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15 June 1949

Original: English


Letter dated 24 June 1949 addressed by the Principal Secretary of the Conciliation Commission
to Dr. Walter Eytan, Head of the Delegation of Israel

Dear Dr. Eytan,

Your letter of June 19 concerning the powers of the Arab delegations has been carefully examined by the Commission during its meetings of 22 and 24 June. The Commission has instructed me to submit for your consideration the following remarks:

The Commission’s conception of the nature of the Lausanne meetings was clearly stated in its Second Progress Report addressed to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, as follows:

“In the first place, the Commission does not contemplate assembling the representatives of the two parties around one table, nor even under the same roof. Secondly, the fact that the scope of these new conversations may eventually be broadened does not imply that they should be considered as peace negotiations. The objective is, purely and simply, to continue the exchanges of views between the two parties and the Commission, in circumstances which would permit the achievement of concrete and positive results.”

As regards the scope of the exchanges of views at Lausanne, the Commission would like to refer you to the first sentence of the same paragraph 18 of its Second Report to the Secretary-General, which reads as follows:

“While maintaining their view that the refugee problem must be considered as the most pressing, and as an imperative task for the Commission, the Arab States, except Iraq, do not insist upon its settlement before conversations on other outstanding questions can take place and have declared themselves ready to consider favourably the sending of delegations for the purpose of continuing the exchanges of views with the Commission, to a neutral city, where the Commission could easily establish contact with a delegation of the Government of Israel also.”

The Commission has no reason to fear that the Arab delegations have not been provided by their respective Governments with adequate powers to enter into exchanges of views with the Commission on “other outstanding questions” without insisting upon the previous settlement of the refugee problem, On this point the Head of the Egyptian delegation stated in the course of a meeting between the Commission and the Arab delegations held on 17 June that his instructions had not been to the effect that his delegation should not continue to work with the Commission if the refugee question were not settled. He added that the Arab delegations had approached the territorial questions firstly by signing the Protocol, which covered such questions, and secondly, in the Memorandum of 21 May asking the Commission to secure the return of refugees to certain clearly enumerated areas.

Yours sincerely,
P. de Azcarate. Principal Secretary

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Pouvoirs des délégations arabes/(entretiens Lausanne) – CCNUP – Lettre à Israël Français