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17 April 1950

Original: English


Held at the Palais des Nations, Geneva,
on Monday, 17 April 1950, at 11 a.m.

Mr. PALMER(United States of America)Chairman
Mr. de BOISANGER(France)
Mr. ERALP*(Turkey)
Mr. de AZCARATEPrincipal Secretary
The CHAIRMAN said he had great pleasure in greeting Mr. de Boisanger, the retiring Chairman of the Commission, and Mr. de Azcarate, Principal Secretary, on their return from the Near East. He wished to take that opportunity of emphasizing that the proposals submitted by the Commission to the Governments of the parties concerned and the approaches made during the tour had come at a very favourable moment and had been interrelated in the most satisfactory manner. Whatever might be thought in certain quarters, it would have been embarrassing for the Commission if its proposals had been formulated at the some time as or after the resolution adopted in Cairo by the Arab League. Had the Commission, in fact, submitted its proposals after the publication of that resolution, it would have given the impression of being in conflict with the League,

The Commission’s approaches had been made in good faith and arose from its desire to assist all parties concerned and to bring them together with a view to settling, with its assistance, a number of outstanding problems. The steps had been decided upon at a time when the intentions of the Arab League were still not known. The tour of the Chairman of the Commission, his conversations in the capitals of the Arab States and the State of Israel and even the order in which those visits had occurred had been not only desirable but also profitable.

Although the Commission had not counted on all the difficulties being smoothed out, to judge from the report on the conversations held, the results of the tour wore fairly encouraging, and had shown that the attitude of the Governments concerned was one of cordiality towards the Commission if not of enthusiasm for its proposals.

Mr. de BOISANGER (France) shared the Chairman’s impression that the Commission’s proposals had come at the right time. Had they been submitted later, the Commission would have found itself in a more difficult position.

At no time during his stay in the various capitals had he encountered the slightest criticism of the Commission’s proposals. His explanations had everywhere been attentively received and all those with whom he had spoken had admitted that the Commission’s proposals contained something constructive. Evidence of that could be found in the statement made on behalf of the Arab League by the Egyptian Minister for Foreign Affairs in which he had indicated that the League was prepared to accept the principle of direct negotiations, only within the limited framework of certain committees it was true, and on condition that the State of Israel should first signify acceptance of the principles on which such negotiations (the refugee question in particular) should be based.

The minutes which were being prepared by the Principal Secretary of each of the visits made would enable the members of the Commission to obtain a clear idea of the conversations which had taken place.

His tour had left him with the impression that something might be done and that far from abandoning its efforts the Commission should persevere and continue its work at Geneva.

Israel was the only State which had not made known its reply to the Commission’s proposals. It would be advisable to inform the representative of that State that the reply of the Arab States, while not entirely meeting the requests of the Commission, was regarded by the latter as a step forward and that the Commission hoped that the Israeli reply would be in a favourable vein.

On the question of the representation of the Arab States with the Commission, he had informed the Governments concerned that it would be desirable for them again to send representatives to the Commission at Geneva once that body was in a position to determine the form its future work should take.

The representatives of the Commission had been given an excellent reception in all the capitals they had visited. He would refer later to his visits to the refugee camps,

The PRINCIPAL SECRETARY announced that he was putting the final touches to a general report on the tour, to which would be annexed the minutes of all the conversations in which political questions had been touched upon. The report in question would be ready within the following twenty-four hours at the latest.

Mr. ERALP (Turkey), referring to the French representative’s proposal to inform the Israeli Government of the impression made on the Commission by the reply of the Arab Governments to its proposals, pointed out that, according to a wireless announcement, the Israeli Government would not accept the conditions placed by the Arabs on the resumption of direct negotiations (in particular that relating to the prior acceptance of the principle of the. refugees being allowed to return home).

Mr. de BOISANGER (France) stated that he would inform Mr. Kahany that evening of the impression made on the Commission by the reply of the Arab States. He did not sue any point in duplicating that step by getting Mr. Fischer to impart similar information to Mr. Sharett.

The PRINCIPAL SECRETARY proposed that the Commission should issue a Press Release on the tour of the former Chairman in the Near East, in terms identical with those of the Press Release prepared in Cairo on 14 April and sent, for publication, to Lake Success.

It was so agreed.

Meetings of the Commission with the members of UNRWA

The CHAIRMAN announced that at the opening of the initial meeting with the Director of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency and the members of the Advisory Commission, he intended to submit a message which he would prepare in advance in order to enable it to be translated.

The Commission, having made the necessary arrangement for the meeting, determined which documents should be handed to members of UNRWA for their information and decided to propose to the latter that a rose release be issued on the meeting.

Publication of the Commission’s proposals

The PRINCIPAL SECRETARY pointed out that the text of the Commission’s proposals had already been reproduced, in certain newspapers and that the replies of the Arab States to those proposals had also been published. Under those circumstances, there was no point in continuing to regard the document as confidential.

Mr. ERALP (Turkey) considered it would be sufficient to intimate to the Press that the memorandum containing those proposals was at its disposal.

It was so agreed.

Date of the next meeting.

Irrespective of the possibility of holding a meting with the members of UNRWA on Wednesday, 19 April, the Commission decided to hold its next working meeting on the morning of Thursday, 20 April 1950.

The meeting rose at 12.15 p.m.

Document in PDF format

Rapport par le Président du Commission sur son voyage au Moyen-Orient – 141e séance du CCNUP – Compte rendu Français