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8 March 1950



Held at the Palais des Nations, Geneva,
on Wednesday, 8th March 1950, at 11 a.m.

Mr. de BOISANGER (France)Chairman
Mr. PALMER (United States of America)
Mr. YALCIN (Turkey)
Mr. de AZCARATE.Principal Secretary

Creation of Joint Committees

The CHAIRMAN proposed that the Commission should examine a draft note prepared by the Secretariat for transmission to the Arab delegations and the Israeli delegation.

Mr. PALMER (United States), said the in view of the attitude of the parties and Mr. Fisher’s recent statement on the general situation in Palestine, the Commission should adopt procedure which would not only enable it to continue to perform its functions, but would form a permanent basis for its activities. Since it might be the Commission’s last opportunity of determining its procedure, its decision should be carefully considered and should have the approval and support of the Governments which its members represented. Hence the decision taken must not only be deemed good by the Commission, but must be ratified by the Governments concerned so that the Commission would have nothing with which to reproach itself if its efforts were unsuccessful.

In these circumstances, he would not support the draft at that stage, however attractive and desirable it might appear, and he reserved the right to seek the prior approval of the United States Government.

While agreeing that the document in question should be treated only as a preliminary draft, the CHAIRMAN said that he himself would be happy to submit a summary of the present state of the Commission’s work to the parties. He had continually urged the Arab delegations to agree to the setting up of Joint Committees and the Israeli delegation to leave the initiative in this matter to the Commission and to agree that the Chairmen of these Committees should be appointed by the Commission.

Since the members of the Commission intended to leave shortly for the Middle East, he considered that this step should be taken before they left.

If the reply to the Commission’s note were vague or unfavourable the members of the Commission might, in the course of their journey, urge the Governments concerned to adapt their attitude more fully to the desires of the Commission.

He also thought it advisable to seek the support of the French Government beforehand. He himself would inform his Government when reporting on the draft note, that it was the only possible solution.

Mr. YALCIN (Turkey) agreed with his colleagues that the Commission’s negotiations with the parties should be expedited. He could now assure the Commission of the support of his Government.

Mr. PALMER (United States), observed that his own effectiveness would be greatly increased if his Government had previously approved the action proposed, and, accordingly, requested its diplomatic missions in the Middle East to back his own efforts with the Governments concerned. In addition, the dates for the transmission of the note and for the departure of the members of the Commission respectively should be very carefully arranged so that the members’ journey should follow naturally on the transmission of the note.

The CHAIRMAN observed that, allowing for the possibility of members of the Commission endeavouring, if necessary, to influence the Governments concerned during their journey, it would be preferable if the setting up of the Joint Committee could be settled before the departure of the Commission as a result of the receipt of favourable replies from delegations.

Mr. YALCIN (Turkey) asked whether, in the event of the Commission’s proposals being accepted its members would still wish to travel to the Near East.

The CHAIRMAN thought that there was not necessarily any close connection between the notification of delegations and the journey to be undertaken by members of the Commission.

Mr. PALMER (United States), assuming that the reply from delegations representing the parties might be unfavourable, thought that they should be informed beforehand of the intended departure of members of the Commission.

The CHAIRMAN considered it preferable that the Commission should transmit its note to the addressees as quickly as possible, without mentioning the Commission’s projected approach to Governments since such information might give the parties grounds for postponing their replies. He recalled a recent conversation with Mr. Mikaoui, the tone of which had suggested that he (W. Mikaoui) would be fairly well disposed to the Commission’s proposal.

Mr. PALMER (United States), while recognizing the danger of offering the parties a temptation not to reply nevertheless stressed that, in the event of a completely negative reply, it would be embarrassing for members of the Commission to announce their departure. In his view, if the Commission continued its conversations with the parties concerned on the question of the setting up of Joint Committees, it would be in a position to ascertain their probable reactions even before submitting the proposed note. He himself would prefer the precise wording of the note to be decided at a later stage.

The CHAIRMAN read out the text prepared by the Secretariat and suggested certain drafting changes.

The Commission decided to continue the examination of the amended text at its next meeting.

Questions on which further Joint Committees under the chairmanship of a Commission representative might be formed (Document W/38 prepared by the Secretariat).

The CHAIRMAN pointed out that some action should be taken on the Secretariat’s proposals if the principle of setting up Joint Committees was adopted. In reply to a question by the Principal Secretary, he added that it was essential that the General Committee and the Secretariat should study the best way to treat the various questions, as suggested in, paragraph 6 of the document.

Mr. BARCO (United States), suggested that the Commission should entrust the General Committee with the task of drafting a programme for the Joint Committees to be set up, such programme to be held in readiness for use, at the appropriate moment, in the approach to the delegations of the parties concerned. He thought it advisable to prepare an overall plan.

On the proposal of the Chairman, the Commission decided to refer the document under discussion for study to the General Committee. The Commission itself would resume consideration of the document at a later meeting.

Meeting with the Arab delegations.

In response to a request by certain delegations the Commission decided that the meeting with the Arab delegations should take place on the following day, Thursday 9 March 1950, at 4.30 p.m.

It was further decided that the Principal Secretary should personally inform these delegations that the purpose of the meeting was to give them an opportunity of discussing the general situation with the Commission officially and that there would therefore be no agenda.

Letter and Memorandum from the Palestine Arab Refugee Congress (Document/ORG/33)

Mr. PALMER (United States), thought that the memorandum in question would be a valuable source of information for the Commission in view of the facts it contained.

The CHAIRMAN having stated that in his views the memorandum might be transmitted for information to the Arab delegations with a statement that the Commission had it under review and that it was one of the questions now being examined by the Commission, the PRINCIPAL SECRETARY observed that this was a communication from a private organization to the Secretariat of the Commission, and that its authors might not approve its transmission to Governments.

After some discussion, during which Mr. BARCO (United States) proposed that the memorandum be referred to the General Secretary since the questions raised in it might be dealt with by a Joint Committee which would supervise the work of the proposed study group on the spot, the Commission decided to bring the memorandum to the notice of the General Committee. The question whether it should be transmitted to the Arab delegations would be decided when the Commission took up the question of compensation with the Arab delegation and the Israeli delegation.

The meeting rose at 1 p.m.

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