, in your opinion; may be the reaction on the Arab side to the coming of our Commission to Palestine?
Sir Alexander CADOGAN (United Kingdom): In general it is anticipated, I think that it would be the signal for trouble, but perhaps I may ask Mr. Fletcher-Cooke, with his local experience, to give a view as to what the result might be
Mr. FLETCHER-COOKE (United Kingdom): The view held by the Government of Palestine is that the arrival of the Commission will be the signal for widespread attacks by the Arabs both on the Jews and on the members of the Commission itself. In addition, some sixty-two per cent of the present Government staff in Palestine are Arabs, and there is reason to believe that none of these will be willing or able to serve the Commission. The Arabs have made it quite clear and have told the Palestine Government that they do not propose to co-operate or to assist the Commission, and that, far from it, they propose to attack and impede its work in every possible way. We have no reason to suppose that they do not mean what they say.
Mr. FEDERSPIEL (Denmark): The point is, would certain officials sent out by the Secretariat be identified with the arrival of the Commission itself? The two things are separate. One is the question of the Commission taking over responsibility, and the other the question of our wanting, by way of preparation, to have certain people on the spot who will not exercise any executive function, but will merely keep the Commission informed and give us detailed information for our own purposes to see how the transition period might work.
Sir Alexander CADOGAN (United Kingdom): I think that the Palestine Administration considered that one should draw a distinction between officials and actual members of the Commission, and they do not seem to he so apprehensive of the arrival of officials and have not given us the same warnings in that regard.
CHAIRMAN: May we suppose that Arab snipers could distinguish between the Secretariat staff and members of the Commission? Do they realize that there is some difference?
Sir Alexander CADOGAN (United Kingdom): I do not know. I can only tell you what the Administration of Palestine anticipate would be the effect. They may be wrong
Mr. MORGAN (Panama): Would it be possible know from what source or from what responsible organization such threats may have come.
Mr. FLETCHER-COOKE (United Kingdom): I can say that the Arab Higher Committee in Palestine saw the High Commissioner shortly after the partition decision, and gave him to believe -- although events have shown otherwise -- that the Arabs did not propose to cause any trouble until the date the Commission arrived. I should not like to go so far as to say that they specifically threatened the lives of the Commission or of any members of its staff, but they let it be clearly understood that the Arabs proposed to impede them and, if I am not mistaken, used the word “attack” when the Commission did arrive.
Mr. MORGAN (Panama): According to what I have heard, I understand that the Arabs in the service of the Government of Palestine have, up to now, carried on faithfully and have been loyal to that Government. We have also been told that in the police there have been no personal conflicts between Jews and Arabs. Now we are told that the Arabs employed in the service of the Government would not offer any co-operation to our Commission and, in fact, would offer no guarantee to the members of the Commission themselves. I should like to ask for some explanation in this connection.
Mr. FLETCHER-COOKE (United Kingdom): It seems to be first a question of fact -- namely, that the Arabs have, up till now, been co-operating loyally with the Government of Palestine and carrying out their duties. I do not know whether members of the Commission have an opportunity of seeing the local Arabic press published in Palestine, but ever since the inception of the partition plan it has been quite open about its threats to the Commission. It has also stated that no Arab will ever be allowed, even if he wishes, to continue to serve after the termination of the Mandate. The opinions -- and it is only an opinion -- that I stated a few minutes ago is that the Government of Palestine has no reason to suppose that the Arabs will be willing or, if they are willing, that they will be permitted by the Arabs as a whole, to serve the Commission.
CHAIRMAN: Personally I see no contradiction in those two statements, because the first concerns the period of the Mandatory regime, in which Arab members of the Government service were willing to serve the Administration, whereas the second concerns the post Mandate period, when it must be accepted, the Arabs will not only be unwilling to serve under the Commission, but will endeavour rather to resist its administration. Is that not the position?
Mr. MORGAN (Panama): But I understood that the statements referred to the period after the approval of the General Assembly Resolution, when things might have been expected to become a little more agitated, and that during that period these persons have in fact carried out their duties faithfully.
CHAIRMAN: Yes, but only so long as the Mandatory regime remains.
Mr. FLETCHER-COOKE (United Kingdom): The Arab employees of the Government have performed their duties satisfactorily and we resume that they will continue to do so. They have not said that they will do otherwise until the termination of the Mandate. Thereafter the position will be different.
CHAIRMAN: I should like to return to the question of sending some members of the Secretariat to Palestine prior to the arrival of the Commission. It rather surprised me that a difference was made between members of the Secretariat staff and the Commission itself. I think we should realize that members of the Secretariat have no independent existence. They really form part of the Commission as its staff and what is applicable to them should be applicable to the Commission, and vice versa. It simply means that you are making some distinction or, rather, that you think that the Arabs will.
Sir Alexander CADOGAN (United Kingdom): I think that the Chairman’s conception is probably quite correct, but we cannot be sure that the Arabs will have the same conception and we are advised from Palestine that in the opinion of the authorities there there would be a difference in the eyes of the Arabs and that the arrival of members of the Secretariat would not produce a critical situation in the same way as the arrival of the Commission itself.
CHAIRMAN: I think that in any case the Commission must consider this matter further.
I think that the time has now come, perhaps, for us to answer questions from Sir Alexander. He may remember that he promised to place before us a number of problems which he wished the Commission to consider. If he would be prepared to do that now, perhaps he would then be willing to answer any supplementary questions which members of the Commission care to put to him on the subject.
Sir Alexander CADOGAN (United Kingdom): Before we leave the other question of sending members of the Secretariat, may I ask whether the Commission have yet formed an idea of approximately when they might want to do this? If I could know this, I might consult the authorities and see what they think.
CHAIRMAN: No definite time has been decided upon, but the general idea has been to send them as early as possible.
Sir Alexander CADOGAN (United Kingdom): In reply to the invitation extended to me by the chairman a few moments ago, I want just to indicate a number of points that have occurred to us and which will have to be faced and discussed. This list to which I intend to draw attention is not exhaustive. It contains only a certain number of problems in addition to those already dealt with in the list of questions which have already been put to me. I thought, however, that it might be of use if I gave this preliminary enumeration of problems that will have to be faced.
CHAIRMAN: It is understood that our list will be sent to you.
Sir Alexander CADOGAN (United Kingdom): Yes. In the first place, there is the question of municipalities and local councils. In regard to that, I would explain that the Government of Palestine has for some time had it in mind to relax to a certain degree the control of the Central Government over the activities of the municipalities and local councils. In fact, a new post of Secretary for Local Government was created last year, and the officer appointed to this post would, but for impending constitutional chances have been entrusted with the task of elaborating a new policy covering the relationship between the Central Government and the local authorities.
In view of recent developments, it has not been found possible to pursue this policy as was originally intended, but in view of the difficulties which will face the Commission on assuming responsibility for the administration of Palestine, the Government of Palestine is of the opinion that steps should be taken to entrust as many functions as possible to local authorities during the transition period. To this end legislation is at present in the course of preparation in Palestine which it is hoped to pass before the termination of the Mandate which will have two effects: firstly, on the one hand and as a permanent measure, it will relax generally much of the Central Government’s control over the activities of local authorities, and, secondly; on the other hand, as a temporary measure and until the Commission decides otherwise, it will suspend the obligation of local authorities to refer to the Central Government certain matters which would normally require such a reference.
In brief, the intention is to relax all control of the Central Government except as regards local authorities’ borrowing powers and their powers to make by-laws. As I have just explained, although the Central Government control in these two respects will remain in theory, it will be suspended during the transitional period until and unless the Commission, by legislative means, makes it incumbent upon the local authorities once again to submit their by-laws and their proposals for borrowing money to the Central Government.
It is also proposed that, with effect from 1 April 1948; the collection and disbursement of the Urban Property Tax should be handed over to the local authorities. The proceeds of this tax, which is at present collected centrally, amount to come 700,000 pounds a year and will thus be available to the local authorities as additional funds to enable them to carry out their increased responsibilities.
In this connection, it should be pointed out that the Central Government also makes grants to local authorities for various purposes which amount to some 400,000 pounds per year, and it will be for the Commission to decide, in view of the increased responsibilities entrusted to local authorities, whether they propose to continue to make this money available to local authorities in addition to the 700,000 pounds to which reference is made above.
That is the first point to which I wish to draw the attention of the Commission. Perhaps you would like me to stop there in case any member has questions to put at this stage.
CHAIRMAN: I take it that this Urban Property Tax is a State tax and not a municipal tax?
Sir Alexander CADOGAN (United Kingdom): It is a Central Government Tax.
Mr. MORGAN (Panama): Up until what date has the Budget been prepared?
Mr. FLETCHER-COOKE (United Kingdom): The present position is that the Budget, which was prepared last year, covers the period up until the end of the financial year, 31 March 1948. Steps are now being taken to prepare a supplementary Budget to cover the six weeks period from 1 April until 15 May. I am not quite clear as to the extent to which that Budget will make provision for known expenditure after the termination of the Mandate which will be required as the result of commitments entered into prior to the termination of the Mandate -- in particular; payment of salaries and wages, salaries of officers on leave in the United Kingdom, and so on. Generally speaking, the position is settled up until 31 March, and some steps will be taken to make provision for the remaining six weeks of the Mandatory period.
Mr. FEDERSPIEL (Denmark): I think that that is one of the questions which we shall have to study very fully at an early date, because, quite obviously, the position will be completely unsatisfactory if no provision has been made for financial operation of the country after 15 May before we arrive there. I think that with this decentralization of both authority and finance, it would be so much easier if provision were made for the whole financial year.
Mr. FLETCHER-COOKE (United Kingdom): I think that perhaps I should bring this 700,000 pounds into perspective. As will be appreciated, the Budget for last year totalled something like 23,000,000 pounds or 24,000,000 pounds, so that this amount of 700,000 pounds is a very small percentage.
CHAIRMAN: It corresponds roughly with the additional contributions of the local authorities through this proposed decentralization, or will it cost more than that?
Mr. FLETCHER-COOKE (United Kingdom): It is very difficult for the Government to envisage the actual circumstances which will prevail after 15 May, and all that they have been able to do is to attempt to obtain the interest and co-operation of the municipalities in taking over, as a purely temporary measure until the Commission makes other dispositions, certain of the services at present carried out by the Central Government, in particular certain basic ones such as hospitals, the municipal police force to which I have already referred, the control of water supplies and, perhaps, the distribution of food. It is not possible to say whether that amount will be sufficient to meet their additional commitments. It was the most convenient way of making them responsible for a particular tax in their areas, but, of course, as has already been suggested, the whole question of the financial system and of what financial arrangements can be made after 1 April will have to be very carefully considered.
CHAIRMAN: I see that the intention is to alleviate the responsibility of the Commission as much as possible because it will be faced with charges without having the means to dispose of them. I must say, however, that I am rather sceptical about these grants from the Central Authority to the municipal authorities without there being sufficient funds for them.
Mr. MORGAN (Panama): I gather that in the legislation which is being prepared certain changes are contemplated in carrying out the provisions of the Budget.
Mr. FLETCHER-COOKE (United Kingdom): That is not quite the position. The proposal is that until 31 March the Urban Property Tax is collected by the Central Government, but that with effect from 1 April new provisions will be made whereby that particular tax -- and so far as I am aware, that tax only -- will be collected by and disbursed by the municipalities as a purely temporary measure in order to meet the very difficult transition period which the Government of Palestine envisages.
CHAIRMAN: Will the local authorities be charged with responsibilities which are now undertaken by the Central Government?
Mr. FLETCHER-COOKE (United Kingdom): Not all of them. It is a question of obtaining their co-operation. In many cases, they are not capable of taking over the administration of a hospital, for example, but where they are it is hoped that they will.
Mr. MORGAN (Panama): In connection with the import situation, you will, I presume, first have contemplated carrying on that policy with regard to goods, food, and so on?
Mr. FLETCHER-COOKE (United Kingdom): I take it that the question refers to the import policy of the Government.
CHAIRMAN: Is that not a matter which is covered by the other questions?
CHAIRMAN: Then we will come to that later.
Mr. FEDERSPIEL (Denmark): In view of his experience of the local authorities in Palestine, would Mr. Fletcher-Cooke consider it possible to entrust them with the collection of all taxes?
Mr. FLETCHER-COOKE (United Kingdom): The local authorities vary in responsibility and quality from the municipalities of Haifa and Tel Aviv, which I should have thought were quite capable of collecting large numbers of these central taxes, to village councils in some of the Arab rural areas which I think it would be extremely difficult to entrust with such responsibility.
Sir Alexander CADOGAN (United Kingdom): The next point refers to central services. There are certain of those for which local authorities cannot be made responsible. The most important are railways and ports, civil aviation, posts and telegraphs, and customs and excise. The Commission will no doubt wish to consider what steps they should take to ensure the functioning of these central services.
As regards the railways, the present intention is that after the termination of the Mandate those portions of the railways which lie in the area still occupied by the withdrawing British military forces will be operated by the General Manager under the direction of the General Officer Commanding. Broadly speaking, this will cover railways within what is known as the “Haifa enclave”. Owing to the fact that the administration and workshops of the railways are situated at Haifa, it will obviously be difficult for those portions of the railways which lie outside the Haifa enclave to be operated by the Commission until the military have finally withdrawn on 31 July 1948, when the whole of the railways will come fully under the control of the Commission.
As regards the ports, the same considerations apply in the case of Haifa port, through which the army will be evacuated, so that the Commission will no doubt wish to make arrangements to take over the administration of the port at Jaffa and Tel Aviv.
As regards posts and telegraphs, these will presumably continue to be operated inside the Haifa enclave under the general direction of the General Officer Commanding and it will be for the Commission to consider what arrangements are possible as regards the operation of postal and telegraph services outside the Haifa enclave during the interval between the termination of the Mandate and 31 July 1948.
As regards civil aviation, it is understood that Lydda airport is in the area allocated to the Jewish State and is outside the Haifa enclave, but the Commission will presumably have to consider what arrangements can be made for its continued operation after the date of the termination of the Mandate.
Customs and excise will provide a particularly difficult problem. In the first place, some fifty per cent of the revenue of Palestine is derived from customs duties, and the average amount so collected is about 1,000,000 pounds per month. Almost all of this is collected at Haifa port, which will, of course, be under military control until 31 July. It will, therefore, be necessary to give consideration to the question as to how customs duties are to be collected at Haifa during the period between the termination of the Mandate and 31 July 1948.
No reply has yet been received to question 15 of the questions listed under the heading “Commission’s Discharge of Ito Administration Responsibilities”. Presumably, the Commission’s enquiry relates to the secondment of British personnel. As far as His Majesty’s Government is concerned, Palestine personnel will, of course, be available for employment in the Commission, but it should be pointed out that some sixty-two per cent of the staff of the Government of Palestine are Arabs and that there is strong reason to believe that none of these will be prepared to serve the Commission in any capacity.
Consideration will also have to be given to the question of the terms to be offered by the Commission for continued employment of such Palestinian officers as may be prepared to serve the Commission. This, of course, is bound up with the question of compensation terms to be given to Palestinian officers at present serving the Government of Palestine.
Mr. MORGAN (Panama): As I understand it we have a duty. That duty is to organize two states during this transitional period. It is my opinion, therefore, that we should continue all the existing systems during this transitional period until the Commission, having consulted with the Provisional Councils, can make curtain changes. In view of all that we have heard this would not seem to be possible.
CHAIRMAN: I am afraid that perhaps you may not be wrong in thinking that. There is, however, another feature of a more, technical character -- the fact that the workshops and administration of the Palestinian railways are situated in Haifa and will continue to be under the exclusive administration of the military authorities until the very date of the final evacuation. I think that technically that makes the running of the railways a very difficult proposition.
Mr. FLETCHER-COOKE (United Kingdom): The position as regards both the railways and the posts and telegraphs and, as I have already explained, as regards the collection of customs revenue, is particularly difficult because in the case of two of them at least their operation must be undertaken from Haifa to be properly effective. The bulk of the customs revenue is collected there and the essential organs of the railways are also situated there.
CHAIRMAN: You are corroborating my apprehension?
Mr. FLETCHER-COOKE (United Kingdom): Yes. In these circumstances the question will arise at some stage whether the Commission will wish to enter the Haifa enclave or send its officers there to undertake any of these functions. That in itself will raise certain difficulties, because I think it is the view of the military authorities in Palestine that wherever the Commission may be attempting to carry on its activities there will be a certain focussing of trouble from the Arabs. If the Commission attempted to operate the railways fully by coming into the Haifa enclave, or if they attempted to collect customs revenue by functioning in that respect in Haifa, it might impede the military withdrawal. There is obviously room for discussion and consultations on that particular point.
CHAIRMAN: I agree, and I am afraid that the problem before us is the prospect of the disruption of the vital services. I think the Commission has realized the gravity of this.
Sir ALEXANDER CADOGAN (United Kingdom): My next point concerns the release of prisoners and detainees. On that I would say that arrangements have been made to redistribute the prison population of Palestine so that by the time the Mandate is terminated Arab and Jewish prisoners will be confined in prison establishments situated in areas populated by their own race. The following represents the intended disposition and approximate numbers of prisoners at the date of the termination of the Mandate:
(a) Jewish Prisoners, of which there are 175 convict prisoners, 57 criminal lunatics and 425 detainees. Of this total of 657, all will be confined at Athlit on the date of the termination of the Mandate.
(b) Arab Prisoners: There are 400 convicted prisoners, and 73 criminal lunatics at Acre, 180 convicted prisoners at Nablus, 400 convicted prisoners at Latrun and 10 convicted female prisoners at Jaffa. The total number of Arab prisoners is 1,063.
CHAIRMAN: Are there no Arab detainees?
Sir ALEXANDER CADOGAN (United Kingdom): No.
The Commission will no doubt wish to make arrangements for the custody of those prisoners. The question of the continued confinement of 425 Jewish detainees, which I have already mentioned, would present a number of difficulties. Among these terrorists are a number of revisionists who are unlikely to accept the partition scheme. Their release might well prove an embarrassment to the Commission, and in any case they will certainly prove embarrassing to the General Officer Commanding if released before 31 July 1948.
Consideration is also being given to stocking prison establishments with one month’s supply of food and paying existing Palestinian warden staff at least three months’ salary in advance. As no guarantee can be given that those arrangements will be effective after the termination of the Mandate, the Commission will no doubt appreciate the serious possibility of prisoners and criminal lunatics being released if no adequate arrangements are made for the continuity of prison administration after that date, that is, after the termination of the Mandate.
In addition to these prisoners in Palestine, there are a further 350 Jewish detainees held in Kenya. In due course these will have to be repatriated from Kenya to Palestine, but the same considerations apply as in the case of the Jewish detainees at present held in Palestine.
CHAIRMAN: In this case the detainees are outside Palestine. You propose to transfer them to Palestine?
Mr. FLETCHER-COOKE (United Kingdom): No, it is not proposed to move the detainees in Kenya at least until after the termination of the Mandate.
CHAIRMAN: What would be their ultimate fate?
Mr. FLETCHER-COOKE (United Kingdom): Ultimately, as is said in the statement, these detainees will have in due course to be repatriated to Palestine since they are Palestinian citizens. At least, they are from Palestine, although I suspect that some of them are illegal immigrants and will not have obtained Palestinian citizenship.
CHAIRMAN: But you do not intend to transfer them before the final evacuation? Or are you prepared to keep them for some time after that?
Mr. FLETCHER-COOKE (United Kingdom): I think it would be safe to say that the intention is that they should enter Palestine before the date of the final military withdrawal, but I believe that I am right in saying that His Majesty’s Government have not yet come to a final decision on that point.
CHAIRMAN: You are only signalling their existence?
Mr. FEDERSPIEL (Denmark): Do any of the Jews at present in Cyprus come within the criminal category?
Mr. FLETCHER-COOKE (United. Kingdom): No.
Sir ALEXANDER CADOGAN (United Kingdom): The next point concerns medical services. As the Commission is no doubt aware, the Jews have their own medical organization in Palestine and, generally speaking, the needs of the Arabs are not in Government-run hospitals. Owing to the large number of casualties caused among the Arabs in recent outrages, Government hospitals are now filled with Arab patients. At the same time, for political reasons and as a result of a number of unfortunate incidents, the Jewish staff in the Government hospitals are no longer prepared to look after these Arab patients. In those circumstances, the Government has found it necessary to close down a number of outlying hospitals in Arab areas and to transfer the Arab staff to hospitals in towns and cities to look after the Arab victims of the outrages to which I have referred. Thus, the resources of the Government Medical Department are fully strained at the present time and are likely to become more so as casualties increase. Arrangements have, therefore been made for the International Red Cross to afford such assistance as may be possible. As the International Red Cross has no funds at its disposal for this purpose, the Government of Palestine, with the approval of His Majesty’s Government, is proposing to make available to the International Red Cross a contribution from Palestine Government funds. As the money now made available may not be sufficient to cover the expenditure which may have to be incurred after the date of the termination of the Mandate, it is felt that the Commission should be apprised of the position and it is presumed that it will agree to continue to make available after the date of the termination of the Mandate such sums of money as may be required by the International Red Cross. Two International Red Cross directors, Dr. R. Marti and Dr. Jacques de Reynier, hope to arrive in Palestine before the end of January.
The next point is energy property in Palestine. His Majesty’s Government are at present responsible under the provisions of Article 6 of Part I of the Final Act of the Paris Conference on Reparations for the administration of certain German external assets in Palestine. The final sum likely to be accountable for reparations in respect of German enemy assets in Palestine is about 4,000,000 pounds. His Majesty’s Government are at present giving consideration to the best means of dealing with this problem, and it is hoped that further information on this point will be available for the Commission in due course.
I merely referred to this particular problem at this moment as it is one that will have to be tackled. It is extremely complex and I do not think that we can discuss it now, but it is a warning to the Commission that it will come up and that we shall put suggestions or give further information.
Mr. FEDERSPIEL (Denmark): Has the United Kingdom representative any idea as to the nature of these assets?
Mr. FLETCHER-COOKE (United Kingdom): A large amount of the assets are fixed assets. The German communal bodies have large areas of land with very substantial buildings on them. The amount of easily realizable assets in the form of securities and so on is a comparatively small proportion.
CHAIRMAN: I believe that there is as German Colony in the region of Tel-Aviv.
Mr.-FLETCHER-COOKE (United Kingdom): Yes, Wilhelm.
Mr. FEDERSPIEL (Denmark): Has it been definitely settled that all this is enemy property within the meaning of the Paris Act?
Mr. FLETCHER-COOKE (United Kingdom): The position is that the total amount .of property which might have an enemy element in it amounts to something of the order of 8,000,000 pounds. The situation is extremely complicated, and it has never yet been possible to say exactly how much of the property, or what proportion of any particular property, is liable for reparations. The best estimate available at the moment is that something like fifty per cent, or 4,000,000 pounds, will have to be written off for reparations.
CHAIRMAN: It is not only a matter of purely enemy property, but also of enemy interest in Palestine. That is the complication.
Mr. MORGAN (Panama): Have these assets and property been in the custody of the special administration?
Mr. FLETCHER-COOKE (United Kingdom): You, there is a Custodian of Enemy Property who administers these estates and accounts for them, and the ultimate intention was that had there been no change in the political situation in Palestine he would have liquidated the properties and remitted the sum to the account of His Majesty’s Government who are responsible for it in respect of reparations.
CHAIRMAN: In any case, the Commission has all available data about that.
Mr. FLETCHER-COOKE (United Kingdom): They have full facts about all the property.
Mr. FEDERSPIEL (Denmark): Have any negotiations been entered into with the Reparations Committee about the transfer? We should have to do that.
Mr. FLETCHER-COOKE (United Kingdom): As far as I am aware there have been none.
Sir ALEXANDER CADOGAN (United Kingdom): I will submit further details on that as soon as possible, and the Commission can study them.
The next point relates to concessions. The General Assembly’s plan of Partition states in Part 1, Section C, Chapter 3, Clause 3 (d), “Commercial concussions granted in respect of any part of Palestine prior to the adoption of the Resolution by the General Assembly shall continue to be valid according to their terms, unless modified by agreement between the concession holder and the State”.
It is desirable to bring to the notice of the Commission two specific points relating to concessions. First, the proposed amendment to the Iraq Petroleum Company’s Pipeline Concession. At present there is a concession in existence whereby the Iraq Petroleum Company have laid a pipeline from Iraq to Haifa to transport oil derived from a certain oilfield in Iraq. Recently, the Iraq Petroleum Company entered into an agreement with the Government of Transjordan whereby they acquired rights to prospect for oil in that country. Some months ago, the Iraq Petroleum Company approached the Government of Palestine and asked for an amendment to their existing concussion whereby they should be permitted to bring through the pipeline already referred to -- or possibly by laying another pipe contiguous to the existing pipe -- not only oil that might be found in Transjordan, but also Iraq. Negotiations with the Company had reached an advanced stage, but in view of the fact that constitutional changes were pending, it was decided not to proceed with these negotiations at the present time, and the Company were informed that the Commission, if it saw fit, could enter into negotiations with the Company.
At the same time as those modifications in the Iraq Petroleum Company’s concession were proposed, negotiations were opened between the Iraq Petroleum Company and the Haifa municipality, under which the Company were prepared to agree to make a payment to the Municipality in lieu of rates, from which they are exempt, in accordance with the provisions of the concussion. Negotiations between the Iraq Petroleum Company and the Municipality are almost completed but when agreement has been reached, it will be necessary to modify the original concession accordingly. This modification will, of course, be to the advantage of the Haifa Municipality but it is felt that the Commission should be informed of this.
The other concession is the Jerusalem Electric Concession. For some time before the question of Palestine was referred to the United Nations, negotiations had been proceeding between the Jerusalem Electric and Public Services Corporation Limited and the Palestine Electric Corporation Limited for the supply of electricity to the former by the latter. The Government of Palestine has been actively concerned in these negotiations as their outcome will involve a modification to the existing Jerusalem concession. Heads of agreement have recently been completed and signed by the two Companies and approved by the High Commissioner. The Government of Palestine is now preparing, in consultation with the Jerusalem Corporation, the appropriate modifications in their concussion and it is intended to enact legislation for this purpose in the near future.
CHAIRMAN: Since this second concession is already in an advanced stage and was begun before the matter was put before the United Nations, may we assume that it will be accomplished before the termination of the Mandate?
Concerning the first concession, regarding pipelines, I assume that the negotiations will not be continued and that the matter will stand as it is now.
Mr. FLETCHER-COOKE (United Kingdom): Yes, the position was that the general concession for an alteration in the pipeline was felt to be of such a nature that it would more appropriately be the subject of an agreement between the Company and whatever successor States were set up. Therefore, it was abandoned and the Company have been informed.
As regards the second point, it has merely been brought to the notice of the Commission as the concession may or may not be effected before the date of the termination of the Mandate. It was not presumed that the Commission would wish to object to this, but that it would probably be prepared to agree to it even if the alteration is to take place after 15 May.
CHAIRMAN: It is in the interest or the Haifa Municipality?
Mr. FLETCHER-COOKE (United Kingdom): It is actually an ex gratia payment in lieu of rates from which they are exempt.
Mr. MORGAN (Panama): I presume that this observation is made because there might be some difficulty about legalizing certain projects after the acceptance of the resolution of the United Nations.
Mr. FLETCHER-COOKE (United Kingdom): That is the reason.
CHAIRMAN: I think the matter will be judged according to the value of the change for the interested party, in this case the Haifa Municipality.
Sir ALEXANDER CADOGAN (United Kingdom): There is another point which has to do with requisitioned property. I should explain that during the past few years the Government of Palestine has found it necessary to requisition a considerable amount of property and, in a considerable number of cases, has also rented property under lease. The Government of Palestine has certain liabilities as regards dilapidations in respect of this property, and although no firm estimate of the amount involved is at present known, a figure of between a quarter and half a million pounds has been mentioned. It is the intention of the Government of Palestine to try to obtain an agreed list of dilapidations with the landlords before the termination of the Mandate, but even if this object is achieved, which is by no means certain, the Commission will be faced with the problem of paying appropriate compensation.
CHAIRMAN: It was not provided for in the other Budget, I presume. In other words, there was no provision that it should be paid from the surplus.
Mr. FEDERSPIEL (Denmark): What was the original reason for the requisition of this property?
Mr. FLETCHER-COOKE (United Kingdom): Although it has been responsible for the administration of Palestine for some twenty-seven or twenty-eight years, practically speaking the Government of Palestine has no property of its own either for offices or for housing accommodation. As the Commission is no doubt aware, the Central Government Offices themselves are situated at the King David Hotel, and almost every Government Department, whether in Jerusalem or elsewhere, is in requisitioned property.
CHAIRMAN: Whose property is the residence of the High Commissioner?
Mr. FLETCHER-COOK (United Kingdom): That is the only exception. It is the property of the Government of Palestine.
Mr. MORGAN (Panama): I should like to suggest that we reserve our judgment on this matter and discuss it in more detailed form later on.
CHAIRMAN: Of course, that applies to all these problems. The purpose of this consultation is merely to become acquainted with them so that we may realize the difficulties when we come to tackle them thoroughly.
Sir ALEXANDER CADOGAN (United Kingdom): I come now to the last item on my preliminary list of problems, which is financial matters. It is not possible at this stage to give the Commission details of the proposals for the settlement of the many and various financial questions which will arise. The following are, however, a few of the main points which will have to be considered at some stage:
CHAIRMAN: I think that it has been very useful to have all those problems placed before us, and I should like to ask Sir. Alexander if we could have a memorandum from him about each problem explaining the factual and the legal position in each case. As he will appreciate, the Commission wishes to become thoroughly acquainted with the problem.
Sir ALEXANDER CADOGAN (United Kingdom): Certainly.
CHAIRMAN: I should like to ask Sir Alexander also when he thinks he will be in a position to give us the answers to the other questions which have been submitted to him.
Sir ALEXANDER CADOGAN (United Kingdom): In the case of a number of them. I should think certainly within the next day or two. Would it be useful if I let the Secretary know as soon as I had the answers to three or four of them?
CHAIRMAN: Yes, and if you feel that you have the answers to a sufficient number we will have another meeting.
Sir ALEXANDER CADOGAN (United Kingdom): When I have the answers to four or five questions I take it that that will be sufficient and I shall be at your disposal.
CHAIRMAN: Do you think that what has taken place at this meeting might be communicated to the Press?
Sir ALEXANDER CADOGAN (United Kingdom): Perhaps the Chairman would make a suggestion? I should have thought that we could say that the United Kingdom delegation gave replies to some of the first questions which had been put to them.
CHAIRMAN: Is it intended that the remarks with regard to the immigration question should be published?
Sir ALEXANDER CADOGAN (United Kingdom): I think so.
CHAIRMAN: There is no point in waiting until the matter is submitted formally to the Security Council?
Sir ALEXANDER CADOGAN (United Kingdom): I do not think that there is any harm in publishing it now.
CHAIRMAN: I take it that it representing the final decision of your Government?
Sir ALEXANDER CADOGAN (United Kingdom): Yes. It might be added that I gave a further statement in regard to the actual situation, and, undertook to keep the Commission informed. It might also be said, if you wish, that I put before you an enumeration of problems that will have to be tackled. Is that sufficient?
CHAIRMAN: Mr. Bunche asks me whether there is any objection to giving some indication of the character of these problems put by you to the Commission.
Sir ALEXANDER CADOGAN (United Kingdom): I do not think that there is any objection if just the headings are given.
CHAIRMAN: And the figures of the casualties?
Mr. FEDERSPIEL (Denmark): They have already been published.
Sir ALEXANDER CADOGAN (United Kingdom): There is no secret about them at all.
CHAIRMAN: Of course the details about security will not be given.
Mr. FRANCISCO (Philippines): I should like to ask one further question on that point of security. Sir Alexander said that the Arabs in Palestine have made public their determination to resort to force in opposing the Commission for the partition of Palestine. Can he give us an estimate of the Arab forces that would carry out this threat?
Mr. FLETCHER-COOKE (United Kingdom): I think the answer to that question is that no estimate could possibly be given of either the forces composed of Palestinian Arabs or the forces that they might obtain from neighbouring countries. It is a question purely of speculation.
Mr. FRANCISCO (Philippines): Is there any sign whether the Moslem countries will lend their support to the Arabs of Palestine in their opposition to the carrying out of the task of the Commission?
Mr. FLETCHER-COOKE (United Kingdom): Any expression of opinion would be merely an opinion, and I am afraid I have none to give in the matter at all.
Mr. FRANCISCO (Philippines): What means of communication has Palestine with the rest of the world?
Mr. FLETCHER-COOKE (United Kingdom): The Haifa port, as the representative of the Philippines will know, is used for comparatively large ships which can berth alongside. In Tel-Aviv a ship of any size has to be unloaded by lighter. There is also a port slightly larger than that of Tel-Aviv at Jaffa. Virtually speaking, those are the only three ports in Palestine. Lydda airport is used by most of the world airlines. The railway runs down from the south of Palestine into Egypt where there is a direct line. There is also a small and, I think, at the moment unused military railway line which runs up to the north of Palestine into Lebanon. Those are the main means of communication.
Mr. FRANCISCO (Philippines): And the highways?
Mr. FLETCHER-COOKE (United Kingdom): And the roads, of course.
Mr. FRANCISCO (Philippines): Is there any wireless station in Palestine?
Mr. FLETCHER-COOKE (United Kingdom): There is a broadcasting station and of course, a cable and wireless station at Haifa.
CHAIRMAN: There is an army broadcasting station at Beitjala. Could it be used for adaptation to general broadcasting?
Mr. FLETCHER-COOKE (United Kingdom): As far as I am aware it could, because it is used for broadcasting ordinary programmes to the forces in Palestine and not merely for military messages.
CHAIRMAN: But it is the property of the army?
Mr. FLETCHER-COOKE (United Kingdom): It is the property of His Majesty’s Government as distinct from the station at Ramallah, which is the property of the Palestine Government.
At this point Sir Alexander Cadogan and his two assistants left the meeting.
After a short discussion on the statement of Sir Alexander Cadogan, it was agreed that the Public Relations Adviser, in his verbal briefing to the Press, should give information concerning Sir Alexander’s statement that the Mandatory Power had found it impossible to open a port situated in the territory of the Jewish State to provide facilities for substantial immigration by February 1948, in accordance with the recommendation contained in the Assembly’s . The Public Relations Advisor would also inform the Press that Sir Alexander had made a statement concerning security matters and had submitted a list of problems for consideration by the Commission. It was agreed, however, that the information on security matters transmitted by Sir Alexander should not be disclosed as it was of a confidential nature. A short press communique covering the statement to be made by the Public Relations Adviser would be issued later.
The CHAIRMAN drew the attention of Members to the list of problems likely to confront the Commission which had been transmitted by the Jewish Agency.
DRAFT RESOLUTION BY THE MEMBER FOR THE PHILIPPINES (DOCUMENT A/AC.21/5).
Mr. FRANCISCO (Philippines) agreed to postpone discussion of his resolution pending the consideration and submission of the first periodic monthly report of the Commission to the Security Council.
The meeting rose at 5.55 p.m.
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