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        General Assembly
29 June 1947




Held at the Y.M.C.A Building, Jerusalem,
Monday, 27 June 1947 at 3.00 p.m.

The CHAIRMAN called, the meeting to order at 3.25 p.m.

Before discussion of items on the Agenda, the SECRETARY announced that the administrative staff desired to know how many members of each delegation intended to (a) make the 3-day tour to Galilee, and (b) the trip to Geneva.

Adoption of the Agenda.

The agenda was adopted.


On a point of order Mr. Garcia Granados (Guatemala) asked why the meeting was not being held in public. He did not consider it good policy to continue meeting in private for the reasons that (a) secrecy was always liable to misinterpretation; (b) newspapermen should at least be permitted to hear the deliberations of the Committee; (c) public would enforce a greater sense of duty on members of the Committee; (d) it was the policy of the United Nations to hold all meetings in public except for special reasons; (e) it was a rule of procedure of the Committee that its meetings would be public unless the Committee decided otherwise.

The CHAIRMAN explained that the meeting was private since that had been the practice when the Committee met to discuss matters relating to its work. Experience had shown that it would not be appropriate to depart from that principle. He had so interpreted the view of the Committee regarding the present meeting.

Mr. Garcia GRANADOS (Guatemala) insisted that a decision be made by the Committee. He moved, as a point of order, that when private meetings were held the Press should be given a full communique, including the results of any roll call vote.

Mr. HOOD (Australia) and Mr. ENTEZAM (Iran) said it was not a point of order but a proposal, and Mr. ENTEZAM felt that no decision should be made at present.

The CHAIRMAN gave a brief resume of the questions to be discussed at the meeting.

Sir ABDUR RAHMAN (India) said he could not agree with the delegate for Guatemala that all matter should be discussed in public. The question of deciding, which organizations and persons should or should not appear must be decided in private.

Mr. FABREGAT (Uruguay) stated he would vote in favour of the proposal put forward by the delegate for Guatemala since at all meetings of the General Assembly and its Committees the Palestine question had been discussed in public.

Mr. ENTEZAM (Iran) pointed out that the question of principle involved had already been decided in the Committee's rules of procedure. But if all meetings were to be public, too many sub-committees would have to be established to permit the discussion in private of some delicate matters before the Committee. Public decisions as to who should be heard would undoubtedly cause embarrassment. He felt the need for publicity should not take precedence over the success of the Committee's work as a whole.

Mr. BLOM (Netherlands) supported this view, suggesting that persons who had requested hearings would not like the rejection of their requests discussed in open session.

Mr. HOOD (Australia) then moved the closure of debate.

At the request of the delegate for Guatemala, the CHAIRMAN put the question as to whether the meeting should be held in public to a vote by roll call.

Mr. Garcia GRANADOS (Guatemala) asked that the question of holding public meetings should be placed on the agenda of the next meeting, and the Chairman agreed the matter should be discussed further at the end of the meeting.

Consideration of the Report of Subcommittee Two.

B. Organizations or individuals whose applications should be rejected.

Mr. LISICKY (Czechoslovakia), referring to the Palestine Communist Union, asked how the Sub-Committee could have known in advance that "no viewpoint of particular interest could be expected from this party".2

Mr. BLOM (Netherlands) commented that the party was a break-away group of the Communist Party of Palestine (listed in A).

The CHAIRMAN further explained that the Palestine Communist Union was a small group representing some two hundred people and that it held a substantially similar attitude towards Zionism as other Zionist organizations. By contrast, the Communist Party of Palestine was anti-Zionist and would be given a hearing.


C. Cases in which it is recommended that a decision be deferred.

Mr. Garcia GRANADOS (Guatemala) moved the adoption of the proposal of Mr. FABREGAT (Uruguay) that the Committee hear Mrs. Rahel Ber (Haifa )2 and Mrs. Deborah Pantofaru (Haifa)4 on the grounds that the Committee should investigate all facts bearing on the manner in which the Mandatory Power had carried out the terms of the Mandate.

The SECRETARY read out the text of the letter of Mrs. Rahel Ber which alleged that her husband had been arrested by the C.I.D. without charge and deported without trial to Kenya. The latter asked for a hearing with a view to securing the release of Mrs. Ber's husband. The letter from Mrs. Pantofaru was along similar lines.

Mr. FABREGAT (Uruguay) urged that the applicants be heard on humanitarian grounds and within the terms of the General Assembly's resolution (Document A/309 Resolution II).

Mr. GARCIA SALAZAR (Peru) pointed out that the Mandatory Power was responsible for law and order in Palestine, and the Committee should avoid giving the impression that they were criticizing the Palestine Administration. He would therefore oppose a hearing being granted.


After some discussion it was decided to accept the paragraph subject to a change of wording in the last sentence. The text as amended read:

"He will then report to the Sub-Committee on the result of this preliminary investigation, and the sub-Committee will make recommendations to the Committee on the advisability of inviting these persons to testify before the full Committee."

IV. Requests of applicants regarding Hearings.

After the suggestion of Mr. BLOM (Netherlands) it was agreed that this matter should be left to Sub-Committee Two to arrange.

V. Organizations and_ Individuals having, testified before the Anglo-American Committee.

(1) Letter of 22 June in which it was asked that the persons condemned to death by the Military Court of Jerusalem on l6 June "be called as witnesses before the Committee".

(2) Letter of 23 (accompanied by a, memorandum which had also been circulated) in which it was stated that we are now prepared to add further information orally".

Mr. LISICKY (Czechoslovakia) proposed that the letters be referred to Sub-Committee Two for a report to the Committee.

Mr. HOO (Assistant Secretary-General) pointed out that a request for a hearing had already been referred to the sub­committee and that in its opinion the question was highly political and therefore not within its competence.

Mr. HOOD (Australia) asked what proof of authenticity the letters had, since they were unsigned, and whether the Committee was competent to take any action regarding them.

Mr. Garcia GRANADOS (Guatemala) thought that a hearing should be granted on the grounds that the letters had not been signed and that the persons proposed as witnesses in the Irgun letter of 22 June had already been sentenced. He believed that the Committee was not therefore legally entitled to take evidence from them.

The SECRETARY drew the attention of the Committee to the proposed itinerary. The CHAIRMAN read the text of the statement on the itinerary for release to the press, indicating that the Committee would have favoured more formal visits to Arab communities had circumstances beyond its control made this possible. Consideration of letter7 received from the Chief Secretary of the Palestine Government.

Sir ABDUR RAHMAN said that he did not accept the contention in the second paragraph of Sir Henry Gurney's letter that the matter was still sub judice and therefore not able to be talked about. However he considered that no useful purpose would be served by discussing the question further and he therefore moved that no further action be taken.

Mr. HOOD (Australia) agreed with the delegate of India.

The CHAIRMAN explained that the letter had been formally acknowledged with the advice that it had been circulated to members of the Committee.

The SECRETARY asked whether the Summary Records of Committee meetings dealing with the question of the death sentences should continue to be regarded as confidential. ----

1/ Document A/AC.13/26
2/ Document A/AC.13/26
3/ See page 5, document A/AC.13/26
4/ Doc. A/Ac.13/NC/33 B.5
5/ Doc. A/AC.13/NC/33 B.7
6/ Doc. A/AC.13/26 page 7, para 2
7/ Doc. A/AC,13/26, page 6
8/ Doc. A/AC.13/NC.34
9/ Doc. A/AC.13/SR/9 to 12 inclusive
10/ Doc. A/AC.13/SR.10, pages 10 and 11.


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