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A/AC.25/SR.173
16 August 1950

Original: English



UNITED NATIONS CONCILIATION COMMISSION FOR PALESTINE

SUMMARY RECORD OF THE ONE HUNDRED AND SEVENTY-THIRD MEETING
Held at Government House, Jerusalem,
on 16 August, 1950 at 9:30 a.m.


Present:
Mr. PALMER

(United States of America)

CHAIRMAN
Mr. de BOISANGER (France)
Mr. ARAS (Turkey)
Mr. de AZCARATEPrincipal Secretary

1. Visit to the Foreign Minister of Israel

The PRINCIPAL SECRETARY stated that arrangements had been made for the Commission to meet the Israeli Minister for Foreign Affairs in Tel Aviv on the following afternoon. The meeting with the Prime Minister had not yet been fixed but might take place in Jerusalem the day after.

The CHAIRMAN reminded the members of the Commission that they should now determine their approach to the Israeli Government. He asked whether it was desired that he read a formal statement at the beginning of the meeting with the Foreign Minister, so that the general purpose of the visit would be clear.

There was general agreement that such a statement should be made by the Chairman and that it should refer to the results of the Commission’s talks in Egypt and Jordan. Some discussion took place as to how much detail should be entered into regarding the statements made to the Commission by the Jordan Government. Mr. de BOISANGER (France) mentioned in this connection that he had spoken to Dr. Eytan, Director-General of the Israeli Foreign Ministry, the previous evening, and that the Israeli Government was very interested to know as fully as possible what had been said to the Commission by the two Arab Governments it had already visited. The PRINCIPAL SECRETARY also pointed out that owing to the fact that there had been some publicity in Jordan regarding the memorandum handed to the Commission by the Prime Minister, it was certain that the Israeli Government would be interested to know not only the contents of this note but also the Commission’s reactions thereto.

The CHAIRMAN thought it would be advisable for the opening statement to stress also the Commission’s interest in the protection of refugee property in Israel, with special reference to the law recently passed in the Knesset according to which the Custodian of Absentees’ Property would be authorised to dispose of property belonging to Arab refugees.

The question of compensation should also be raised. The Chairman felt that the Commission might refer to its proposal to establish a survey group for the purpose of making a preliminary evaluation of the property involved and request the indispensable co-operation of the Government of Israel in the work of this group.

The PRINCIPAL SECRETARY was requested by the Commission to prepare a draft statement on the following lines: (1) A resume of the statements made by the Chairman to the Egyptian and Jordan Governments; (2) a summary of the attitudes of these two Governments as revealed by their response to the Commission’s approach. As regards the note handed to the Commission by the Jordan Prime Minister, the points made in this note, indicating the basis on which the Jordan Government considered that peace negotiations might be begun, could be outlined in the Chairman’s statement but not quoted at length. (3) A reference to the protection of refugee property in Israel; and (4) a reference to the question of compensation.

2. Secretary-General’s approval of the Commission’s visit to the Turkish Government.

The PRINCIPAL SECRETARY informed the Commission that a telegram had been received from the Secretary-General of the United Nations giving his approval of the Commission’s proposed visit to Ankara.

The CHAIRMAN drew attention to a message which had been received from UNRWA regarding a change in the schedule of visits of that Agency. He thought that until further information was available as to the date of the Commission’s meeting with UNRWA, no definite date could be set for the visit to Ankara.

Mr. ARAS (Turkey) stated that he would immediately inform his Government of the Commission’s desire to visit Ankara at a date to be fixed in the near future.

3. Compensation

It had already been decided (as stated in 1, above) to include a reference to this question in the Chairman’s opening statement to the Israeli Foreign Minister in Tel Aviv on the following day.

Mr. d e BOISANGER (France) felt that the Commission should recall to the Israeli Government certain principles which were laid down by the General Assembly’s resolution of 11 December 1948. They should then propose the setting up of a survey group, with the co-operation of the Israeli Government, to make a preliminary survey of Arab refugee property and to study the legal aspects of the question. Many delicate problems would be involved, such as the establishment of ownership, etc., but the Commission should take some practical steps towards resolving these problems. As the Israeli Government continued to maintain that all the refugees could not return to their homes, he thought that, even though they were not prepared to pay any compensation until a final settlement was reached, they could raise no objection to the setting up of a group of experts for the purpose of studying the legal and practical aspects of the question.

4. Blocked Accounts

The CHAIRMAN informed the Commission that he had discussed this question with the British Minister in Amman, whose advice had been that the Commission should put its proposal directly to the Finance Minister, who was the only one who had a conception of what it involved. The British Minister had thought that it would not be useful to approach the Prime Minister with this proposal, as he would regard it merely as a technical matter.

The PRINCIPAL SECRETARY stated that he was in touch with the Jordan Ministry of Finance and would advise the Commission as soon as the Minister returned to Amman.

The meeting rose at 10.30 a.m.


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