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Press Release

Department of Public Information l News Coverage Service l New York

31st Meeting
24 November 1947

The Ad Hoc Committee on the Palestinian Question tonight rejected proposals to set up a unitary, independent state in Palestine, and to ask for a ruling from the International Court of Justice on the legal issues involved in the Palestine case.

These were two of the three resolutions submitted in the report of Sub-Committee 2, on a unitary, independent state.

The third resolution contained three recommendations, two of which were approved. They read as follows:


“(1) That countries of origin should be requested to take back the Jewish refugees and displaced persons belonging to them, and to render all possible assistance to resettle in life, and

“(2) That those Jewish refugees and displaced persons who cannot be repatriated should be absorbed in the territories of Members of the United Nations in proportion to their area, economic resources, per capita income, population and other relevant factors.”

However, a third recommendation, to set up a quota scheme to carry this out, was rejected, and an over-all vote on the whole resolution resulted in a tie vote, 16 to 16, with 23 abstentions. The Chairman, Dr. Herbert V. Evat, (Australia), said the result would be forwarded to the General Assembly.

The Ad Hoc Committee also began consideration of amendments to the partition plan submitted by Sub-Committee 1.

The following amendments were accepted: one by the Netherlands (First part of Doc. A/AC.14/36); one by France (First part of Doc. A/AC.14/37) – with a minor change by Pakistan; and one by Australia (Doc. A/AC.14/39).

The Ad Hoc Committee also approved a new joint amendment by Norway and Pakistan (Doc. A/AC.14/46), regarding membership in the proposed UN Commission.

Under this amendment, the Assembly is to select a Commission of five member states, to be elected “on as broad a basis, geographically and otherwise, as possible.” The states are not specified, as they were in the original proposal.

The Committee adjourned at 11:15 p.m. It will meet again at 10:30 a.m. tomorrow, 25 November.

(A chronological account of this meeting follows in Takes #1 through #4).


The Ad Hoc Committee on the Palestinian question began final consideration of the proposals and amendments before it tonight, at its third session of the day.

The general debate was closed but the Chairman, Dr. Herbert V. Evatt (Australia) said time would be given to the authors of amendments to explain them.

Dr. Evatt proposed that the Committee vote first on the three resolutions contained in the report of Subcommittee 2 on a unitary, independent Palestine (Doc. A/AC.14/32) and then take up the amendments to the partition plan.

MR. ALBERTO GONZALEZ FERNANDEZ (Colombia) said that the Committee had not given sufficient attention to the resolutions in the report of Subcommittee2, and that he would make some comments before the votes were taken.

Dr. Gonzalez-Fernandez said there had been some efforts to “elude” the legal issues, but they still needed clarification. He strongly backed Resolution 1, to refer the legal questions in the Palestine case to the International Court of Justice.

The Representative of Colombia said he Delegation was either for or against partition, and would find it difficult to decide without a ruling from the Court. A delay might be useful, he thought, for “an eleventh-hour effort at conciliation.

The Chairman then proposed a vote on Resolution 1. Dr. MOHAMED FADHIL JAMALI (Iraq) asked that the vote be taken by roll-call.

ALEXANDRE PARODI (France) considered that Resolution 1 contained many political issues, such as “the inherent right of the indigenous population of Palestine to their country and to determine its future.”

It was a political and philosophic question, rather than a legal one he thought. Eight questions were proposed to be asked of the Court, and he asked for a separate vote on the eight question.

The Chairman then called for a vote on the first part of the resolution, up to the eight question, which asked the Court to rule whether the United nations of any Member State was competent to enforced partition.

The vote on the first seven questions as follows: 18 in favour, 25 against and 11 abstentions.

The next vote was taken on the last question, which the Chairman said he did not consider a question of law of all. In response to a query from HERSCHEL JOHNSON (USA) the Chairman said the preamble could be decided on later.

The vote on the eighth question was a follows: 20 in favour, 21 against and 13 abstentions.

The Committee then turned to Resolution 2 on Jewish refugees and displaced persons.

DR. ERNESTO DIHIGO (Cuba) asked that Resolution 3, on the proposed unitary, independent state, be voted on first, because he regarded Resolution 2 as a consequence of it.

The Chairman did not agree that Resolution 2 a consequence of Resolution 3, and asked that the resolutions be voted on in their proper order.

DR. JOSE ARCE (Argentina) asked for a separate vote on certain paragraphs. DR. JAMALI (Iraq) asked for a roll-call vote.

The Chairman said that in this case, as before, the Committee would leave the preamble until later, if necessary.

A vote was taken on the first recommendation, that countries be requested to take back the Jewish refugees and displaced persons, and help resettle them. It was approved, 17 to 14, with 23 abstentions.

The second recommendation also was approved, 18 to 16, with 21 abstentions.



The second recommendation called for Member States to take non-repatriable displaced persons, in proportion to the economic resources of those States and other factors.

The third recommendation, for a quota system, was rejected, 18 against to 15 in favour, with 22 abstentions.

SEMEN K. TSARAPKIN (USSR) took the floor to brand as “an absurd and libellous fabrication” a press report cited earlier today to the effect that the USSR was linked with certain Jewish elements inside Palestine.

The Committee turned to the preamble of Resolution 2, as two of the three recommendations in that resolution had been approved.

Voting by a show of hands resulted:

First paragraph – approved, 20 to 10

Second paragraph – rejected, 17 to 15

Third paragraph – rejected, 17 to 15

Fourth paragraph – rejected, 17 to 15

Fifth paragraph – approved, 18 to 15

Sixth paragraph (by roll-call) rejected, 26 to 11, with 18 abstentions.

Seventh paragraph – rejected, 18 to 15.

The remainder of the preamble was accepted as factual without a vote.

A vote was taken on Resolution 2 as a whole, omitting the parts that had been rejected in the vote by paragraphs.

The result (by roll-call) was a tie vote, 16 to 16, with 23 abstentions.

The Chairman said the result would be forwarded to the General Assembly.

The Resolution was rejected by 29 votes to 12, with 14 abstentions. This Resolution called for the formation of a unitary, independent state in Palestine.

That completed the voting on the resolutions in the Report of Subcommittee 2 and the Committee turned to the amendments to the report of Subcommittee 1.


Palestine Committee – (NIGHT) TAKE #3

The first amendment taken up was that of Denmark (Document A/AC/14/43).

Henrik de Kauffman (Denmark) briefly explained his amendment which he said was designed to put United Nations action “on firmer ground”.

Lester B. Person (Canada) said he thought it would be better to take this amendment to the operative section later and the Chairman agreed.

DR. E. M. J. A. Sassen (Netherlands) asked for more time to study the various amendments including some that had been distributed only a few minutes before.

The Representatives of Pakistan and Norway explained their new joint amendment (Document A/AC/14/46), providing for the selection of a United Nations Commission “on as broad a basis, geographically and otherwise as possible”.

Ksawery Pruszynski (Poland) noted that the amendment did not provide who would select this Commission. The Chairman inserted a reference to the General Assembly.

The Joint amendment was supported by Professor Henrique Rodriguez Fabregat (Uruguay).

Mr. Parodi (France) opposed the amendment. He said it was more important that the Commission be able to function effectively.

Jorge Garcia Granados (Guatemala) supported the amendment. So did Thor Thors (Iceland). He said his delegation would state later whether it would be willing to serve on the Commission.

Mr. Tsarapkin (USSR) asked if this amendment meant that the five members previously nominated could benamed to the Commission.

The Chairman said the Assembly would be given a free hand in the selection.

Mr. Tsarapkin asked if it meant states that opposed the partition plan could be named.

Dr. Pedro Zuloaga (Venezuela) said Sub-Committee 1 h ad agreed that the members of the Commission ought to be small powers and ought to be definitely in favour of partition. He hoped the Assembly would take these factors into consideration, and on that understanding, he supported the amendment.

Dr. Mohamed Fadhil Jamali (Iraq) said his delegation, since it opposed partition, would not participate in discussion or voting on any of these amendments.

DR. E. M. J. A. Sassen (Netherlands) explained his amendments (Document A/AC.14/36) to the partition plan.

He said his delegation agreed in general with the warnings of the representative of New Zealand that “insufficiencies” in the enforcement provisions of the plan “might have serious conswquences”.

Dr. Sassen supported the amendments submitted by Sweden and France regarding the status of Jerusalem as a permanently inter-national city.

His own amendment would modify the proposed boundaries to prevent in general the division of villages from the land cultivated by the residents of those villages, he said. He thought that these questions should be settled on the spot, preferably, to avoid political friction and promote peaceful settlements.

The full text of Dr. Sassen’s remarks has been issued as Press Release 7:30 P.M.

(End of Take #3)


HERSCHEL JOHNSON (US) Supported the Netherlands amendment that village area should not be divided without “pressing” reasons.

In the absence of objection, this amendment was approved (Document A/AC.14/36).

ALEXANDRE PARODI (France) explained one of his amendments dealing with the status of Holy Places in Jerusalem (Document A/AC.14/37, first part).

This also was approved, with a modification of the wording by Pakistan.

The Chairman, speaking as Representative of Australia, explained an Amendment of his own, to prevent discrimination against Holy Places of various faiths (Document A/AC.14/39).

This also was approved.

The Chairman said he was taking up amendments in their order in the text of the Partition Plan, not as groups.

The meeting adjourned at 11:15 p.m. to 10:30 a.m. tomorrow.


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