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Held in the General Assembly Hall at Flushing
Meadow, New York, on Saturday, 3 May 1947, at 3 p.m.
President: Mr. O. ARANHA (Brazil).
15. Continuation of the discussion of the report of the General Committee (document A/299)
Dr. Fiderkiewigz (Poland): During the discussions of the General Committee, the Polish delegation promised not to take up much of the time of the Committee or of this Assembly because it wished to avoid a prolonged discussion before the General Assembly. I shall therefore restrict myself to a few remarks for the purpose of explaining to the General Assembly the reasons for the attitude of the Polish delegation towards the report of the General Committee with regard to granting a hearing before the General Assembly to the representatives of the Jews, and listening to their point of view.
May I point out, first of all, that there are no procedural differences whatsoever between the General Assembly organs? We have only one Charter and one set of rules of procedure, which apply both to the General Assembly and to all the committees.
Therefore, the arguments in favour of barring the Jewish Agency from the plenary meeting, which promise eventual support for its being heard by one of the committees, are not convincing to our delegation. I cannot understand what type of procedure can be adopted by the committee to which the Agency's request is referred. As I stated yesterday, we do not find anywhere in the rules of procedure, nor especially in the Charter, any rule to prohibit the hearing of the Jewish Agency or any other representatives before any organs of the General Assembly. The lack of such a prohibition would be quite sufficient to justify the adoption of the resolution proposed by the Polish delegation, as amended by the Czechoslovak delegation.
However, the Charter goes much further. Articles 71 and 80 allow the hearing of representatives of non-governmental bodies whenever that may be required, and the hearing may take place before the General Assembly. No one can deny that such a need exists with regard to the issue under discussion. Therefore, I believe that the Polish resolution (document A/BUR/ 80) is in complete conformity with both the letter and the spirit of the Charter, and that by rejecting it, we act contrary to the spirit of the Charter and the intention of its organs.
I wish to assure you again that our only intention, in bringing this case before the General Assembly, is to help a just cause by introducing conditions which will favour the proper solution of the Palestine question. We cannot imagine how a solution can be reached on the Palestine issue without hearing the views of one the most interested parties in this case, the Jewish people.
No one has tried to convince us that the Jewish problem is not closely connected with Palestine; there is no need to repeat the arguments in support of that view. Sympathy for Jewish suffering in Palestine, in Cyprus, and in placed persons camps is not sufficient. A solution must be found as soon as possible that will bring this suffering to an end.
If The Jews deserve the highest consideration. Let us remember that there is no dispute between the Jews and the Arabs. The problem is to solve the Palestine issue for the Arabs and the Jews. We want to make peace in that country. We want to have freedom. The mandate should end.
These are our reasons for desiring a full and japeedy discussion and an approach to the problem from all angles in order to enable us to rive at a just solution. The Polish delegation regrets that it must oppose the report of the General Committee; it asks this Assembly to reverse the decision of the General Committee by voting in favour of the Polish resolution.
The Polish resolution reads as follows:
"The General Assembly,
"Resolved to give careful consideration to the point of view of the Jewish people on the Palestine question,
"Decides to invite representatives of the Jewish Agency for Palestine to appear before the plenary meeting of the General Assembly for the purpose of stating their views on this question."
I do not think there is any need for further argument. On behalf of the welfare of Palestine and its people, the Polish delegation asks the General Assembly to vote in favour of its resolution as amended by the Czechoslovak delegation.
Mr. Austin (United States of America): My colleague, the Ambassador of Poland, has submitted a resolution the effect of which, if adopted, would be to reject the report of the General Committee. Since that report contains the substance of ideas suggested by the United Kingdom and the United States, it seems necessary for me to take your time, briefly, to point out what we believe to be the parliamentary situation, for we think that a fundamental question is raised by the motion now before us.
We believe that the General Assembly ought not to approve this motion, for two major reasons, as well as others which I shall not discuss. In the first place, it should not approve this resolution because of the nature of the General Assembly of the United Nations. It ought not to approve this resolution because of the nature of the agenda that is before the General.Assembly.
As to the first reason, the General Assembly is probably the greatest parliamentary body in all the world; yet no one here would have the temerity to claim that it can go beyond the powers that are clearly expressed in the Charter. For example, no one here would claim that the General Assembly could enact laws that would bind individuals or that would obligate States. We have to look into the Charter to find what the General Assembly of the United Nations can do. Since its powers are only those that are expressly stated in that Charter, or necessarily implied, we must not, in view of our regard for our high office as Members of this General Assembly, exceed the powers expressed in this Charter.
When we examine those powers, we find that they are limited in certain ways. We have said, in Article 2, that the Organization and its Members—meaning every State that belongs to this Organization—"shall act in accordance with the following principles . . ." Is not that dear and express? Can we act upon principles that are not expressed here? How many times have we heard that there is no authority expressed in the Charter and no prohibition expressed in the Charter to permit the discussion of issues in this Assembly by non-members? Therefore, it has been maintained that, since it is not prohibited, we can invite anybody we desire and give them the same privileges, the same duties which Member States have under the Charter.
The Charter does not grant that. I think we are agreed on the premise that there is nothing in the Charter that expressly or implicitly prohibits, and nothing in the Charter that expressly or implicitly authorizes the reception of witnesses in the General Assembly, the invitation to guests to appear in this, the greatest parliamentary body in all the world. We are agreed upon that.
Then we find an express principle, stated in Article 10, the very article upon which was based the petition to have this item placed on the agenda. Article 10 reads: "The General Assembly may discuss any questions or any matters within the scope of the present Charter . . ." and so on.
By what stretch of liberalism could you construe that article as an authority for the General Assembly and its guests to discuss any questions?
That, in effect, would be an amendment of the f:Charter, and we all know that there is only one way in which to amend this Charter.
We find in Article 32:
"Any Member of the United Nations which is not a member of the Security Council or any State which is not a Member of the United Nations, if it is a party to a dispute under consideration by the Security Council, shall be invited to participate, without vote, in the discussion relating to the dispute." There is light turned on our present parliamentary situation.
The express provision made here explains, in effect, only who may be invited to the Security Council. No others are permitted to be invited even to the Security Council. States alone may be invited. And here is another point: They may be invited to no other body. Again we would undertake to warp this Constitution out of shape in order to apply it to a peculiar situation, if we were to accord privileges to non-members, non-States, to appear in any other body than the Security Council; to wit, the General Assembly.
I am still speaking about the nature of this Organization and its General Assembly. It is of such a nature that it does not recognize any such performance as calling guests and witnesses to speak before its General Assembly.
Article 35, paragraph 2, states:
"A State which is not a Member of the United Nations may bring to the attention of the Security Council or of the General Assembly any dispute to which it is a party if it accepts in advance, for the purposes of the dispute, the obligations of pacific settlement provided in the present Charter."
These are very significant provisions relating to the authority of this parliamentary body, and these provisions are restricted and limited to States.
No non-governmental organization may bring to the attention of the Security Council, or to 'the attention of the General Assembly, any dispute to which it is a party. Why? Because the only authority which is vested in the General Assembly and in the United Nations must be found in this Charter. The United Nations cannot lift itself by its own bootstraps. This is so because the establishment of this Charter depended upon the assent, very laboriously obtained, of some fifty States through their constitutional processes. Therefore, we have a sacred trust here that causes us to stop at the outset every effort to amend this Charter in ways other than those provided for, and to stop every effort to twist and Warp this Charter into interpretations that are contrary to what is expressed in it.
As to the second cause, we have seen, I think, that the nature of the General Assembly of the United Nations is such (since it is a parliamentary body) that it cannot have, it cannot exercise, any other or additional powers than those that are expressly vested in it.
Consult your memory. There is not a man here, nor a woman, who is not familiar with parliamentary practice all over the world. What parliamentary body is authorized to, and does, call before it, in its main bodies—the Senate and the House of Representatives in the United States Congress, for example—witnesses and guests to testify or to argue or to present claims respecting an issue in that body? Does that cause any lack of consideration of rights and claims? Not in the least.
There is a lawful course of action provided in all such instances, namely, through committees. It is there, according to the practice of civilization and the methods of democracy, that interested claimants have access to their parliamentary bodies; in one way or another (they are not all uniform) access is provided, as it ought to be provided, for all who have claims to the service of that great parliamentary body to present their claims fully.
Therefore, the report of the General Committee is in accordance with the law of the Charter and with parliamentary practice all over the world.
What about the nature of the agenda? It is procedural, is it not? The sole issue in this meeting, this special session now being held, is a procedural one. That is to say, we have the duty to set up a special committee to examine the conditions in Palestine; and we have that other duty to perform, which is to determine its terms of reference.
The question of what shall be the ultimate solution is not before us for consideration in any way at this session. We ought not to debate the substance of the question. We ought to confine ourselves, as I am doing, strictly to the matter of procedure: by what means shall we set up a system or plan which will bring to the regular session of the General Assembly in September a case for it to study and consider in substance?
I now must speak of the fact that the report recommends to the General Assembly that it refer the communications that we have received now, as well as any communications of a similar character which may be submitted to this special session, to the First Committee for its decision. I must speak of it because the pending motion is in direct conflict with that report of the General Committee and, as I understand the parliamentary situation, before we consider that report we must resolve and decide the question raised Re motion of the representative of Poland. That is why I call attention to this matter.
No claimant will be denied his rights and privileges in the First Committee. If we rejected the pending resolution and adopted the report, the First Committee would decide by what means and in what manner all interested parties should be heard.
We must not be impatient with one another. Claimants must not be impatient with the United Nations. We are engaged in the greatest cause which mankind has ever essayed. Our grand objective is the abolition of war and the resolution and satisfaction, by pacific means, of all disputes, controversies, situations and disturbances. We are endeavouring, as an extraordinarily powerful moral force, to show all the world that there is a tribunal before which to present these controversies where justice will prevail and where all opposing interests will be 'heard fully and completely so that, when the decision is made, it will have the approbation of all mankind.
Of course, there is nothing in our procedural business which conflicts with the great fundamental doctrines that we shall have no ex parte judgments or hearings, no hearings in absentia, no proceedings which are discriminatory. We are bound by our conduct to set an example here, in this great deliberative body, in which all men and women can have confidence, and which will give them assurance that this is a sanctuary to which all may appeal with the perfect certainly that the motives are good, that the method is the best known to have been devised, and that the judgment will be firm and sound because it is right.
Mr. ARCE (Argentina) (translated from Spanish): Mr. President, the unexpected and welcome visit of His Excellency the President of Mexico has enabled us all to express our warm feelings towards the noble people whose destiny he controls. I, personally, have other reasons to be pleased that he has visited us here.
It was only an hour before the time fixed for his arrival that I learned that we had been called to a meeting. If I had had to speak this morning, I should have been in an awkward position; I should have had to improvise my remarks. For, in the circumstances, I feel that my presence at this rostrum is indispensable. I have some things to say which may seem unpleasant; when that is the case, it is better not to trust to improvisation, or one may say more than one intended.
At the last meeting, I called the Assembly's attention to the General Committee's attitude in voting against the proposal of the Arab States.
That proposal was one of substance and was political; therefore, it should not have been considered by that Committee or voted upon by it, one way or the other. The General Committee exceeded its functions, and in rejecting the proposal violated rule 33 of our rules of procedure. I already pointed out that fact yesterday, in replying to the remarks of the Acting President of the Assembly.
This action by the General Committee compelled some delegations, the Argentine among them, to vote against the report presented to us. This vote was, in part, a protest against the Committee's action, and was, in part, meant to affirm that the question put forward by the Arab States could properly be included in the terms of reference of the investigating committee which we propose to set up.
Our request to hear the Arabs and Jews of Palestine before the appointment of the investigating committee was out of order at the time, because the General Committee had not sent us its report on the matter. That report has only now reached us.
The solemnity and dignity which should characterize the deliberations of this world assembly have been invoked to justify the refusal to grant a hearing to the Arabs and Jews of Palestine.
I find it difficult to understand how granting a hearing to the parties directly concerned in the problem of Palestine can affect our solemnity and dignity; for those qualities cannot be considered of greater importance than the correct* ness of such action on our part before taking a decision in the matter. I can understand it even less in view of the fact that the dignity of the Assembly, and what is even more important, the principles of the United Nations Charter by which we are bound, have been violated before now without protest from anyone.
I shall give but a single example. (I do not wish to enter into other small points, all of which have their importance, but which can be disregarded. ) Prior to consulting all fifty-five States Members concerning the summoning of this special Assembly, five countries were consulted first, a discrimination which is not permissible, in relation to the General Assembly, under the terms of the San Francisco Charter.
Those who acted thus forgot that in matters concerning the General Assembly, the fifty-five nations are legally and politically equal.
We were also told, in the newspapers—and no one doubts that the United States press is the most reliable and truthful in the world—that Member States would not be able to express themselves freely in the First Committee. I cannot believe that this is true, when we have elected as our Chairman a distinguished statesman and the representative of one of the most democratic countries in the world.
For these reasons, and because I consider that the General Committee has not acted as it should in this emergency, the Argentine delegation raises its voice in defence of the United Nations Charter and in defence of free discussion of the problems placed before us for settlement. We vote, and shall do so as often as may be necessary in favour of hearing the Arabs and the Jews in the Committee and the Assembly, not with the right to take part in the discussion but to express their claims and their points of view. In conclusion, Mr. President and Gentlemen, I wish to make a political statement.
Everyone is aware of our 150-year-old friendship with the United Kingdom, and of our solidarity, despite everything, with the United States, a part of our unshakeable solidarity with all the countries of the American continent. If my remarks raise some criticism, I can only say that they have no other purpose than to correct mistakes, and are in no way intended to jeopardize that friendship or that unchanging solidarity: nor are they in any way personally directed against the distinguished representatives of those two countries or any other countries represented on the General Committee.
The PRESIDENT: Before calling on any other speakers, I should like to offer two explanations to my eminent friend, the representative of Argentina. I confess that the failure to communicate to the Assembly the invitation to hear the President of Mexico was my own fault. I had a statement with me on that subject. The representatives will remember, however, that we had a long session; in fact, our session was concluded at 9 o'clock in the evening. I was probably so tired that I overlooked making the communication to the Assembly. It is the fault of the Chair. I apologize to the Assembly and I hope you will accept my apology.
With regard to my second explanation, when the representative of Argentina stated that I consulted only five delegations with regard to the General Committee report, instead of assigning the responsibility to all the delegations in our midst, I must explain to him, because I am convinced he is misinformed, that as Chairman of the General Committee, I called into consultation those representatives who had proposals. This I did in my endeavour to co-ordinate the and to find, if possible, a common proposal. Such procedure can never be considered discrimination against other delegations. It was merely the effort of the President to proceed with our work in the most expedient manner.
Mr. ARCE (Argentina) (speaking from the floor): Mr. President, may I give you my explanation?
The PRESIDENT : I now call on the representative of the Soviet Union.
Mr. Gromyko (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) (translated from Russian): At yesterday's meeting of the General Committee, I had an opportunity of expressing the Soviet delegation's point of view on this matter. I also pointed out that the proposal to invite the representatives of the Jewish organizations to attend the General Assembly deserved attention. What, in fact, is the present position?
The General Committee considered the agenda for the General Assembly's present session; it considered the question of inviting the Jewish organizations to the General Assembly. During the discussion of these two questions, a number of delegations touched upon the general problem of Palestine from various important angles. This was especially so in the case of the delegations of the Arab States. I am not reproaching any delegation at all, and least of all those of the Arab States.
The Palestine problem has become acute. It concerns the Arab States, and has become the concern not only of the Arab States; as you are aware, it has become the concern of the United Nations as a whole. It is not surprising, therefore, that, even during the consideration of the agenda, certain delegations touched upon some important aspects of the Palestine problem.
I repeat, I am not about to reproach any delegation ; I merely state a fact. Up to the present, however, we have not heard the voice of representatives of Jewish organizations. We have not heard the voice of those organizations which speak for a considerable part of the Jewish population of Palestine. Not a single representative of any Jewish organization speaking on behalf of the Jewish population of Palestine has yet spoken before the General Committee or the General Assembly. Can such a situation, even in the present initial stage, be considered normal in the discussion of the Palestine problem?
The Soviet delegation maintains that such a situation cannot be considered normal. We cannot overlook—still less can we ignore—the fact that if the Palestine problem has arrested the attention of the United Nations, it primarily concerns and, furthermore, alarms the Jewish population of Palestine.
For this reason, in the interests of an objective and thorough consideration of the Palestine problem, even in this first stage, it would be perfectly just to invite representatives of the Jewish organizations to give expression to the point of view of the Jewish population of Palestine. It would be unjust to deprive the Jewish organizations, or organization, of the right to express their views on this matter.
Unfortunately, discussion of this question in the General Committee has shown that the General Assembly delegations have not yet been able to reach agreement. Certain delegations consider that the inviting, or, more accurately, the admitting, of representatives of the appropriate Jewish organizations to the General Assembly is fully justified by the situation and conditions. Others consider that an invitation to the representatives of these organizations is not justified.
Let us examine the arguments* of those representatives who consider that an invitation of representatives of Jewish organizations to the General Assembly is not justified.
The first argument is to the effect that the United Nations Charter does not permit us to invite the representatives of Jewish organizations. However, those who thus invoke the Charter cannot, naturally, point to any definite statement, chapter or article in the Charter would, in fact, prevent representatives of these organizations from being invited to the General Assembly. Delegations which maintain such a point of view confine themselves to general statements and comments to the effect that an invitation cannot be reconciled with the Charter. A careful study, however, shows that in the Charter there are, of course, no clauses which would directly justify or directly disapprove of an invitation to the Jewish organizations to attend the General Assembly. There are no such clauses in the Charter; thus, it is not surprising that no one has been able to justify such arguments by reference to any definite article of the United Nations Charter. It is not, therefore, a question of the Charter.
The second argument is to the effect that the granting of the right, to representatives of the Jewish organizations, to speak at the General Assembly and set forth their views may be prejudicial to the General Assembly's prestige and even to the United Nations as a whole. The reason why an invitation to the Jewish representatives may be prejudicial to the prestige of the General Assembly, and more especially to the United Nations as a whole, remains the secret of those who put forward and defend such arguments.
The Soviet delegation maintains a different opinion on this question. It considers that the admission of representatives of qualified Jewish organizations, or organization, to the General Assembly not only cannot be prejudicial to the prestige of the General Assembly and the United Nations as a whole, but rather, on the contrary, can to a certain extent help to strengthen the General Assembly's authority and prestige. Why? Because an invitation to the representatives of Jewish organizations would enable us to study more fully and thoroughly those facts which are unknown to many, and to hear the needs of a large part of the population of Palestine, of the needs of the Jewish population, of which, so far, we are in fact aware only from fragmentary and often mutilated press reports.
The admission of representatives of the Jewish organizations to the General Assembly would help in an objective discussion of this matter, which has, as I have already pointed out, become acute, and consequently would also be in the interests of the United Nations, since it is already seized with this matter and has entered into an examination of it. Whether, in this initial stage, we call this an examination of the question or anything else, the position remains the same.
With regard to the third argument, the argument put forward by those who do not consider it possible to give representatives of Jewish organizations the right to speak and express their views to the General Assembly, we are often told that past practice of the General Assembly does not justify inviting the representatives of the Jewish or any other organizations, that in the discussion of this question only representatives of Governments should take part. It is true that the past practice of the General Assembly does not give us any definite examples or precedents which would directly justify an invitation to the representatives of the Jewish organizations to attend the General Assembly. But in speaking of the past practice of the Assembly, we cannot disregard a very important circumstance, namely, that this practice is of extremely short duration.
We are now only in the second year of the General Assembly. The General Assembly has so far not had to consider analogous questions. This is the first question of this kind which the General Assembly has encountered and taken up for discussion. It is the first question of this kind which the General Assembly has taken up. Is it therefore surprising that, so far, it is difficult to find a precedent in past practice to which reference could be made?
Consequently, it is not a question of the United Nations Charter or of its infringement. In the demand to give the Jewish organizations an opportunity to speak at the General Assembly, there is no infringement. As I see it, the talk about infringement of the Charter is out of place. It is not a question of prestige which may be influenced by statements of the representatives of Jewish organizations at the General Assembly; it is not a matter of past practice. But the fact is that, if this question is to be approached justly and objectively, the representatives of the Jewish organizations to the General Assembly should be admitted and given an opportunity of setting forth their views at the plenary session.
Bearing in mind the short duration of past practice, such a decision, taken as an exceptional measure, would be justified by the character and inherent nature of the Palestine question itself. Only by bearing in mind the special character of the Palestine problem can a just decision be reached on the question of inviting any representatives to the General Assembly to enable them to set forth the views of their respective organizations, which reflect fully or to some extent the opinions, the temper and thoughts of the I Palestine population. Usual practice would not suffer by inviting the representatives of the Jewish organizations. Usual practice would remain usual, not become unusual; on the contrary, the unusual could be considered exceptional—I have j§; in mind the invitation of the Jewish representatives to the General Assembly—and would not become usual. The usual and the unusual would not change places. Even those delegations which are guided by the past brief practice of the General Assembly cannot but agree that an invitation to representatives of the Jewish organizations to the General Assembly, as an exceptional measure, would not infringe the usual practice, since it ,would be considered to be an exception, justified by the special character of the Palestine problem.
If the General Assembly does not agree to give the Jewish organizations an opportunity to speak at the Assembly—I mean the plenary meeting of the Assembly—in order to set forth the views of the Jewish organizations, the latter and, naturally, in particular, the whole Jewish population, and many others, may interpret and 'understand this to mean that the United Nations does not wish to give due consideration to a considerable part of the Palestine population. It would not be in the interests of the General Assembly or the United Nations as a whole if such an impression, or even such a conviction, were to be created among the Jewish population, and among others besides the Jewish population.
The Soviet delegation is concerned with only one thing regarding the consideration of the Palestine problem. It is concerned with applying every effort to reach a just solution of this question, guided by the interests of the Palestine population and the maintenance of peace and security, which is the basic aim of the United Nations. Even in this initial stage, the Soviet representative is guided by this concern in the consideration of the Palestine problem. The Soviet delegation has no reason to adopt any other position in this matter than that which I have outlined.
In regard to the particular organizations which should be allowed, through their appropriate representatives, to express their views at the General Assembly, it would not seem difficult to come to agreement if agreement on admitting the representatives of the Jewish organizations were reached in principle.
We were informed in the General Committee that a communication was received from the Jewish Agency for Palestine. It is said that this Organization is sufficiently representative to defend the interests and speak in the name of the Jewish population of Palestine.
If this is so, an affirmative decision should be taken on the question of inviting the representatives of this Jewish organization. If there are any other Jewish organizations whose representatives could be usefully invited to the General Assembly, the Soviet delegation would not be averse to participating in the consideration of communications from other Jewish organizations as well, if this is deemed expedient.
Concerning the resolution which is under discussion at the present meeting of the General Assembly, and which was adopted yesterday by the General Committee, I must state that in the view of the Soviet delegation this resolution is unsatisfactory. It is unsatisfactory, in the first place, because it does not provide for an opportunity for representatives of Jewish organizations to express their views at the plenary meeting of the General Assembly.
In the second place, it is entirely unsatisfactory for the further reason that, in speaking of the First Committee as a possible place where representatives of Jewish organizations can or might express their views on the Palestine problem, the resolution completely omits to say that the representatives of these organizations should be invited. The resolution merely says that communications and documents received from Jewish organizations should be referred to the First Committee, which would take the necessary decisions. In other words, the resolution contains the General Assembly's recommendation to refer documents from Jewish organizations to the First Committee. I do not think I am mistaken if I say that such an operation as the reference of documents received from the Jewish organizations, or organization, to the First Committee is almost a technical operation and does not advance us a single step towards a definite decision regarding an invitation to representatives of these organizations, with a view to giving them an opportunity to express their opinion on the matter under discussion.
In the event of the adoption of this resolution by the General Assembly, the First Committee is not even obliged to invite representatives of Jewish organizations. On the basis of this decision, the First Committee will be obliged to do no more than receive communications from Jewish organizations. It is clear that the Soviet delegation, being concerned with a just solution of the Palestine problem, could not support such a very general, indefinite and entirely unsatisfactory resolution as that adopted by the First Committee.
The Soviet delegation, as in the General Committee, will support the proposal, which we discussed yesterday at the meeting of the General Committee, to admit representatives of Jewish organizations to the General Assembly, to the plenary meeting, in order that they may be given an opportunity to set forth their views on this question, which has become, and is continuing to become, more and more acute.
Mr. Aranha left the Chair and was replaced y Mr. Asaf Ali
Mr. Henriquez-Urena (Dominican Republic) (translated from Spanish): The delegation of the Dominican Republic considers that it is not only advisable, but necessary, for the United Nations, in some form or other, to grant a hearing to institutions like the Jewish Agency for Palestine, the Jewish Committee of National Liberation or others which have requested or might request to be heard. It is necessary, I repeat, that these institutions, which represent the aspirations of large social groups, both Hebrew and Arab, for whom the Palestine case is of vital interest, should be granted a hearing before the United Nations.
At the beginning of the discussion this afternoon, some speakers suggested that we were tending greatly to widen the scope of the discussion. As a matter of fact, it seems to me that we ought to widen it, if only to be in a better position to establish the terms of reference of the special committee which we must appoint. We need a full discussion because the problem before us is a highly complex one in a world that today is full of complexities. After the f material and moral cataclysm of the war, it is snot easy to set the living forces of humanity in motion again, to co-ordinate them in a common effort to achieve welfare, justice and peace for all. It is not easy to eliminate from the face of the earth, at one stroke, every potential centre of disturbance and danger; it is not easy to lay the foundations of a new and better world on the smoking ruins we have inherited from a past full of misery and mistakes; it is not easy, but it is our duty towards humanity, eagerly waiting, with hopeful eyes fixed upon this composite association which is the United Nations, this association whose advent at the end of the disasters of war was like a ray of light in almost total darkness.
The problem of Palestine, with its many complicated and even contradictory aspects, is the first great human and political problem to be submitted for consideration and settlement by the United Nations. We are therefore at a crucial stage, decisive for the future of our Organization.
We have consented to place upon our programme, or agenda, the subject which was the reason for calling this special session of the General Assembly: the appointment of a committee to be responsible, with full knowledge 01 the facts and circumstances, for suggesting practical and just solutions for Palestine.
But if the work of this committee, which is to report to the next regular General Assembly, is to be fruitful, it is essential to hear the views of the large social groups whose fate is linked to that of Palestine. Can we presume to refuse them a hearing when their fate and destiny are at stake? The answer is clear: no, we cannot, and even if many tons of printed paper have already been accumulated on this subject, we ought, nevertheless, to hear the views of these people themselves.
Today we are discussing the acceptance of the petitions presented by the Jewish organizations. These organizations can truly speak for the Jews living and fighting in Palestine and will also, no doubt, remind us that to the anxieties of these Jews must be added the anguish of many others still herded together in occupation centres in Germany, Austria and Italy.
For, apart from the political aspect, the problem of these Jews is a human one, since, before the outbreak of the war, the Jews of Central Europe were persecuted by the merciless hand of evil totalitarian regimes, deprived of all well-being and peace of mind and thence-forward reduced to the sad position of stateless, homeless persons. Faced by persecution, torture and gradual annihilation in concentration camps, not a few chose suicide; the more fortunate emigrated, many to Palestine under the agreements adopted after the Balfour Declaration, others to nations which opened their doors to them.
I am glad to recall that the Dominican Republic was foremost among these nations; for after the Evian Conference, the Government of the Dominican Republic, thanks to a noble gesture on the part of the President, hastened to offer a refuge and a home to the Jews in this land of ours, small in size but endowed by nature with undeniable advantages. This policy has been maintained and strengthened in the course of time, and the offer still stands. The Dominican Republic can still absorb thousands upon thousands of Jews, and is willing to receive them.
When a hearing is granted, as I hope it will be, to the representatives who have asked to speak, no doubt the case of those Jews who are now called "displaced" will not be neglected. It is a case demanding a prompt, effective and humane solution. Even though there would probably be procedural difficulties to overcome, we wish this Assembly could recommend some solution.
To leave the matter for settlement later means prolonging the sufferings of thousands of human beings.
To summarize the point at issue, I repeat my conviction that we must give a hearing to the large social groups which are living and striving in Palestine. However, we must do so without distinction or limitation, and subject to the reservation already suggested in the Steering or General Committee, that this summoning of non-governmental organizations can not and must not be allowed to establish a precedent, but is an exception made because the case of Palestine is so complicated and so serious. But, subject to that reservation, we should hear them all, both the Jews and the Arabs living in Palestine, although the latter are fortunate enough to have within this Assembly five nations of the same historical origin to represent their aspirations and desires.
The problem of Palestine seems ripe for a solution, but it is difficult to reconcile and thus assess the legitimate aspirations and interests. Nothing will be achieved, however, without the co-operation and goodwill of the inhabitants of Palestine themselves, both Jews and Arabs; that is why we should begin by hearing their views.
Undoubtedly, it will be difficult to reconcile s[these apparently irreconcilable interests, but the difficult is not the impossible. As we know, there are two main population groups in Palestine, the Arabs and the Jews. Circumstances may have made them into antagonistic groups; that may be. However, they were not so in earlier days. As things once were, so they *may be again; the Palestine question would solve itself without difficulty if Arabs and Jews were to come together in a spirit of human kinship.
My conviction in this matter is based on what I have seen in my own country, which of course is the proving-ground I know best. Since the last century, various groups of Jewish families have been coming to my country and making heir livelihood there; in the latter part of the last century and the beginning of the present century, many Arab emigrants have also come, mainly from Syria and Lebanon. Thanks to their great capacity for work and their enterprising spirit, all these people have become efficient and useful members of society, and they often do excellent work together. As orderly and hard-working members of the community, traders, industrialists, doctors, lawyers, university professors, the Dominican sons of these Jews and Arabs have occupied and continue to occupy a prominent place in the national life. I know that the same is true, both of Jews and Arabs, in other countries of America. If these are their outstanding qualities, we may well ask, in facing the problem of Palestine, how it is that people with these abilities and virtues cannot agree with one another when circumstances place them together on the same soil, sanctified by history and tradition?
I hope, and I think my hopes will be fulfilled, that we shall be able to hear both sides and to have a full discussion. The clash of ideas and aspirations is always fruitful, and will help us to a better decision upon the terms of reference for the special committee which is to be appointed.
We are confident, therefore, that the committee will be able to do fruitful work, so that in September we may enter upon the substance of the question and work out a just settlement. That the settlement shall be just is what suffering mankind, in its fervent anxiety not to witness the downfall of the hopes it places in the United Nations, desires above all things.
The Acting President: I am sorry to interrupt the interpretation into English of the remarks of Mr. Henriquez-Urefia, but I do so for a very good reason. It is now six minutes to six o'clock, and if this session is to continue after dinner, we are bound to give notice to the restaurant personnel so that they can be ready with dinner between seven and eight o'clock. Is it the desire of the Assembly that there should be a recess for dinner? Is there any objection?
As a matter of fact, I have a fairly long list of speakers yet to be heard: Bolivia, Yugoslavia, Australia, Syria, Uruguay, Czechoslovakia and Chile. You can well imagine that we shall have to go right through the night; a recess is, therefore, absolutely essential.
Colonel Hodgson (Australia): As it is obvious that we probably shall not finish tonight, I suggest that we adjourn now.
The Acting President: I am afraid the representative from Australia has proposed a very serious matter. If we adjourn now, we shall have to meet tomorrow, because we must present a report to the First Committee on Monday. I do not, for one second, suggest that there should be any restriction placed upon the speakers, who have the right to speak; but it is perfectly obvious to me that the matter which is being debated here today can be brought up in its fullest form and placed before the First Committee.
We are expected to do nothing more than to adopt the report of the General Committee, to the effect that all these communications should go to the First Committee, where it will be possible for all the representatives present in Committee to discuss the entire matter and to decide upon it. Is there any great point in debating this matter now? It is for you to decide. I take it that a recess will have to be taken if you wish to continue.
Mr. Aranha resumed his place in the presidential Chair.
The PRESIDENT : I still have eight speakers on my list. I suggest that we close the list of speakers with these representatives. I should like to adjourn this meeting now, resume our work at 8 o'clock, hear these eight speakers and finish with the business before us tonight. I make this suggestion in order not to have a meeting tomorrow. I think it is indispensable to hold the First Committee meeting on Monday if we want to go ahead with our business and responsibilities. If there is no objection I shall consider my suggestion adopted.
Mr. Belt (Cuba) (translated from Spanish) : Mr. President, the Assembly has before it a motion from the Australian representative proposing that the Assembly should adjourn and meet on Monday at 11 a.m. The Cuban delegation seconds the motion and asks for a vote to be taken upon it at once.
The PRESIDENT : The Chair considers the list of speakers settled. We shall have not more than eight speakers. That was adopted; I did not hear any objection. Now we must vote on the Australian proposal of adjournment, which was supported by the representative of Cuba. Those who are in favour of adjourning our meeting until Monday at 11 a.m. please raise their hands.
A vote was taken by a show of hands, and the Australian proposal to adjourn was approved.
The PRESIDENT : I regret that we cannot go ahead with our business. However, I am very happy to respect the decision of the Assembly. We shall adjourn until Monday at 11 a.m.
The meeting rose at 6.25 p.m.