UNITED NATIONS CONCILIATION COMMISSION FOR PALESTINE
SUMMARY RECORD OF THE THREE HUNDRED AND FIFTY-SECOND MEETING (CLOSED)
Held at Headquarters, New York,
on Friday, 7 December 1962, at 4.45 p.m.
ADOPTION OF THE AGENDA
The Agenda was adopted.
The CHAIRMAN welcomed Mr. Arnaud as the new French representative to the Conciliation Commission and expressed assurance that he would contribute in the same faithful and thoughtful manner to the work of the Commission as had his predecessor Mr. Dauge.
Mr. BLAKE (United States of America) associated himself with the remarks of the Chairman and recalled the happy relations between Mr. Dauge and the members of the Commission.
Mr. ARNAUD (France) thanked the members for their kind remarks about himself and Mr. Dauge. He said that it was a privilege to participate in the difficult task of the Conciliation Commission.
Consideration of the draft Twentieth Progress Report
The CHAIRMAN thanked the Special Representative Dr. Johnson for his strenuous efforts in the delicate matter of trying to find means of implementing paragraph 11. The Commission, he continued, felt, however, that it should not include his ideas in the Twentieth Progress Report now under consideration. On behalf of his own Government he thanked Dr. Johnson for his hard and devoted work.
Mr. BLAKE (United States of America) also thanked Dr. Johnson for his hard work and his patience, his forebearance and understanding of the conclusion reached by the members of the CCP that efforts to find a solution under paragraph 11 by using his magnificent efforts must continue and required the simple references to his work contained in the draft report before the Commission. He thought it might be appropriate for Dr. Johnson at a later date to make a fuller report to the Assembly through the Conciliation Commission.
Mr. ARNAUD praised the efforts of Dr. Johnson. If his Government had not already held him in the highest esteem, the understanding shown by the Special Representative, which had facilitated agreement on the draft text before the Commission, would have established him in his Government’s esteem.
Dr. JOHNSON (Special Representative) thanked the members for their kind remarks.
Mr. BLAKE (United States of America) formally proposed the addition of the draft text on the mission of the Special Representative, which had already been considered informally, to the text of the Twentieth Progress Report previously prepared by the Secretariat and informally approved.
The CHAIRMAN suggested that the report be adopted unless Dr. Johnson wished first to make any remarks.
Dr. JOHNSON (Special Representative) said that, as he understood the draft report, the Commission did not want him to submit a report on his work prior to the end of the Assembly’s discussion of the Palestine item.
The CHAIRMAN replied that that was indeed the request of the Commission.
Dr. JOHNSON (Special Representative) stated that he understood the reasons for the decision and accepted it.
Mr. GAILLARD (Acting Principal Secretary) drew attention to certain editorial changes in the informally agreed text of the draft report to the second sentence of paragraph 6 redrafted by the Secretariat in the light of comments at the informal meeting but still requiring Commission approval. The new text — “With expansion of staff it is estimated that this task could be completed by the Eighteenth Session” — had been submitted to the members in a memorandum of explanation dated 29 November 1962.
The CHAIRMAN, speaking as the representative of Turkey, expressed approval of the editorial changes and the new sentence which he preferred as more flexible than the original draft. He also suggested that the Commission authorize completion of the work referred to in paragraph 6 and the necessary administrative action to obtain the required supplementary funds.
Mr. BLAKE (United States of America) felt that it was not necessary to take a definite decision on the work programme until after the end of this session’s debate. In that debate or in the resolution adopted there might be ideas or points of view which should be taken into account.
Mr. ARNAUD (France) thought that it would be advisable to postpone a decision until after the adoption of a resolution by the General Assembly.
The CHAIRMAN, .speaking as the representative of Turkey, agreed that a Commission decision should be postponed in view of the opinions expressed by his colleagues.
The draft text of the Twentieth Progress Report was unanimously approved by the Commission.
The CHAIRMAN asked Dr. Johnson for his comments on the Report.
Dr. JOHNSON (Special Representative) declared that, given the decision of the Commission, the report was accurate and covered the situation. He thought some remarks on his own position appropriate at this time. He intended to resign as Special Representative not later than 13 February 1963, partly for personal reasons, partly because in the existing circumstances he had some doubts about the continued utility of the role of Special Representative beyond that date. He might decide to resign earlier but that would depend on possible developments in the situation which he could not now foresee. Once he had resigned, he assumed that he would be a free agent to express his views as a responsible citizen on problems with which he had been concerned.
It was his understanding, he continued, from remarks made to him by its members, that the Commission did not wish to receive or ask for a report, from him now because of its belief that a report would aggravate the debate and destroy the usefulness of any ideas developed during the last year and because of its expectation that there would not be any specific mention in a substantive or tendentious manner of his confidential Proposals. The references by the representative of the United Arab Republic he did not consider in that category. If for some reason the unwillingness of States to discuss his Proposals were to change and there were substantive comments, especially criticism and inaccurate statements — such as had been made outside the United Nations — he assumed that both the Commission and he himself might wish to reconsider their positions. He would find it difficult to accept attacks on Proposals not formally before the Special Political Committee.
Dr. Johnson was glad to learn from the remarks of the representative of the United States of America that his not submitting a report now did not preclude the possibility of a report at a subsequent date. He would like to remain free to submit at the time of his resignation a substantive report on his mission.
Finally, Dr. Johnson requested guidance on how to handle the inevitable questions that would follow publication of the CCP report.
The CHAIRMAN, speaking as the representative of Turkey, declared that his Government would regret the resignation of Dr. Johnson. It had great respect for him and regretted its inability to give him more support in his work. He asked whether Dr. Johnson would resign should the interested parties undertake to continue discussions with him.
Dr. JOHNSON (Special Representative) replied that if the situation changed and the Commission asked him to continue, he would have to reconsider his intentions taking into account personal commitments to the Board of the Carnegie Endowment. Speaking frankly, he did not believe that the suggested contingency was likely to arise.
The CHAIRMAN agreed with Dr. Johnson’s estimate but expressed the hope that the situation would change and that he could continue as Special Representative.
The Chairman believed that, should distorted references to Dr. Johnson’s Proposals be made, it would be the duty of the Commission to consider the remarks and take a decision on appropriate action.
As to a final report from Dr. Johnson, he stated that the Commission would be grateful to have one and the Commission could later take any necessary decision on such a report.
As to inquiries from the Press or others concerning the Progress Report, the Chairman felt that it was for Dr. Johnson to decide what to say. He would prefer him to avoid detailed comments.
Dr. JOHNSON (Special Representative) said that his inclination would be simply to say that the report speaks for itself. If delegations pressed inquiries, he would prefer to refer the delegations to the Commission.
The CHAIRMAN declared that he planned to say that Dr. Johnson was continuing his efforts.
Mr. BLAKE (United Sates of America) associated himself with the remarks of the Chairman in reply to Dr. Johnson’s observations. He felt that the Commission should leave open the question of what to do should the present trend of non-substantive remarks on Dr. Johnson’s Proposals change. He thought that members of the Commission could concern their efforts so as to make that possibility unlikely.
Regarding questions about the Progress Report, the correct course for Dr. Johnson was to refer questions to the Commission. He could say that he was doing so in agreement with its members.
Mr. ARNAUD (France) associated himself with the remarks of his colleagues upon the observations and questions of Dr. Johnson.
Mr. GAILLARD (Acting Principal Secretary) noted that implicit in the section of the report dealing with Blocked Accounts was a decision by the Commission to address letters, after the Assembly debate, to the Syrian Arab Republic and the United Arab Republic on the unresolved matters referred to.
It was decided that the Twentieth Progress Report should be distributed on 12 December.
Observations quant au rapport sur les comptes bloqués des réfugiés arabes en Israël - 352e séance de CCNUP (New York) - Compte rendu Français