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President: Mr. O. ARANHA (Brazil).
124. Continuation of the discussion on the Palestinian question
The PRESIDENT: I have the following countries inscribed on the list of speakers: Poland, Saudi Arabia, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, Syria, Iraq, Colombia, Lebanon, Uruguay, Haiti, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Pakistan, Belgium, India, Guatemala and Chile. I shall close the list after the next speaker.
I call upon the representative of Poland.
Mr. LANGE (Poland): The people and Government of Poland have followed the situation in Palestine with great interest. Our interest in Palestine is three-fold. We are interested in the fate of the Jewish people, of whom three and a half millions lived in our country and were citizens of our Republic. We are interested in the Jewish people because a major part of the Jews throughout the world come from Poland, and have maintained and continue to maintain close relations with our country. We have followed with pride the great constructive work of the Jewish community in Palestine, for we know that a major part of this community consists of Jews who came from Poland and once were citizens of the Polish Republic.
We have followed the fate of the Jewish people with .even greater sympathy since the time of the German occupation of Poland, when the mass extermination of millions of Jews in our country established a community of suffering between the Jews and the Polish nation. This community of suffering also turned into a community of resistance and struggle against the forces of German occupation, a struggle which is known throughout the world through the dramatic and heroic uprising of the Jews of the Warsaw ghetto and of other cities of Poland, an uprising which, for us, was part of the great struggle the Polish nation waged against the German occupation forces.
We know that a large proportion of the Jewish people consider Palestine as their national home, where they wish to establish their own national life. In view of our own dose historic association with the Jewish people, we cannot help sympathizing with these aspirations.
The Polish nation also has close historic ties with the peoples of the Near East. Our close association and political cooperation throughout the whole nineteenth century with Turkey is a widely known historic fact. This association and cooperation has also caused the development of great sympathy among our people for the Arab people. There are not many nations whose literature is filled, as ours is, with expressions of deep interest and sympathy for Arab civilization and culture. This interest has more recently turned into an active interest in the cause of the independence of the Arab nations. Having been deprived of our own national independence for over a century, we understand, and sympathize with the aspirations of all Arab nations for full national independence. It is this understanding and sympathy which recently made us support, in the Security Council, the Egyptian request for the withdrawal of foreign troops, and which will make us follow with sympathy all other demands for national freedom which come from Arab nations. For this reason, we also wish the Arab people of Palestine to achieve their independence and national statehood as quickly as possible.
Finally, for the great majority of our people, Palestine was and is the Holy Land. It is the Holy Land for the Christian, Catholic majority of our nation; it is the Holy Land for our Jewish fellow-citizens. It was also the Holy Land for the very small, though influential, community— now largely exterminated by the nazis—of Polish Tartars, as it is the Holy Land for the millions of Moslems throughout the world.
We cannot but have an active interest in the problem of Palestine and its proper solution. This interest is intensified by the interest we have as Members of the United Nations in the solution of what has become a situation "likely to impair the general welfare and friendly relations among nations".
Indeed, the situation in Palestine is of such a nature as requires action and settlement by our Organization. This was recognized by the mandatory Power, the United Kingdom, which put the problem before a special session of the General Assembly, asking for recommendations.
The problem before us is frequently described as a dispute between Jews and Arabs. I do not believe that that description is correct. It is more correct to. describe the problem as a dispute between Jews and Arabs on the one hand and the mandatory Power on the other. British statesmanship has not succeeded in settling the problem. Palestine is torn by strife and terror which impair the normal development of both Arab and Jewish communities in that country. It is the scene of a struggle in which violence and terror are used both by the mandatory Power and by the Jewish and Arab peoples, who desire their national independence. Palestine, this small and once peaceful country, has now become a police State. The expenditures for so-called law and order amount to more than eighteen million dollars, as compared with two million dollars for health and less than three million dollars for education.
Censorship is absolute, civil rights are nonexistent; there are over fifteen thousand police and prison personnel, exclusive of the usual police force, and the military forces stationed in Palestine are equivalent to two and a half divisions in addition to a number of naval and' air force units. In 1945, for instance, over £4,600,000 were spent by the Palestine Government for police purposes as compared with £5,600,000 for all other government services. I do not have the most recent figures, but the position has not changed.
This situation has become so unbearable that even the mandatory Power decided to appeal to the United Nations for recommendations. I want to congratulate and thank the Government of the United Kingdom for having made this decision. In so doing, it has shown a spirit of international responsibility and willingness for cooperation which we all respect very highly. I hope and, I believe that I express the thoughts of all the members of the United Nations when I say that, not only I personally, but all present here hope that His Majesty's Government will maintain the readiness for cooperation initially shown, by cooperating loyally with whatever solution and recommendation is adopted by this General Assembly.
The situation requires a solution. We have to find a solution at once. If we do not find it at this session, the issue will be postponed for a whole year, with violence and terrorism going on in Palestine and with unforeseeable international complications. Thus, it is vital that the settlement of the Palestine problem should be adopted now with the necessary two-thirds majority. Should we fail to achieve that majority, a heavy responsibility will rest upon those who, by abstention or otherwise, block the settlement and perpetuate a situation fraught with grave consequences.
What is the solution we want? The answer is simple. The Arab people of Palestine, as well as the Jewish people of Palestine, want national independence. They want a discontinuation of the Mandate and of the present situation, and the establishment of their national States.
My delegation and my Government believed for a time, and hoped, that those national aspirations might find their expression in one Palestinian State in which both Arabs and Jews would be equal partners, free to develop their national life. The situation, however, is such that this aim cannot be achieved, at least not at the present stage. We therefore have to establish two States, an Arab State and a Jewish State, to provide for the national aspirations of the two communities which live in Palestine. There is no other way out, and anyone anxious to do justice to the national aspirations of both Jews and Arabs must support this proposal.
The proposal has been worked out by the Ad Hoc Committee on the Palestinian Question, and is embodied in the draft resolution which is before the General Assembly (document A/516). This draft resolution is the result of careful and diligent work by the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine, which carried on an investigation on the spot, and by the Ad Hoc Committee and its various sub-committees. It may be criticized in particular details, and my delegation is far from satisfied with everything that is in it. But that is beside the point. The important fact is that we have arrived at a solution which has the endorsement of the great majority of the Ad Hoc Committee, a solution which is correct in all its fundamental aspects.
It provides for the termination of the Mandate by 1 August 1948, at the latest, and for the establishment of an Arab State and a Jewish State not later than 1 October 1948. It sets the boundaries between the two States and lays down the foundations for their organization The proposal provides for the economic union of the whole of Palestine through a customs union; a joint currency system; operation, in the common interest, of railways, inter-State highways, postal and telephonic and telegraphic services, ports and airports; and joint economic development. Finally, the proposal endorses the special rights to Holy Places and religious buildings, and establishes a special regime for the city of Jerusalem.
Great attention has been given to the establishment of a Jewish State. This is quite understandable. The reestablishment of a Jewish State more than two thousand years after its extinction is a fact of such historic import that it should receive worldwide attention. My delegation and my Government welcome it, and are fully conscious of the great historic significance of the act. But there is sometimes overlooked, and the eloquence with which our Arab colleagues conducted their debate almost made us overlook, a no less important fact, namely, that the proposal contained in the resolution recommended to the General Assembly by the Ad Hoc Committee on the Palestinian Question establishes an Arab State in Palestine, a State which gives to the Arab people of Palestine their national political independence. It does so in a way which protects all the legitimate rights of the Arab people of Palestine, while also taking account of the rights of the Jewish community which has been established in that country.
Our sympathy for the Arab people is beyond question. It has been demonstrated by deed in the Security Council in the case of foreign troops in Egypt. I want to assure my Arab colleagues that it will be demonstrated on future occasions.
But because of this sympathy which my Government and my people have for the Arab people, I want to ask my Arab colleagues in the General Assembly, whether, by blocking this settlement on Palestine, the only settlement which is realistically acceptable, they want to postpone and delay the establishment of the political independence of the Arab people of Palestine.
Do they want to continue the present British Mandate in Palestine; do they want to continue the occupation of Palestine by foreign troops; do they want to continue the lack of self-determination and political self-government of the Arab people in Palestine? I am sure they do not want that, for no true representative of the Arab people could want it. But that will be the result if we fail to adopt the recommendations of the Ad Hoc Committee on the Palestinian Question.
I should therefore like to direct to my Arab colleagues the request that, in the very interest of then, own Arab brethren in Palestine, they should not block a solution—the only solution that will give political independence to the Arab people of Palestine within the next year.
It is the hope of my delegation that the adoption and implementation of the proposals of the Ad Hoc Committee on the Palestinian Question will open a new chapter in Arab-Jewish cooperation. The Arab and Jewish peoples of Palestine have a common interest now in a quick termination of the Mandate and of the abnormal conditions and restraints on their liberties which the present situation in Palestine imposes upon them. Once the provisions of the resolution are carried out, the Arab and Jewish States will have a common interest in economic and political cooperation. The necessity for economic cooperation is obvious. It is recognized and covered by the provisions which establish the economic union of Palestine. We are sure that if both States are to be guided by statesmanship and wisdom, this economic cooperation will have to develop into closer political cooperation. I am sure that the leaders of the Jewish State will see the wisdom of cooperation in accordance with the broad national and political aspirations of the Arab world and of all the nations of the Near East.
I also believe that the Arab leaders will see the advantages, political as well as economic, of a prosperous Jewish State in that part of the world, and will do everything to encourage that State to cooperate with all the other nations of the Near East.
The possibilities of Arab-Jewish cooperation have been advanced in the well-known statement made to Dr. Weizmann by the great Arab statesman Emir Feisal, by the collaboration of Jews and Arabs in the municipality of Haifa, and by many attempts of Jewish and Arab workers to organize a common effort for a better standard of living.
Of course, special interest groups on both sides will try to disturb relations between Arabs and Jews; but on neither side do, or will, such groups represent the interests of the common people of Palestine, whether Arab or Jew.
The common people, the peasants, the workers and the intellectuals in both States will be interested in economic and political cooperation, and will want to develop, peacefully, the standard of living and the culture of the two nations concerned. The economic union of Palestine provides a basis for this. I hope that through common trade unions, common associations of economic and social interests, this union will be extended into a cooperation for the achievement of the objectives which unite the common people of the two States.
When speaking on the proposals of the Ad Hoc Committee on the Palestinian Question, we do not want to fail to bring to the attention of the General Assembly the friendly cooperation of two world Powers, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and the United States of America, which, through mutual discussion, have reached agreement on the recommendations. I welcome this because it was helpful in presenting us with a proper solution of the Palestine question. But I welcome it even more because it shows that agreement between these two Powers is possible and can be achieved. For this reason, I regard the report of the Ad Hoc Committee as a document of great importance. Here we have before us an example of what our Organization can do when it operates as it should operate, as a means of reaching agreement and not as has unfortunately happened in other cases, as a tool for the private ends of one Power against another.
Our General Assembly cannot boast of many successes. There have been reverses—serious reverses—but now there is before us the opportunity of ending our session with a crowning success. There is an opportunity and there is also a responsibility, the responsibility to do so. If the resolution before us is not carried out, then we shall have failed to solve the Palestine problem; we shall have added one more to our list of failures and the people of the world will judge us, the United Nations, accordingly. But we also can end our General Assembly with a great success, a success in solving this important problem, and a success in establishing proof that our Organization can reach a positive result with the cooperation of all Member States involved. Your vote will decide on whether, in the end, our General Assembly will be a success or a failure. I appeal to you all to make it a success, by casting your vote in favour of the resolution which is before you.
The PRESIDENT: In addition to the countries which I mentioned at the beginning of the meeting as being inscribed on the list of speakers, the following should be added: China, Iraq, Cuba, Yugoslavia and France. We now have nineteen speakers on the list, and the list is closed.
I call upon the representative of Saudi Arabia.
Amir FAISAL AL SAUD (Saudi Arabia) (translated from Arabic). Today should not be considered as Palestine Day. In fact, it is United Nations Day. It is the day when either justice or tyranny will prevail. It is the day when either right or wrong will be upheld.
Remember that in the preamble of the Charter you have pledged before God and history that you would stand firm against the aggressor and direct your effort to establish world peace and international security. Is not what is being attempted today in Palestine a case of flagrant aggression? Is it not tyrannical that an international organization is intervening to partition a country in order to present a part of it to the aggressor?
A people who want you to destroy, with your own hands, what you built up yesterday would want you to tear the Charter to pieces with no other object than the fulfilment of their own desires.
I am fully confident—and I hope I am not wrong in my confidence—that there are here amongst you those whose conscience and deep sense of justice would not allow them to be instruments of tyranny or abettors of aggression.
Remember that within your hands lies the establishment of peace and security in the Middle East. Likewise, within your hands lies the fomentation of disturbances and bloodshed, for no other reason than to please the Zionist gang and those accomplices lending their support for their own ends.
Prove, gentlemen—and need I say that the world pins its hopes upon you—that you are only for right and justice, and that you are not subject to enticement. Prove that right, justice and the halting of aggression come before anything else. The small nations have depended on your Organization to safeguard their rights and guarantee their safety and security.
Do not disappoint their hopes. The small nations have laid their trust in you. Be worthy of their good faith. Do not listen to the evil power which is striving to use you as an instrument for its own ends. Otherwise, each nation would have no choice but to depend upon itself for self-preservation, thereby following a course which conforms with the principles of justice and equity.
The PRESIDENT: I call upon the representative of Syria.
Mr. Aranha left the Chair and was replaced by Mr. Austin (United States of America).
Amir ARSLAN (Syria) (translated from French): Among all those who have approved the plan for dividing Palestine into two independent States, there is perhaps no one who has really taken into account the legal side of the question.
The intrigues which have been carried on around the plan, the obvious manoeuvres which have been used to make it appear, to public opinion, as a purely humanitarian plan, will be the greatest political scandal of all time.
Before even discussing the legal side of the question thoroughly, with a view to determining whether the United Nations Charter allows any organ of the United Nations to undertake a task of this sort, (which I very much doubt), a task fraught with such farreaching consequences, details were entered into which were as. revolting as the subject itself.
The Arab delegations, as everyone knows, have not failed to point out to their colleagues the real danger involved in the partition plan. On several occasions, we have reminded the world that this Organization cannot trample on its own Charter, to which it owes its existence, without running the risk of dealing itself a very dangerous blow.
We have voiced here the uneasiness of the Arabs in Palestine and in all the Arab countries. In their opinion this plan is contrary to the principles of justice and to their natural rights, since their right to independence is not questioned.
Yesterday, however, certain delegations invoked, in support of the Jewish argument, an alleged "historic right" to Palestine. Even supposing that this right existed, it could not be considered equal to the historic and acquired rights of the Arabs, rights which we have moreover explained to you on more than one .occasion.
By quoting, in the Ad Hoc Committee, whole pages of the Jewish Encyclopedia, we have been able to prove that the Jews of Eastern Europe are not related in any way to Israel and that they are purely of Russian Khazar origin.
I should like to quote one more passage in support of this. I refer to a book called The Races of Mankind. Its authors are pure American, Professor R. Benedict and Dr. G. Weltfish of die Department of Anthropology, Columbia University.
On page 11 you will find the following:
"Jews are people who acknowledge the Jewish religion. They belong to all races. The European Jews are very varied in origin and biological type."
Who says this, gentlemen? Two professors, two anthropological experts at Columbia University.
As we have already stated in the Committee, if it had been only a question of Jewish refugees fleeing from persecution and terrorism, we should have received them not only in Palestine but also in all the Arab States. However, as everyone has already realized, we are faced, in this case with no more than a political scheme of an imperialist nature in which all ambitions coincide and the two extremes meet.
The Polish delegation, which is usually so punctilious with regard to interpretations of the . terms of .the Charter, is silent when it is a question of violating that same Charter, because that violation is aimed at founding a Jewish State in Palestine which would allow Poland to get rid of its own Jews.
May I remind the Polish representative that, when his country was partitioned between its neighbours, Russia, Prussia and Austria, the only country that refused to recognize that partition was the Ottoman Empire, of which Palestine was part?
In the opinion of certain other delegations, all commissions of investigation or commissions with administrative powers are illegal and contrary to the Charter, except this new control commission, with unlimited powers, which is proposed for Palestine.
Certain other delegations talk of the necessity of giving the Jews a free and independent country. Must we show those delegations where to find the people who are demanding not a new independence but their own age-old, historic independence?'
The United States Government is fighting communism not only in its own country but everywhere; it is attacking communists from Hollywood to the frontiers of Manchuria; it is deporting foreign communists even if they are recommended by very highly placed persons; it is granting all sorts of loans to fight communism in Europe.
But if the Black Sea ports could pour half a million communists into Palestine today, the delegation of the United States of America would be all the happier so long as Palestine was swarming with Jews. They are not satisfied with the one hundred and fifty thousand communists who are already in Palestine.
No plan has ever been more contrary to logic or to social, political and economic laws; no plan has ever been more absurd in its financial and economic difficulties, and in its political and administrative complications; no proposal has been adopted with more misgiving, one might even say repugnance; no plan has been defended with more propaganda and less courtesy. The United States representative in the Committee used language hitherto unknown in the annals of international political conferences; he fled as soon as a representative said he wished to abstain; he opposed every amendment, not by discussing it or bringing forward proofs or arguments but simply by saying: this amendment should be rejected.
You need only cast a glance at the map drawn up by Sub-Committee 1 to see that the whole affair is only a conspiracy. The southern part of Palestine, inhabited exclusively by Arabs, has been given to the proposed Jewish State on the excuse that a desert region like the Negeb is of no use to the Bedouins. This is a type of logic quite peculiar to the Zionists and their friends; they claim that a desert like the Negeb or Sinai is useless to the Bedouins but can be of great use to the Jews of Warsaw and Riga. What logic!
The truth is that the Zionists and their friends have other aims in mind. That is proved by the fact that they have made the territory of the Jewish State extend to the Red Sea; that is a threat to the Suez Canal, the Islamic Holy Places of the Hedjaz, the interests of all the Arab countries in the Red Sea region, and the interests of Ethiopia. In short, the United States delegation and the other delegations in favour of this plan consider it impossible and unjust to subject six hundred thousand Jews to a decision making Palestine one State; but these same delegations want the Arabs in Palestine and all the independent Arab States, with a total population of thirty million people, to be subject to an illegal decision contrary to the Charter and their vital interests.
I hope that the good people of this great and truly democratic country, the United States, will wake up one day, open their eyes, see things clearly and demand that their country's policy shall be independent of that of the Zionists.
As for us, we will never recognize this proposed partition, and we reserve the right to act accordingly.
One more word. Before concluding, I appeal to your consciences. May I remind you that, in this plan, the Charter's essential principles of justice and the dignity of the United Nations are at stake. I am sure that you will reflect, and that you will bear in mind all the disadvantages and dangers of this plan.
The PRESIDENT: I call upon the representative of Lebanon.
Mr. CHAMOUN (Lebanon)(translated from French): Mr. President, fellow representatives, or rather my friends—for at the moment when we are about to separate I think that this latter word is the most appropriate and I should therefore like to begin with it—to judge by the Press reports which reach us regularly every two or three days, I can well imagine to what pressure, to what manoeuvres your sense of justice, equity and.democracy has been exposed during the last thirty-six hours. I can also imagine how you have resisted all these attempts in order to preserve what we hold dearest and most sacred in the United Nations, to keep intact the principles of the Charter, and to safeguard democracy and the democratic methods of our Organization. My friends, think of these democratic methods, of the freedom in voting which is sacred' to each of our delegations. If we were to abandon this for the tyrannical system of tackling each delegation in hotel rooms, in bed, in corridors and anterooms, to threaten them with economic sanctions or to bribe them with promises in order to compel them to vote one way or another, think of what our Organization would become in the future. Should we be a democratic organization? Should we be an organization worthy of respect in the eyes of the world? At this supreme juncture, I beg you to think for a moment of the farreaching consequences which might result from such manoeuvres, especially if we yielded to them.
I belong to one of the smallest Members of this Organization; neither on this occasion nor on any other have I or my Government given a favourable reception to any sort of pressure.
Millions of human beings, millions of young men did not die on the fields of battle in order that the Charter's fundamental, sacred and immortal principles should be flouted and trampled underfoot, or that democratic methods should be replaced by a veiled and dark tyranny. They died in order that the principles of liberty and self-determination, which are the basis and essence of our Charter, might triumph in such an organization as this.
And if, to turn from the general to the particular, I may refer to that great nation, the United States, which throughout its history has represented for all peoples the ideals of liberty, justice and equity, I am forced to note that unfortunately that giant, the United States, is putting on the fatal shirt of Nessus.
The rule of self-determination—there is no need for me to dwell at length on it—is the basis of our Organization; it is set out in Article 1 of the Charter. The representative of El Salvador has explained it in terms which no one can deny: it is self-determination for peoples, in particular for those that are not self-governing, for self-governing peoples have no need for this fundamental principle to be applied to them.
Had we been aware of the obligation imposed on us by the categorical terms of the Charter, to safeguard the right of peoples to govern themselves and to decide their own destiny, we should, before arriving at today's conclusion—at the resolution—at least have adopted a procedure of popular consultation in order to ascertain the wishes of the majority of the inhabitants of Palestine, expressed once for all, in such a way as to leave no doubt in anyone's mind.
What sort of popular consultation have we attempted?
Is it for us to define and decide here the future of these populations? There is no need for me to add anything to the brilliant and eloquent exposition given by the representative of El Salvador.
The representative of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics has told you that if you create an Arab State, and if you continue to talk of self-determination, this principle should apply to both the Arabs and the Jews. In those circumstances, both would vote for an independent State.
That is a rather curious way of getting round the difficulty. In a land shaped by geography and history, there can be no separate consultation first of one group alone, and then of the other. All the citizens of that land should be consulted, and the majority of the citizens should determine the future of the country.
The USSR representative's argument, if it were pushed to its logical conclusion, would lead to the following sequence of events: self-determination for the Jewish people, therefore a separate Jewish State. Now there is an Arab minority almost equal to the majority in this separate Jewish State, as you have envisaged it. Will the principle of self-determination, as the USSR representative understands it, apply to this Arab minority? If it applies to the Arab minority, there will be a fresh sub-division in the Jewish State for the sake of the Arab part and the Jewish population.
Pushing this argument still further, if there is a Jewish minority in the sub-territory formed by the Arab minority, a new sub-division must be made into a Jewish sub-State and an Arab sub-State.
That is where we are led by arguments which do not conform either to the principles of the Charter or to the actual state of world affairs.
At a meeting of the Ad Hoc Committee, the representative of Canada asked by virtue of what legal principle we upheld the plan for a unitary State.
The representative of Pakistan replied immediately that it was in conformity with the principle of self-determination on which the Charter was based.
I might add in reply to the Canadian representative's question that the plan for a unitary State of Palestine is based on the same principles on which rests the existence of a Canadian State today.
We know Canadian history. We know about the struggle of the French-Canadian population with the population of English origin. We know that, during and after this struggle, Canada remained a united State because the wishes of the minority have never succeeded in partitioning Canada and in interfering with the majority's wishes.
The representatives of Canada and the United States have told us, hi a somewhat irregular manner, that, if we do not adopt this plan, there is no other which can be adopted at present.
At the very start, an attempt is being made to force you to vote by saying that there is no other plan which can possibly be adopted. You are being placed before a sort of vacuum and, to avoid that vacuum, you will be driven to vote for this plan despite your convictions, and despite your knowledge that it is unjust and inequitable.
In history, there was a tyrant who conquered Switzerland. His name was Gessler. He put his hat on top of a pole. Everyone who passed had to bow before Gessler's hat. The William Tell legend was born from this historical incident.
The vacuum which we are shown today is just like Gessler's hat. So far, despite my forty-seven years, I have never known tyranny of thought; and I imagine that we could never recognize the dictatorship of thought, particularly in a democratic and liberal organization like ours.
There is no other plan before you. Is that a reason for adopting a plan which does not convince you? Is that a reason for adopting this plan, when the representative of the United States himself tells you that it contains imperfections and is hot all that it should be? When, for instance, the representative of Sweden has just told you that this plan is not convincing, but that we are faced with a vacuum and that there is no other plan, is that a reason forcing you to adopt it? What is happening to our consciences here? Have we or have we not a conscience? Are we or are we not free to make a decision? If we are free, we should reject the plan.
What will happen if we reject it? It is very simple. The Ad Hoc Committee, a special committee, or some other organ will be obliged to revise the plan submitted to us, taking into account our unfavourable vote.
We have already had similar examples, and they are likely to be repeated many times in the future. Our Assembly is logical because, when a resolution is rejected, it is either abandoned or submitted for study to committees which may be appointed at any time to study a question and to find a solution based on the revision of the unjust plan on which you are asked to vote.
In a statement which I had the honour to make to the Ad Hoc Committee, I ventured to warn the Assembly against creating a precedent fraught with very serious consequences.
I said that if this precedent were admitted, we ought to write in letters of fire and blood above the doorway of our Organization that here we have created a procedure for encouraging political, racial and religious minorities to break away, that we have encouraged, minorities to form independent States, and that we have worked to destroy, in this way, the political and social structure of many States which are already Members of our Organization, or which have not yet joined it.
It would appear that the prophecy which I ventured to make to you ought not to be realized for a long time. It is, however, about to be realized if we take into account the news which has reached us this morning.
In an article published this morning by the New York Times—and we know that the New York Times is not a paper which favours the Arab case and that it does not publish its articles to help the Arab cause—we read this news which comes to us from Moscow dated 25 November of this year:
"The newspaper Pravda asserted today that the time was coming when the people of the Iranian province of Azerbaijan bordering the Soviet Union would regain their freedom."
That is the movement-which is growing up alongside the resolution which is before you, and which you are in danger of adopting.
I am not raising the question because of the news which we have heard today, but in order to oppose all the possibilities which may arise tomorrow; and I want to quote only cases known to me of existing minorities. I will quote the case of Kurdistan where there are minorities, of Yugoslavia where there are minorities, of the Dominican Republic where there are minorities, and I could continue this list ad infinitum.
You see that the example which you are giving today, and the precedent which you are creating, will give rise to a number of cases throughout the world; and I am certain that the United States delegation, which for reasons of which I am ignorant is so ardently supporting the division and partition of Palestine, would be the first to regret that that partition had taken place.
I have finished my explanations, but I should like to close my statement by thanking, with all my heart, the delegations which, by their abstentions or by their negative votes, have so far prevented, or will prevent, the adoption of a resolution which I can see already smirched with the blood of all the innocent victims who will be the first to suffer if it is adopted.
The PRESIDENT: I call upon the representative of Uruguay.
Mr. RODRIGUEZ FABREGAL (Uruguay) (translated from Spanish): The General Assembly has now reached its final stage and is exclusively occupied with the Palestine question. At the present moment, the attention of the whole world is centred on Palestine more than on any other subject on our agenda. Every opinion expressed here arouses deep interest and emotion in every part of the world. Our responsibility derives from the fact that here we are speaking before the vast audience of humanity.
The United Nations is now being put to the test. It has given consideration to this matter and is about to make a decision upon it. If it so decides, it will bring about the creation of two independent States.
In the brief history of our Organization, and even in the history of modern times, this represents something new. This fundamentally justifies the idealism displayed by men and peoples when in the name of justice and solidarity, they drew up and signed the Charter of the United Nations, which is the new law of the world. Formerly, in the course of history, in past centuries, things were done differently; other methods were used and the immediate objective was different. As I said in the Ad Hoc Committee, nations no longer foregather, nor does the General Assembly meet, to redraw the old colonial map of the world. They meet today to define and place, on their true basis of justice and liberty, the fundamental principles of social sovereignty.
Why are we dealing with this problem?, We do not ask for it, we do not choose it, we do not go out after it. It was brought before the United Nations by the Government of the mandatory Power, and we were all pleased and there were congratulations all around when this occurred. The Palestine problem came before the United Nations, and the Government of the mandatory Power requested the United Nations to study it in order to make concrete proposals for what was then referred to as the future government of Palestine. At that time no one criticized the mandatory Power, the Government of the United Kingdom, when, on its own initiative and of its own free will, it brought this matter before the General Assembly. Nor did anyone criticize the General Assembly when it began by holding a special session in April of this year; when it proceeded to study the question; or when it resolved, after protracted discussions, to appoint a Special Committee to study the Palestinian question, the Special Committee which is universally known by its initials as UNSCOP.
Nobody called in question the work of the Committee created by the General Assembly; nor did anyone object to the presentation of its report. Within the exact time-limit that had been fixed, UNSCOP produced its report, fulfilling to the last detail its terms of reference.
For this Palestinian question, which to so many seems insoluble, for this difficult Palestinian question, the Special Committee created by this Assembly, having travelled, studied, worked, seen and observed for itself, submitted two different solutions. One of them was contained in the majority report which the Uruguayan delegation approved and supported; the other was contained in the minority report. The majority report recommended the creation of independent Jewish and Arab States on the present territory of Palestine. The minority report proposed the creation of a single federal State in Palestine. Therefore, when several representatives of this Assembly studied this question, seemingly a Gordian knot among the problems of our time, they arrived at two solutions, and indicated two ways of resolving this complicated question.
When this Assembly met again, without any objections having been raised as to its competence, it appointed a committee exactly similar in the number of members, in functions and in procedures to the six permanent Committees among which this Assembly divides its work. The Committee met and deliberated, taking as the basis of its discussions the majority report of UNSCOP. It then appointed two subcommittees which soon developed into three. One sub-committee was entrusted with studying the majority report, and the other sub-committee with studying the proposals submitted by the representatives of the Arab States who, on their part, demanded first, the termination of the Mandate and then the immediate independence of Palestine. It would be strange if this Assembly were not competent to act and did not have the support of the Charter of the United Nations hi advising, recommending and deciding upon the creation of two independent States in Palestine, and yet was competent to terminate the Mandate granted by the League of Nations and to create an independent State in Palestine. We went on with our work, and those two sub-committees also worked hard. Each of them submitted its report. The report which was finally adopted, after modifications, by Sub-Committee is the report which we have before us at present, the report upon which so many representatives have already expressed their opinions, either criticizing or defending it.
The Uruguayan delegation desires to explain today the reasons for the vote which it is about to cast. During the work of UNSCOP, the Uruguayan delegation maintained four points as fundamental: firstly, a territorial solution of the Jewish problem; secondly, the creation of independent Jewish and Arab States within the present territory of Palestine; thirdly, the organization of a system of economic unity between those two States; fourthly, the adoption of a special administration for the ancient city of Jerusalem and other Holy Places in Palestine.
I have said "the creation of two independent States within the present territory of Palestine." To this the name of "partition" has been generally applied, both within and outside this Assembly, But this word "partition" is not new; it has not been suddenly introduced into the present debate on the question. It goes back further than that. The territory of the old League of Nations Mandate has already been divided; and an independent State has already been established in its territory. That new State, Transjordan, has already been considered as a candidate for admission by the competent organs of the United Nations. That is why it is working groups of Sub-Committee 1. The Jewish people have suffered, and are suffering, their age-old fate. Speaking of the "Jewish people" in direct connexion with this problem, we are suddenly confronted with something too strange to be passed over. We are told, and it has always been proclaimed, that the Jews hang together, that a group of Jews which moves from one place to another and settles in a particular country, continues to remain Jewish above all else and is not assimilated by its environment. We are also told that the Jewish race maintains a remarkable unity among its component parts. But when one goes further into the question and tries to find a basis for the solution of this problem, one comes upon anthropological theories which will prove that the Oriental or Central European Jews are not connected with, or related to, the people of Israel at all.
Race or people, race or religion, the same common denominator of persecution and suffering has characterized the fate of this section of humanity. We who have always fought against every form of discrimination and believed that when the United Nations Charter forbade all discrimination for reasons of race, language, religion or sex, it had marked an extraordinary advance in the moral progress of the world; we consider that the solution recommended, where-by the Jewish people will be given a territory of their own, constitutes a victory over all the acts of racial discrimination by which an attempt was made to create a superior race based upon the subjection, persecution and slavery of others.
The Charter and the United Nations are the defenders of these principles. All those who have ever striven to put an end, for all time, to this racial prejudice, to eliminate all barriers between men, whether on account of the colour of their skins or the religion they profess, must look on this decision as the fulfilment of one of the most sacred principles of our Charter and one of the most noble demands of the human conscience.
Why is it necessary that there should be a Jewish State? Precisely to put an end to that form of discrimination and alienation, that persecution of a section of humanity. And what a burden of suffering they have borne! No one in our day has endured such a burden. Nazism came and inaugurated a regime, not merely of racial persecution, but of racial extermination. As proofs of the high degree of culture of a superior race, there appeared the concentration camps, the gas chambers, the crematoria, claiming four million victims, sacrificed alive. And of those millions of Europe's Jews whom nazism exterminated, a million and a half were children. I repeat that figure: a million and a half children, sacrificed, exterminated in the gas chambers and the crematoria of the nazi regime.
Now it behoves us to ask ourselves: "For how long and how far?" Must we look on idly, allowing conditions to prevail which would lead to the repetition of these holocausts only because in the political treatment of this problem, sentiments of humanity are obscured by arid logic? Must we have recourse to a kind of international charity lottery, appealing to the kind-heartedness of the Members of the United Nations to receive and give asylum to groups of those who survived nazi extermination and who, two years after the end of the war, two years after the triumph of righteous democracy, are still awaiting the words of revelation and truth that shall be, not a promise, but a fulfilment of the old promise made in 1919, and of that made by the League of Nations, to create a Jewish national home in Palestine and to promote the immigration of the Jewish masses to that country in order that they might work out then destiny and build their home there?
This is what is meant by "the territorial solution of the Jewish problem"; a national home to begin with, then a State, a nation, a father-land. From that moment, the problem of immigration will cease to be such a painful and bitter one; we can no longer continue to consider it, whether solved or unsolved, in the same way as before. Today the Jew is what he was in ancient literature, the wandering Jew, persecuted and execrated. When he has multiplied and prospered, when he is found to be hi the way, a pogrom solves the problem temporarily hi one night. In the name of the superior race and its God, not only these but many other sacrifices have been perpetrated in the history of humanity. What is necessary, then, is to provide the final solution required of us. The national home prescribed by the Mandate, the Jewish national home of the Balfour Declaration, was the beginning of the work which is being continued today, or rather which will be continued today by the resolution of the United Nations, when the report we are studying is adopted by the vote of this Assembly.
However, it is not merely a question of solving an immigration problem or of establishing an economic system in each of the two States; it is not a question of exacerbating new nationalisms, thus adding more hatred and strife to the record of the old ones. The report that this Assembly has before it makes flexible, modifies and gives a meaning to the plan itself.
It is not a question of drawing a vertical line on the map, or a boundary along the ground.
It is a question of placing in favourable and good living conditions the two peoples within one and the same territory, peoples requiring, above all else, separate political institutions but, at the same time, requiring the maintenance of that economic unity which will further the progress of both peoples, vitalizing their work and their creative effort.
Both peoples are fully ripe for independence. We are not here to give lessons in organization to two peoples in their infancy, two peoples whose destinies are just beginning. The Jewish effort in Palestine is, in many respects, exemplary, and this is confirmed in both the reports of the Special Committee on Palestine. And the ability of the Arabs to shape their own destiny by their work, their initiative and their courage is shown not only by their present achievements but by their glorious past. Those of us who are voting for partition are not voting against either of these two peoples, against either of these two sectors of social reality in Palestine. We are voting for both of them, for their progress, their civic development, their advancement within the community of nations, so that they may not only never come into conflict, but may combine in a multitude of productive undertakings, thus ensuring that economic unity for which the plan under discussion definitely provides.
If these two peoples continue to live up to these standards—and it is to be ardently hoped that they will—if these two social units are to become independent States within the community of nations, they will soon be here amongst us, as Members of the United Nations.
Although it is obvious that the plan is not absolutely perfect—and it is strange how worried some people are over this fact—its lack of perfection, as the representative of the United States of America said here today, means that this enterprise, like every other, will have to be perfected, while being carried out, by those who have to carry it out. Suppose, for example, that corrections have to be made on the map which appears at the end of this plan; suppose that houses are left on one side of the projected boundary, while some of the lands belonging to them remain on the other side. Well, there will be a Frontier Commission which will determine on the spot, and without any fundamental modification of the Assembly's decision, where the disputed boundary line is to pass, this boundary line which today is causing such misgiving among some of the opponents of the plan.
People have to live in a real society. It is also useless for us to seek absolute perfection in the text of the constitution in which we are endeavoring to fix a basis for future legislation. No, they will make their own laws, they will live their own lives and carry on their own activities. Any legal structure created by this Assembly, however perfect, would be useless if it did not serve these two peoples in their everyday lives, their struggles, their work, their toil to earn their daily bread. It is they who will determine the eventual form of this plan whereby the General Assembly, in the interests of justice and peace, will bring about the creation of two separate States united in one and the same national economy.
I do not know whether this debate should go into too many practical details in this connexion. I do not know whether points that were raised and considered by the Ad Hoc Committee will be raised again in this Assembly. The legal point of the "Assembly's powers" is one of them.
But if we are to carry on with our work, I must express here, in the name of the Uruguayan delegation and the Government it represents, our profound hope that these two independent States will be created in Palestine, and that this plan which we are studying will turn out to be perfect, at least in some respects. I understand that some modifications have already been proposed. Permit me to call your attention to a point in the partition plan, namely part I, chapter A, paragraph 2, of the report (document A/516) which refers to immigration.
You will remember that, in the majority report of the Special Committee on Palestine, the immigration problem was mentioned and a particular solution was suggested for the period of transition. According to the report, this would be a period of two years. The period of transition has now been modified and shortened, as described in the present plan. Of the 150,000 immigrants who were to enter Palestine in monthly quotas under the plan of the Special Committee, 120,000 were to be taken from among the displaced persons and refugees now living under tragic conditions in camps for displaced persons in Europe, and the other 30,000 were, for humanitarian reasons, to consist of the 30,000 Jewish children who survived the nazi persecution and who are now in camps for displaced persons or in Cyprus.
The article which refers to this problem of immigration in the Ad Hoc Committee's plan which we are now studying, includes all the points which were brought up either by the Special Committee or by my delegation for the consideration either of the General Assembly or of the Ad Hoc Committee. As a solution this would seem to suffice, for it represents, or can at least be made to represent, a real act of justice and reparation. If the details of this solution are criticised, or if the solution itself is opposed, the Uruguayan delegation will, if necessary, maintain, hi the last resort, the precise terms of its original proposal..
In concluding this brief explanation of the Uruguayan delegation's vote, I wish to convey to you once more the spirit in which we view this problem and in which we viewed it when the Special Committee was formed, when we took part in its work and when, on behalf of our Government, we brought Uruguay's contribution to the consideration of this question. In this land of America—and I take 'the liberty of referring to it since the United States of America has been cited so often today in this Assembly—there was born and lived a man whose name is glorious in its history and who is and was a mouthpiece of the universal conscience. His name was Abraham Lincoln. Before the Congress of his country, in a historic message, he uttered these words: "With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right".
He was of humble extraction, a lumberman and farmer, a rail-splitter as he was called in his neighbourhood. This man with the brow of a prophet and the hands of a labourer blazed a trail in the history of humanity, in the name of social justice. At that time, the United States of America was in the midst of a great civil war and of the task of emancipation. It was at this moment that the prophet and rail-splitter said: "With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right".
These are the words neither of a journalist nor of a jurist. Lincoln spoke in the name of social justice, of God, that is to say, from the keen sense of justice which is in the human heart. And those are the prayers and the hopes with which our delegation supports the plan this Assembly is now considering. We are conscious of the responsibility this involves. However, we realize that it is necessary to put an end to the suffering and the tragedy of the peoples of Palestine, to maintain the principles laid down by the League of Nations when it conferred its absolutely clear mandate, to transform the national home of the old Mandate into a new State and into the two nations which are created by this plan; and we realize that we must see to it that this sorrowful and tragic story, which darkens the world horizon with its daily incidents, is brought to a close by this victory, which will go down to history as the first great moral victory of the United Nations.
Failing this solution, our work at this moment would be quite meaningless. The prestige and the activities of the United Nations, as a work of solidarity under the Charter, are now being put to the test. Uruguay is on the side of those who advocate the creation of two independent States in Palestine, so that through their progress and social development they may become members of the community of democratic nations of the world.
The PRESIDENT: I call upon the representative of Haiti.
Mr. VIEUX (Haiti) (translated from French): I want only to explain my delegation's vote and shall, therefore, be very brief.
On the first day of the general discussion on the Palestinian question, the authorized representative of the Republic of Haiti on the Ad Hoc Committee on Palestine, in full agreement with the other members of his delegation, made a statement of which I should like to recapitulate the main outlines.
In seeking the principles on which the partition of Palestine, proposed by the Special Committee on Palestine, might be based, he did not i admit that the partition of Palestine was justified by any of the reasons usually advanced in its favour. It even seemed to him, on the contrary, that the principle of the sovereignty of States, which is a means of defence for nations, and particularly for small nations, was in opposition to the adoption of the Special Committee's plan and called for respect—by our Organization more than any other—for the liberty and independence of the peoples that lived in Palestine prior to the agreements concluded at the end of the First World War. But could these peoples have taken advantage of the principle of sovereignty? In the conditions existing in Palestine immediately after the fall of the Ottoman Empire, could one have found that concurrence of circumstances in which sovereignty in its fuller sense usually evolves?
At that point, the representative of the Republic of Haiti made a legal analysis, the rather abstract nature of which—in view of the fact that millions of human lives were at stake—his distinguished audience was good enough to bear with; in it he maintained respect for the principle of the sovereignty of States, while nevertheless admitting the possibility of partition.
It will be seen that this was not a complete, absolute and final adherence to the partition plan. It was simply an acceptance, the greatest possible concession made, if I may say so, in view of the difficulty of finding a solution to the problem and also, and above all, hi view of the agreement between the great Powers.
That explains why the representative of Haiti, like the representative of El Salvador, recommended above all that an attempt should be made, by means of frank discussion between the Arabs and the Jews, to find a peaceful solution; like a certain other delegation, he also recommended recourse to the International Court of Justice to remove the doubts which might have arisen in some people's minds after examining contradictory texts.
In any case, the admission of the representative of Haiti that partition was possible without violating any principles was made only in guarded terms, as everyone must recall, with reservations on numerous points to be examined; and concrete solutions would have to be submitted to international opinion before that admission became final.
To sum up, my Government does not consider that the concrete solutions put forward as a result of the sub-committees' work are satisfactory; and the representative of the Republic of Haiti, in accordance with his Government's views, will vote against the partition of Palestine.
The PRESIDENT: I call upon the representative of the Netherlands.
Mr. SASSEN (Netherlands): The question of Palestine is a problem in the creation of which my Government has had no responsibility. There has, moreover, never been any Jewish problem in the Netherlands. The Jews of other countries, for instance, the Portuguese Jews as far back as the sixteenth century, and the Jewish victims of Hitler's tyranny in recent years, have found not only refuge but a home in the Netherlands. This has also been the case in the overseas territories, for example, in Curasao.
We think with gratitude of a genius like Baruch Spinoza, who found peace and freedom in my country and contributed so greatly to its culture and civilization. When nazi propaganda and persecution hunted the Jews in the Netherlands as in no other countries, our underground movement considered it as one of its major tasks to save tens of thousands of them.
After the Second World War, we found ourselves faced with the urgent problem of refugees, declared to be both urgent and international in scope and nature by this very General Assembly nearly two years ago, but still unsolved. Although the people of my country feel the consequences of the war, we have tried to take our part in the solution of that problem by admitting thousands of refugees, Jewish and non-Jewish, to our already heavily populated country.
Recently, on the initiative of the State of Surinam—in that part of the realm—and with the whole-hearted support of my Government, an agreement was concluded with a Jewish organization named "The Freeland League," providing in principle, for large-scale resettlement in Surinam of thirty thousand Jews.
Our responsibility as a country for the question of Palestine began at the moment that this problem was brought before the United Nations, as a result of the request for independence and of the declared decision of the mandatory Power to terminate this Mandate which has proved to be unworkable. In view of these two facts—the request for independence, and the announced termination of the Mandate—we feel that no other authority than the United Nations is now competent to deal with this question and to try to solve it. Theoretically, at a certain moment in the past—perhaps also practically—various ways to an acceptable solution were open. The United Nations Special Committee on Palestine recommended two methods, neither of which was acceptable to the Arabs, and one of which, the minority plan, did not receive any substantial support from this General Assembly. In the course of this session, only two schemes were seriously considered, studied, shaped and debated—a partition plan and a unitary State solution.
From the very outset of our dealings with this problem and throughout this entire session, my delegation has been most anxious to study this question as objectively as possible, and has not permitted itself to be influenced by any prejudice or outside interest whatever. We found the Arabs, whose case we had considered a very strong one, to be in a weaker position than the Jews, partly because their attitude of noncooperation deprived them of many opportunities to influence the course of events, partly because the humanitarian side of the Jewish case and its strong support by so many made an appeal to people's hearts, and also partly because it proved to be difficult to constitute the two subcommittees in such a way that both cases could be defended and pleaded in each of the sub-committees with equal force and ability. Therefore, we found and still find it our duty to give special and careful consideration to the interests and safeguards of the Arab population in Palestine, without losing sight of the other side of this question. We are strongly convinced that only by following that course can we hope to be fair. Let us not forget that it would not necessarily be a success for this Organization to adopt a resolution—just any resolution. We have done something truly useful only if we have found a fair solution.
Much has been said about implementation, but we are inclined to think that the results of the studies, debates and negotiations on this point are very insignificant. The cause for that cannot be sought in the attitude of the smaller Powers which took part in these deliberations. It is a conspicuous weakness of the United Nations that it still has not at its disposal an international police force; a conspicuous weakness for which any Power not qualified for permanent membership on the Security Council can possibly be blamed. We of the Netherlands deplore the fact that it did not even seem possible to make an attempt to establish an ad hoc police force. This being the case—and it is not at all a bright prospect—it is all the more necessary to find such a solution as can be implemented by peaceful means. We hope that the General Assembly will be able to achieve at least that result.
As we see it, it would be highly undesirable for the General Assembly to take no action at all. If, as a consequence of a lack of any action on our part, the situation in Palestine were to deteriorate, which undoubtedly would be the case, the United Nations would be held responsible, if not for that deterioration itself, then, at any rate, for our inability to act at this time.
We are convinced that the establishment of a unitary State would not be the appropriate solution for the United Nations to preach now. Historically speaking, it is a fact that nearly always, in all parts of the world where there was to be found a difference due to historical causes between peoples—peoples whom destiny brought together—no solution in the direction of a unitary State has proved to be workable. After the Napoleonic Wars, Belgium and the Netherlands were brought together in one unitary State. Although our two peoples had very close ties, relations and interests of a cultural, historical, ethnological and economic nature, this unitary State soon ended in failure.
The differences between Arabs and Jews now are much greater and of an odder character than those between Belgium and the Netherlands in 1830. Now, together with Luxembourg, those latter countries are reunited, not politically but economically; and what counts now is not our political separation but our union.for economic purposes. I am revealing no secret in saying that, although we are glad to have many good friends here, we have none better than our Benelux partners, with whom we have established such excellent and lasting understanding. History has taught our three countries this valuable lesson of independence combined with unity for certain important but limited purposes. In this .crucial period of our history, we try to apply this lesson earnestly because we believe strongly that this is the best way to freedom, prosperity and the safeguarding of minorities. We believe this not only because it is our way, but because it is also a very human and intrinsically democratic way.
Therefore, after having given much thought to this problem, and after having pondered all the arguments pro and con, we feel that, if we have to choose between two courses, our choice cannot be in favour of a unitary solution.
In at least one respect, the so-called partition scheme which has been proposed is a strange one. It does not mean partition alone, but also means, just as much, economic union. We note that this union is based on the fact of inseparable common interests which have as much reality as other relevant factors in this whole problem. We hope that this reality will win out in the end, and that the results of such a union will help to cure what may have to be cured, since we fear that there are and will remain for the time being certain painful wounds.
What this General Assembly has to do hi this respect, in our view, is to avoid all that is apt to divide unnecessarily, and to concentrate on all that is calculated to unite. My delegation, therefore, will vote for the resolution which is recommended to this General Assembly in its amended form by the Ad Hoc Committee.
The PRESIDENT: I call upon the representative's Colombia.
The representative of Colombia has asked that I recognize the next speaker. I therefore call on the representative of New Zealand.
Sir Carl BERENDSEN (New Zealand): Throughout the whole of the discussions on this subject, there has never been any doubt, I believe, as to where my country stands on the principle of partition. From the very outset, I have made it plain that we saw no acceptable alternative to partition. At the same time, however, we have never hesitated to emphasize what we regard as the grave inadequacies of the present proposal, inadequacies in respect of enforcement and implementation. I have said, and I say again, that if the United Nations assumes —as, in our opinion, it should—the responsibility for the partition of Palestine, it should unquestionably assume at the same time the duty of protecting the population of that country against any disturbance that might result, and it should prepare itself accordingly. Throughout the whole course of these discussions, we have never altered that view, and to the utmost that lay within our power, until this last moment, we have endeavoured to strengthened those provisions of the proposal which relate to enforcement and implementation.
To some extent, to some small extent, those provisions have been improved. In our opinion, however, they remain far from, adequate. As we see it, the proper steps have not been taken to meet the disturbed conditions which might result—although we most earnestly trust that these conditions will not result—from the situation which the General Assembly proposes to create.
If we must choose, as now we must, between a considered plan for partition, on the one hand, with which in general we agree, but which falls far short, in respect of enforcement, of the necessities as we see them, and, on the other hand, the only alternative which is now possible— namely, the termination of the Mandate and its replacement by nothing, by nothing but chaos and confusion and disorder and conflict—then the New Zealand Government, chooses the proposal now before the General Assembly. Accordingly, the New Zealand delegation will now vote in favour of the proposal for partition recommended by the Ad Hoc Committee.
The PRESIDENT: I call upon the representative of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.
Mr. GROMYKO (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) (translated from Russian): The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, as everyone knows, has had no direct material or other interests in Palestine; it is interested in the question of Palestine because it is a Member of the United Nations and because it is a great Power that bears, just as do other great Powers, a special responsibility for the maintenance of international peace. These facts determine the stand taken by the Government of the USSR on the question of Palestine. The views of the delegation of the USSR have already been expressed fully enough at the special session of the General Assembly, in May 1947, as well as in the course of the debates during the present session. I shall not, therefore, repeat what has already been stated earlier by the USSR delegation when the question of the future of Palestine was being considered. But I believe that a few additional remarks will not be useless, in view of the fact that the General Assembly at this or a following meeting will have to take a momentous decision that will decide the future of Palestine. It is natural, therefore, for every delegation to regard it as a duty not only to take up a definite position by voting for a particular proposal but also to give reasons for the stand it takes.
When the question of the future of Palestine was under discussion at the special session of the General Assembly, the Government of the USSR pointed to the two most acceptable solutions of this question. The first was the creation of a single democratic Arab-Jewish State in which Arabs and Jews would enjoy equal rights. In case that solution were to prove unworkable because of Arab and Jewish insistence that, in view of the deterioration in Arab-Jewish relations, they would be unable to live together, the Government of the USSR through its delegation at the Assembly, pointed to the second solution, which was to partition Palestine into two free, independent and democratic States— an Arab and a Jewish one.
The special session of the General Assembly, as you know, set up a Special Committee on Palestine which carefully studied the question of Palestine in order to find the most acceptable solution. After the work of this Committee had been completed, we were gratified to find that its recommendation, or to be more exact, the recommendation of the majority of the Committee, coincided with one of the two solutions advanced by the USSR delegation at the special session. I have in mind 'the solution of partitioning Palestine into two independent democratic States—an Arab and a Jewish one.
The USSR delegation, therefore, could not but support this alternative which was recommended by the Special Committee. We now know that not only did the Special Committee which studied the problem of the future of Palestine accept the alternative of partition, but that this proposal gained the support of an overwhelming majority of the other delegations represented in the General Assembly. The overwhelming majority of Member States of the United Nations reached the same conclusion as had been reached by the USSR Government after a comprehensive study of the question how the problem of the future of Palestine should be resolved. .
We may ask why it is that the overwhelming majority of the delegations represented in the General Assembly adopted this solution and not another. The only explanation that can be given is that all the alternative solutions of the Palestinian problem were found to be unworkable and impractical. In stating this, I have in mind the project of creating a single independent Arab-Jewish State with equal rights for Arabs and Jews. The experience gained from the study of the Palestinian question, including the experience of the Special Committee, has shown that Jews and Arabs in Palestine do not wish or are unable to live together. The logical conclusion followed that, if these two peoples that inhabit Palestine, both of which have deeply rooted historical ties with the land, cannot live together within the boundaries of a single State, there is no alternative but to create, in place of one country, two States—an Arab and a Jewish one. It is, in the view of our delegation, the only workable solution.
The opponents of the partition of Palestine into two separate, independent, democratic States usually point to the fact that this decision would, as they allege, be directed against the Arabs, against the Arab population in Palestine and against the Arab States in general. This point of view is, for reasons that will be readily understood, particularly emphasized by the delegations of the Arab countries. But the USSR delegation cannot concur in this view. Neither the proposal to partition Palestine into two separate, independent States nor the decision of the Ad Hoc Committee that was created at that session and which approved the proposal which is now under discussion, is directed against the Arabs. This decision is not directed against either of the two national groups that inhabit Palestine. On the contrary, the USSR delegation holds that this decision corresponds to the fundamental national interests of both peoples, that is to say, to the interests of the Arabs as well as of the Jews.
The representatives of the Arab States claim that the partition of Palestine would be an historic injustice. But this view of the case is unacceptable, if only because, after all, the Jewish people has been closely linked with Palestine for a considerable period in history. Apart from that, we must not overlook—and the USSR delegation drew attention to this circumstance originally at the special session of the General Assembly—we must not overlook the position in which the Jewish people found themselves as a result of the recent world war. I shall not repeat what the USSR delegation said on this point at the special scission of the General Assembly. However, it may not be amiss to remind my listeners again that, as a result of the war which was unleashed by Hitlerite Germany, the Jews, as a people, have suffered more than any other people. You know that there was not a single country in Western Europe which succeeded in adequately protecting the interests of the Jewish people against the arbitrary acts and violence of the Hitlerites.
In connexion with the proposal to partition Palestine, the representatives of some Arab States referred to the USSR and attempted to cast aspersions on the foreign policy of its Government. In particular, the representative of Lebanon twice exercised his ingenuity on the subject. I have already pointed out that the proposal to divide Palestine into two separate independent States, and the position which the USSR has taken in this matter, are not directed against the Arabs, and that, in our profound conviction, such a solution of this question is in keeping with the basic national interests not only of the Jews but also of the Arabs.
The Government and the peoples of the USSR have entertained and still entertain a feeling of sympathy for the national aspirations of the nations of the Arab East. The USSR's attitude towards the efforts of these peoples to rid themselves of the last fetters of colonial dependence is one of understanding and sympathy. Therefore, we do not identify with the vital national interests of the Arabs the clumsy statements made by some of the representatives of Arab States about the foreign policy of the USSR in connexion with the question of the future of Palestine. We draw a distinction between such statements, which were obviously made under the stress of fleeting emotions, and the basic and permanent interests of the Arab people. The USSR delegation is convinced that Arabs and the Arab States will still, on more than one occasion, be looking towards Moscow and expecting the USSR to help them in the struggle for their lawful interests, in their efforts to cast off the last vestiges of foreign dependence.
The delegation of the USSR maintains that the decision to partition Palestine is in keeping with the high principles and aims of the United Nations. It is in keeping with the principle of the national self-determination of peoples. The I policy of the USSR in the sphere of Nationality problems, which has been pursued ever since its creation, is a policy of friendship and self-determination of the peoples. That is why all the nationalities that inhabit the USSR represent a single united family that has survived desperate trials during the war years in its fight against the most powerful and most dangerous enemy that a peace-loving people has ever met.
The solution of the Palestine problem based on a partition of Palestine into two separate states will be of profound historical significance, because this decision will meet the legitimate demands of the Jewish people, hundreds of thousands of whom, as you know, are still without a country, without homes, having found temporary shelter only in special camps in some western European countries. I shaft not speak of the conditions in which these people are living; these conditions are well known. Quite a lot has been said on this subject by representatives who share the USSR delegation's point of view in this matter, and which support the plan for partitioning Palestine into two States.
The Assembly is making a determined effort to find the most equitable, most practical, most workable and at the same time the most radical solution to the Palestine problem. In doing so, the Assembly bases itself on certain irrefutable facts which led to the Palestinian question being raised in the United Nations. What.are these facts? Fact number one is that the mandate system has been found wanting. I shall say more: the mandate system has failed. That the mandate system has failed we know even from the statements of the United Kingdom representatives. These statements were made at the special session as well as at the present session of the Assembly. It was just because the system of governing Palestine by mandate had failed, had proved inadequate, that the United Kingdom Government turned to the United Nations for help. The United Kingdom asked the Assembly to take the appropriate decision and thus to undertake itself the settlement of the problem of the future of Palestine.
Fact number two: the United Kingdom Government, having turned to the United Nations, stated that it could not be responsible for implementing all the measures which will have to be put into effect in Palestine in connexion with a possible decision of the General Assembly. In so doing, the United Kingdom Government has recognized that the General Assembly can, by virtue of the rights and powers conferred upon it by the Charter, assume responsibility for settling the question of the future of Palestine.
The USSR delegation considers it advisable, nevertheless, to draw the Assembly's attention to the fact- that up to now the Assembly has not been getting from the United Kingdom the kind of support which we have the right to expect. On the one hand, the United Kingdom Government has applied to the Assembly for help in settling the question of the future of Palestine; on the other hand, the United Kingdom Government during the discussion of the question at the special session as well as during the current session of the Assembly, has entered so many reservations that willy-nilly one asks oneself whether the United Kingdom is really anxious to have the Palestinian problem settled through the United Nations.
At the special session of the General Assembly, the United Kingdom representative, on the one hand, declared that the United Kingdom prepared to implement the United Nations decisions, provided that the responsibility for the action that would possibly have to be taken did not rest with the United Kingdom alone.
By this declaration, the United Kingdom delegation made it unequivocally clear to the other States that it was prepared to cooperate with the United Nations in the solution of this problem.
On the other hand, however, at that same special session, the United Kingdom representative stated that his Government was prepared to give effect to the relevant decisions of the General Assembly only if the Arabs and Jews agreed on some kind of a solution of the problem. It will be clear to everyone that these two statements contradict each other. If the first statement shows the readiness of the United Kingdom to cooperate with the United Nation in this matter, the second statement shows that the United Kingdom Government may disregard the Assembly's decision.
Similar reservations have been made by the United Kingdom representative during the present session. We have heard, today, Sir Alexander Gadogan's statement on this matter. He repeated in a slightly modified form the idea that the United Kingdom was prepared to implement the Assembly's decision provided the Jews and the Arabs came to an agreement. But we all know that the Arabs and the Jews have failed to reach an agreement. The discussion of this problem at the present session shows that an agreement between them is impossible. There seems to be no prospect of any such agreement being reached between Arabs and Jews.
This is the opinion not only of the USSR delegation but of all those delegations that have come to the conclusion that a definitive decision on this question must be reached during the present session.
All these reservations by the United Kingdom delegation show that the United Kingdom has no real desire, even now, to cooperate fully with the United Nations in solving this problem. While the vast majority of the delegations represented at the General Assembly were in favour of reaching forthwith a definite decision on the question of the future of Palestine, hi favour of partitioning Palestine into two States, the United Kingdom Government declares that it will comply with the Assembly decision only when the Jews and the Arabs agree between themselves. I repeat that to put forward such a stipulation is almost tantamount to burying this decision even before the General Assembly has taken it. Is that how the United Kingdom should behave in this matter, especially now, when, after lengthy discussion, it has become clear to everyone, including the United Kingdom, that the overwhelming majority of countries are in favour of partitioning Palestine?
In the course of the first session in' which the question of the future of Palestine first arose, it was still possible, at least to understand the reservations made by the United Kingdom delegation. But now, after the views of the overwhelming majority of the United Nations Members have become clear, the lodging of such reservations is tantamount to stating in advance that the United Kingdom does not consider itself bound by any solution the General Assembly may adopt.
The USSR delegation cannot share this view. We have a right to expect the cooperation of the United Kingdom in this matter. We have a right to expect that, should the Assembly adopt a certain recommendation, the United Kingdom will take that recommendation into account, especially since the present regime in Palestine is hated equally by both Arab and Jew. You all know what the attitude towards that regime is, especially on the part of the Jews.
I think I should also mention yet another aspect.
From the very outset of these discussions, a number of delegations, mainly the delegations of Arab States, have tried to convince us that this question was ostensibly not within the competence of the United Nations. In so claiming they were unable, as might have been expected, to adduce any convincing arguments apart from various general and unfounded statements and declarations.
The General Assembly, as well as the United Nations as a whole, not only has a right to consider this matter, but in view of the situation that has arisen in Palestine, it is bound to take the requisite decision. In the view of the USSR delegation, the plan for the solution of the Palestinian problem which has been drawn up by the Ad Hoc Committee, and according to which the practical implementation of the measures necessary to give it effect rests with the Security Council, is in full accord with the interest of maintaining and strengthening international peace and with the interest of increasing cooperation between States. It is precisely for this reason that the USSR delegation supports the recommendation to partition Palestine.
The USSR delegation, unlike some other delegations, has from the outset taken a clearcut, definite and unequivocal stand in this matter. It is consistently maintaining this stand. It has no intention of maneuvering and manipulating votes as unfortunately is done at the Assembly, especially in connexion with the consideration of the Palestinian question.
Mr. Aranha resumed the Presidency.
The PRESIDENT: Before proceeding, we shall have to decide whether or not to have a night meeting. There are eleven representatives on the list of speakers. After they have spoken, we shall have to vote on the proposal under consideration. Following that, we shall consider the report of the Credentials Committee, and, as is usual, there will be the final ceremony dosing this session. Some speakers will be included in the final ceremony, including the Secretary-General and myself.
We shall now vote on the proposal to have a night meeting.
The proposal was rejected by twenty-four vote,s 'to twenty-one.
The PRESIDENT: Our next meeting will be held on Friday morning at eleven o'clock. Meanwhile, we shall continue our work.
I call upon the representative of Belgium.
Mr. VAN LANGENHOVE (Belgium) (translated from French): The Palestinian question, on which we have to take a decision today, is the most difficult with which the United Nations has yet been faced.
Indeed- it involves contradictory principles, values and feelings. On the one hand, there is no one who is not profoundly affected by the memory of the terrible ordeals which the Jews under-went in Europe during the war, and who does not want them to find a refuge where they will find security, in accordance with the promise made to them during the First World War.
On the other hand, we cannot remain indifferent to the protests of the representatives of the Arab States, which invoke the right of indigenous populations to self-determination and defend the integrity of their territory.
It is equally impossible not to listen to the warnings of those who remind us that the essential aim of the United Nations is to maintain peace.
The Palestinian question is particularly disturbing for the Belgians. They have to make an effort to understand the motives of Zionism. The national home of our Jewish compatriots is in Belgium. No one has ever treated them in such a way as to make them want to find another home in Palestine.
During the war, they took a large part in the struggle, and many Belgians risked their lives to shield their Jewish compatriots from nazi persecution. That very persecution strengthened national unity as far as they were concerned.
However, the problem exists. The mandatory Power itself has submitted it to us. The attitude which it has adopted in these circumstances has been criticized. We cannot join hi that criticism.
I cannot help pointing out that some of those who have made these criticisms have adopted an attitude which can only be described as contradictory.
On the one hand, they take every opportunity of denouncing the alleged imperialistic policy of the mandatory Powers, and they try to make their task more complicated. On the other hand, when a mandatory Power decides to terminate its mandate, they accuse it of shirking its responsibilities, without inquiring whether they have not themselves helped to bring about a critical situation.
The problem exists and it calls urgently for a decision. The federal solution proposed by the minority of the Special Committee would perhaps have been the most desirable, but it would be useless to dwell on it at this late hour; it did not receive the necessary support and it would not now be possible to put it into effect. As a result, we are now faced with a choice between the solution adopted by the majority of the Committee and nothing at all.
We have explained our doubts about the solution adopted by the majority of the Committee. We are not certain that it is completely just; we doubt whether it is practical; and we are afraid that it involves great risks. You have only to cast a glance at the map showing the partition boundaries to understand our doubts. You have only to think of the feelings of the two populations and you have only to think of the acts of violence which bands of fanatics have committed—whether in the past or more recently—to understand our fears. A solution as complex as that before us, with its enclaves and its corridors, with its restrictions on the movement of populations, with all its machinery and indispensable arrangements to ensure economic unity should, in order to succeed, be backed by a wide spirit of tolerance and the utmost confidence and cooperation between the two populations.
Unfortunately, we are far from that. But what is the alternative? The solution proposed or no solution at all; that is to say, still more serious troubles, if not utter chaos.
We do not want to assume the responsibility for that, either by a negative vote or even by an abstention. That is why we are resigned to voting with the majority.
We shall not do so without reservations. We shall vote for the majority solution only because we are convinced that the permanent members of the Security Council, who have recommended its adoption, have weighed the consequences and that they will not only carry out the measures which the Security Council may be called upon to take to ensure the maintenance of peace, but that they will permit or facilitate the necessary decisions.
Finally, we shall vote in the hope, which may today seem fantastic, that the two populations will eventually understand that they can no longer profane the Holy Land with their violence, and that their duty, and at the same time their salvation, lies in understanding and in unity.
The PRESIDENT: The meeting is adjourned.
The meeting rose at 6.20 p.m.