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General Assembly

23 January 1948



Lake Success, New York,
Monday, 19 January 1948, at 3.00 p.m.

Chairman:Mr. LISICKY(Czechoslovakia)
Members:Mr. Medina(Bolivia)
Mr. Federspiel(Denmark)
Mr. Morgan (Panama)
Mr. Salazar(Philippines)
Secretariat:Mr. Bunche(Secretary)
Mr. Reedman(Senior Economic Advisor)
Mr. Vigier(Senior Political Advisor)


The CHAIRMAN observed that it would be necessary to appoint a Preparatory Economic Commission and to define its relations to the Commission as early as possible, in order to facilitate, especially during the transitional period, the performance of the functions proposed in the General Assembly’s Resolution.

Referring to the Resolution, the transitional period was re-defined as “the period between the termination of the Mandate and the establishment of the independence of the two new states”.

The Commission agreed that the Preparatory Economic Commission would consist of two members from states not represented on the Palestine Commission and one member of the Secretariat. It was not considered desirable or necessary to include a member of the Commission as proposed in sub-paragraph I of paragraph 3 of Section I of document A/AC.21/W.13.

It was observed that the Partition Plan had provided that “the Provisional Council of Government of each state shall enter into an undertaking with respect to Economic Union and Transit……..If by 1 April 1948 the Provisional Councils of Government have not entered into the Undertaking, the Undertaking shall be put into force by the Commission.” The Commission felt that the best that could be done in this regard was to do whatever might be possible to implement the recommendation and to report, in case of failure, to the Security Council.

The CHAIRMAN submitted the names of two experts who might be considered as possible candidates for the Preparatory Economic Commission, namely Rasminski (Canada) and Mr. Perez-Guerrero (Venezuela).

The Commission felt that it might be useful to consider the possible availability of experts from countries with special experience in the organization and operation of economic unions such as the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg.

The name of Professor Christiansen of Denmark and Mr. G. Wood of New Zealand were also mentioned for consideration.

The Commission was informed that there would be little likelihood of securing the services of Professor Christiansen.

The CHAIRMAN wondered whether the appointment of two experts from British Dominions, if Mr. Perez Guerrero were considered as a member of the Secretariat, might not invite criticism.

It was proposed that in conformity with the Provisional Rules of Procedure Rule 11) the Secretary-General should be invited to suggest fees and terms employment of the members of the Preparatory Commission for the consideration of the Commission.

It was agreed that inquiry should be made regarding Mr. Basminski and Mr. Peres-Guerrero to determine if they might be prepared to serve on the Preparatory Economic Commission. It was subsequently learned that Sir Basminski would not be available. It was consequently agreed to approach Mr. Perez-Guerrero. The Commission agreed on the proposal of the Chairman to appoint Mr. Reedman, the Senior Economic Advisor, as the third member.

As regards the three members on the Joint Economic Board to be appointed by the Economic and Social Council, the Chairman suggested that they should be appointed when the work of the Commission was well on its way, that is to say in the July session of the Economic and Social Council. The proposal was approved.

With reference to the currency arrangements referred to in the second paragraph of “Specific Problems” of document A/AC.21/W.13, it was recognized that the questions raised were all important but could not be handled before the Preparatory Economic Commission had been appointed. As regards the present financial agreements between the Palestine Administration and the United Kingdom Government, it was agreed that all such arrangements would be maintained until the new states came into being.

On the question of transport and communications, it was pointed out that one of the problems which the Commission would have to consider was that of personnel for the operation of the transport and communications services. The Commission was informed that the Secretariat was preparing papers on this subject which would be submitted to the Commission at a later stage.

Problems of economic development were next examined. In reply to questions as to the exact meaning of economic development Mr. Reedman (Senior Economic Advisor) pointed out that the phrase referred to irrigation schemes, land reclamation, etc. There were in existence various schemes, which affected both the Arab and Jewish states and which required additional study on the spot. It was agreed that the matter of economic development should be dealt with by the Joint Economic Board.

As regards the suggested survey of the effect of the partition on water and power facilities, it was agreed that this work should be done by the Preparatory Economic Commission.

The Commission next examined Section III dealing with the Draft Undertaken regarding Economic Union and Freedom of Transit.

It was pointed out that the Commission would need guidance on how the Undertaking would be put into force by 1 April.

M. VIGIER (Senior Political Advisor) called the Commission’s attention to the term “Undertaking”. That term was intentionally chosen in preference to “agreement” because this was not to be a bilateral agreement.

It was agreed that, in the event that the Commission found it practically impossible to put into effect the Undertaking, the matter would have to be referred to the Security Council.

With regard to Section IV, dealing with the allocation and liquidation of assets, it was observed that the provisional list of assets subject to distribution by the Commission did not include railway rolling stock and patrol boats which would be needed in the performance of harbour duties.

The need was stressed for the prevention of any form of abnormal liquidation disposal or incumbering of the assets of the Palestine Government as provided in paragraph 2, Section E, Part I of the Partition Plan. Need was also indicated for a formula for the equitable distribution of the assets and for the distinction between the property of the United Kingdom Government and that of the Palestine Administration.


It was pointed out that the Boundary Commission would have to redefine the boundary between the Arab and Jewish states in at least fifty instances where the provisional boundary cut across Arab lands and built-up areas.

A Boundary Commission of three non-Palestinian members was proposed.

It was suggested that the personnel of the British organized Survey of Palestine might be recruited to serve the Commission.

The Commission realized that the Boundary Commission would need to be fully equipped, supplied with all requirements; including water in some cases, and heavily escorted. It did not consider that it would be practicable to split up the Commission to work in separate regions in order to expedite its work.

It seemed obvious to the Commission that no boundary delimitation could be carried out without the protection of .tin International Police Force.

It was felt that apart from the frontiers, which had to be determined inside Palestine, the non-recognition of the neighbouring Arab states of the already established external frontiers of Palestine might create further difficulties.

The Commission noted that Arab non-co-operation and open hostility were factors which had to be taken into consideration in the examination of the task of the Boundary Commission. This was a matter to which the attention of the Security Council might have to be called.

The meeting 6.20 p.m.

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