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27 May 1948
Department of Public Information
Press and Publications Bureau
Lake Success, New York

Press Release PAL/177
27 May 1948

The following is the text of a telegram received by the Secretary-General last night (26 May) from Dr. Pablo de Azcarate who is serving as Deputy Municipal Commissioner for Jerusalem pending the arrival of Mr. Harold Evans:

United Nations

"The situation inside Jerusalem continues. Present difficulties and great risks make practically impossible the normal functioning of municipal authority in the whole city. In view of this situation and the fact that our officers and place residents are located inside the Jewish frontlines, I arranged with the Arab authorities, on the occasion of my visit to the Old City when returning from Amman, to have at my disposal a lodging and office in the Old City. My idea was to divide my time between the two parts of the city. Unfortunately this arrangement was made impracticable for the time being owing to the fact that the only place where it was formerly possible to cross the lines is now impassable because of the increased fighting.

"Now the only way to the Old City would be to take part of Government House under the Red Cross and then walk cross-country more than one mile under Arab escort while in the Old City. I had occasion to refer to foregoing and took opportunity as deputy municipal commissioner to meet Arab authorities and visit most important hospital. I also called the Latin Patriarch and accepted hospitality for the night. The fighting prevented me from calling on Greek Orthodox and Armenian patriarchs. On Friday, May 21, I visited two hospitals in the Jewish district and places particularly affected by bombardment. Except for the zone near the firing line, there was no great damage and the general aspect of the town was normal. The Jewish de facto municipality, which is keeping the municipal services working as much as circumstances permit, was told that the water supply is secure for 70 days. Electricity supply with works still triple. The consular flag is protected reasonably regularly. Concerning the Jerusalem water supply, I sent a second message yesterday to King Abdullah in my capacity as deputy municipal commissioner asking him to give orders making it possible to repair pipelines.

"I understand from reliable sources, that my appeal is being considered by Arab authorities at the same time they are discussing the present Security Council call for cease-fire. Tomorrow, 26 May, there will be a morning meeting of the municipal authorities of the Jewish city.


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