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Held at the General Assembly Hall at Flushing Meadow, New York, on Thursday, 15 May 1947,
at 10 a.m. President: Mr. O. Aranha (Brazil).
21. Final report of the Credentials Committee
The PRESIDENT: The first item on the agenda this morning is the final report of the Credentials Committee. I call upon the Chairman of the Committee, the representative of Australia.
Colonel Hodgson (Australia): On behalf of the Credentials Committee appointed at the special session of the General Assembly to report on the credentials of the representatives, and as Chairman of the Committee, I present the following report.
The documents emanating from thirty-three Member States and submitted to the Secretariat since the first meeting of the Committee have been examined. It has been found that the full powers or credentials conferred upon the representatives of these Governments fully satisfy the requirements of rule 20 of the provisional rules of procedure. It is noted that Governments of all Member States represented at the first special session of the General Assembly of the United Nations have submitted full powers or credentials which fully satisfy the requirements of the aforementioned rule.
The PRESIDENT: If there is no objection I shall consider the report of the Credentials Committee approved.
It is adopted.
22. Continuation of the discussion of the report of the first Committee (documents A/307 and A/307/Corr.1)
Sheikh Al-Faqih (Saudi Arabia) (translated from French): My intention is merely to make a brief statement, the same as that which my delegation has already made in the First Committee.
In common with all the other delegations of Arab States, whose points of view it shares and strongly supports, my delegation voted against the draft terms of reference of the special committee for the reasons which it has already explained.
We therefore wish to reserve our Government's attitude in respect of events and the results of any investigation arising out of the special committee's terms of reference, and we request that this statement be noted in the General Assembly's records.
The PRESIDENT: I now recognize the representative of India.
Mr. Asaf Ali (India): Could you call upon another speaker now? I should like to wait just a bit longer.
Dr. Fiderkiewicz (Poland): On behalf of the Polish delegation, I have the honour to submit before this Assembly the Polish proposal (document A/C.l/176), that the special committee of inquiry into the Palestine question be composed of eleven members, including the five permanent members of the Security Council. The other six members would be elected on the basis of the best geographical distribution and in accordance with the requirements of the task before the special committee. My delegation believes that the best geographical distribution would be achieved by selecting the six remaining members of the committee as follows: two countries from Latin America, one Arab country, such as Syria—in our opinion that would be best—one country from Asia, one country from Africa and one country from eastern Europe, preferably Yugoslavia or Czechoslovakia.
Should the opinion of the Assembly be that the special committee should be composed of thirteen members, we would be quite willing to accept that suggestion and add to the previously mentioned members another Latin-American country and one representative from western Europe, preferably Norway. Our motion in this direction was submitted before the First Committee, and was defeated.
It is not my intention to take up your time, Mr. President, or the time of the Assembly by discussing this proposal; I only want it to be put to the vote.
I can assure you that I am not going to repeat all the arguments in support of such a composition of the special committee. However, it should be noted that the decision to exclude the five permanent members of the Security Council from the special committee of inquiry was adopted by only thirteen votes to eleven with twenty-nine abstentions and two members absent.
The great number of abstentions proves that most of the Members of the United Nations did not oppose the inclusion. It is our belief, therefore, that we should not allow a decision to be imposed on our Organization by the vote of thirteen" out of fifty-five Members of this Assembly.
It is most regrettable that our rules of procedure do not require what is generally known in parliamentary procedure as an "absolute" or "qualified majority." It would be much more democratic and in the spirit of mutual collaboration if resolutions did require a certain decisive majority.
I believe that by adopting a draft resolution excluding the five permanent members of the Security Council from the special committee of inquiry, we acted contrary to the letter and spirit of the Charter, which states that no Member nation can be barred from participation in any body or committee organized by the United Nations simply on the basis that it is a big Power or belongs to a certain selected group. The duties and rights of all the Member nations are equal.
Therefore, we hope that the General Assembly will reverse the decision of the First Committee and, even if it should decide to select a special committee which does not include the five permanent members of the Security Council, we hope it will overrule the decision of the First Committee, which in our opinion discriminates against the five permanent members of the Security Council.
In submitting this proposal we are again motivated 'by one purpose only, namely: to establish a special committee whose work will not be a repetition of that of the eighteen previous commissions created for the same purpose, but which will bring forth a just solution in the interest both of world peace and of the security of the people of Palestine.
Mr. Picerno (Argentina) (translated from Spanish) : Argentina, author of one of the first proposals (document A/C. 1/149) on the composition of the investigating committee, feels that it is its duty to explain to the Assembly its reasons for withdrawing its proposal in the First Committee.
In our proposal, among other things, we maintained that the investigating committee should include the five permanent members of the Security Council.
Our grounds for taking this view were that difficult functions such as these should be shared by the five Powers who, as important and influential powers in the political structure of the world, would undoubtedly render valuable assistance in the achievement of a satisfactory solution.
We stated that the proposed resolution was based on a unity of conception and form and that if this was altered the proposal would lose its point. If one or more permanent members of the Security Council were unwilling to serve on the committee, such members could not be replaced by any other States, since the participation of the five Powers was the cornerstone of the proposal. The desire expressed by three of them—the United States, the United Kingdom and China—not to take part, did not deter us.
The arguments advanced against their participation were not very convincing because participation by the United Kingdom, the mandatory Power, for instance, did not necessarily imply that the committee would be biased. China and the United States pleaded almost the same excuse. I do not believe any one thought that these Powers would have been able to sway the committee and force solutions suited to their own political and economic interests; I am sure we should not have felt worried on that score, but should have put our trust blindly in these Powers.
At that stage the Argentine delegation was disposed to defend its proposal to the last, but a new factor made us change our attitude. One of the parties directly interested, the Jewish Agency for Palestine, suggested that it was advisable for the United Kingdom not to be a member of the committee. This was enough to make us change our minds, for until then neither the Arabs nor the Jews had made any such suggestion. That and the repeatedly expressed unwillingness of the United Kingdom, the United States and China to participate led us to withdraw our proposal.
However, Argentina has a clear conscience. She took an active part in drawing up the instructions for the investigating committee and many of her suggestions Were taken into account. As regards the composition of the committee also, several of the ideas contained in her proposal were considered. Our sole desire is that with God's guidance the members of the committee will succeed in finding a definite solution for this difficult problem and one which will conform to the highest standards of justice and equity.
At this point in the proceedings, Mr. Ponce, representative of Ecuador, replaced Mr. Aranha in the Chair.
Mr. Papanek (Czechoslovakia): I find some inconsistencies in the text of document A/307 which is now before us. In the first seven articles we speak of the "special committee" and in the last two, of a "commission". If it is in order, I suggest that the word "commission" be replaced by the words "special committee". That is the observation I had to make.
Acting President: I am informed that the correction has been made and a corrigendum has been issued (document A/307/Corr.l).
Mr. Asaf Ali (India): This will be my last utterance during this session.
As a newcomer to the United Nations, I came with great hopes, great dreams, great visions. My hopes are not yet dimmed. My dreams are still alive. My visions are still bright; but I must confess to a certain sense of disappointment which has been induced in me during the last few days of our discussions and debates. I shall not elaborate this point. Perhaps I am a little premature. Let me not induce my gloom, let me not carry my gloom into other hearts which appear to be gloomy already. Let me address myself particularly to those of whose feelings I am fully aware today, those who are not feeling satisfied with the result of the First Committee's labours. I shall try my best to satisfy them, and to assure them that even in the Committee's draft resolution, which they feel as totally inadequate, there is a great deal, and they will lose nothing if all the statements which have been made here are allowed to be proved at the next session.
But, Mr. President, before I proceed with this subject, I would ask your permission to refer to the draft resolution which has been tabled by the representative of Norway (document A/308). Perhaps you will recall that I took the earliest opportunity in the General Committee to bring up this subject, and I appealed to everyone concerned that peace should be the aim of all, in so far as Palestine is concerned. My appeal was endorsed by Sir Alexander Cadogan. It was a matter of great satisfaction to me that this appeal was repeated by Sir Carl Berendsen in his inimitable way, in that most emphatic, in that most appealing manner which is entirely his own.
Today we have heard this appeal again. Is it too much to ask everyone concerned that in the land which is the birthplace of the Prince of Peace, they should make every conceivable effort to maintain peace?
But peace can never be born except of justice. You cannot just go on talking of peace. In fact, this expression becomes pharisaical, if it is not implemented by the greatest assurance of complete justice. Justice alone can give birth to peace. This is what Christ prayed for. This is what Christ died for. Down to this day, and for ever and for ever, down the corridors of eternity, the words of the Prince of Peace shall echo.
What did He say on Calvary? He said: "Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani." Perhaps my Hebrew friends will recognize in these words what were once the anguished, the agonized words of the human soul. Why did He say so? Because justice was denied in that land, justice did not prevail. Therefore, that land has been, throughout all these centuries, the cockpit of interested people.
The time has now come when the conscience of humanity must be aroused to the fact that that land shall remain the sanctuary and shrine of peace for ever. It must be kept away from the tangles of power politics. All those who have dreams of finding there the baker's oven, from which issued the great deluge of Noah, must stay their hands. Leave this land alone. Let this land settle down to eternal peace and let it become the fountain-head of spiritual ideas which it was before.
Therefore, when I appeal for peace, it is not in a conventional way; it is not in a pharisaical way, it is not in any formal manner. This appeal for peace in Palestine springs from the bottom of my heart, and I hope I am echoing the feelings of all human beings upon the earth.
Palestine has become the acid test of human conscience. The United Nations will find that upon its decision will depend the future of humanity; they will decide whether humanity is going to proceed by peaceful means or humanity is going to be torn to pieces. If a wrong decision comes from this august Assembly, you may take it from me that the world shall be cut in twain and there shall be no peace upon earth.
The world has already experienced two great catastrophes. The stains of blood are still there. The whole of Europe bears the stains. Asia also, bears the stains of blood which men spilled; which one brother spilled by killing another brother. Why? Is there not enough of human labour, of the riches of this earth, of skill, which we may pool together to produce a happier and better world? Must we go on warring and warring—for what? Every twenty-five years, we send the flower of nations to the battlefront; the accumulated wealth of centuries, whether acquired by imperialistic means or otherwise, goes down to the bottom of the sea or up in smoke, the entire structure of the world is left shattered, shard upon shard, and it takes us years and years and years to rebuild. It is our duty, if we have any conscience at all, to avoid such a situation.
Unfortunately, Palestine threatens to become the baker's oven from which the deluge of blood may once again rise. That is what I fear.
For two days, I have been in utter agony because I know what is moving behind all this. I have tried to do my level best by everyone, in my own humble way. I am a very insignificant, a very humble person, although I represent a great country, although I carry the votes of four hundred million people—no, more—I carry the votes of four hundred million people of my country, of eighty million people of Indonesia, and many more millions of Malaysia and Burma who are not represented here. I carry their moral votes with me.
I carry also the message of their conscience: do justice by Palestine. Do not be moved by power politics; do not be moved by economic interests. This is a land which must be considered holy, holy to all three great religions which arose there; and all the sacred places must be held sacred. They must be secure against desecration. Therefore, do not introduce your petty, nationalistic, small affairs these, and do not make it a group affair. That is the message of their conscience.
I have before my mind's eye Calvary, Gethsemane, Golgotha, from Bethlehem to Nazareth, from Nazareth to Galilee, from Galilee to Calvary. I see the whole panorama before my eyes. I see that every little inch of ground there is sacred, sacred to those who have any sense to realize that a Great Soul arose there, and a great soul delivered a message which must always be; heard by humanity, if humanity has any conscience.
During the above remarks, Mr. Aranha resumed the President's Chair.
Let me leave this sentimental ground, because perhaps there are also some materialistic people in the world who would like to see the other side of the picture. I put aside this appeal for peace, and I shall now consider the purely legalistic aspect of this question.
The representatives of the Arab States find themselves greatly perturbed because they feel that if the words "independence of Palestine" are not mentioned in the terms of reference, there must be some doubt in the minds of the United Nations as to whether Palestine should be free or not, whether Palestine should ever be treated as a sovereign independent State or not.
Mr. Muniz, the representative of Brazil, made an eloquent speech yesterday in which he reminded everyone that, from the first, the United Nations had no other purpose but to assure the implementation of the original principle laid down in Article 22 of the Covenant of the League, which contemplated nothing else but independence for Palestine. I would beg you to believe the words of all those who,have spoken, either in the committees or here in the General Assembly. Trust them, give them a chance. I know it is the acid test of the conscience of the United Nations, but give them a chance. Do not misjudge them. Do not begin to feel that from now on, justice will not be done by Palestine or Palestinians. You lose nothing. After all, it is merely a matter of another few weeks. This committee will sit, collect data, come to its conclusions, and bring its recommendations before this Assembly. If this Assembly by any chance, or mischance, forgets its duty and the independence of Palestine goes by the board, you will be free to do exactly as you like. Who says you should not? Nobody can compel you.
This is the experiment which we have carried out in India. We had no arms; four hundred million people were utterly unarmed. Twenty-seven years ago we determined, we resolved to achieve our independence. We had to battle against the mightiest empire of the world. What has been the result? We said to ourselves, "You can kill us, you can destroy us, but you cannot get us to do the wrong thing. We are independent; we shall see that nobody treats us otherwise than as independent people."
Thank goodness we can look into the eyes of independent people today and say, "We are also independent".
Do not think of constitutionality; it is the determination of a people that counts—I know. The Palestinians have a determination of their own. No one can possibly wipe that determination out; no, not even the United Nations. They can wipe out Palestine, they can wipe out the Palestinians, but they cannot wipe out the determination, the soul of the people. Do not be impatient.
The United Nations was called into session by a request sent by His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom in these words (document A/286):
"His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom request the Secretary-General of the United Nations to place the question of Palestine on the agenda of the General Assembly at its next regular annual session"—at its next regular annual session. "They will submit to the Assembly an account of their administration of the League of Nations mandate and will ask the Assembly to make recommendations, under Article 10 of the Charter, concerning the future government of Palestine."
In other words, His Majesty's Government said: please call a special session before which we shall place our report on the administration of the mandate. They added, "In making this request, His Majesty's Government draw the attention of the Secretary-General to the desirability of an early settlement in Palestine and to the risk that the General Assembly might not be able to decide upon its recommendations at its next regular annual session unless some preliminary study of the question had previously been made under the auspices of the United Nations".
The special session was really convened for this purpose only. The United Kingdom's report of the administration of the mandate has not been heard by us so far. We do not know what has happened beyond the fact that we have heard their confession that the mandate has failed. That is all that we know. His Majesty's Government is faced today by an extremely difficult situation. Naturally, therefore, they come to us and say, "Can you help us?"
The only gap that I find is this. While we are helping His Majesty's Government out of a most awkward position, we are laying down nothing today by which they may be relieved of their burden. In other words, this committee will go on investigating, and His Majesty's Government will go on facing the situation as it is. We have not even said that while this investigation is going on, there should be no disturbance of the status quo.
We do not know what may happen in the meantime. Have we said anything about immigration? We have not. That is the core of the Problem. Suppose, during this period, two hundred thousand immigrants enter Palestine. I do not care which immigrants; they may be Jews or Arabs. It is quite possible that about two pillion Arabs from somewhere might enter Palestine tomorrow. If it is merely a question of numbers, you bring in a hundred thousand from Europe, and somebody else brings in about two hundred thousand from Egypt, and yet again somebody else brings about ten million from Iraq, and they all say, "All right, we are all Palestinians, what about it?"
Do you realize the dangers? Do you see how your gaps will open the door to difficulties? But you have said nothing about that. It is too late for me to propose any changes. Therefore, I leave matters alone. I am only laying before you difficulties which might arise. It is not merely a question of counting heads. It is a question which must be settled in a different spirit.
However, it was on the basis of this request that this special session was called. What are the recommendations of this Assembly? The recommendations of this Assembly are many, but only two are relevant to the whole issue. In paragraph 2, the draft resolution (document A/307), states: "The special committee shall have the widest powers to ascertain and record facts, and to investigate all questions and issues relevant to the problem of Palestine."
This is a comprehensive paragraph. It covers everything. When it says "investigate all questions and issues relevant to the problem of Palestine", the question of the Covenant of the League of Nations immediately arises. The question most relevant to the problem of Palestine is the mandate and the mandatory Power's existence there for the last twenty-four years. The question immediately arises: how did this mandate come into existence? Naturally, Article 22 of the Covenant of the League of Nations comes to mind. It must be studied. It must be determined whether the terms of the mandate are consistent with Article 22 of the Covenant. This is the most relevant question with which to begin the investigation.
Next, since the special committee is a body appointed by the United Nations, it cannot go beyond the four corners of the Charter of the United Nations. It cannot possibly ignore the Charter; otherwise, all the proceedings fall to the ground. We must remember that neither the question of the mandate, nor Article 22 of the Covenant of the League of Nations, nor the Charter of the United Nations, can be ignored by this committee. If they are ignored, when the committee returns to report, we shall be free to say, "We fear you have been guilty of a serious dereliction of duty, and we do not accept your recommendation".
Therefore, the question of the independence of Palestine is not barred. On the contrary, it is the one question on which the committee will have to concentrate.
Paragraph 6 of the resolution states: "The special committee shall prepare a report to the General Assembly and shall submit such proposals it may consider appropriate for the solution of the problem of Palestine." The moment that is said, all that I have said before is emphasized. Whatever solution the committee may bring forward will have to be consistent with the source of the authority by which the mandate was assumed, namely, Article 22 of the Covenant of the League of Nations. And it will have to be within the four corners of the principles of the Charter of the United Nations. There is no getting out of it.
Whatever your doubts may be and however angry you may otherwise feel, I would request you-I am addressing myself to the Members of the Arab States—to be patient. I am glad that whatever you have said does not mean that you are not going to be patient.
All you have said is that you want to reserve the position of your Governments. I am very glad you said that. However, allow me to sound a word of caution: everyone is endorsing this appeal for peace. By maintaining peace, you will be strengthening your case. Whoever violates the peace of Palestine will have to go to the dock to answer. Finally, it is open to you to maintain peace or not to maintain peace. It is none of my business. Personally, I should like to see peace established all over the world.
I know very well that if the peace of Palestine is disturbed, the third great world war will definitely be precipitated. I have no doubt of that. There are powers ranged on all sides. Some pessimists, who may be forgiven, are already predicting that certain interests would like a situation to be precipitated so that a great conflagration might take place which would shake to its very foundations this great structure of civilization, so that a new order of civilization might arise out of the wreckage. I am not one of those pessimists.
I do not believe in all that. I do not think there are any human beings on earth who would like to see such a situation. However, there are very doubtful factors ahead of you. No good can come to the Middle East if such a situation should ever arise.
Why? Because the Middle East will be bombed from both sides. We know what happened to Burma. First it was the Japanese, then it was the United Kingdom, then again the Japanese, and then the United States. The whole economic structure of Burma was seriously crippled.
No good can come to the Middle East. Not only to the Middle East, but no good can ever come to the East, and that is why we in India will not allow anything to happen which would mean a big war. That is why our first political interest lies in the maintenance of peace in the Mediterranean and, therefore, in Palestine. Even the political angle, we do not want war.
I am afraid I have taken quite a bit of the time of the Assembly. However, I have said a few things which, I hope, will be borne in mind by everyone. Once again I appeal particularly to the committee which is going to be set up— of course, I will not be on the committee, but my country will be and that is why I can make an appeal—to keep two injunctions of a very great Book in mind. The Great Soul that arose in Palestine said: "I am the Light of the world, he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." When He said that, He had nothing else but justice in view. That is the light in which He wanted everyone to walk.
The committee must also keep in mind another great injunction of the Prince of Peace, who said when some Pharisees wanted to test him and brought a coin to him, "Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's," which again means justice.
Before concluding, I might remind the representatives here that it seems to me to be a curious tragedy of the world that the very people by whose name Palestine is known—the Philistines —are no more. Palestine was really the land of the Philistines. The word itself is theirs. They are no more, and we are today wrangling over it. I really do not know whose land it should be considered.
Mr. Henriquez Urena (Dominican Republic) (translated from Spanish): The delegation of the Dominican Republic will vote for the proposal contained in the First Committee's report. Although this proposal, being the result of a general effort to find a harmonious balance between opposing points of view, for that very reason, cannot be said to fully satisfy all sides; nevertheless, after a lengthy war of words which are sometimes taken to imply more than they say, and in the desire not to put into the resolution a single word which might be considered as prejudging essential parts of the Palestine problem, we were able at last to reach the present formula which, though it appears to leave out a great deal, in fact comprises everything.
True, it is a pity that the proposal nowhere mentions the word "independence", but does the mere fact that it is not mentioned necessarily mean that the idea is excluded? Is there anyone nowadays who would oppose or be suspicious of the idea of granting independence to a nation, either immediately or gradually?
When the investigating committee is given full powers to study all the problems relating to Palestine, the idea of independence, which as we know is one of the problems, is implicitly included. Moreover the draft resolution itself requests the committee to propose or suggest solutions to the problems of Palestine, and one of the solutions to be considered—one which must inevitably be considered—is independence.
No mention is made either of the mandate or of its termination or modification, but that problem exists none the less. It will have to be considered, because it cannot be evaded.
To sum up, the intention was to avoid any suggestion that we were prejudging the question or that we wanted to place too much restriction upon the investigating committee by limiting its field of activity too closely or rigidly.
Another point which was left out was the express mention that the committee was entitled to visit the European occupation zones where there are thousands and thousands of so-called displaced Jews, but in fact what the resolution did was to grant wide powers, stating that the special committee was entitled to carry out investigations in Palestine or anywhere else that it deemed fit. That is to say, the committee was to go to Palestine in any case and might perhaps go only there, but it was also given wider powers to go wherever it considered necessary for the performance of its difficult mission.
I personally should have liked some mention to be made of the displaced Jews, as that would be in accordance with the policy which the Government of my country has been following for years in receiving within its borders many Jews, who have settled down as orderly and hard-working members of the community. By this policy the Dominican Republic has given a noble example of practical humanitarianism, finding some sort of alternative to the other remedies which had been proposed to deal with the unfortunate situation in which many Jews have for some time been living in certain parts of the world.
It was said, however, that the question of the displaced Jews was not a part of the present Palestine question, but it cannot be denied that since the Balfour Declaration and other national and international measures and since the immigration movement which began at that time, it has become one of the most difficult aspects of the problem.
By this I do not claim to be presenting or even suggesting possible solutions, which might appear arbitrary or premature before the results of the special investigating committee's work are known. But without entering into the substance of the question or taking sides, I wish to state my opinion that the problem of the displaced Jews is a very serious one and demands the fullest and most urgent attention of the civilized world. In my first speech before the present Assembly I went so far as to express the hope that even though it meant breaking with procedural methods, the Assembly might find itself able to take some steps to alleviate this situation and so litigate the sufferings of thousands and thousands of human beings.
Having expressed these reservations and considerations of a general nature, it only remains for me to state my firm hope that this Assembly will approve—if possible unanimously—the compromise proposal contained in the First Committee's report, that the investigating committee will thus be able to begin its arduous task as soon as possible, and that the next regular General Assembly in September, acting in accordance with the highest principles of the United Nations Charter, may not be faced with any serious disagreements and may reach a just and equitable solution of the problem of Palestine, for the welfare and peace of mankind and the honour and prestige of the United Nations.
The PRESIDENT: What I shall now announce to the Assembly will surprise all of you, as it surprised me. I have no more speakers. I think I merit the thanks of the Assembly in closing the list at this time. However, before closing it, I should like to have the names of those Members who still desire to speak.
The representative of the Netherlands and the representative of El Salvador indicated a desire to speak.
The PRESIDENT: The list is closed with two new speakers, and I hope there will be no objection.
We shall proceed to the vote. However, I think it would be wise to hear these two speakers first, then adjourn for lunch and meet again at 3 o'clock.
Mr. Castro (El Salvador): I am going to speak very briefly. By doing so, I am going to be an exception to the general rule, for all those speakers who begin by saying that they are going to speak very briefly usually make very, very lengthy speeches.
I only want to voice my regret that in the proposal we are discussing concerning the terms of reference for the special committee on Palestine, the mention of an ultimate goal that may ensure peace in that country has been omitted. We all know that under the mandate system of the League of Nations the independence of the country that was to be submitted to such a mandate was always considered as an ultimate goal of the mandate. In fact, the mandatory Power is empowered only to prepare that country for that final achievement of independence. Therefore it is regrettable that in the case of the mandate for Palestine, we should omit entirely that ultimate goal.
The proposal that was presented by the delegation of El Salvador (document A/C. 1/156) envisaged the independence of Palestine at an appropriate time. It was necessary to study whether the present time is or is not the appropriate time for such independence. But emphasis was given to the fact that the independence of Palestine was the ultimate goal.
I remember that at one of our first meetings, the representative of Iraq said that although there were divergencies of opinion between the Jewish and Arab groups, there was one thing upon which the two groups were in agreement: both want the independence of Palestine, each one on its own terms. It is regrettable, therefore, that the only point upon which the two groups agree has been omitted from the terms of reference of the special committee.
So far my statement concerns the question under discussion. I should like to ask this question, Mr. President. Shall we speak now about the proposal of the Norwegian delegation, or will that come later?
The PRESIDENT: All proposals are under the consideration of the Assembly.
Mr. Castro (El Salvador): In that case, I am going to propose a modification to the resolution proposed by the delegation of Norway (document A/308). I believe that although it is naturally desirable that all peoples should refrain, pending action by the General Assembly on the report of the special committee on Palestine, from the threat or use of force or any other action which might create an atmosphere prejudicial to an early settlement of the question of Palestine, it is absolutely necessary-to make it explicit that this recommendation is made specifically to the people of Palestine.
For that reason, I shall move a very short modification that I think is in the spirit of the proposal of the Norwegian delegation, but which will be stated in a very explicit manner.
The modification that I propose in the name of the delegation of El Salvador is just to add a few words after the word "peoples" in the first line, so that the draft resolution will read as follows: "The General Assembly calls upon all Governments and peoples, and particularly upon the peoples of Palestine"—and then, continuing with the same text—"to refrain" and so on. I merely wish to add "and particularly upon the peoples of Palestine" after the word "peoples" in the first line.
Mr. van Roijen (Netherlands): The Netherlands delegation had not intended to ask for the floor again after the declaration which it made in the First Committee on one of the first days of that Committee's deliberations. So much, however, has been said since, both in the Committee itself and in the plenary meetings of the Assembly, and so many conflicting views have been expressed that I believe it has become necessary once again very briefly to clarify our viewpoint.
The Netherlands delegation has, from the very start of our deliberations, been distinctly in favour of giving the special committee of inquiry on Palestine, which it was and still is our main, purpose to establish, the broadest possible instructions. We feel that this requirement has been met by the decisions taken in the First Committee under the very able leadership of its Chairman, Mr. Pearson.
We know that the terms of reference for the committee which are now submitted for approval to the plenary meeting of the General Assembly, do not satisfy everyone, but we believe they are the best we can agree upon and are on the whole, very acceptable.
I should like to associate myself with what I understood the representative of India to have said during this meeting with regard to the fact that in those terms of reference, no specific mention is made of the concept of independence. The fact that no provision in this respect is included in the draft of the terms of reference before us in no way excludes or is meant to exclude consideration by the special committee of this extremely important point.
With regard to the composition of the special committee as outlined in the draft resolution contained in the report of the First Committee, we feel that the solution reached is far from ideal, We should have much preferred the constitution of a smaller special committee, since in practice, smaller committees are apt to work more smoothly and more rapidly. However we, on our part, do not intend to reopen this question. My Government did not feel that the Netherlands was one of the countries most indicated to be represented on the committee. However, if elected, my Government will, in every possible respect, strive to accomplish its part of the grave and very responsible task imposed on it with the utmost devotion and impartiality.
I should like to take this opportunity to make one short digression. The representative of India has just stated in his very eloquent speech, that he represented not only four hundred million votes of his own countrymen, but also, among others, seventy million votes of the inhabitants of Indonesia.
May I point out to my friend and colleague that according to the Linggadjati Agreement which was signed at the beginning of this year by the representatives of the Netherlands Government and by representatives of the Republic of Indonesia, representation of the Indonesian people within the United Nations will remain, for a transitional period of approximately two years, the responsibility of the Netherlands Government. After that transitional period, the Netherlands Government will propose the United States of Indonesia for independent membership in the United Nations.
Finally, I wish to associate myself with what has been said by several speakers here, and among others, by my friend from India who, in turn echoed the very eloquent appeal made two weeks ago from this rostrum by Sir Carl Berendsen . We also, in the Netherlands, feel that it is absolutely necessary and absolutely essential that during the period in which this matter is still before the United Nations, all parties concerned should refrain from any act of violence.
The PRESIDENT: My list of speakers is exhausted and I shall declare the discussion closed. Before doing so, I wish to, ask the representative of Norway if his delegation accepts the suggestion of the representative of El Salvador.
Mr Moe (Norway): If this appeal for peace in Palestine is to have any weight, it is quite evident that we must all agree on it. In this spirit, the Norwegian delegation accepts the amendment proposed by the representative of El Salvador, but only with the modification that we 'hall say "the inhabitants of Palestine."
The PRESIDENT: Does the representative of El Salvador agree?
Mr. Castro (El Salvador): I do.
The PRESIDENT: The Norwegian proposal will contain those words.
We shall now proceed to vote on the recommendation of the First Committee and on the proposal submitted by the delegation of Norway. : I want to make the following explanation on the order of voting. You will recall that with regard to voting on the recommendation contained in the report of the First Committee, the Ukrainian representative requested us to vote upon the report in parts, and to deal separately with the terms of reference of the committee of inquiry, and with its composition. I stated at that time that rule 74 would be applied in accordance with this request.
I suggest, therefore, that we vote on the recommendation in two parts: first, on paragraph 1 of the resolution, and second, on the remaining paragraphs of the resolution. After having voted on the resolution in two parts, as I am suggesting, we shall vote on the substance of the resolution as a whole.
However, before voting on the resolution, we must deal with the Norwegian proposal, since it may be regarded as an addition to the resolution proposed by the First Committee.
I shall read the Norwegian proposal (document A/308).
"The General Assembly calls upon all Governments and peoples, and particularly upon the inhabitants of Palestine, to refrain, pending action by the General Assembly on the report of the Special Committee on Palestine, from the threat or use of force or any other action which might create an atmosphere prejudicial to an early settlement of the question of Palestine."
Those who are in favour of the inclusion of this proposal in the resolution will please raise their hands.
A vote was taken by a show of hands.
The PRESIDENT: It is unanimously adopted.
We shall proceed to the consideration of the resolution of the First Committee (document A/307).
I shall ask Mr. Cordier to read paragraph 1 of this resolution.
Mr. Cordier, Executive Assistant to the Secretary-General:
"The General Assembly
"1. A Special Committee be created for the above-mentioned purpose consisting of the representatives of Australia, Canada, Czechoslovakia, Guatemala, India, Iran, Netherlands, Peru, Sweden, Uruguay and Yugoslavia."
The PRESIDENT: I recognize the representative, of Syria.
Mr. El-Khouri (Syria): Mr. President, I merely want to call your attention to a point of order. You announced that the Norwegian resolution was adopted unanimously, while I noticed that some delegations did not raise their hands. According to the rules of procedure, the number of hands raised should be announced.
The PRESIDENT: I shall now ask the delegations which oppose the Norwegian proposal to raise their hands.
A vote was taken by a show of hands.
The PRESIDENT: None.
I shall ask the representatives who wish to abstain from voting to raise their hands.
The abstaining Members raised their hands.
The PRESIDENT: I am happy to say that the Norwegian resolution was practically unanimously approved, because those who abstained, practically do not vote.
We shall now proceed to a roll-call vote. Those who are in favour of the adoption of paragraph 1 of the resolution contained in document A/307 will say "Yes". Those who are against will say "No".
A roll-call vote was taken, with the following results:
Votes for: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Denmark, Dominican Republic Ecuador, El Salvador, Ethiopia, France, Greece, Guatemala, Honduras, Iceland, India, Iran, Liberia, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Siam, Sweden, Union of South Africa, United Kingdom, United States of America, Uruguay, Venezuela.
Abstentions: Afghanistan, Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic, Czechoslovakia, Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Poland, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, Yugoslavia.
Absent: Haiti, Philippine Republic.
The PRESIDENT: The roll-call indicates forty votes in favour, thirteen abstentions and none against. Paragraph 1 is adopted.
We shall proceed in the same way with respect to the preamble, paragraph 2 and the remaining paragraphs of the resolution, since the latter are merely complementary to paragraph 2. If there i no objection, I shall proceed in that way.
Mr. Cordier, Executive Assistant to the Secretary-General:
The First Committee recommends to the General Assembly the adoption of the following resolution:
"Whereas the General Assembly of the United Nations has been called into special session for the purpose of constituting and instructing a Special Committee to prepare for consideration at the next regular session of the Assembly a report on the question of Palestine,
"The General Assembly
"2. The Special Committee shall have the widest powers to ascertain and record facts, and to investigate all questions and issues relevant to the problem of Palestine;
"3. The Special Committee shall determine its own procedure;
"4. The Special Committee shall conduct investigations in Palestine and, wherever it may deem useful, receive and examine written or oral testimony, whichever it may consider appropriate in each case, from the mandatory Power, from representatives of the population of Palestine, from Governments and from such organizations and individuals as it may deem necessary;
"5. The Special Committee shall give most careful consideration to the religious interests in Palestine of Islam, Judaism and Christianity;
6. The Special Committee shall prepare a report to the General Assembly and shall submit such proposals as it may consider appropriate for the solution of the problem of Palestine;
"7. The Special Committee's report shall be communicated to the Secretary-General not later than 1 September 1947, in order that it may be circulated to the Members of the United Nations in time for consideration by the second regular session of the General Assembly;
"8. Requests the Secretary-General to enter into suitable arrangements with the proper authorities of any State in whose territory the Special Committee may wish to sit or to travel, to provide necessary facilities, and to assign appropriate staff to the committee;
"9. Authorizes the Secretary-General to reimburse travel and subsistence expenses of a representative and an alternate representative from each Government represented on the Special Committee on such basis and in such form as he may determine most appropriate in the circumstances."
The President: We shall now call the roll.
A roll-call vote was taken, with the following result:
Votes for: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Ethiopia, France, Greece, Guatemala, Honduras, Iceland, India, Iran, Liberia, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Sweden, Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, Union of South Africa, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, United Kingdom, United States of America, Uruguay, Venezuela, Yugoslavia.
Against: Afghanistan, Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey. Abstention: Siam. Absent: Haiti, Philippine Republic.
The PRESIDENT: The preamble and paragraphs 2 to 9, inclusive, are adopted by forty-five votes to seven with one abstention.
We shall now vote on the resolution as a whole. We shall proceed with the roll-call.
Against: Afghanistan, Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey.
The PRESIDENT: The recommendation of the First Committee is adopted by forty-five votes to seven with one abstention.
23. Closing of the session
Mr. de Lavalle (Peru) (translated from Spanish): When we elected His Excellency, Mr. Aranha, the distinguished representative for Brazil, as President of this Assembly, we were all aware of his high capacities and international experience.
At the close of the Assembly's work, in appreciation of the outstanding and inexhaustible wisdom, authority and impartiality which he has displayed, we offer him our warmest tributes. The Peruvian delegation wholeheartedly pays him this tribute.
Mr. Palza (Bolivia) (translated from Spanish) : My purpose in asking to speak was precisely to make the proposal of thanks made by the Peruvian representative. I merely wish to emphasize it in a few words which I should like to think of as representing one of the basic principles of the Latin American countries.
I do not in fact speak on behalf of those countries, as they have given me no authorization to do so, but being one of the Latin group, I hope my words and thoughts will coincide with those of them all. I base our tribute to the President on Latin America's sincere support for the United Nations, and at this point I should like to explain to you something of the philosophy behind our attitude.
Since our school days, we have heard about the humanism of others, other countries, and now we are ready to give expression to our own humanism. It is our desire to create in America a humanism with a deeply spiritual meaning.
The United Nations Charter speaks of the individual and of the peoples, in fact, of the human person.
What has always touched the peoples of Latin America in the Palestine problem is its human aspect. When we of Latin America were summoned to attend this special Assembly we thought above all of the human aspect of this problem, of suffering people, without a country and without a home. It was thus that we looked a* the problem of the Jewish people, and we have come to know, too, that there are other People, besides the Jews, who suffer exile from their own country. The problem is indeed a Profoundly human one.
So we, who have not yet entered the calculating, rationalist age, came to the Assembly with this human emotion, this feeling for sufferers, this eagerness to give expression to the principles of the United Nations on a truly human basis.
It is the feeling for the human person which moves us. That is why we felt so deeply the gap left by the death of the great Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and we still say in our hearts, "Perhaps many things would not have happened if he had still been alive!"
Latin America is training its citizens today to face problems from this definitely humanistic point of view. For that reason it is also a matter of the deepest satisfaction to us that this session has had as its President a man in the full sense of the word, wise, energetic, authoritative, severe, but never without a smile. With the aid of these qualities the President has conducted the session to a stage where the problem is nearing solution.
The final decision has yet to be made, and we hope it will not be forgotten that the aim of the Latin countries, above all else, is to solve the problem in accordance with the deeply human feelings of which I have spoken.
For these reasons the delegation of Bolivia associates itself with that of Peru in the expression of admiration and praise for our President.
Mr. Parodi (France) (translated from French): Mr. President, it is my ill fortune to have been preceded twice at this rostrum, when certain of my colleagues asked me to express to you not only on behalf of the French delegation, but also on their behalf, the Assembly's gratitude. I admit that I cannot easily renounce the privilege of expressing our gratitude in my turn, because I should not like it to have been expressed only in Spanish.
I feel sure, Mr. President, that I interpret the unanimous feeling of this Assembly—on this occasion unanimous in the most complete sense —in saying how grateful we are to you for the authority, the graciousness and the efficiency with which you have conducted our debates. The fact that we have today happily reached the end of the first stage of a difficult work, we owe also to Mr. Pearson.
Mr. President, the entire Assembly thanks you.
General Romulo (Philippine Republic): I have asked for the privilege of the floor to explain that, unfortunately, I was unavoidably delayed and could not be present when important votes were taken today.
I should like to record the affirmative vote of the Philippine delegation with regard to the resolution setting forth the terms of reference of a special inquiry Committee, as well as with regard to the Norwegian resolution.
I must avail myself of this opportunity to associate myself Mr. President, with all the expressions of admiration and gratitude expressed here today. They are a just tribute to the presiding officer of the special session of our General Assembly. Our President, with a gentility that comes with breeding, culture and education, has presided over our session and has used tact, poise and serenity. All this has made us very proud that we were fortunate enough to have elected him as our presiding officer for this special session.
True, indeed, as it has been said in the past, the presiding officer should be elected not for what he can get out of a body, but for what he can give to it. President Aranha has given, and has given to the credit not only of his nation, but also to the credit of the special session of the United Nations General Assembly.
I must not forget to mention at this juncture the work of our Chairman of the First Committee, Mr. Pearson of Canada. He steered our discussions in that Committee with such ability that I doubt if, without him, we could have evolved a formula as excellent as the one we approved in that Committee.
I wish to say, in conclusion, that the world waits and watches, watches and waits. Let us, through our Special Committee of inquiry, live up to the highest expectations of this one world we are trying to build.
The PRESIDENT: I now recognize the representative of Iraq. I do so because, although I denied him the right to speak once, I am very sure he will now refer to the matter at hand, which means that he will pay tribute to the President.
Mr. Jamali (Iraq): It has been my lot today either to vote against or to abstain; however, this is one happy occasion on which I wish to vote in the affirmative. I wish to associate myself with all those who spoke before me in expressing my respect and admiration for your fine work, Mr. President. Your smiling face, your friendly spirit and culture have certainly contributed much to the fine spirit prevailing during this session.
I also wish to reiterate my respect and admiration for Mr. Pearson with regard to the efficient manner in which he conducted the affairs of the Political and Security Committee.
In addition I wish to add a word of thanks and appreciation for the Secretary-General and the staff of the Secretariat. They have certainly conducted the affairs of this special session very efficiently and accurately.
The PRESIDENT: My fellow representatives, I am deeply moved by the tribute which has been paid to me. It makes me sad, indeed, that I cannot express myself in my own language in reply to the tributes of my colleagues. However, before ending our work, I have the final duty of saying a few words to you.
We have reached the end of our work. Although preliminary in character, the task entrusted to this special session of the General Assembly was broad enough to acquaint every one of us with the magnitude of the issue which the United Nations has been called upon to solve.
We leave this hall with a deep sense of responsibility, fully conscious of our duties toward mankind, inescapably committed to finding a just solution for a problem beclouded by controversy, passion and suffering. But we leave it without discouragement.
The ability of our Organization to deal with the complexity of international problems has never yet been put to so decisive a test. It is our duty to justify the confidence in the United Nations demonstrated by the United Kingdom Government when it appealed to our world authority. The only road left open to us now is to meet this challenge—and we have to meet it fully, if we are to survive.
In a higher sense, the Committee which we have just created will have to be guided by these ideas of challenge, responsibility and duty rather than by the letter of its terms of reference, as witness the fact that although many differing opinions were expressed as to the advisability of specifically mentioning independence in the text, we are agreed, without a dissenting voice, that the Committee shall bear in mind that independence shall be the goal of any proposed plan for the future government of Palestine. Independence is not only the very aim of the mandate and a natural right of the Palestinian people; it is, above all, the objective of the United Nations and the best guarantee of peace and security.
These weeks of strenuous labour and of wearisome discussions on procedural entanglements have but strengthened the feeling that we, fifty-five nations from all parts of the world, came here to strive in the right direction, seeking knowledge for guidance and with justice as our inspiration.
I also wish to express our appreciation of the work done in setting up our machinery. We have given the parties concerned an opportunity to state their views; we have tried not to prejudge the outcome of the problem; we have started afresh, candidly and firmly.
All these positive results, accomplished during so limited a period of time, cannot be overemphasized. They are the indisputable evidence of the atmosphere of good will which increasingly pervades our work. This association of efforts tends to make it easier for us to understand each other, to look with sympathy upon our neighbours' difficulties, to bring our peoples closer together.
During a lifetime whose sole claim to merit lies in a consistent devotion to democratic principles, both in my country and in the international field, I have passed through all sorts of experiences, but I can assure you that this special . session of the General Assembly will always remain among my most treasured memories. I shall never forget you, all of you—your desire to - co-operate, your forbearance, your effort to make the United Nations succeed, your faith in the ; principles and purposes of our Organization, f And I feel sure that, even though you may soon, forget your President of today, you will always : remember his gavel. May the task be easier for future presidents, so that they shall use this redoubtable symbol of authority less frequently!
Yes, it was a hard task—yours and mine. However, you may not realize how much more difficult it would have been without the assistance, the patience, the correct and timely advice of our Secretary-General, my friend, Mr. Trygve Lie. I had always looked upon him with respect and admiration. Now he has my gratitude. We are greatly indebted to him and his staff. I should like to thank all of them: those who work with us here, interpreters and verbatim reporters, as well as those who are not seen here but whose efficiency is equally responsible for the success of our work. I thank them in the person of my closest aide, Mr. Cordier, to whose solicitude and competence I owe a great deal.
I also wish to express the appreciation of the General Assembly for the work done by the press and radio, because it is only through them that the world at large is associated with our mission and our efforts. They present our work to world opinion, and it is through them that world opinion is present during our work. This form of co-operation is an essential condition for the success of our efforts to achieve that lasting peace, based on world understanding, which is the main reason for the existence of our Organization.
In conclusion, I wish to reaffirm my unfailing belief, which is the belief of Brazil as well, in the success of the United Nations. We look forward to the day when all the nations of the world shall sit in this "town hall of the world", when victory shall be enhanced by the integration of the vanquished into the constructive work of the victors. No matter how difficult the problem, we are bound to face it and solve it in the interest of mankind. Failure is the only thing we cannot afford.
It is in this spirit of confidence that I wish all success to our newly established Committee, and that I bid you farewell, my fellow representatives and my friends.
The President then made the following statement in French:
The PRESIDENT: I have the honour to declare the first special session of the General Assembly of the United Nations closed.
The meeting rose at 2 p.m.
Letter from the United Kingdom delegation requesting that the question of Palestine should be placed on the agenda of the General Assembly at its next session and that , a special session of the General Assembly should be called
(Document A/286) [Original text: English]
The following letter from the United Kingdom delegation to the United Nations has been received by the Acting Secretary-General:
United Kingdom delegation to the United Nations New York 2 April 1947
Dr. Victor Chi Tsai Hoo,
Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations,
I have received the following message from my Government:
"His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom request the Secretary-General of the United Nations to place the question of Palestine on the agenda of the General Assembly at its next regular annual session. They will submit to the Assembly an account of their administration of the League of Nations mandate and will ask the Assembly to make recommendations, under Article 10 of the Charter, concerning the future government of Palestine.
"In making this request, His Majesty's Government draw the attention of the Secretary-General to the desirability of an early settlement in Palestine and to the risk that the General Assembly might not be able to decide upon its recommendations at its next regular annual session unless some preliminary study of the question had previously been made under the auspices of the United Nations. They therefore request the Secretary-General to summon, as soon as possible, a special session of the General Assembly for the purpose of constituting and instructing a special committee to prepare for the consideration, at the regular session of the Assembly, of the question referred to in the preceding paragraph."
I have the honour to be ...
(Signed) Alexander Cadogan
Request from the Egyptian Government for the inclusion of an additional item in the agenda of the First Special Session of the General Assembly
(Document A/287) [Original text: English]
The following telegram has been received by the Secretary-General:
Washington, D. C. 21 April 1947
His Excellency Trygve Lie, Secretary-General, United Nations
I have the honour to advise that according to instructions received from my Government and in conformity with article 18 of the provisional rules of procedure of the General Assembly the Royal Egyptian Government requests to include the following additional item in the agenda of the forthcoming extraordinary meeting of the United Nations General Assembly which is to deal with the question of Palestine on the 28th of April 1947. The item reads as follows: The termination of the mandate over Palestine and the declaration of its independence.
Accept, Sir, the assurances of my highest consideration.
[Original text: English]
The following letter has been received by the Secretary-General:
Embassy of Iraq,
Washington, D. G.
21 April 1947
His Excellency Trygve Lie, Secretary-General, United Nations, Lake Success, N. Y.
I have the honour to inform you that I have been instructed by my Government to request you, in accordance with rule 18 of the provisional rules of procedure for the General Assembly, to include the following as an additional item in the agenda of the special session of the General Assembly convening on 28 April 1947: The termination of the mandate over Palestine and the declaration of its independence.
Please accept, Excellency, the renewed assurances of my highest consideration.
(Signed) Ali Jawdat Ambassador
Request from the Syrian Government for the inclusion of an additional item in the agenda of the First Special Session of the General Assembly (Document A/289)
Washington, D. C. 22 April 1947 Trygve Lie,
I have the honour to inform you that I have been instructed by my Government to request you, in accordance with rule 18 of the provisional rules of procedure of the General Assembly, to include the following as an additional item in the agenda of the special session of the General Assembly convening on 28 April 1947: The termination of the mandate over Palestine and the declaration of its independence. Please accept, Excellency, the renewed assurances of my highest consideration.
Costi K. Zurayk Minister of Syria
Request from the Lebanese Government for the inclusion of an additional item in the agenda of the First Special Session of the General Assembly
I have the honour to state that I am instructed by my Government to request in accordance with rule 18 of the provisional rules of procedure for the procedure for the General Assembly the inclusion of the following additional item in the agenda of the forthcoming special session of the General Assembly scheduled to open on 28 April 1947: The termination of the mandate on and the granting of independence to Palestine. Accept Excellency the renewed assurances of my highest consideration.
Charles Malik Minister of Lebanon in the United States
Request from the Saudi Arabian Government for the inclusion of an additional, item in the agenda of the First Special Session of the General Assembly
(Document A/291) [Original text: English]
Royal Legation of Saudi Arabia, 2800-C Woodland Drive, N. W. Washington 8, D. C. 22 April, 1947 His Excellency Trygve Lie, Secretary-General, United Nations, Lake Success, N. Y.
I have been instructed by my Government to request, in accordance with rule 18 of the provisional rules of procedure of the General Assembly, that the following item be put on the agenda of the special session which convenes on 28 April 1947: The termination of the mandate over Palestine and the declaration of its independence.
Accept, Excellency, the assurances of my highest consideration.
(Signed) Asad Al-Faqih Minister
Text of the mandate for Palestine
[Original text: English-French]
Note by the Secretary-General
The Secretary-General submits herewith to the General Assembly, for its information, the text of the Mandate for Palestine, confirmed by the Council of the League of Nations on 24 July 1922, and the Memorandum by the British Government relating to its application to Transjordan, approved by that Council on 16 September 1922 (League of Nations document No. C.P.M.466— C.529.M.314.1922.VL—C.667.M.396.1922.VL).
Mandate for Palestine
The Council of the League of Nations:
Whereas the Principal Allied Powers have agreed, for the purpose of giving effect to the provisions of Article 22 of the Covenant of the League of Nations, to entrust to a Mandatory selected by the said Powers the administration of the territory of Palestine, which formerly belonged to the Turkish Empire, within such boundaries as may be fixed by them; and
Whereas the Principal Allied Powers have also agreed that the Mandatory should be responsible for putting into effect the declaration originally made on November 2nd, 1917, by the Government of his Britannic Majesty, and adopted by the said Powers, in favour of the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, it being clearly understood that nothing should be done which might prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country; and
Whereas recognition has thereby been given to the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country; and
Whereas the Principal Allied Powers have selected His Britannic Majesty as the Mandatory for Palestine; and
Whereas the mandate in respect of Palestine has been formulated in the following terms and submitted to the Council of the League for approval; and
Whereas His Britannic Majesty has accepted the mandate in respect of Palestine and undertaken to exercise it on behalf of the League of Nations in conformity with the following provisions; and
Whereas by the aforementioned Article 22 (paragraph 8) it is provided that the degree of authority, control or administration to be exercised by the Mandatory, not having been previously agreed upon by the Members of the League, shall be explicitly defined by the Council of the League of Nations;
Confirming the said mandate, defines its terms as follows:
The Zionist organization, so long as its organization and constitution are in the opinion of the Mandatory appropriate, shall be recognized as such agency. It shall take steps in consultation with His Britannic Majesty's Government to secure the cooperation of all Jews who are willing to assist in the establishment of the Jewish national home.
Unless the Powers whose nationals enjoyed the aforementioned privileges and immunities on August 1st, 1914, shall have previously renounced the right to their re-establishment, or shall have agreed to their non-application for a specified period, these privileges and immunities shall, at the expiration of the mandate, be immediately re-established in their entirety or with such modifications as may have been agreed upon between the Powers concerned.
Respect for the personal status of the various peoples and communities and for their religious interests shall be fully guaranteed. In particular, the control and administration of Wakfs shall be exercised in accordance with religious law and the dispositions of the founders.
The Administration may arrange with the Jewish agency mentioned in Article 4 to construct or operate, upon fair and equitable terms, any public works, services and utilities, and to develop any of the natural resources of the country, in so far as these matters are not directly undertaken by the Administration. Any such arrangements shall provide that no profits distributed by such agency, directly or indirectly, shall exceed a reasonable rate of interest on the capital, and any further profits shall be utilized by it for the benefit of the country in a manner approved by the Administration.
The right of each community to maintain its own schools for the education of its own members in its own language, while conforming to such educational requirements of a general nature as the Administration may impose, shall not be denied or impaired.
Nothing in this article shall preclude the Administration of Palestine from contributing to the cost of the maintenance of the forces of the Mandatory in Palestine.
The Mandatory shall be entitled at all times to use the roads, railways and ports of Palestine for the movement of armed forces and the carriage of fuel and supplies.
Subject as aforesaid and to the other provisions of this mandate, the Administration of Palestine may, on the advice of the Mandatory, impose such taxes and Customs duties as it may consider necessary, and take such steps as it may think best to promote the development of the natural resources of the country and to safeguard the interests of the population. It may also, on the advice of the Mandatory, conclude a special Customs agreement with any State the territory of which in 1914 was wholly included in Asiatic Turkey or Arabia.
Any person who, having discovered an antiquity without being furnished with the authorization referred to in paragraph 5, reports the same to an official of the competent Department, shall be rewarded according to the value of the discovery.
The present instrument shall be deposited in original in the archives of the League of Nations and certified copies shall be forwarded by the Secretary-General of the League of Nations to all Members of the League.
Done at London the twenty-fourth day of July, one thousand nine hundred and twenty-two.
Article 25 of the Palestine Mandate Memorandum by the British representative
Approved by the Council on September 16th, 1922 1
1. Article 25 of the Mandate for Palestine provides as follows:
"In the territories lying between the Jordan and the eastern boundary of Palestine as ultimately determined, the Mandatory shall be entitled, with the consent of the Council of the League of Nations, to postpone or withhold application of such provisions of this Mandate as he may consider inapplicable to the existing local conditions, and to make such provision for the administration of the territories as he may consider suitable to those conditions, provided no action shall be taken which is inconsistent with the provisions of Articles 15, 16 and 18."
2. In pursuance of the provisions of this article,
His Majesty's Government invite the Council to pass the following resolution:
"The following provisions of the Mandate for Palestine are not applicable to the territory known as Transjordan, which comprises all territory lying to the east of a line drawn from a point two miles west of the town of Akaba on the Gulf of that name up the centre of the Wady Araba, Dead Sea and River Jordan to its junction with the River Yarmuk: thence up the centre of that river to the Syrian frontier.
"Preamble. Recitals 2 and 3.
"The words 'placing the country under such political administration and economic conditions as will secure the establishment of the Jewish National Home, as laid down in the Preamble,
"The sentence 'there shall be included in this law provisions framed so as to facilitate the acquisition of Palestinian citizenship by Jews who take up their permanent residence in Palestine'.
'The second sentence of the first paragraph and the second paragraph.
"In the application of the Mandate to Transjordan, the action which, in Palestine, is taken by the Administration of the latter country will be taken by the Administration of Transjordan under the general supervision of the Mandatory."
3. His Majesty's Government accept full responsibility as Mandatory for Transjordan, and undertake that such provision as may be made for the administration of that territory in accordance with Article 25 of the Mandate shall be in no way inconsistent with those provisions of the Mandate which are not by this resolution declared inapplicable.
1. To those colonies and territories which as a consequence of the late war have ceased to be under the sovereignty of the States which formerly governed them and which are inhabited by peoples not yet able to stand by themselves under the strenuous conditions of the modern world, there should be applied the principle that the well-being and development of such peoples form a sacred trust of civilization and that securities for the performance of this trust should be embodied in this Covenant.
2. The best method of giving practical effect to this principle is that the tutelage of such peoples
1. should be entrusted to advanced nations who by reason of their resources, their experience or their geographical position can best undertake this responsibility, and who are willing to accept it, and that this tutelage should be exercised by them as Mandatories on behalf of the League.
3. The character of the mandate must differ according to the stage of the development of the people, the geographical situation of the territory, its economic conditions and other similar circumstances.
4. Certain communities formerly belonging to the Turkish Empire have reached a stage of development where their existence as independent nations can be provisionally recognized subject to the rendering of administrative advice and assistance by a Mandatory until such time as they are able to stand alone. The wishes of these communities must be a principal consideration in the selection of the Mandatory.
5. Other peoples, especially those of Central Africa, are at such a stage that the Mandatory must be responsible for the administration of the territory under conditions which will guarantee freedom .of conscience and religion, subject only to the maintenance of public order and morals, the prohibition of abuses such as the slave trade, the arms traffic and the liquor traffic, and the prevention of the establishment of fortifications or military and naval bases and of military training of the natives for other than police purposes and the defence of territory, and will also secure equal opportunities for the trade and commerce of other Members of the League.
6. There are territories, such as South West Africa and certain of the South Pacific Islands, which, owing to the sparseness of their population, or their small size, or their remoteness from the centres of civilization, or their geographical contiguity to the territory of the Mandatory, and other circumstances, can be best administered under the laws of the Mandatory as integral portions of its territory, subject to the safeguards above mentioned in the interest of the indigenous population.
7. In every case of mandate, the Mandatory shall render to the Council an annual report in reference to the territory committed to its charge.
8. The degree of authority, control, or administration to be exercised by the Mandatory shall, if not previously agreed upon by the Members of the League, be explicitly defined in each case by the Council.
9. A permanent Commission shall be constituted to receive and examine the annual reports of the Mandatories and to advise the Council on all matters relating to the observance of the man dates.
[Original text: English]
2. The General Committee, after due consideration of the supplementary list (document A/294) at its thirtieth and thirty-first meetings, decided not to recommend the inclusion of the item entitled "The termination of the mandate over Palestine and the declaration of its independence" submitted by the Governments of Egypt, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia.
One member voted for the recommendation to include the item on the agenda, eight members voted against and five abstained.
The General Committee, having considered this matter at its thirty-second and thirty-third meetings, adopted, by eleven affirmative votes with three abstentions, the following resolution:
The General Committee,
Having considered the communications referred to it by the President of the General Assembly from the Jewish Agency and other organizations requesting that they be permitted to express their views on the Palestine problem,
Recommends to the General Assembly that it refer these communications, as well as any communications of a similar character which may be submitted to this special session, to the First Committee for its decisions.
Determined to give careful consideration to the points of view of all parties qualified to speak on the question of Palestine,
Resolves to invite the representatives of the Jewish Agency for Palestine to set forth its views on this question before the First Committee of the General Assembly.
(Document A/301) [Original text: English] Second paragraph:
Recommends to the General Assembly that it decide to give a hearing to the Jewish Agency and other representatives of the population of Palestine before the First Committee.
(Document A/302) [Original text: English]
The General Assembly,
Considering the need of having wide and complete information concerning the question for which the special session of the General Assembly was convoked, and
Recognizing the special legal position of the Jewish Agency for Palestine in the mandate of the League of Nations;
1. That the First Committee invite the Agency to state to the Committee its point of view;
2. To send to that same Committee, for its decision, any other communications already received or which may be submitted to this special session.
(Document A/303) [Original text: English]
Having considered the report of the General Committee about the communications from the Jewish Agency and other organizations requesting that they be permitted to express their views of the Palestine problem,
Decides to refer these communications, as well as any communications of a similar character, to the First Committee;
Decides furthermore to instruct the First Committee to hear the representatives of the Jewish Agency, recognized as "a public body" by article 4 of the mandate on Palestine.
(Document A/305) [Original text: English] The General Assembly resolves:
1. That the First Committee grant a hearing to the Jewish Agency for Palestine on the question before the Committee;
2. To send to that same Committee for its decision those other communications of a similar character from the Palestinian population which have been received by this special session of the General Assembly or may later be submitted to it.
Rapporteur: Mr. H. de Kauffmann (Denmark)
(Documents A/307 and A/307/Corr.l) [Original text: English]
At its seventieth plenary meeting on 1 May 1947, the General Assembly referred the following question to the First Committee for its consideration: "Constituting and instructing a special committee to prepare for the consideration of the question of Palestine at the second regular session" (document A/C.1/136).
The First Committee, under the chairmanship of Mr. Pearson (Canada), and with Dr. Padilla Nervo (Mexico) as Vice-Chairman, devoted twelve meetings to the consideration of this question.
A. HEARING OF REPRESENTATIVE OF NONGOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS
In order to carry out the task entrusted to it by the General Assembly, the First Committee was anxious to have information regarding the opinion of non-governmental organizations. The following decision, taken by the General Assembly at its seventy-fifth plenary meeting, had been transmitted to the Committee for its decision with regard to the communications which had been received from these non-governmental organizations:
1. That the First Committee grant a hearing to the Jewish Agency for Palestine on the question before the Committee;
2. To send to that same Committee for "its decision those other communications of a similar character from the Palestinian population . . .
In the course of the discussion which took place on this subject, the Committee gave its attention to the matter of deciding the measures to be taken to define the scope of the hearing to be granted to non-governmental organizations and to determine under what conditions a hearing should be granted. Several delegations pointed out that the Arab Higher Committee for Palestine was not explicitly mentioned in the above-quoted resolution (document A/C.1/144). At its forty-seventh meeting on 6 May, the Committee decided to grant a hearing to the Jewish Agency for Palestine and to the Arab Higher Committee for Palestine, and to establish a sub-committee of five members, consisting of representatives of Colombia, Poland, Iran, Sweden, and the United Kingdom, to advise the Committee whether any other organization represented a considerable element of the population of Palestine. The Committee specified at the same time that the statements of these organizations should concern the constituting and instructing of the special committee which might be set up by the Assembly (document A/C.r/151).
Upon the suggestion of the representative of India, the Committee decided to propose to the President of the General Assembly that a plenary meeting be called at once to consider the following resolution:
That the First Committee grant a hearing to the Arab Higher Committee on the question before the Committee.
The General Assembly at its seventy-sixth meeting on 7 May passed a resolution affirming that the decision of the First Committee to grant a hearing to the Arab Higher Committee gave a correct interpretation to the Assembly's intention (document A/C.1/155).
Carrying out its decision of 6 May (document A/C.l/151), the Committee granted a hearing to Dr. Silver, representative of die Jewish Agency for Palestine, at its fiftieth meeting on 8 May, and heard the statement of Mr. Cattan, representative of the Arab Higher Committee, at its fifty-second meeting on 9 May. Questions were put to these two representatives by several delegations; spokesmen for the two organizations later replied to the questions during the meetings held on 12 May and expressed their opinion with regard to the terms of reference of the special committee.
With regard to the other organizations, pursuant to the same resolution (document A/C.l/ 151), Sub-Committee 5 met under the chairmanship of Mr. Hagglof (Sweden) and held two meetings, 7 and 9 May. It examined the requests for a hearing received from the following organizations: Agudas Israel World Organization; Political Action Committee for Palestine; Progressive Zionist District 95 of New York, Zionist Organization of America; Hebrew Committee of National Liberation; Committee for Freedom of North Africa; Palestine Communist Party Central Committee; Institute of Arab American Affairs; Young Egypt Party; League for Peace with Justice in Palestine; Union for the Protection of the Human Person; United Israel World Union, Inc.; Church of God, Faith of David, Inc.; Catholic Near East Welfare Association.
Having found that some of the requests originated with organizations established outside Palestine and that the other requests emanated from "organizations which, although established in Palestine, did not, in the opinion of the Sub-Committee, represent a sufficiently considerable element of the population of that country, the Sub-Committee "decided unanimously to advise the First Committee not to grant a hearing to the organizations which had lodged applications, it being well understood, however, that this decision did not exclude the possibility of all these organizations being heard by the committee of investigation once it had been established" (document A/C.l/ 164). This recommendation of Sub-Committee 5 was adopted by the First Committee at its fifty-second meeting.
B. CONSIDERATION OF THE TERMS OF REFERENCE, THE COMPOSITION AND THE ADMINISTRATIVE ORGANIZATION OF THE SPECIAL COMMITTEE
At its forty-eighth meeting the First Committee commenced a general discussion of the task which had been entrusted to it by the resolution of the General Assembly of 1 May (document A/C.l/ 136), on the basis of two draft resolutions submitted by the delegations of Argentina (document A/C.l/149) and the United States (document A/C.l/150). In the course of the debate, it was decided to consider successively the following aspects of the question: first, the terms of reference, then the composition and finally the administrative organization of the Special Committee.
1. Terms of reference of the special committee
To arrive at a definition of the terms of reference of the special committee, the First Committee decided to appoint a Sub-Committee 6 whose task would be to combine into one text the above-mentioned proposals of Argentina and the United States, as well as a third proposal which had been presented by the delegation of El Salvador (document A/C.l/156). Sub-Committee 6, composed of representatives of Argentina, China, Australia, Czechoslovakia, Egypt, El Salvador, France, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, met under the chairmanship of Mr. Pearson (Canada) and held two meetings, 8 and 9 May. The working paper (document A/C.l/ 165) which resulted from its discussion was then debated in the First Committee. New Proposals and amendments were submitted by the following delegations: Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (document A/C.l/166), India (document A/C.l/ 167), Philippines (document A/C.l/168), Iraq (document A/C.l/169), Poland (document A/C.1/170). A certain number of oral suggestions was made by other delegations.
Sub-Committee 6, enlarged to include representatives of Iraq, the Philippines, India, Colombia, was charged by the First Committee with trying to draft, if possible, a unanimous text on the terms of reference of the special committee or, if agreement should prove impossible, to propose alternative texts.
This Sub-Committee, at its third meeting on 10 May, drafted a text which was submitted as a report to the First Committee (document A/C.1/171). This document brought out a certain number of points on which unanimity had been attained: the preamble, powers of the special Committee (paragraph 2), procedure (paragraph 3) investigations in Palestine (paragraph 4), death; for the submission of the report of the special committee (paragraph 8). The Sub-Committee reported four alternative texts on the future of Palestine (paragraph 5, A, B, C, and D), and two alternative texts on the interests of the inhabitants of Palestine and the religious interests in Palestine of Islam, Judaism, and Christianity (paragraph 6, A and B). The representatives of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and India proposed the inclusion, among the proposals to be submitted by the special committee (as described in paragraph 7) of a proposal on the question of establishing without delay the independent democratic state of Palestine."
The new report of Sub-Committee 6 was submitted to the First Committee at its fifty-fourth meeting. An amendment of the delegation of Chile (document A/C.l/175) to the preamble was adopted by the thirty-six votes in favour, ten against, with six abstentions. The preamble as amended was read by the Chairman, and there were no objections.
The amendment to paragraph 2 presented by the representative of Poland (document A/C.1/170) was not adopted, receiving ten votes in favour, thirty-three against, with six abstentions. Paragraph 2 of the report of the Sub-Committee was adopted by forty-two votes in favour, four against, with two abstentions.
Paragraph 3 of the report was adopted unanimously.
An amendment to paragraph 4 of, the report to add "wherever it may deem useful" after the words "the special committee shall conduct its investigation in Palestine" was adopted by thirty-six votes in favour, eight against, with four abstentions.
Paragraph 4 as amended was then adopted by forty-three votes in favour, eight against, with one abstention.
The representative of the United States presented a fifth variant to paragraph 5 (document A/C.l/173). The representative of. France proposed that this paragraph be omitted entirely. The Committee adopted the French proposal by a vote of twenty-nine in favour, ten against, with fourteen abstentions.
A proposal submitted by the representative of Australia to delete paragraph 6 received nineteen votes in favour, twenty-five against, with seven abstentions, and was not carried.
Paragraph 6 B of the Sub-Committee's report was adopted by twenty-seven votes in favour, nine against, with sixteen abstentions.
The addition to paragraph 7 proposed by the representatives of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and India received fifteen votes in favour, twenty-six against, with twelve abstentions, and was not carried.
The Polish amendment received ten votes in favour, twenty-five against, with eighteen abstentions, and was not carried.
Paragraph 7 as proposed by the majority of Sub-Committee 6 was adopted by forty-four votes in favour, seven against.
After slight amendment, paragraph 8, was adopted by a vote of forty-five in favour, with six abstentions.
Composition of the Special Committee
The discussion on the composition of the special Committee was resumed on the fifty-sixth meeting the on basis of the draft resolutions presented previously by the representatives of Argentina document A/C.1/149) and the United States (document A/C.1/150). The representative of Argentina withdrew his draft resolution, and new proposals were submitted by the representatives of Poland (document A/C.1/176), the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (document A/C.l/ l77), Australia (document A/C.l/178) and Venezuela (document A/G. 1/179). An amendment to the United States draft resolution was submitted by the representative of Chile (document A/C.l/180).
The Committee associated itself with the views expressed by the representative of Venezuela that the States Members of the special committee should appoint persons of high moral character and of recognized competence in international affairs, and that those appointed would act impartially and conscientiously, in accordance with the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations. The representative of Venezuela therefore withdrew his proposal.
The Committee voted on the proposals as follows :
The proposal of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and alternate proposal each received six votes in favour, twenty-six against, with twenty-one abstentions, and were not carried.
The Polish proposal received seven votes in favour, twenty-six against, with twenty abstentions, and was not carried.
The Australian proposal, providing that the special committee should consist of eleven members, not including the permanent members of the Security Council received thirteen votes in favour, eleven against, with twenty-nine abstentions, and was accepted.
The Committee then elected as members of the Special Committee the nine States proposed in the United States draft resolution and the Chilean amendment. The Committee decided that the two remaining members should be chosen on a geographical basis; Australia was elected from the South Pacific and India from Asia. The composition of the Special Committee as a whole, consisting of representatives of Australia, Canada, Czechoslovakia, Guatemala, India, Iran, the Netherlands, Peru, Sweden, Uruguay and Yugoslavia, was approved by thirty-nine votes in favour, three against, with ten abstentions.
3- Administrative organization of the special committee
After having decided the composition and terms of reference of the special committee, the First Committee considered the administrative organization of the special committee as proposed in the last three paragraphs of the United States draft resolution (document A/G. 1/150). The last paragraph was withdrawn and the Committee adopted the other two paragraphs without objection.
The representative of the Lebanon requested that the following statement be inserted in the report:
"I have to say a word in explanation of my voting. I shall abstain from voting because I do not want to commit myself in any way regarding this document. This non-committal and abstention, far from meaning unconcern, actually signifies the deepest concern. The ground of this concern is the fact that not only has any mention of independence for Palestine been severely suppressed from the terms of reference, but also the basis on which this extraordinary session of the General Assembly was convened in the first place has insensibly shifted, during the last two weeks, from preparing for advising the United Kingdom Government on the future government of Palestine to preparing for the consideration of the so-called problem of Palestine in general, a phrase which by its very generality may mean anything and, therefore, is really unacceptable.
"If for no other reason than this essential, and I might also add dangerous, indefiniteness which permeates this entire document, I for my part am wholly unable to subscribe to it one way or the other. Therefore, I respectfully reserve the position of my Government regarding every future occasion."
The representative of Syria made a statement reserving the position of his Government and declared his intention of voting against the resolution as adopted by the Committee.
The representative of Iraq associated himself with the statement of the representative of Syria.
The representative of Egypt associated himself with the statement of the representative of the Lebanon.
The representative of Saudi Arabia endorsed the statements of the representatives of the Lebanon and Syria.
The First Committee recommends to the General Assembly the adoption of the following resolution :
Whereas the General Assembly of the United Nations has been called into special session for the purpose of constituting and instructing a Special Committee to prepare for the consideration at the next regular session of the Assembly a report on the question of Palestine,
The General Assembly resolves that:
1. A Special Committee be created for the above-mentioned purpose, consisting of the representatives of Australia, Canada, Czechoslovakia, Guatemala, India, Iran, Netherlands, Peru, Sweden, Uruguay and Yugoslavia;
2. The Special Committee shall have the widest powers to ascertain and record facts, and to investigate all questions and issues relevant to the problem of Palestine;
3. The Special Committee shall determine its own procedure;
4. The Special Committee shall conduct investigations in Palestine and wherever it may deem useful, receive and examine written or oral testimony, whichever it may consider appropriate in case, from the mandatory Power, from representatives of the population of Palestine, from Governments and from such organizations individuals as it may deem necessary;
5. The Special Committee shall give most careful consideration to the religious interests in Palestine of Islam, Judaism and Christianity;
6. The Special Committee shall prepare a report to the General Assembly and shall submit such proposals as it may consider appropriate for : solution of the problem of Palestine;
7. The Special Committee's report shall be communicated to the Secretary-General not later than 1 September 1947, in order that it may be circulated to the Members of the United Nations fin time for consideration by the second regular session of the General Assembly;
8. Requests the Secretary-General to enter into suitable arrangements with the proper authorities of any State in whose territory the Special Committee may wish to sit or to travel, to provide necessary facilities, and to assign appropriate staff to the Special Committee;
9. Authorizes the Secretary-General to reimburse travel and subsistence expenses of a representative and an alternate representative from each Government represented on the Special Committee on such basis and in such form as he may determine most appropriate in the circumstances.
The General Assembly calls upon all Governments and peoples to refrain, pending action by the General Assembly on the report of the Special Committee on Palestine, from the threat or use of force or any other action which might create an atmosphere prejudicial to an early settlement of the question of Palestine.
1/ See Minutes of the twenty-first session of the Council, Official Journal, November 1922, page 1188.
1/ This draft resolution was amended at the 79th plenary meeting by the delegations of El Salvador and Norway. The words "and particularly upon the inhabitants of Palestine" were inserted after the word "peoples". The resolution was adopted as amended.