The CHAIRMAN called the meeting to order.
Adoption of the Agenda.
Consideration of the Replies of Organizations to the letter of the Special Committee
The CHAIRMAN informed the Committee that several written statements had been received and requested the Secretary to give the list of such communications.
Mr. Garcia ROBLES (Secretary) said that letters had been received from different organizations and individuals; several were in reply to the letter of the Committee and some from organizations and individuals who had voluntarily written to the Committee. Among the organizations which had applied for a hearing during the Special Session of the General Assembly and which had consequently received the Special Committee's letter requesting their views, the following had forwarded written testimony, copies of which had already been circulated to members of the Committee: Political Action Committee for Palestine; Progressive Zionist District 95 of New York; Union for the Protection of the Human Person; United Israel World Union, Inc.; American Jewish Committee; American Jewish Conference. The League for Peace with Justice in Palestine had furnished material in one copy only which was available to the Committee. Two letters had also been received and circulated from Mr. Hermann Fuernberg.
In addition, the following documents had so far been received: a pamphlet from the Jewish Agency for Palestine, a memorandum by the American Council for Judaism, a memorandum from the World Union of Hashomer Hatzair parties, two pamphlets from the Nation Associates.
The SECRETARY then referred to the various communications received during the period 15 May - 6 June 1947 (document A/AC.13/NC/6). He also read a letter from an inmate of a displaced persons camp in the United States zone in Germany. He pointed out that the 20,728 communications received from Jewish displaced persons were more or lees similar. After a brief discussion, the Committee agreed not to take these letters to Palestine, but to have compiled a list of their signatories which would be forwarded to the Committee.
The CHAIRMAN said that the conclusion he had arrived at after having read some of the statements, was that they did not justify a hearing.
Sir Abdur RAHMAN (India) pointed out that the Committee should not concentrate its attention on the manycommunications it receives, but rather on the issues involved.
Mr. Garcia GRANADOS (Guatemala) noted that only two organizations had asked for a hearing but agreed with the Chairman that it was not feasible to grant any hearing in New York.
Mr. RAND (Canada) inquired whether the American Jewish Committee had asked for permission to make an oral statement.
Mr. HOO (Assistant Secretary-General) replied that the request of the American Jewish Committee was conditional, that is, if the Committee so desired.
The Committee agreed with the Chairman's observation that no hearings should be held in New York.
Hearings in Palestine
Mr. Garcia GRANADOS (Guatemala) raised the question of hearings in Palestine of individuals belonging to underground organizations. Could any guarantee, he asked, be given to them so that they could come before the Committee, testify, and then go unmolested? It was necessary to obtain from the Palestine Government assurances on this point.
The CHAIRMAN agreed with the views expressed by Mr. Granados, but suggested that the matter be decided when the Committee reaches Palestine.
Mr. Garcia GRANADOS (Guatemala) maintained that the matter should be settled here in New York, in order to enable the Committee to take the necessary steps.
Mr. ENTEZAM (Iran) agreed in substance with the point raised by Mr. Granados, but pointed out that it would be better to decide this procedural question after the Committee's arrival in Palestine and consultation with the Palestine Government.
Mr. HOOD (Australia) in reply to a question recalled that during the recent investigation carried out by the united Nations Commission of Inquiry in Greece, arrangements had been made to establish contact with General Markos by "subterranean means". He considered the Committee should defer decision until it had consulted with the Palestine Government.
The CHAIRMAN considered that the Committee might make satisfactory private arrangements on this point and the Committee agreed with this suggestion that the whole question be discussed and decided in Palestine.
Question of Palestine
Mr. BLOM (Netherlands) inquired whether any experts had been approached, as decided at the third meeting.
Mr. RAND (Canada) suggested the following two names: Dr. James W. Parkes and Prof. H.A.R. Gibb of Oxford University. He said that they were well-known scholars, the former, a British expert on the Jewish aspect of the Palestine problem, and the latter an expert on Arab history and politics. The question was left open for further discussion.
Arab and Jewish interpreters
Mr. HOO (Assistant Secretary-General) in reply to a question stated that Arab and Jewish interpreters would be obtained on the spot.
Programme of Work
Mr. BRILEJ (Yugoslavia) suggested that the Committee should outline now its programme of work.
The CHAIRMAN pointed out that a general line of work had already been decided in the previous meeting.
Mr. LISICKY (Czechoslovakia) suggested that before the Committee undertook excursions into the country, it should hear a preliminary statement from the three liaison officers.
Mr. BLOM (Netherlands) agreed that the Committee should first obtain a description of the situation by the interested parties, who would be asked to give facts and not political views.
Mr. HOO (Assistant Secretary-General) told the Committee that letters had been sent to the Jewish Agency and to the Palestine Government's representative here, and a cablegram had been dispatched to the Arab Higher Committee askng them to name the liaison officers. The Palestine Government had prepared material for the Committee which would be available in Palestine. The Jewish Agency had already sent the Committee a preliminary memorandum on the Palestine question. No reply had yet been received from the Arab Higher Committee.
Mr. ENTEZAM (Iran) suggested that the Committee, on its arrival in Palestine, should first ask the Palestine Government to furnish factual information on its constitution and functions together with other relevant data. In the second place, the Arab and Jewish liaison officers should receive copies of this statement and be requested to present observations on it. Thirdly, the Committee should make brief excursions into the country. Lastly, on the Committee's return to Jerusalem, the Committee would begin its hearings in detail.
After a brief discussion, in the course of which Mr. ENTEZAM (Iran) said that while political references would be unavoidable, he preferred not to invite a political discussion immediately after arrival of the Committee in Palestine, the proposal of Mr. Entezam was adopted by the Committee.
The Committee briefly discussed arrangements for the journey to Palestine.
It was tentatively agreed that the next meeting should be held on 15 June in Palestine, after the Committee's arrival.
The meeting adjourned at 5:15 p.m.