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Press Release

Department of Public Information l News Coverage Service l New York

4 November 1947

Department of Public Information
Press and Publication Bureau
Lake Success, New York

Subcommittee I
Ad Hoc Committee of
Palestinian Question

15th Meeting
Press Release GA/PAL/50
4 November 1947


At the 15th meeting of Subcommittee I this afternoon, MR. L. B. PEARSON (Canada) presented his Delegation’s views on the plans for implementation so far put forward in Subcommittee I and the UNSCOP Majority Report.

Mr. Pearson said that since the Report contemplated a major political operation, the Subcommittee must make certain that the means chosen to bring it about were constitutionally sound, practicable and effective.

The withdrawal of the Mandatory, he said, would create a legal vacuum in Palestine, and it was up to the Subcommittee to ascertain how the legal vacuum might be filled in the manner contemplated by the Majority Report.

He stressed that there would be great administrative difficulties under any system, and that careful consideration should be given, in advance, to steps which the United Nations might take if the settlement should not work out peaceably.

Mr. Pearson said that despite the suggestion of the United States and Guatemala that the General Assembly might take responsibility for the administration of Palestine and the carrying into effect of the Majority Report, the powers of the General Assembly were explicitly powers of recommendation.

To argue, he said, that it might establish subsidiary organs to enforce its decisions without reference to whether or not these decisions were acceptable to the parties concerned was to assume that these decisions were not recommendations, but commands, and as such irreconcilable with the provisions of the Charter.

However, the Canadian Delegation did believe, he said, that under Article 14 of the Charter, the General Assembly was competent to make the proposed recommendations - namely, for the emergence of two states on the withdrawal of the Mandatory Power and for the handing over, by the Mandatory, of governmental responsibility to the provisional governments immediately on withdrawal.

These contemplated measures, continued Mr. Pearson, could be recommended to the United Nations and also to the Arabs and Jews of Palestine. Under the United States proposal, he said, the Mandatory Power would, in effect, merely hand over the keys. This move, he said, could be accomplished if the necessary co-operation were forthcoming. Otherwise, he said, the desired results might not be achieved.

Discussing the “pro’s” and “con’s” of the implementation proposals, the Canadian representative said his Delegation agreed with the United States’ view that there should be no further transitional period following the withdrawal of the Mandatory. He explained that he believed practical difficulties would arise in administering Palestine during a transitional period under an international authority.

Two other possibilities which he discussed included the setting-up of a trusteeship system and action through the Security Council.

However, he said that if a transitional period were unnecessary, a trusteeship period would be equally unnecessary, and as far as action by the Security Council went, Mr. Pearson said, it would be necessary to make sure the permanent Members of the Council agreed as to the means of implementation.

In view of these objections, Mr. Pearson endorsed Guatemala ’s proposal for an informal working group to be formed to coordinate the suggested measures for implementation. He added that Canada had some suggestions of her own to offer at the proper time. In line with this work, Mr. Pearson suggested that the views held by the Subcommittee as to the role the Mandatory should play until the time of its withdrawal, and the methods to be employed to maintain order in the period immediately following the withdrawal of the Mandatory Power should be developed further.

Following, Mr. Pearson’s talk, an informal working group including Canada, Guatemala the United States and the USSR was authorized to start work immediately on coordinating the plans of implementation.

The Subcommittee adjourned at 4:15 p.m. in order to let the working group begin its task at once.

The next meeting of the Subcommittee I has not yet been scheduled.

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