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U N I T E D N A T I O N S

General Assembly
Distr.


A/AC.21/W.2
9 January 1948




UNITED NATIONS PALESTINE COMMISSION

Considerations Affecting Certain of the Provisions of the General Assembly Resolution on the “Future Government of Palestine”: Termination of the Mandate, Withdrawal of British Forces

(Working Paper Prepared by the Secretariat)

The provisions of the plan on Partition with Economic Union embodied in the resolution on the future Government of Palestine are necessarily of a general character. Accordingly, it would seem advisable that they should be analyzed and elaborated with a view toward obtaining a clearer and more concrete idea of their meaning and implications. A series of working papers, of which this is the first, has been prepared with this end in view.




I. TERMINATION OF THE MANDATE

1. Part I, A, paragraph 1 of the plan adopted by the General Assembly provides that “the Mandate for Palestine shall terminate as soon as possible but in any case not later than 1 August 1948”.

2. Part I, A, sub-paragraph 2 of paragraph 2 provides that “the Mandatory Power shall advise the Commission, as far in advance as possible, of its intention to terminate the Mandate...”

3. The following statements made by spokesmen of the British Government in the House of Commons on 11 and 12 December 1947, indicate the intention of the Mandatory Power, of which the Commission will probably be officially advised at one of its early meetings.

4. The British Government accordingly intends that the transfer of power to the United Nations Commission should take place on 15 May, possibly earlier, but not much earlier, as Mr. Bevin has reminded the House of Commons that February was impossible.

5. The views of the British Government in this connection may be completed by two statements. The first was made at the last meeting of the General Assembly by the British representative, Sir Alexander Cadogan: “I have been, instructed to express the hope that the United Nations Commission will get into communication with His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom in order that arrangements may be agreed for the arrival of the Commission in Palestine and for the co-ordination of its plans with those of the Mandatory Power for the withdrawal of British Administration and British Military forces”. The second statement was made by Mr. Creech Jones in the House of Commons on 11. December: “In our view undivided control is essential until the Mandate is relinquished. As His Majesty’s Government has made it clear that they cannot take pact in the implementation of the United Nations plan, it will be undesirable for the Commission to arrive in Palestine until a short period before the termination of the Mandate. For reasons of administrative efficiently, responsibility and security, this overlap period should be comparatively brief, but much preliminary work can be done by the Commission outside Palestine before then”. It is the intention of the Mandatory Power to “retain control of the country” so long as the Mandate is not terminated and not to relinquish the Mandate “piecemeal” but “as a whole” on the “appointed day”.

6. As regards the connection between the termination of the Mandate and the withdrawal of British troops, Mr. Creech Jones has stated that the termination of the Mandate would take place “some time in advance of the completion of the withdrawal”, when the latter would be “well under way”.


II. WITHDRAWAL OF BRITISH ARMED FORCES FROM PALESTINE

1. The Plan adopted by the Assembly maintains the following provisions, paragraph A.2 of Part I, respecting the withdrawal of British armed forces: 2. Both in the General Assembly and in the House of Commons debates on 11 and 12 December 1947, the United Kingdom Government stated that it intended to complete the withdrawal of its forces from Palestine by 1 August 1948, or earlier if possible. After the adoption of the Assembly’s resolution on 29 November 1947, Sir Alexander Cadogan expressed the hope that “the United Nations Commission will get into communication with His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom in order that arrangements may be agreed for the arrival of the Commission in Palestine and for the co-ordination of its plans with those of the Mandatory Power for the withdrawal of British Administration and British military forces.”

3. It therefore appears that there is agreement between the policy of the United Kingdom Government and the terms of the Assembly’s resolution on the date of the final withdrawal. There is also agreement by the United Kingdom Government that its plans for military withdrawal are a proper subject for co-ordination with the plans of the commission.

4. As to the time-table and details of the British plans for withdrawal, the intentions of the United Kingdom Government are not known. Mr. Creech Jones stated in the House of Commons on 11 December 1947 that “The outline plan which has been made by His Majesty’s Government for withdrawal has been communicated to him (the Secretary-General of the United Nations) and put forward as a basis for negotiation with the Commission.” Mr. Bevin stated in the House of Commons on 12 December 1947 that the Government had a plan of withdrawal but that the detailed arrangements were delicate and not a proper subject for public discussion. He added, “It may be varied as we go along.” Up to 9 January 1948 the Secretary-General had not received any plan of the British withdrawal as suggested by Mr. Creech Jones. This section has accordingly been prepared on such information as was made available in the discussions in the General Assembly and in the British House of Commons, and will be subject to amendment depending on the information contained in the British plan. It is noteworthy, however, that Mr. Creech Jones stated that the plan of withdrawal was “put forward as a basis for negotiation with the Commission.” This would imply that the United Kingdom might be prepared to vary its plan in order to meet the requirements of the Commission. The Commission may therefore wish to undertake, as one of its first tasks, to obtain from the United Kingdom the details of its plan of withdrawal and examine them in the light of the detail of the Commission’s own plan for implementing the Assembly resolution.

5. So far as can be ascertained from remarks of United Kingdom officials, the following details of the British plan of withdrawal are known:

6. Sir Alexander Cadogan stated in the Ad Hoc Committee on 20’November 1947, “I can, however, assure the Committee that we shall endeavour to keep the United Nations Commission informed beforehand of our intentions regarding the stages of our withdrawal.” This statement, plus the invitation to the United Nations Commission to arrange for the co-ordination of its plans with those of the United Kingdom, and the statement of Mr. Creech Jones that an outline plan of withdrawal has been communicated to the Secretary-General as a basis for negotiation with the Commission, seem to imply that the United Kingdom will agree to advance notification of its intention to evacuate each area. It may be that the Commission will desire more specific information in this regard.

7. The proposed British withdrawal affects the United Nations Commission in varying degrees during three clearly defined periods:



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