SUMMARY RECORD OF THE TWO HUNDRED AND SIXTY-FIRST MEETING
Held in the Hôtel de Crillon, Paris,
on Friday, 2 November 1951, at 4 p.m.
-- Meeting with the Head of the Refugee Office
MEETING WITH THE HEAD OF THE REFUGEE OFFICE
The CHAIRMAN stated that Mr. Andersen, Head of the Refugee Office, was arriving in Paris the following Wednesday, accompanied by Mr. Berncastle, the Land Specialist. He would bring with him the report on riparian rights which the Commission had requested, and also Mr. Berncastle’s report on Arab movable property. The Chairman proposed that the Commission should meet on Thursday morning to receive those reports from Mr. Andersen. In the meantime, the Commission should study the Land Specialist’s report on the evaluation of Arab immovable property and decide what questions it wished to put to him. He drew the Commission’s attention to the paper circulated by the Secretariat concerning certain points of the Refugee Office’s report that might be raised while Mr. Andersen was in Paris.
COMMISSION’S LETTER TO THE PARTIES OF 31 OCTOBER (IS/76 and AR/65)
The CHAIRMAN informed the Commission that he had not seen Mr. Fischer, the representative of Israel, to hand the Commission’s letter of 31 October to him personally, as he had intended. He had, however, left a personal note for Mr. Fischer in which he had pointed out that the Commission’s letter represented a further opportunity — perhaps the last — for the Israel delegation to agree to discuss all the Commission’s proposals, and had stated that the Commission considered it would be in Israel’s own interest to agree to that procedure, rather than to confine itself to discussing with the Commission one aspect of the problem to the exclusion of the others.
Mr. ARAS (Turkey) stated that Mr. Najar of the Israel delegation had made an appointment to see him the following morning. Mr. Aras hoped to receive some indication of the feeling of the Israel Government and would keep the Commission informed.
Mr. Aras felt that the Commission’s task was only a small part of the general pattern of events in the Middle East, all of which were interrelated. At the time the Commission had taken initiative of calling the conference, the series of events that had taken place could not have been foreseen. Those events, however, had undoubtedly made the Commission’s work extremely difficult. It might be that developments in the General Assembly on other aspects of the general problem would greatly facilitate the Commission’s task.
Mr. MARCHAL (France) reported that he had seen Mr. Atassi, the head of the Syrian delegation, the previous day. The Syrian delegate had been surprised to receive the Commission letter of 31 October. Mr. Atassi considered that the letter should only have been addressed to the Israel delegation which, he had stated, was solely responsible for the delay in the conference, the Arab delegations having already indicated their readiness to discuss the Commission’s proposals.
Mr. Atassi had informed him that as Mostafa Bey, the Egypt delegate, had returned to Berne for a few days, it would be difficult for the Arab delegations to reply to the Commission’s letter before 6 November, as requested. Mr. Marchal did not think, however, that the Arab reply would be delayed more than a day or two.
The representative of France agreed with Mr. Aras that recent events in the Middle East had considerably compromised the Commission’s chances of obtaining the concrete results for which it had hoped from the conference. The members of the Commission had been aware when taking the initiative that its success would depend to a great extent on joint diplomatic action by their respective Governments. At the present time there were many other subjects of diplomatic conversations with the Middle Eastern Governments, and the Commission’s effort was only one of many problems requiring attention. He feared that if a further attempt were made to exert diplomatic pressure at the present juncture the result might only be to harden the Arab attitude. On the other hand, if the Commission decided that to further diplomatic action should be taken there was no doubt that the Arab Governments would maintain their present attitude. In those circumstances, the best course for the Commission would appear to be to adjourn the conference if the replies to its letter of 31 October made it advisable.
Mr. ARAS (Turkey) agreed with Mr. Marchal’ s remarks and expressed the view that only by exercising great patience in trying to resolve the present deadlock could the Commission hope to make progress. If the letter the Commission had addressed to the parties on 31 October — which represented a supreme effort — produced results, the ensuing discussions, whether successful or not, would greatly assist the Commission in writing its report.
The CHAIRMAN agreed with the remarks of the French and Turkish representatives. With regard to Mr. Marchal’s statement concerning his talk with the delegate of Syria, he hoped the Arab delegations would realize that the Commission’s intention in sending its letter of 31 October had been to give them an opportunity of re-stating their readiness to discuss all the Commission’s proposals after they had heard the detailed explanations contained in the Chairman’s statement of 24 October*, and of commenting on those explanations.
COMMISSION’ S REPORT TO THE GEFERAL ASSEMBLY
It was agreed that the Commission could begin at once to prepare its report to the General Assembly.
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