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Security Council
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UNRESTRICTED

S/988
24 August 1948

ORIGINAL: ENGLISH


Dual Distribution

SUMMARY STATEMENT BY THE SECRETARY-GENERAL ON MATTERS OF WHICH
THE SECURITY COUNCIL IS SEIZED AND OF THE STAGE REACHED
IN THEIR CONSIDERATION


A. Pursuant to Rule 11 of the Provisional Rules of Procedure of the Security Council, I submit the following summary statement of matters of which the Security Council is seized and of the stage reached in their consideration on 21 August 1948.

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12. The Palestinian question

By letter dated 2 December 1947 (document S/614), the Secretary-General requested that the President of the Security Council draw the attention of the Council to the General Assembly resolution of 29 November 1947 (document A/516) particularly paragraphs (a), (b) and (c) of the operative part of that resolution.

By two telegrams dated 7 December, the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Egypt (document S/617) and the Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs of Lebanon (document S/618) requested that their countries, under article 31, be given the right to participate without a vote in the discussions in the Security Council whenever the question of Palestine was to be under consideration.

At its 222nd meeting on 9 December, the Security Council took note of the above-mentioned letter of the Secretary-General (document S/614) and the resolution of the General Assembly on the Palestinian question and decided to postpone discussion of the matter.

At its 243rd meeting, the Security Council considered the first monthly progress report from the United Nations Palestine Commission (document S/663).

The President of the Council stated that this report was purely factual and for the information of the Council. However, the Commission was preparing a special report which would be available shortly and which would involve questions requiring determination by the Council. He suggested that the Council at this stage only take note of the first monthly progress report and postpone consideration of it until the Council would also have the special report before it.

No objection was raised to the procedure suggested by the President, and it was so decided.

The Security Council at its 253rd, 254th, 255th and 258th meetings considered the first monthly progress report of the United Nations Palestine Commission to the Security Council (document S/663) and the first special
report to the Security Council, covering the problem of security in Palestine, submitted by the United Nations Palestine Commission (document S/676). The representatives of Egypt and Lebanon were, in accordance with a previous decision of the Council, invited to participate in the discussion without a vote. The Jewish Agency for Palestine, was, at its request, invited to the Council table for the purpose of supplying such information and rendering such assistance as the Council might require. At the suggestion of the President of the Council, it was agreed to grant the same privilege to the Arab Higher Committee if it so requested.

Draft resolutions were introduced by the representatives of Colombia (document S/684) and the United States of America (document S/685). The representative of Belgium submitted an amendment to the United States draft resolution (document S/688). The representative of Colombia later withdrew the draft resolution. Further consideration of this question was postponed until Tuesday, 2 March 1948.

The Security Council at its 260th, 261st, 262nd and 263rd meetings continued consideration of the first monthly progress report of the United Nations Palestine Commission to the Security Council (document S/663) and the first special report on the problem of security in Palestine submitted by the United Nations Palestine Commission to the Security Council (document S/676).

At the 262nd meeting, the President requested that the representatives of the United States and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics consult together in an effort to formulate a mutually acceptable version of the United States draft resolution (document S/685). At the 263rd meeting, the representatives of the United States and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics reported on the results of their consultation, and the representative of the United States amended his draft resolution accordingly. The representative of Belgium announced that he accepted certain of the changes made in the United States amended resolution and wanted them to be incorporated in the Belgian amendment (document S/688). Thereupon, the Belgian amendment as revised was put to a vote paragraph by paragraph but failed to obtain the required number of affirmative votes and consequently was not carried. The amended resolution of the United States was also voted upon paragraph by paragraph. The preamble, the first part of paragraph 2 and the final paragraph were adopted. The accepted paragraphs of the amended United States resolution were then put to the vote as a whole and adopted by 8 affirmative votes, none against and 3 abstentions (Argentina, Syria and the United Kingdom). For the text of the resolution as finally adopted see document S/691).

At its 267th meeting, the Security Council heard statements by the representatives of Lebanon and Syria. At the 270th meeting, members of the Council who had participated in the consultations of the permanent members reported to the Council on the results of their discussion. At the 271st meeting, the representative of the United States outlined the contents of a proposed resolution which would be submitted at a later date.

Discussion was continued at the 274th, 275th and 277th meetings. At the 277th meeting the draft resolution (document S/704) introduced by the representative of the United States as amended by the representative of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, calling for a truce in Palestine was adopted unanimously. The draft resolution (document S/705) also introduced by the representative of the United States, requesting the Secretary-General to convoke a special session of the General Assembly regarding Palestine, was adopted by 9 votes in favour with 2 abstentions (Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic and Union of Soviet Socialist Republics). The Secretary-General announced that the special session of the General Assembly called for by the terms of the United States resolution (S/705) would be convoked on 16 April 1948.

Discussion was continued at the 282nd and 283rd meetings. The representative of Colombia introduced a draft resolution containing the terms of a truce in Palestine. The resolution as amended (document S/723) was adopted by a vote of 9 in favour, none against, and 2 abstentions (Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic and Union of Soviet Socialist Republics).

At the 287th meeting, the representative of the United States introduced a draft resolution calling for the establishment of a truce commission to supervise the implementation of the resolution adopted by the Council on 17 April (document S/723). The resolution (document S/727) was adopted by a vote of 8 in favour, none against and 3 abstentions (Colombia, Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics).

At the 289th meeting, the President informed the Council that a cable had been received from the Jewish Agency (document S/730) concerning the invasion of Palestine by foreign forces, and that information had been requested from the Palestine Truce Commission on this matter. The reply from the Commission and a statement from the Mandatory Powers are contained in document S/733.

At the 291st meeting, the President drew the attention of the Council to two cablegrams (documents S/741 and S/742) which had been received from the Truce Commission in Palestine. It was agreed that the President would reply to the cablegram (document S/741) concerning the control of traffic between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, to the effect that the Truce Commission should use its own discretion as to the employment of the various means of assistance it required, and that whatever resources were available on the spot should be used to implement any agreement between the parties, including such facilities of the International Red Cross as it deemed appropriate.

At the 292nd meeting, the President brought to the attention of the Council a letter and enclosed cablegram which had been received from the Jewish Agency for Palestine (document S/744) and also a cablegram from the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Egypt (document S/743) concerning the armed intervention in Palestine of the Government of Egypt.

At the 293rd meeting, the representative of the United States introduced a draft resolution, (document S/749) describing the situation existing in Palestine as a threat to the peace and a breach of the peace, within the meaning of article 39 of the Charter, and ordering a cease-fire within thirty-six hours after the adoption of the resolution. The representative of the United States also submitted a list of questions, which he proposed should be addressed to all of the parties concerned, to obtain additional information.

At the 294th and 295th meetings, the Council considered various additions and amendments to the questionnaire and adopted a final text (document S/753), which addressed to the parties concerned, with the request for a reply.

At the 296th meeting, the representative of the United Kingdom introduced an amendment (document S/755), to the United States proposal (document S/749).

At the 297th meeting, the President drew the attention of the Council to two cablegrams which had been received from the Chairman of the Security Council Truce Commission (documents S/758 and S/759).

At the 299th meeting, the President drew the attention of the Council to two additional cablegrams which had been received from the Chairman of the Security Council Truce Commission (documents S/761 and S/762), and announced that Count Folke Bernadotte had been chosen as United Nations Mediator in Palestine.

At the 301st meeting, the representative of the United States announced that Mr. Thomas Wasson, the representative of the United States on the Security Council Truce Commission, had been gravely wounded whilereturning to his Consulate from a meeting of the Truce Commission (document S/771). The representatives of Egypt, the Jewish Agency, Syria, Iraq and Lebanon submitted their replies to the questionnaire which had been addressed to them by the Council (documents S/766, S/757, S/768, S/769 and S/770. The Foreign Minister of Transjordan replied by cable (document S/760) that his Government did not find it possible to reply to the questions addressed to it.

At the 302nd meeting the Council voted on the United States draft resolution (S/749) and the amendments submitted by the United Kingdom (document S/755). The vote on the second paragraph of the United States resolution, which described the situation in Palestine as constituting a threat to the peace and a breach of the peace, within the meaning of article 39 of the Charter, was 5 in favour (Colombia, France, Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and the United States of America), none against, and 6 abstentions. The draft resolution as amended was voted upon and adopted by a vote of 8 in favour, none against and 3 abstentions (Syria, Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics).

At the 303rd meeting, the reply of the provisional government of Israel accepting the terms of the resolution adopted by the Security Council on 22 May was received (document S/779). It was agreed, at the request of the Arab States, to extend by forty-eight hours the time-limit imposed by the resolution of 22 May due to communication difficulties which had been encountered by the Governments of these States.

At the 305th meeting, the representative of Iraq, acting on behalf of all the Arab States, submitted the reply (document S/792) to the resolution adopted by the Council on 22 May.

At the 306th meeting, the representative of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics submitted a draft proposal, subsequently revised, which, considering that the Security Council resolution of 22 May had not been carried out, in view of the refusal of the Arab States to comply with it, and that military operations in Palestine were increasing, and that as a result of this the situation in Palestine constituted a threat to peace and security within the meaning of article 39 of the Charter, ordered the States involved in the present conflict in Palestine to secure the cessation of military operations within thirty-six hours after the adoption of the resolution (document S/794/Rev.2). The representative of the United Kingdom also submitted a draft resolution (document S/795/Rev.2) calling for a cessation of all acts of armed force for a period of four weeks, during which time the United Nations Mediator would make contact with the parties, with a view to making recommendations to the Security Council for an eventual settlement in Palestine.

At the 308th meeting, the representative of France introduced a draft resolution calling for the cessation of hostilities in the City of Jerusalem (document S/798/Rev.2).

At the 310th meeting, the Council voted on two proposals before it. The first part of the first paragraph of the revised proposal of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (document S/794/Rev.2) was rejected by a vote of 5 in favour (Belgium, France, Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, United States of America), none against, and 6 abstentions, The second part of the first paragraph was rejected by a vote of 2 in favour (Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic and Union of soviet Socialist Republics), none against, and 9 abstentions. The remaining four paragraphs were rejected by a vote of 5 in favour (Colombia, France, Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, United States of America), none against, and 6 abstentions. The draft resolution of the United Kingdom (document S/795/Rev.2) as amended by the United States, France and Canada, was voted upon paragraph by paragraph and adopted (document S/801). The representative of France then announced that he would not insist on a vote being taken on the French proposal (document S/798/Rev.2).

At the 311th meeting, the President drew to the attention of the Council the replies of the parties to the resolution adopted by the Council on 29 May. The President declared that the acceptance of the parties was to be considered as being unconditional; and it was agreed that the time-limit for the actual cessation of hostilities should be fixed by the United Nations Mediator, that this time-limit should be as short as possible, and that all parties concerned should comply with the instructions of the Mediator in these respects.

At the 313th meeting, it was agreed that the Mediator should be given full authority to interpret the text of the resolution of 29 May in such a manner as he deemed appropriate, that if the interpretation was challenged the matter would then be submitted to the Security Council for further consideration, that he should act in accordance with previous resolutions of the General Assembly and the Security Council, and that no further instructions should be given him unless the Council decided otherwise.

At the 314th meeting, the President informed the Council of his consultation with the Mediator regarding the interpretation of the Council's resolution of 29 May 1948 (document S/801).

The representative of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics requested that the Security Council clarify the method by which military observers were to be sent and assigned to the Mediator and the Truce Commission for the supervision of the cease fire and truce agreement.

At the 317th meeting, the President drew to the attention of the Council the communications (documents S/830 and S/831) from the Mediator concerning the acceptance by the parties of a truce in Palestine. Discussion was then resumed with regard to the implementation of that part of the Council's resolution of 29 May where it was decided that military observers would be sent to Palestine to assist the Mediator and the Truce Commission.

Discussion was continued at the 320th meeting. It was agreed that all communications from interested parties should be submitted to the Mediator and that he should exercise the discretion of reporting to the Security Council such complaints and their disposition as he deemed appropriate. It was understood that this procedure would not preclude the parties from addressing any communications directly to the Council should they consider it necessary. It was also agreed to request Member States to report on steps taken in the implementation of the resolution of 29 May and to call to their attention as well as to that of non-member States from which substantial immigration to Palestine or to the Arab States might emanate, paragraph six of the Truce Proposals, and to request them to extend co-operation and assistance to the Mediator in the implementation of the provisions of the Truce Agreement.

The representative of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics submitted a draft resolution (document S/841) providing for the appointment of military observers by Member States of the Security Council wishing to participate in the designation of such observers, excluding Syria, and limiting their number to an amount not exceeding fifty persons. This resolution was voted upon and rejected by a vote of 2 in favour (Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic and Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) and 9 abstentions.

Discussion was continued at the 330th, 331st and 332nd meetings. At the 331st meeting the Council voted on the draft resolution, (document S/867) submitted by the representative of the United Kingdom, appealing to the parties to accept a prolongation of the truce. The resolution was adopted (document S/875) by a vote of 8 in favour, none against and 3 abstentions (Syria, Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics).

At the 332nd meeting the President drew the following documents to the attention of the Council:

It was agreed that the President should send a cablegram to the Arab States requesting immediate information regarding the actual situation in Palestine and in particular their attitude towards the observance and
prolongation of the Truce.

At the 333rd meeting, the United Nations Mediator, Count Folke Bernadotte, presented an oral report to the Council supplementing his previously submitted written report (S/888) on the situation in Palestine.

At the 334th the meeting, the representative of the United States submitted a draft resolution (document S/890) describing the situation in Palestine as a threat to the peace within the meaning of article 39 of the Charter,
and ordering the governments and authorities concerned, pursuant to article 40 of the Charter, to desist from further military action, and to issue cease-fire order to their forces to this effect. The representative of the United Kingdom then submitted two amendments to the United States draft resolution which are contained in document S/895. The representative of Syria also introduced a draft resolution (document S/894) requesting the International Court of Justice to give an advisory legal opinion as to the international status of Palestine after the termination of the mandate.

At the 336th meeting the representative of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics submitted an amendment (document S/896) to paragraph 7 of the United States draft resolution, proposing that both parties immediately withdraw their armed forces from Jerusalem. The representative of China also submitted an amendment (document S/897) augmenting the United States draft resolution, by calling upon both parties to seek, in co-operation with the Mediator, a solution through mutual concessions, both in regard to the political organization of Palestine, and in regard to immigration.

At the 337th meeting, the representative of Argentina requested that in voting on the United States draft resolution the phrase, "pursuant to Article 40 of the Charter", in paragraphs 3 and 5 of the draft resolution
be voted upon separately.

At the 338th meeting the representative of Syria introduced an amendment (document S/901) to the United States draft resolution which deleted the entire first paragraph and substituted the following: "taking
into consideration the report of the United Nations Mediator dated 12 July 1948, (document S/888)". The representative of Canada submitted an amendment to paragraph 3 of the United States draft resolution replacing the last three lines by the following: "to take effect at such early date as the Mediator, taking into account his responsibilities for supervising the observation of the truce, may determine and notify to the respective parties". The Secretary-General submitted two additional paragraphs to the United States draft resolution requesting the Secretary-General to provide the Mediator with the necessary staff and facilities to assist in carrying out the functions assigned the Mediator and to make appropriate arrangements for the provisions of the necessary funds to meet the obligations arising from the resolution. The representative of the United States submitted an alternative text for the Chinese amendment (document S/897) which was accepted by the representative of China. The Council then voted upon the various draft resolutions and amendments under consideration. The Syrian amendment (document S/901) was rejected by a vote of 4 in favour (Argentina, Belgium, China and Syria), none against and 7 abstentions. The first United Kingdom amendment (document S/895) was rejected by a vote of 3 in favour (Belgium, Colombia and the United Kingdom), one against (Syria) and 7 abstentions. The Canadian amendment was rejected by a vote of 5 in favour (Argentina, Belgium, Canada, China and Colombia), none against and 6 abstentions. The United States alternative text for the Chinese amendment was adopted by a vote of 9 in favour and 2 abstentions (Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics). In compliance with the Argentine request the phrase "pursuant to Article 40 of the Charter" was voted upon separately and maintained in the text of paragraph 3 and deleted from the text of paragraph 3. The amendment submitted by the representative of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (document S/896) was rejected by a vote of 2 in favour (Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics), one against (Syria) and 8 abstentions. The two additional paragraphs submitted by the Secretary-General were adopted by a vote of 8 in favour, none against and 3 abstentions (Syria, Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics). The United States draft resolution as amended was adopted by a vote of 7 in favour, one against (Syria) and 3 abstentions (Argentina, Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics). It was decided to postpone consideration of the Syrian draft resolution (document S/894) until a future meeting of the Council.

At the 339th meeting discussion was continued on the Syrian draft resolution (document S/894) requesting the International Court of Justice to give an advisory legal opinion as to the international status of
Palestine arising from the termination of the mandate. The representative of Colombia submitted an amendment (document S/921) which specified that the request should not delay or impair the normal course of mediation.

At the 340th meeting the draft resolution, as amended, was voted upon, and failing to obtain the necessary 7 affirmative votes, was rejected by a vote of 6 in favour, 1 against (Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic) and 4 abstentions (Canada, France, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, United States). At the same meeting the representative of the United Kingdom submitted a draft resolution (document S/923) designed to support the demand of the Palestine Truce Commission for the release of five employees of the Jerusalem Electric Corporation who had been abducted by the Irgun Zvai Leumi, and called for their surrender to the Truce Commission in Jerusalem.

Discussion was continued at the 343th meeting. It was decided to request the Mediator and the governments and the authorities concerned to supply the Council with information regarding the following questions:
By cablegram dated 12 August 1948 (document S/963) the United Nations Mediator informed the Security Council that the pumping station at Latrun had been completely destroyed by demolition charges during
the night of 11-12 August.

At the 349th meeting the Council decided to send a cablegram to the United Nations Mediator requesting him to make all efforts and to take steps to ensure the water supply for the population of Jerusalem.

By cablegram dated 18 August 1948 (document S/977) the Mediator informed the Security Council that a further deterioration of the situation in Jerusalem might lead to a general resumption of hostilities and he, therefore, requested that the Council take prompt action with a view to giving effect to its resolution of 15 July. At the 354th meeting, in response to this request, the representatives of Canada, France, the United Kingdom and the United States jointly submitted a draft resolution concerning violations of the truce which was voted upon paragraph by paragraph and adopted. (S/983)

In connection with the report of the Mediator regarding the demilitarization of Jerusalem (document S/979), it was decided to send him a cablegram stating that the Council relied on him to make all efforts to achieve speedy results on the matter to which the Security Council attached serious importance.

The Council also decided to transmit the record of its discussion on the question of Palestinian-Arab refugees and Jewish displaced persons to the Economic and Social Council and the International Refugee
Organization.

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