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A/AC.25/SR.51
9 May 1949

Original: English



UNITED NATIONS CONCILIATION COMMISSION FOR PALESTINE

SUMMARY RECORD OF THE FIFTY-FIRST MEETING
held in Lausanne on Monday,
9 May 1949, at 10 a.m.


Present:
Mr. ETHRIDGE

(U.S.A.)

Chairman
Mr. de BOISANGER (France)
Mr. YALCIN(Turkey)
Mr. AZCARATEPrincipal Secretary

Negotiations with Arab and Israeli delegations

The CHAIRMAN reported briefly on the talks he had had on and Sunday with Mr. Amoun of the Lebanese delegation and with Mr. Eytan of the Israeli delegation. On Saturday he had mentioned to them, individually, that the time had now come to enter upon a more active phase of negotiations, and had asked whether they could suggest a basis for further discussions. Mr. Amoun had replied that the Arab delegations would find it difficult to make such a suggestion, but that they would accept a suggestion made by the Commission. Mr. Eytan had made substantially the same reply. During further conversations the following day the Chairman had expressed his belief that the only practical basis for discussion would be the 1947 Partition Plan. The reply of the Arab delegations to that suggestion had not yet been received but he had been given, to understand that it would be favorable. A reply had just been received in writing from Dr. Eytan stating in substance, that the Israeli delegation accepted. The suggestion provided no statements would be made to the press for the time being,

Mr. ETHRIDGE agreed that the territorial provisions of the Partition Plan would be an acceptable working basis for negotiations. It must be borne in mind, however, that what the Arab delegations desired was a suggestion from the Commission, not merely for a basis for negotiation, but for an actual settlement. His delegation could not be a party to anything resembling a dictated settlement. The position of his Government had not changed since the adoption of the resolution of 11 December 1948; it still maintained that any territorial settlement must be freely negotiated.

The CHAIRMAN affirmed that the position of his delegation was the same as that of the United States delegation. He had made it clear to the Arab and Israeli representatives that the Commission’s purpose was simply to facilitate their progress toward a solution by furnishing them with a basis for negotiation.

In answer to a comment by Dr. Eytan concerning the draft “Preamble”, the Chairman had stated that the Commission would continue to study the document and discuss it as soon as a basis for negotiations had been agreed upon. He had showed the Secretariat’s draft “Declaration of Principles” to Dr. Eytan, who had made no comment.

The PRINCIPAL SECRETARY suggested that since no statements were to be issued to the press, it would be desirable for the Commission to have an acceptance in writing from: the Arab delegations of the proposal to conduct negotiations on the basis of the Partition Plan.

The CHAIRMAN agreed, but considered it preferable that the Commission should not put the proposal formally in writing first. He would assume the responsibility of asking the Arab delegations for a written reply to his verbal proposal.

The Chairman asked the Principal Secretary to contact the Arab delegations, who had already partially agreed on the substance of a draft press release, and inform them that the Commission intended not to issue such a release for the present.

The PRINCIPAL SECRETARY then presented a reply, drafted by the Secretariat, to the letter from the Arab delegations concerning collective meetings with the Commission.

The Commission approved the draft reply.

The CHAIRMAN circulated a letter received from Mr. Eytan the previous day, which stated that the Government of Israel was prepared to take a census to determine the number of Arab refugees who would be repatriable on the basis of separation from their immediate families. In accordance with a suggestion by Mr. Eytan that the Israeli proposals should be communicated to the Arab delegations, the Chairman suggested that the Principal Secretary should prepare a summary of the points on which a satisfactory reply, had been received from the Israeli delegation, and should communicate it to the Arab delegations; he felt that many points in such a summary would be of considerable interest to those delegations, as well as to the refugees themselves. He also thought a similar list might be drawn up, of the points which had not yet been satisfactorily dealt with by the Israeli Government, and suggested that Mr. Eytan should be contacted once more in an effort to obtain a full reply on those points.

The Chairman had also told Mr. Eytan that representatives of the refugees were present in Lausanne and hoped to have the opportunity of meeting the Israeli representatives; Mr. Eytan had expressed his willingness to see them. The Chairman had also had an interview with Dr. Maron, who had promised to submit a statement of the financial and economic position of the State of Israel, which could be presented to the Arab delegations for their information.

Technical Mission on Refugees

Mr. COOK reported to the Commission on the status of recruitment for the Technical Mission on Refugees. He had just received word that two names had been suggested for the French member, but the Secretary-General was as yet unwilling to present either name to the Commission and was still working on the matter in Consultation with the French delegation at Lake Success. The United States delegation at Lake Success had suggested four names, which had been submitted to Mr. Ethridge; two of the candidates were at present in Switzerland and would be interviewed. As regards the Turkish member, the Secretary-General had submitted one name, and the Geneva office had obtained a second nomination from the Foreign Office at Ankara; it would now be necessary to cable the second name to the Secretary-General for his approval.

Mr. YALCIN protested this procedure; he could not admit the competence of the Secretary-General to pass upon a candidate proposed by a Member Government. The approval of the Secretary-General might be required in matters affecting the budget, but not in selection of personnel.

The CHAIRMAN said that according to his understanding, since the Secretary-General had been asked to handle the matter he must be allowed a certain judgment in the selection of the personnel, in consultation with the permanent delegations at Lake Success. He remarked that a precedent had already been created, since the Secretary-General had already criticised certain candidates proposed by the French Government.

Mr. YALCIN replied that he could not accept that precedent. The Secretary-General should have consulted the Turkish Government before proposing a name.

The PRINCIPAL SECRETARY explained that the Secretary-General was following a normal procedure and establishing a list of qualified available candidates, after consultation with the Governments concerned. His intervention in the matter was not simply on budgetary grounds, but was at the express request of the Commission. Moreover, according to the cable received from Lake Success, the name of the Turkish candidate was submitted after consultation with and with the approval of, the Turkish representative at Lake Success.

News article

The CHAIRMAN drew attention to an article by C.L. Sulzberger in the NEW YORK TIMES of Thursday, 5 May. He considered the article most displeasing, and wished to bring it to the attention of the Principal Secretary.

The Chairman then mentioned the recordings of the first day’s debate in the Political Committee on the question of the admission of Israel. He realized that the Secretariat had incurred considerable expense in procuring the discs, and emphasized their importance and usefulness to the Commission.


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Discussions avec les délégations arabes et israéliennes – 51e séance de CCNUP – Compte rendu Français