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30 March 1949

Original: English


held in Beirut on 30 March 1949 at 10 a.m.

Mr. de Boisanger


Mr. Yalcin(Turkey)
Mr. Ethridge(U.S.A.)
Mr. AzcaratePrincipal Secretary

The CHAIRMAN observed that the Arab delegations were to meet during the afternoon to discuss the Commission’s suggestions regarding a continuation of exchanges of views. Their reply would probably be given late in the afternoon, and he had reason to hope that all the delegations would accept the Commission’s invitation. As soon as the reply was received, it would be necessary for the Commission to decide on the place and date of the meetings and to extend an invitation to the Israeli Government without delay. The Commission must also decide when it would go to Tel Aviv and proceed to arrange appointments with Mr. Ben Gurion and Mr. Weizmann. The Chairman asked for the opinions of the other members of the Commission regarding the visit to Tel Aviv; a return to Jerusalem, etc.

Mr. YALCIN and Mr. ETHRIDGE did not see the necessity of an immediate return to Jerusalem; it would be better for the Commission to remain in Beirut until the final decisions were taken regarding the new meetings and until the time came for the Commission to go to Tel Aviv.

The CHAIRMAN thought that although it might not prove necessary for the Commission to return to Jerusalem as a Commission, it would probably be desirable for the Committee on Jerusalem to return there in order to make certain further necessary contacts. The Committee should be left free to take its own decision in the matter, however.

Mr. YALCIN and Mr. ETHRIDGE agreed that it would be desirable for the Committee to work on the spot.

Letter to Israeli Government concerning transfer of ministries

Mr. YENISEY (Chairman, Committee on Jerusalem) explained that it was the Committee’s feeling that the Commission should send a letter to Mr. Ben Gurion drawing his attention to the fact that the projected transfer of five ministries to Jerusalem was not in accordance with the terms of the General Assembly’s resolution. The Commission could not remain indifferent to such a step on the part of the Government of Israel; silence on its part would imply acquiescence.

The CHAIRMAN and Mr. YALCIN agreed that the move showed an intention on the part of the Israeli Government to by-pass the decisions taken by the General Assembly in its resolution of 11 December 1948; even though the Commission had no power to enforce its wishes, it was logical and essential that a gesture should be made in the form of a letter such as was proposed by the Committee.

Mr. ETHRIDGE doubted strongly whether such a gesture could be anything but futile; he did not feel that anything could be accomplished thereby. He had no objection in principle, however, to the sending of such a letter. As regards the draft submitted by the Committee, he asked for a revision of that part of the second paragraph which concerned the resolution, in order to reproduce the actual wording of the resolution itself.

The CHAIRMAN pointed out that prompt action was essential in the circumstances. He requested the Principal Secretary to redraft the letter along the lines of Mr. Ethridge’s suggestion, for signature by the Chairman later in the day.

Distribution of summary records

The PRINCIPAL SECRETARY remarked that he had several times, at the request of certain of the Arab delegations, transmitted to them copies of summary records of the meetings, always with the reservation that the records were intended only for in­ternal use within the Commission. Now, however, he had received a definite request from the Egyptian delegation for general distribution of the records of all meetings to all the Arab delegations, on the grounds that the Commission was an organ of the United Nations’ and its records should therefore be available to the Member nations.

The CHAIRMAN expressed the view that the Commission was not bound by any general rule in such a case, and that such a procedure would be contrary to the initial decision that all meetings would be private. He pointed out also that if the summary records were made available to the Arab Governments, they should also be transmitted to the Government of Israel, in the circumstances.

Since the other two members of the Commission supported his view, the Chairman instructed the Principal Secretary, if the question was raised again, to state that the Commission’s records were unofficial documents intended only to assist its own work,

and that no such records could be distributed to any of the delegations.

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