SUMMARY RECORD OF THE ONE HUNDRED AND NINETY-FIRST MEETING
Held in New York on 3 November 1950 at 11.30 a.m.
Discussion of development of the debate in the Ad hoc Political Committee on points (b) and (c) of the Palestine question: statement to be made to the Committee by the Chairman of the Commission
In the .course of a general discussion between the members of the Commission, the possibility was envisaged that a resolution might be introduce in the Ad hoc Committee dealing only with the recommendations of the UNRWA Report from a financial point of view. While fully recognizing the necessity for swift action on the financial aspect of the work of UNRWA, and in no way wishing to hold up the passage of a resolution based on the UNWRA Report, the Commission hoped that the need for laying down the basic principles of future action to aid the refugees would not be disregarded. It was felt desirable that all aspects of the refugee problem should be discussed in the debate before a resolution was formulated, particularly in view of the Ad hoc Committee’s decision not to return to a discussion of the refugee question after points (b) and (c) of the Palestine item had been dealt with.
The Commission’s feeling was that it would he difficult for the Committee to pass a resolution dealing with the financial aspect of UNRWA’s work without taking political considerations into account. The passage of a financial resolution lacking a sound political basis would not, in the long run, further the interests either of the refugees themselves or of the States concerned, nor would it enable the funds provided to be used to the best advantage. Such a resolution would be of value from a long-range point of view only if certain principles were incorporated therein — perhaps on the lines proposed by the Conciliation Commission in its supplementary report. The Commission forsaw a further difficulty in the possibility that, if a resolution providing merely for the financing of refugee aid were passed immediately, in any later discussion of the political aspects of the problem some Arab Governments might take up a position against certain principles which the Commission hoped might be agreed upon.
In view of the fact that parts of the Conciliation Commission’s report referring to refugees would almost certainly be discussed during the present debate in the Ad hoc Political Committee, it now considered desirable for the Chairman to make a brief statement to the Committee, pointing out that the Commission’s recent report to the Secretary-General dealt with the refugee question in all its aspects, including those of compensation and blocked accounts, but stressing at the same time that the sections referring to refugees should be taken as part of the report as a whole. It was also agreed that the Chairman might refer in his statement to the Commission’s feeling that UNRWA should be given all possible support on the basis of its recent report.
Mr. PALMER (United States) expressed the hope that in addressing the Ad hoc Committee the Israel representative would make some offer concerning compensation. He recalled that, following the efforts made by the Commission, and particularly since the Commission’s recent stay in the Middle East, the Government of Israel had recently shown a more co-operative attitude on the question of compensation. The Israel Government had originally held that the question of compensation could only be discussed in relation to Israel’s claims against the Arab States for war damages; it had then claimed that compensation must be dealt with only within the framework of a general peace settlement. There were now indications of a more constructive attitude on the part of the Government of Israel which, it was hoped, might offer to pay a lump sum, as part of the amount of compensation, to be used for resettlement of non-returning Arab refugees who were entitled to compensation, as a first step towards an overall settlement. He thought those considerations made it important for the Chairman’s speech to refer to compensation and to indicate that some progress had been made by the Commission in that connection.
The CHAIRMAN stated that he was preparing some notes for the statement which he would make to the Ad hoc Committee. It was agreed that the Commission would consider the draft at its next meeting.
Discusssions sur les débats de la Comission politique au sujet de la question de Palestine - 191e séance de la CCNUP (New York) - Compte Rendu Français