Question of Palestine home || Permalink || About UNISPAL || Search



See also: UN DPI Multimedia (Ref: s/c 04-37)
Follow UNISPAL Twitter RSS

UNITED
NATIONS
A

        General Assembly
A/PV.127
28 November 1947

HUNDRED AND TWENTY-SEVENTH PLENARY MEETING

Held in the General Assembly Hall at Flushing
Meadow, New York, on Friday, 28 November
1947, at 3 p.m.


President: Mr. O. ARANHA (Brazil).

126. Continuation of the discussion on the Palestinian question

The PRESIDENT: I call upon the representative of Colombia.

Mr. LOPEZ (Colombia): The delegation of Colombia abstained in the Ad Hoc Committee from supporting either the constitution of a federal State in Palestine or the plan of partition with economic union which the General Assembly now has under consideration. However, we should like to explain that ours is not simply a negative position. Nor are we shirking responsibility in this most grave and difficult of all the problems that have put to a test the usefulness of our Organization. Far from it, we are very willing to do our full share in helping to relieve the present plight of the Jewish people.

We are deeply convinced that it is the common duty of all nations to cooperate hi finding a prompt and adequate remedy to a situation which everybody admits is disgraceful to the civilized world and contrary to the fundamental principles and purposes of the United Nations. But we have not seen our way clear to adopt the conclusions of either the majority or the minority report of the Special Committee on Palestine, although we have wholeheartedly concurred in its twelve unanimous recommendations. Much against our wishes, we have not been able to accept the implementation finally proposed by one or the other of the two Sub-Committees of the Ad Hoc Committee which have been at work on this question since September last.

The Colombian delegation has not been voicing a dissenting opinion. It is not alone in its attitude. On the contrary, ours is only one of the many delegations which will welcome the opportunity to take positive action in this matter, but which has not found that any of the plans developed so far meets the needs of the situation or commands general approval.

This, in our view, is the obvious and inescapable interpretation of the record of the votes given for and against the various proposals and amendments submitted to the Ad Hoc Committee. We think that the General Assembly has in that record an unmistakable indication that those proposals should be carried a stage further, allowing the Committee the necessary time to work out a better arrangement—preferably a compromise arrangement which would provide a more solid basis for the economic union of Palestine and would lead much sooner, to a better political understanding between Arabs and Jews. We feel that we should invite each and every one of our fellow representatives to ponder for a moment on the conclusions to be drawn from that record.

The plan of partition was adopted by the Ad Hoc Committee by twenty-five votes to thirteen with seventeen abstentions. We hear and we read that the same vote in the General Assembly would be one short of the two-thirds majority required by our rules. However, in our view, there is no mistaking the fact that, the plan has failed to find the support of thirty-two delegations. In other words, as it stands, it is really a minority proposal. It will remain a minority proposal in our minds. It will not lose that character even if it succeeds in securing the votes of three or four more delegations; and the scanty strength of the proposal becomes all the more evident if we consider the great international importance of the problem and the distinction that this solution enjoys of having the joint backing of the United States and the USSR. It would seem to all unprejudiced observers that, but for that, all-powerful backing, the proposal would never have made its way to • the General Assembly. Here it may eventually be adopted, but we submit that reluctant votes, recruited with irrelevant eleventh-hour appeals, will not improve its position in the opinion of the outside world.

From another angle, we cannot overlook or underestimate the fact that among the thirteen votes counted against the partition of Palestine, every one of the Moslem countries is included. If the Jewish problem is both religious and racial, we find that it does not forebode well for the execution of the plan that it should have been unanimously rejected by the whole Moslem world; not quietly rejected, but under strong protests; not by a small portion of mankind, but by the representatives of four hundred million people of one religious creed. No wonder that the plan has had to come across the Atlantic in search of the supporters that it has failed to find in the countries adjoining Palestine, in the eastern Mediterranean, in western Europe, or in the distant Asiatic mainland.

Politically, it appears to us equally significant that neither China nor France nor the United Kingdom should have seen eye to eye with the United States and the USSR in this case. We have never held, as some of our colleagues have done, that the veto, more than a right or a privilege of the great Powers, should be considered by them also as an undertaking to seek agreement on all questions of such worldwide import as the Palestine problem. The rule of unanimity applies to decisions of the Security Council, not to recommendations of the General Assembly. States Members of our Organization are free to accept or not to comply with the latter. The resolution of 8 December 1946 regarding the treatment of Indians in South Africa was not acted upon by the Union of South Africa. The resolution of 12 December 1946 on Spain was not accepted by the Argentine Republic. Nobody claims that, in- so doing, the Argentine Republic or the Union of South Africa ignored any provision of the Charter. Likewise, the USSR and the Slav countries have already announced that they will not cooperate in carrying out the resolutions of the General Assembly on Korea, the Greek question and the Interim Committee.

Yet, we do find it difficult to understand why, in the present instance, no determined effort has been made to bring the permanent members of the Security Council to act together, or at least to avoid giving the impression that they do not take so zealously as the small nations would like them to do,'their special responsibilities in all the world's most entangled affairs. This is the more striking when we recall that, according to the preamble of the resolution that we are now discussing and which is contained in document A/516, the General Assembly would declare that it "considers that the present situation in Palestine is one which is likely to impair the general welfare and friendly relations among nations."

The question of Palestine is as highly controversial as any other that has come before the General Assembly, and perhaps more so. The division of opinion in the Ad Hoc Committee and its Sub-Committees has been as evident among the permanent members of the Security Council as among the other States Members of the United Nations. The vote in the Ad Hoc Committee on the constitution of a federal State was twelve in favour, twenty-nine against and fourteen abstentions; on the plan of partition, twenty-five in favour, thirteen against and seven-teen abstentions. It can thus be seen that the latter plan was not accepted by thirty Member States, and the former was not accepted by forty-three. It can therefore be safely said that the collective judgment of the Organization is waiting for a more satisfactory expression of its purposes and wishes in respect of this settlement.

A similar divergence of views has made itself manifest hi the voting on all other proposals connected with the various aspects of this case. Those referring to Jewish refugees and displaced persons were approved by very narrow margins with a large number of abstentions. The request to the International Court of Justice for an opinion as to whether the United Nations, or any of its Members, is competent to enforce or recommend enforcement of any proposal concerning the constitution and future government of Palestine, and in particular, any plan of partition which is contrary to the wishes or is adopted without the consent of the inhabitants of Palestine, was rejected by twenty-one votes to twenty, with thirteen abstentions. The Colombian delegation voted on these proposals affirmatively.

The legal competence of the General Assembly to set up two independent States hi Palestine, without regard to the principle of self-determination, has not been established to our satisfaction. Furthermore, from the beginning of our deliberations, we have consistently adhered to the view that the countries of origin should be requested to take back the Jewish refugees and displaced persons belonging to them. We feel strongly that Jewish refugees and displaced persons who cannot be repatriated should be allowed to settle not only in Palestine but in the territories of Member States of the United Nations, according to a carefully prepared plan of quotas.

Reverting to the main point of our argument, there is hardly any room for equivocation as to the general trend of thinking and feeling among the members of the General Assembly. We should venture to say that it can be roughly summarized as follows. The plans for both the federal State and partition, as they have been drafted, have a very limited group of sponsors. One has a few more ardent and sincere supporters than the other. Member States which have not yet seen fit to accept either plan according to their own ideas are a more numerous group.

Under the circumstances, we suggest that the General Assembly would be well advised in postponing a decision and making an attempt, at whatever cost it may entail to the Organization or whatever the additional burden it may impose on its staff, to find a solution which may be more apt to command the acceptance of Jews and Arabs alike and invite the enthusiastic support and cooperation of the Christian world. We respectfully submit that it is not too late to make that attempt.

The General Assembly can refer the matter back to the Ad Hoc Committee on the Palestinian Question, with a special recommendation to the Committee to try to develop the work that has already been done in order to define and clarify the conflicting positions of Arabs and Jews, and to take advantage of the situation that we are confronting to bring about an understanding between them which may give the General Assembly a more promising assurance of success.

The proposal for the constitution of a federal State in Palestine has been defeated. The plan of partition appears to be short of the necessary votes for its final adoption. But the question of Palestine cannot be left unsolved. We must reach a decision without any undue delay. Arabs and Jews have the opportunity now to join us in trying to evolve a better and more workable plan. The United Nations should take this opportunity to discharge one of its essential duties as a peace-keeping Organization by helping them to approach this problem in a cooperative spirit.

A good solution, not a hasty solution, is needed and expected from us. We have limited but ample time to carry out this great under-taking. The mandatory Power will not complete the evacuation of Palestine until 1 August 1948. The Ad Hoc Committee can be given the character of an interim subsidiary organ of the General Assembly and specifically entrusted with the task of formulating more seasoned recommendations for the future government of Palestine. Should any juridical questions arise, the Committee may be empowered to request the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice. It should also be instructed to submit concrete proposals as to the manner in which the Member States should give effect to the unanimous recommendations VI and XII of the Special Committee on Palestine.1 The report of the Ad Hoc Committee could be available for distribution, through the Secretary-General, on or before the end of February 1948. A special session of the General Assembly could be convened to consider the report early next spring.

The decision of the General Assembly would then represent the mature and responsible commitment, not of a minority but of a substantial majority of the Members of the United Nations as to how Member States should fulfill their obligations to provide a national home for the Jewish people and give them security and peace in other lands.

With the permission of the President, I therefore move the following resolution (document A/518):

"The General Assembly resolves

"1. To give the Ad Hoc Committee on Palestine the character of an interim subsidiary organ of the General Assembly in order to carry on the discussion of the Palestinian question with a view to finding a satisfactory solution of the problem;

"2. The Ad Hoc Committee on Palestine is hereby specifically authorized:

"(a) To take all the steps necessary to try to bring about an agreement between the representatives of the Arab and the Jewish populations of Palestine as to the future government and political constitution of that country;

"(b) To request, if it deems it necessary, the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice on the juridical questions that may arise hi connexion with the settlement of this case;

"(c) To study and formulate concrete recommendations as to the manner in which the Members of the United Nations may give effect to unanimous recommendations VI and XII of the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine;

"3. The Ad Hoc Committee on Palestine shall report on its work to the Secretary-General not later than 29 February 1948. The Secretary-General shall immediately forward the report to the Member States, which shall advise him, not later than 15 April 1948, whether they wish to consider the matter in a special- session of the General Assembly to be convened at the earliest practicable date thereafter."

1 See Official Records of the second session of the General Assembly, Supplement No. 11, volume I, pages 44, 45 and 46.

The PRESIDENT: I shall instruct the Secretariat to make a distribution of this draft resolution (document A/518). It will be considered when we vote on the other resolutions.

I call upon the representative of France.

Mr. PARODI (France) (translated from French): With regard to the difficult question which die United Kingdom placed in our hands last spring, my country has particular reason to understand very well the two points of view in conflict.

As my Belgian colleague has declared on behalf of his country, I can say of mine that it has never made any distinction between Jews and non-Jews. The place long held by French Jews— the place which they hold at present-—in the intellectual, political, administrative and economic life of my country is very patent proof of this.

In France, anti-Semitism has never been anything but an ideological adventure on the part of certain intellectuals whose errors of thinking have indeed led them considerably farther: as far as collaboration and fascism.

I would add that my country and I, myself— if I may be allowed to introduce a personal note for family reasons—are more inclined than any one to think with horror of the prolonged torture of the Jewish people, of the methods of extermination to which they have been subjected and which have led to the death of millions of human beings.

At the same time, my country has for more than a century been associated with the life of the Arab world. Moslem deputies sit in the French Parliament. We know the Arabs and we like them.

When the representative of France, our Foreign Minister, spoke at the beginning of the general discussion which opened our session, he emphasized the importance which we attached to the search for a common ground for agreement between Arabs and Jews. His words were neither naive nor empty. Mr. Bidault recognized, as well as anybody else here, the difficulty of reaching an agreement, and the long and futile efforts which had already been made to achieve it. But he also knew—and we must not lose sight of this—that when two peoples are as closely intermingled as are the Arab and Jewish peoples in Palestine, no administrative regime can work if it is not supported by a certain measure of agreement between the two peoples. The Jews and the Arabs are well aware of this.

The plan of partition which is proposed to you should therefore, even if it is adopted and results in the establishment of two States, be regarded as a stage in the development of a situation which sooner or later, in one form or another, must produce an express or tacit agreement on a modus vivendi. We desire such an agreement, and it is our duty to help to realize it.

Have we done all in our power to bring about this understanding, this reconciliation between the two sides? I should be lacking in candour if I did not express some disappointment with regard to the way in which this serious and difficult problem has been handled in the Committee charged with the task of preparing the report.

In the Ad Hoc Committee on the Palestinian Question—I am not speaking of the Committee which was sent to the spot, but of the Committee which has worked here on the question of Palestine since the beginning of this session— there was a general discussion in the course of which the points of view of the various delegations were expressed; I refer to the general points of view which they reached after reading the report of the Special Committee on Palestine. At that time my delegation did not express its views; the problem seemed so difficult to us that we had not yet been able to form an opinion, and we were relying on the discussions which were to take place in the Committee to enable us to clarify our position. I must confess that I thought that there would be a systematic and orderly study of the report in the Committee. I thought that the Committee would examine the report section by section, question by question, in such a way as to assemble the arguments advanced on each point, the objections raised and the possible refutation of these objections.

But we did not proceed in that way. After the general discussion, the work was taken from the Committee itself and entrusted to two Sub-Committees which worked mainly in closed session, apart from the remaining members of the Committee. Moreover, the Sub-Committees had limited terms of reference: they were not asked to review the constituent elements of the various programmes advanced—the partition plan and the point of view advanced by the Arab countries. They were not asked to discuss these programmes, but simply to develop them on the hypothesis that they had already been accepted, and to define the possible means of applying them.

I am not at the moment criticizing the work of these two Sub-Committees; each worked, and worked very usefully, along its own lines. But by its very nature, the work entrusted to them led them to widen the gap between the two positions rather than attempt to narrow that gap

When the reports of the two Sub-Committees came before the Ad Hoc Committee, they were discussed together as a whole. We are now actually engaged in a second general discussion in which all the questions are being considered simultaneously.

Moreover, when the Ad Hoc Committee on the Palestinian Question set up the two working Sub-Committees, it intended to establish a third body for the purpose of conciliation. The attempt at conciliation does not appear to have been carried very far; at all events, we were simply informed that it had not succeeded.

Finally I will remind the Assembly that the Special Committee on Palestine submitted not one, but two reports. One of these reports was a study of the plan for a single federated State; it vanished at the very beginning of our work, for it was not supported by the countries which advocated it in the Special Committee.

I must confess that now that the work of the Ad Hoc Committee has been concluded, now that we have come to the moment for decision, I feel—as does my delegation—some uneasiness about the conditions under which we have carried on our work; these conditions do not seem to me to have been completely satisfactory.

This study now leads us to a choice between two positions. As a large number of delegations have pointed out, we have been led to think that if we do not vote in favour of partition, there will be no decision at all. We have been led to think that we must choose between the plan of partition, with its obvious difficulties, .and the absence of any plan, which may mean chaos.

If we are really forced into this position— and it is possible that we are—we shall be obliged, we are obliged if the moment of decision has actually arrived, to face the problem squarely and choose between the two solutions.

All the same, I wonder if it is quite certain that we are in that position. This morning we heard two speeches by representatives of the Arab countries in defence of the Arab point of view, which may perhaps suggest a new prospect. This morning, for the first time in the course of our discussions, there was talk of conciliation and the possibility of reaching agreement.

True, this overture comes very late; it has been made to the General Assembly, but it would have been better had it been made in the Committee. It comes on the very eve of the vote, perhaps only a few hours before it.

It is understandable that we are all impatient to bring this long session to a close. Representatives who are not permanent residents of New York are awaited in their respective countries. Moreover, the statements which we heard this morning were very insubstantial as a basis for agreement, particularly so late in the proceedings; and some people may wonder whether their submission at so late an hour is not simply an attempt to delay the decision.

Personally, I think that the question before us is too serious, too difficult for us to let slip any chance of a peaceful settlement based on agreement, however slender that chance may seem. At the same time, I admit that at this stage of our work it is really very difficult to delay the decision which we are on the point of reaching.

A moment ago the representative of Colombia made a proposal on which we shall have to express our opinion. I for my part had La view a proposal which is rather like his, but does not go nearly as far.

I think it would be difficult merely to decide on a protracted adjournment of a question such as that which we have been studying and which demands a solution; and I wonder where we should be after renewed study—if this one were to be prolonged—if it did not rest on a serious basis.

The final suggestion which I should like to make is that we should not take a decision today, but that we should postpone the vote for a very short time, and, if the expressions of good will and agreement which we heard this morning prove to have any real substance, the delegations which wish to clarify them will have an opportunity to do so.

It is quite possible—I have no illusions on the subject—that after postponing our decision for an interval which I suggest might be twenty-four hours—that is to say, until tomorrow— we shall find ourselves faced with exactly the same situation as confronts us today. It is quite possible that we shall find tomorrow that the problem really stands as it appeared to other delegations which have spoken at our last few meetings, and that, as I pointed out just now, it remains for us to choose between a definite proposal and the complete absence of any decision.

But it seems to me that if we take the trouble to ascertain what substance there may be in the words which have been spoken here this morning, even if in the end we do not arrive at another course than the choice with which we should be faced if we voted this evening, we might, at any rate, be able to make our decision with an easier mind.

That is the conclusion of my observations. The suggestion which I am putting forward does not appear to require that I present it in the form of a definite resolution, since it would simply be a short postponement, that is to say, a simple matter of procedure, In proposing this delay, my intention and my hope are that we may hear something more definite on the lines of the conciliatory words spoken this morning.

The PRESIDENT: (translated from French): If you are making a formal proposal to adjourn the debate, I ought to open a discussion on it by allowing two speakers to support it and two to oppose it before the Assembly takes a decision.

If you arc making, not a proposal but a suggestion to the Assembly, I ought not to entertain it, but should call on the other speakers on the list forthwith. It is for you to decide.

Mr. PARODI (France) (translated from French): May I ask, Mr. President, if there are any other speakers on the list?

The PRESIDENT: (translated from French): Two others have asked to speak: the representative of Ethiopia, and the representative of Iran, the latter on a point of order.

Mr. PARODI (France) (translated from French): Please consider my proposal for the time being as a mere suggestion, and give me timewhile the other two speakers have the floor—to formulate it for possible presentation in the form of a definite motion.

The PRESIDENT: (translated from French): I agree. I call upon the representative of Ethiopia.

Mr. TESEMMA (Ethiopia): The Ethiopian delegation, as you know, much as it would have desired to contribute to the discussion, has remained silent throughout the course of the debate on this very difficult and complex problem of Palestine, upon which the States Members of the United Nations are now going to take a decision. I hope that this complete silence on the part of my delegation has not been interpreted to mean an attitude of indifference or disinterest; on the contrary, we have been and we are still very much concerned.

We have given most careful study to all the proposals that have been submitted by both the Special Committee on Palestine and the two Sub-Committees of the Ad Hoc Committee on the Palestinian Question. I do not intend to go into the detail of the matter at this stage, but I wish, in very few words indeed, to explain the position of the Ethiopian delegation in the vote which we are about to take.

With regard to the proposal of partition which has now finally been brought before the General Assembly, it is my duty to state that the Ethiopian delegation finds itself unable to subscribe to the principle of partition involved. We cannot agree that a solution to the problem of that geographical, historical and economic unity known as Palestine should be sought through a partition drawn along religious or other lines.

The Ethiopian delegation, for its part, particularly conscious of the intimate and historic ties which bind the people of Ethiopia to both the Arab and Jewish peoples, feels that no plan which has been heretofore presented affords adequate protection to the opposing interests concerned. Just as my delegation remained unconvinced that the unitary plan submitted would afford adequate protection to the important Jewish interests involved, so, conversely, we are concerned lest the vital interests of the Arab people in Palestine might suffer under a proposal for partition.

These considerations would consequently have led the Ethiopian delegation to vote against both these proposals. We have been, however, unwilling to adopt a purely negative attitude or to stand in the way of any proposal which might gain the requisite majority vote of this General Assembly. Consistent with that policy, therefore, as in the past, we must reluctantly state that, as it is unable to vote in favour of the present proposal for partition, the Ethiopian delegation will abstain from voting.

The PRESIDENT: I call upon the representative of Iran on a point of order.

Mr. ADL (Iran) (translated from French): In his speech the day before yesterday, the representative of Lebanon quoted an article in the New York Times concerning Azerbaijan, which, according to the Moscow Pravda, is thinking of gaining its independence.

As representative of Iran, and also as a native of Azerbaijan, I should like to reply that in two weeks' time it will be exactly a year since Azerbaijan freed itself from the yoke of a Government which it was desired to impose upon it contrary to the will of its people. But Azerbaijan has always been, as it is today, and as it will always remain, an integral and inseparable part of Iran.

The PRESIDENT: The list of speakers is exhausted. As there is no objection, the debate is closed.

Before we vote on the report of the Ad Hoc Committee (document A/516), we have to consider the proposal introduced by the representative of Colombia (document A/518) as well as the proposal of the representative of France for the adjournment of the vote for twenty-four hours.

As the General Assembly knows, a motion for adjournment must be considered before any other proposal. According to rule 69 of the provisional rules of procedure for the General Assembly, ". . . any such motion shall have priority in the debate. In addition to the proposer of the motion, two representatives may speak in favour of, and two against, the motion."

It is within the jurisdiction of the President to determine whether a debate on such a motion shall be held. We shall now open the debate on the motion of the representative of France for adjournment of the debate. The General Assembly will hear two speakers in favour of, and two against, the motion.

I call upon the representative of Poland.

Mr. LANGE (Poland): I have heard with great interest the proposal for adjournment. But with all due respect to the two representatives who are in favour of that proposal and to whose arguments I usually listen with the greatest attention, I must say that I do not see a single reason why we should postpone taking our decision. The debate is closed. All that we are asked to do is to postpone taking the vote. What can be the purpose of adjourning the taking of the vote? There could be one conceivable purpose: if we could expect that, within the next twenty-four hours, a new constructive proposal would be submitted.

We have discussed the problem of Palestine for over half a year. We have held a special session of the General Assembly. We have had the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine. After that, during this whole session of the General Assembly, for, I think, two and a half months, we have had the Ad Hoc Committee on Palestine. The Ad Hoc Committee had two Sub-Committees. All these organs worked on the subject with great care and diligence. All delegations have had opportunities to express their views and submit their proposals— proposals which have been discussed and voted upon—and, finally, the results have been presented to us in their final form.

We have had a discussion here in the plenary session; and I really do not see that we can expect any new constructive proposal to be submitted within the next twenty-four hours, after the subject has been discussed at such great length in all its details and various aspects.

There may be one possibility which might warrant an adjournment. That would be if we could really expect a solution of compromise between the report of the Ad Hoc Committee and the position taken by the Arab delegations. I must say that if such a compromise solution were possible, my delegation would be the last to disregard it. Actually, during the debate on the Palestine problem during the special session of the General Assembly, and later, we looked forward to a compromise solution. You may recall that our delegation supported the plan of partition only reluctantly, after seeing that there was no possibility for the solution of the problem within one State in which both Arabs and Jews would have equal rights as equal partners.

The PRESIDENT: I request the representative of Poland to discuss only the subject of whether or not it is useful to have an adjournment.

Mr. LANGE (Poland): Yes, I shall keep to the subject. I wish to add that the position of the Arab delegations was so intransigent and so much a repudiation of any possible compromise that we saw no alternative other than to support the majority position. I wonder whether the Arab delegations have any compromise to offer today. After having listened to their statements, I saw no indication of a compromise. Consequently, the positions of all the delegations are very well defined. I do not see how any delegation could really be ready to change its position, and therefore I do not see any use in postponing the vote.

The debate is closed, as has been announced by the President. All views have been expressed; all the preparatory work has been done over a period of more than six months. Consequently, postponing the vote, in my opinion, can serve no useful purpose.

The PRESIDENT: I call upon the representative of Colombia.

Mr. LOPEZ (Colombia): I need not say that I heartily agree with everything that Mr. Parodi said in support of his motion. I listened to his statement with the interest and respect that I always show when he speaks on any important question. I must say, however, that I cannot very well understand how the General Assembly could feel warranted in promoting a conciliation within a twenty-four hour time limit. I submit that this would not be conciliation— telling the Arab representatives, at the very moment when they come here and open the door to negotiation, that they must produce a definite proposal within twenty-four hours; otherwise the General Assembly will consider the debate closed and go ahead with its business. I do not believe that would be reasonable. I do not believe that is the way to conciliate, although I would agree that, if any of the members of the General Assembly consider the time limit suggested in my proposal too long, my suggestion can be modified to make that time limit shorter.

But I must state one thing very clearly. It is true that we have had many committees on Palestine and that every one of them has had its sub-committee, but it has not come to my knowledge that any committee or any sub-committee has undertaken the elementary task of trying to conciliate the Arab and the Jewish representatives. That is why the need arises for allowing time to do that. We have worked for nearly three months, but the fact remains that no one attempted to conciliate the opposing parties to this dispute.

It is further claimed that we have been discussing this matter for a very long time, but that is not unusual. I have been in the Security Council for a whole year during which we have been discussing, without success, practically every point on our agenda. For a whole year, we have been discussing disarmament without any satisfactory result. For a whole year, we have been discussing the work of the Atomic Energy Commission without any satisfactory result. For a whole year, we have been discussing the work of the Military Staff Committee without any satisfactory result. Therefore, why not allow the necessary time for so highly controversial a matter as the Palestine question? Why not allow a few days or a few weeks more to see whether we can succeed in reaching a more satisfactory conclusion?

I, for one, can say that the statements that we heard this morning give me great encouragement, because I shall not venture to suppose that at the end of three, four, five or six days, the Arab representatives would come back to tell us that their suggestions and their implied promises mean nothing. On the contrary, I shall invite my fellow representatives to trust that the suggestions that we have heard this morning will lead us to more fruitful conclusions. Therefore, I would suggest that we do not adjourn now but that we should go on to vote on my proposal; and that if anybody thinks that proposal would allow an unnecessarily long time for the further discussion of the matter, he might be good enough to modify the terms of the proposal.

The PRESIDENT: I call upon the representative of Denmark.

Mr. KAUFFMANN (Denmark): I have listened very carefully to the statements made this morning. In line with the old saying that "Where there is life, there is hope", I should like to support the proposal made by Mr. Parodi. I admit that the hope is dim. Even if the hope is dim, however, I think that the right course for this General Assembly would be to adopt the suggestion made by the representative of France, in order to make it possible for the representatives of Arab countries to make their position somewhat clearer than it is at this hour. I feel that it should never be said of this General Assembly that we were hasty or that we went over this very grave matter like a steam-roller.

I repeat that in spite of the fact that I am an optimist by nature, I view the prospects as dim. However, there is hope as long as the position has not been made absolutely crystal^clear. For that reason and for no other, I shall vote in favour of the French proposal.

The PRESIDENT: I call upon the representative of Luxembourg.

Mr. ELVINGER (Luxembourg) (translated from French): The representative of Denmark has said in English what I wanted to say in French. The delegation of Luxembourg considers, as it has always done, that it is important to make every possible effort to reach a solution acceptable not only to the two parties at issue, but also to the Organization of the United Nations.

This morning, as my good friend the Ambassador of Denmark has pointed out, we have had a ray of hope. It is perhaps a very dun one, but we consider that, even if it has only one chance in a thousand of resulting in an acceptable solution, we are in duty bound to give it that chance.

The PRESIDENT: I call upon the representative of Venezuela on a point of order.

Mr. STOLK (Venezuela) (translated from Spanish): The delegation of Venezuela has followed the debate this morning and this after-noon with close attention, and we cannot hide the sympathy with which we view the proposal submitted this afternoon by the French representative.

Our delegation considers that any effort towards conciliation should be explored and encouraged, but at the same time, we believe that conciliation between the two parties directly concerned in the Palestinian question cannot be reached spontaneously.

The proposal of the French representative is no doubt very interesting; but how is this conciliation to be attained? I should like the representative of France to answer this question. Does he believe that the President of this Assembly, together with some other representatives here present, at a meeting with the representatives of the Jewish Agency for Palestine and the Arab Higher Committee, could arrange this conciliation and obtain good results?

If this or some other effort towards conciliation could be realized by a formal proposal in this sense by the French representative, the Venezuelan delegation would be in favour of adjourning for twenty-four hours or longer, in order to bring about conciliation between the parties; but if the French representative's proposal is merely to adjourn today's meeting for twenty-four or forty-eight hours, with no formula for achieving conciliation, the Venezuelan delegation, in spite of the fact that it has always favoured conciliation between the parties to the dispute, will regretfully be obliged to vote against it.

The PRESIDENT: According to rule 72 of the provisional rules of procedure, the President of the General Assembly shall take the sense of the General Assembly on a motion such as this. Unfortunately, I am not in a position to know the opinion of the General Assembly on this matter. Therefore, I shall put the motion of the representative of France to the vote.

The French proposal was adopted by twenty-five votes to fifteen.

The PRESIDENT: The next meeting of the General Assembly will be held on 29 November 1947, at 4 p.m.

The meeting rose at 438 p.m.


Follow UNISPAL RSS Twitter