Question of Palestine home
31 December 1952
DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC INFORMATION
UNITED NATIONS, NEW YORK
C. THE PALESTINE QUESTION
1. Complaints of Jordan and Israel to the Security Council
In a cablegram to the Secretary-General dated 22 January 1952 (S/2486) the Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Jordan complained of increasing Jewish acts of aggression against life and property inside Jordan territory in violation of the Jordan-Israel Armistice Agreement. Since these provocations might result in retaliation, the Prime Minister requested the Secretary-General to bring the contents of the cablegram to the attention of the Security Council to enable it to take measures necessary to stop further aggression.
In reply, in a letter dated 29 January 1952 (S/2502) addressed to the President of the Security Council, the representative of Israel stated that the Israel-Jordan Mixed Armistice Commission had, on 24 January 1952, determined that Jordan had been responsible for 59 violations of the Armistice Agreement and Israel for one such violation. These results revealed the distorted and inaccurate character of the Jordanian communication, the letter said.
In the same communication, the representative of Israel complained against a threatening statement made by Ahmed
, the Syrian representative, before the Ad Hoc Political Committee on 22 January 1952. This statement, it was charged, constituted a violation of Article 2, paragraph 4, of the Charter, as well as of articles III, paragraph 3, and IV, paragraph 3, of the Israel-Syrian General Armistice Agreement. The representative of Israel stated that his Government would resist any unauthorized passage across the Armistice lines and would reserve its right, under Article 35 of the Charter, to request meetings of the Security Council to consider and pass judgment on statements containing a threat of force against Israel.
In another letter (S/2762), dated 2 September 1952, the representative of Israel drew the Council's attention to pronouncements made by Colonel Shishakly, Chief of Staff of the Syrian Army and Deputy Prime Minister, on 15 and 16 August 1952, which, it was alleged, contained threats against the territorial integrity and independence of Israel in violation of the Charter and of the General Armistice Agreement of 20 July 1949 between Syria and Israel, wherein the signatories had undertaken to abstain, not only from the use of force, but also from the threat of force against each other.
2. Report of the Chief of Staff of the Truce
Supervision Organization on the Work of
the Mixed Armistice Commissions
On 30 October 1952 the Chief of Staff of the Truce Supervision Organization submitted a report, (S/2833 and Add.1) covering the period from 1 November 1951 to 30 October 1952, on the work of the Mixed Armistice Commissions.
The report stated that the Egyptian-Israel Mixed Armistice Commission had received a total of 429 complaints alleging violations of the Egyptian-Israel General Armistice Agreement; 246 by Israel and 183 by Egypt. Nearly all the complaints alleged violations of the Agreement committed in the proximity of the Armistice demarcation line delimiting the Egyptian-controlled territory known as the "Gaza strip".
At an emergency meeting of the Commission held on 4 May 1952, the question of ways of improving the general situation along the Armistice demarcation line was discussed and an understanding was concluded on the principle of reinstating mixed patrols along this line.
At the 49th formal meeting, which was held in two sessions on 26 August and 9 September 1952, it was agreed unanimously that all complaints on the agenda, which had totalled 324, were "to be considered as acted upon by the Mixed Armistice Commission and to be filed".
An informal agreement was also concluded to the effect that no further complaints would be brought before the Mixed Armistice Commission by either party and that direct and frequent contacts between representatives of both sides would be established.
The Jordan-Israel Mixed Armistice Commission had, during the period, received 506 complaints alleging military activity along the demarcation line, including crossing of the line by patrols, flying over the line and various violations involving civilians crossing the line. The numerous instances of civilian infiltration for smuggling, thefts or other purposes had presented a serious problem in the relations between the parties. Clashes between Israel frontier guards or patrols and armed Arab groups had occurred frequently, and were in some cases followed by retaliatory raids by Israelis into Jordan-controlled territory.
On 30 January 1952 an agreement on measures to curb infiltration and unauthorized crossing of the demarcation line by civilians was concluded by representatives of the two parties. Detailed procedures were worked out to implement this agreement, the most effective of which, it was stated, were the weekly or semi-weekly conferences of local commanders representing both military and police agencies which were usually attended by United Nations observers. These procedures, the report said, had been responsible for a significant drop in both the number and seriousness of cases of infiltration, border crossings and smuggling.
Another cause of frequent incidents along the demarcation line was reported to be the cultivation of land by residents of one party in the territory controlled by the other in no-man's land. Arrangements were made for joint surveying teams, accompanied by United Nations observers, to determine the exact location of the demarcation line in certain difficult areas. Nevertheless, several incidents had occurred in which a number of Israelis and Jordanians were either severely wounded or lost their lives. These events led the Mixed Armistice Commission to take various decisions condemning Jordan and Israel. Finally, the parties agreed to mark the demarcation line in important sectors by a plough furrow in an effort to prevent further misunderstandings in that area. The Commission also decided to call upon the Israel authorities to take measures to prevent unauthorized crossing of the demarcation line by civilians.
During the latter part of the period, the report stated, two major incidents interfered with the normal functioning of the Mixed Armistice Commission. The first was on 20 June 1952 when armed Israel military police entered and remained in the offices of the Commission in order to prevent the United Nations observers from carrying out the inspection of a barrel which had been taken from the fortnightly supply convoy to the Israel personnel on Mount Scopus. The Jordan delegation refused to use the headquarters of the Commission so long as Israel military police remained there. For nearly three months the few meetings held by the Commission took place in the open air and only on 17 September was agreement reached on the use of a new headquarters building. Later, the functioning of the Commission was interrupted when the Israel delegation refused to attend its meetings as long as the Jordan authorities refused to return two Israel soldiers captured on 9 June 1952 by a Jordanian patrol within Jordan-controlled territory. An agreement was, however, reached on this question on 17 September.
The last part of the report concerned the demilitarized area of Mount Scopus. It reiterated that the special committee, provided for by article VIII of the Israel-Jordan General Armistice Agreement had not yet met on account of Jordan's refusal, and that the Chief of Staff of the Truce Supervision Organization continued to administer on behalf of the United Nations the Agreement of 7 July 1948 for the demilitarization of the area.
The Israel-Lebanese Mixed Armistice Commission, the report stated, had held 25 formal meetings from 1 November 1951 to 15 October 1952. It had also held two meetings on chief-of-staff level and a number of unofficial or special meetings. In addition, there were frequent meetings of the Sub-Committee for Border Incidents and of the Sub-Committee for Staking of the Border. The Commission's main activities concerned the question of marking the Armistice demarcation line, the seizure of property by both parties, the reunion of separated families and the alleged flying over the demarcation line.
During the period the Israel-Syrian Mixed Armistice Commission had held four emergency meetings to discuss serious incidents which had occurred. No other formal meetings of the Commission were held and, as of 15 September 1952, 112 complaints were pending before it. The failure of the Commission to meet regularly in formal sessions was due to the conflicting attitudes regarding the status of the demilitarized zone and the interpretation of the provisions of article V of the Israel-Syrian General Armistice Agreement.
The report also gave an account of the Chief of Staff's efforts to implement the Security Council's resolution (S/2126) of 18 May 1951.
/ It described the circumstances in which some of the Arab inhabitants had returned to their former homes, in accordance with that resolution, and explained why others had not. Israel, it was reported, had agreed to pay compensation for the demolished Arab homes in one village, but had not, so far as was known, indicated willingness to pay compensation in other cases.
With the exception of three villages, almost the entire demilitarized zone was controlled by Israel police acting under orders from police headquarters outside the zone. The Chairman of the Commission had maintained that the provisions of article V of the Armistice Agreement and the explanatory note of Dr. Bunche, quoted in the Security Council's resolution of 18 May 1951, called for police of a local character within the demilitarized zone. Israel, however, had not agreed to remove its non-local police from the zone and no arrangement had been reached.
Referring to the activities of the Palestine Land Development Company, the report stated that its work would result in a considerable loss of water to the irrigation in Syrian territory. The report stated that no solution agreeable to both parties had been reached on this matter.
3. The United Nations Conciliation Commission for Palestine
a. PROGRESS REPORTS OF THE COMMISSION
Pursuant to General Assembly resolution 512 (VI)
/ of 26 January 1952 which called for periodic progress reports, the United Nations Conciliation Commission for Palestine submitted its eleventh and twelfth progress reports (A/2121 and A/2216), with a supplement (A/2216/Add.1). These reports covered the period from 19 November 1951 to 24 November 1952.
In its eleventh progress report (A/2121), dated 2 May 1952 and covering the period from 19 November 1951 to 30 April 1952, the Commission stated that in April 1952 it had decided to continue to meet at Headquarters in New York, where contact with the parties was possible through the permanent delegations. It had also decided that the most promising way of assisting the parties would be by further efforts to solve the questions of (1) compensation for the Palestine refugees and (2) the release of bank accounts blocked in Israel. As regards the first problem, the Commission considered the reaffirmation by the delegation of Israel of its intention to compensate those Arabs who abandoned their property in Israel and instructed the land specialist of its Refugee Office to conduct negotiations with the Israel authorities and to make periodic reports on the progress of his activities. With regard to the second problem, it decided to resume discussions with the delegation of Israel in order to ascertain the position of its Government on the question and to consider what further steps should be taken towards the release of the blocked accounts.
In its twelfth progress report (A/2216), dated 8 October 1952 and covering the period from 1 May 1952 to 7 October 1952, the Commission stated that, following negotiations conducted through the United States member of the Commission, the representative of Israel had expressed his Government's willingness to discuss measures for the gradual release of those accounts. Subsequently, the Commission was informed that the Israel Government was willing to release the amount of one million Israel pounds, to be transferred at the rate of one Israel pound to one pound sterling. The Israel delegation agreed with the Commission's suggestion that precedence should be given to the holders of small private accounts who were in particular distress. The Commission expressed the hope that the transfer of securities and other valuables belonging to refugees and held in banks in Israel would be carried out without delay. The Israel Government expressed its readiness to release and transfer the contents to the owners in accordance with the provisions of the laws of Israel. The Commission stated that the United Kingdom Government had acceded to its request to use its good offices to initiate discussions between representatives of Israel and Barclay's Bank.
The Commission decided, following its land specialist's discussions with the Israel authorities and the interested Arab circles, that the work of assessing potential claims for compensation should be started without delay. In its opinion, the first step in identifying and evaluating individual Arab property holdings should be the examination of the Land Registers of the former mandatory administration pertaining to territory within the State of Israel, as well as the study of the Rural Tax Distribution Lists and the Urban Field Valuation Sheets prepared by the mandatory administration and now in the hands of the Government of Israel. Microfilm copies of the majority of the Land Registers required were secured from the United Kingdom Government and the Government of Israel had agreed in principle to make available the necessary documentation in its possession. The land specialist was instructed to set up in New York the necessary machinery for extracting from these documents the information desired.
The Commission reported that it had informed the parties concerned of its decision to meet at United Nations Headquarters' and had added that it was prepared to meet at its Jerusalem headquarters and elsewhere if and when there was a recognized need for such meetings. It had received a reply only from Yemen and an acknowledgment from Jordan but no replies from the five other Arab States or from Israel. The Commission therefore concluded that there had been no change in the parties' attitude towards its efforts and that it would be fruitless for it to attempt to undertake again any of its procedures. However, in view of its successful intervention in the matter of blocked accounts, the Commission believed that further progress could be made by concentrating in a constructive way on individual issues and thus reducing the area of disagreement. It expressed the hope that such an approach would also help in securing compensation. In a supplement to its twelfth progress report (A/2216/Add.1), dated 24 November 1952 and covering the period from 8 October to 24 November 1952, the Commission said that, as a result of negotiations between representatives of the Government of Israel and of Barclay's Bank, a general agreement had been reached on the outline of the scheme to be submitted to the Government of Israel for its approval. It was expected that the first instalment would effect the rapid liquidation of small accounts, which constituted the great majority within the framework of existing Israel law, without the need for special legislation.
On the question of compensation the Commission stated that its land specialist and two assistants were currently engaged in compiling from the Palestine Land Registers the necessary information regarding ownership, area, description and value of the great number of parcels of land involved. It concluded that the value of each individual holding could be estimated with reasonable accuracy from the information contained in the Land Registers, supplemented by information to be obtained subsequently from the taxation records of the former mandatory administration.
b. CONSIDERATION BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY AT ITS SEVENTH SESSION
By a letter dated 12 September 1952 (A/2184), the permanent representatives of Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Yemen requested the inclusion in the agenda of the seventh session of the General Assembly of the item "The Conciliation Commission for Palestine and its work in the light of the resolutions of the United Nations". The explanatory memorandum accompanying the letter stated that the United Nations had not fulfilled the responsibility for the Palestine question which it had assumed in 1947 since none of its relevant resolutions had as yet been implemented. It suggested that the objective in considering the item should be to obtain a broad view of the activity of the United Nations Conciliation Commission for Palestine in the light of those resolutions and the appropriate measures and machinery for giving effect to them.
The General Assembly decided to include the question in its agenda and to refer it to the Ad Hoc Political Committee, which considered it at its 25th to 39th meetings from 25 November to 11 December.
At the meeting of 25 November the Committee rejected by 14 votes to 13, with 20 abstentions, a motion of the representative of Iraq to invite Dr. Izzat Tannous, the representative of the Arab refugees of Palestine, to sit with the Committee during the discussion of the item. On 1 December a communication by Dr. Tannous was circulated as a Committee document (A/AC.61/L.24) at the request of the representative of Iraq. At the invitation of the Chairman and with the consent of the Committee, a statement was made by the representative of Jordan on 5 December. The statement expressed the same views as those put forward by the representatives of the other Arab States (see below).
Discussions in the Ad Hoc Political Committee
At the outset of the discussion, the representative of Mexico, invoking an earlier request of the Chairman for moderation and sobriety in the debate, appealed to both the Arab States and Israel to discuss their problems in a conciliatory and moderate spirit. Subsequently, a number of representatives, including the Chairman of the Conciliation Commission, associated themselves with the Mexican appeal.
At the request of the Ad Hoc Political Committee, the Chairman of the Conciliation Commission for Palestine made a statement in which he reviewed the Commission's most recent efforts to reconcile the positions of Israel and the Arab States at the Paris Conference in 1951. He recalled that, after the failure of that Conference, the General Assembly in its resolution 512 (VI)
/ of 26 January 1952 had urged the parties to seek agreement and had requested the Commission to continue its efforts and to remain available to the parties. Since no request for assistance had come from either party, the Commission believed that the atmosphere was unfavourable to extensive negotiations and that ill-considered activities on its part might have done more harm than good. The Chairman explained that the Commission had endeavoured to find a new approach to the problems involved and had directed its attention to the more limited technical issues, such as payment of compensation and the release of bank accounts. In studying a possible basis for payment of compensation to Arab refugees, the Commission had no intention of prejudging any final solution of the problem of returning those refugees to their homes and restoring their property. Concerning the release of bank accounts, he said that Israel's agreement to unfreeze a first instalment of 1 million pounds sterling would assure compensation to over 5,000 of approximately 6,000 holders of bank accounts. He concluded that the results achieved by the Commission might appear negligible when viewed against the background of the issues arising in connection with Palestine problems, yet they might well facilitate the restoration of normal relations between the parties.
(a) VIEWS OF THE REPRESENTATIVES OF THE ARAB STATES
In their statements the representatives of Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Yemen recalled that under Assembly resolution 194 (III) of 11 December 1948 the United Nations Conciliation Commission for Palestine had been given both general directives and specific duties. According to the general directives, it was to assist the parties concerned to reach an early settlement of their differences in accordance with the relevant General Assembly resolutions. Its specific tasks had been directed to solutions of three aspects of the problem: (1) Jerusalem was to be placed under effective United Nations supervision; (2) the refugees wishing to return to their homes were to be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date and compensation was to be paid for the property of those choosing not to return; and (3) positive measures were to be taken with regard to the Holy Places. The Commission had been in existence for over four years, but its work, with which the Arab countries had from the beginning cooperated to the fullest extent, had as yet produced very little result. As early as 1949 it had become clear that the solution of the problem depended on the settlement of the refugee question, and only if that question were settled on a just and lasting basis could peace and stability return to the Middle East. Representatives of the Arab countries had accepted invitations from the Commission to attend conferences in Beirut, Lausanne, New York, Geneva and Paris. On every occasion, they had emphasized the need for allowing the Arab refugees to return to their homes and for providing compensation to those not wishing to do so. It was most regrettable that the Commission should have been unable to accomplish its task. It had been difficult for it to achieve positive results in view of Israel's refusal to comply with the General Assembly's resolutions, but at least it could have been expected to make a sincere effort and, in case of failure, to state the reasons for that failure clearly and precisely.
The Commission, the representatives of the Arab States charged, had attempted to ignore previous United Nations decisions on the subject and had improperly assumed the right of interpreting its own terms of reference to suit the situation prevailing in Palestine. But the resolution of 11 December 1948 did not contain recommendations but had entrusted the Commission with carrying out the Assembly's decisions. They contended that the Commission had been partial to Israel. Whenever Israel's interests were at stake or there was some possibility of consolidating Israel's position, the Commission had found support for that position in the Assembly's resolutions. On the other hand, it had tended to belittle the Arab interests which had been guaranteed in the very same resolutions. It was attempting, for example, to re-establish communications and economic relations between Israel and its Arab neighbours. But that objective could not be secured as long as a million Arab refugees were denied their rights and the Israel Government continued to pursue an aggressive policy in defiance of United Nations resolutions.
The Arab refugees, the Arab representatives said, were animated by a genuine determination to return to their homes and would accept no alternative solution. Since Jewish immigration had virtually stopped and large numbers of Jews were leaving Israel, there could be no justification for barring Arab refugees from returning to their homes. In order further to relieve existing pressures, other countries of the international community could attract Israel immigrants and thus contribute indirectly to the repatriation of the refugees. That suggestion should not be construed as an incitement to Israel Jews to emigrate; it merely reflected the real situation. Israel had sought in vain to make a case for the impracticability of repatriating the Arab refugees; it had tried to divert attention from its obligations by raising such irrelevant considerations as responsibility for the refugees' plight, the capacity of the Arab States to absorb their kinsmen and the example set by Israel in receiving thousands of Jewish immigrants. The refugee question was purely humanitarian; it involved individual rights on which the question of responsibility had no bearing. The argument that the Arab States had the means to resettle the refugees with whom they had cultural ties was equally absurd, especially since Israel itself had admitted that Lebanon and Egypt, for example, had a greater population density than Israel. Further, the analogy drawn between the Arabs of Palestine who had been forced into exile and degradation and the Jews who had left the Arab States to settle in Israel was fallacious. The security of Israel had likewise been invoked in support of the argument that the repatriation and rehabilitation of the Arab refugees was impracticable. That reason was incompatible with Israel's appeal for peace and could only serve to perpetuate mistrust of Israel's motives. Against the argument that the Arabs of Palestine had a separate economy, a different language and culture and would therefore create a minority problem, it must be borne in mind that they had always lived in Palestine and the late President Weizmann had affirmed that there was room for both Jews and Arabs to live without fear in his country. Thus the conception that it would be impracticable to repatriate the refugees was totally unfounded and intended to becloud the fact that Israel was refusing to recognize the elementary principles of justice and was defying the Assembly's resolution of 11 December 1948.
As for the territorial question, the representatives of the Arab States argued that it had been provided that this question was to be settled by negotiations on the basis of the General Assembly's resolutions, and the Commission had been instructed to provide its services of mediation and conciliation to that end. Both parties to the dispute had signed on 12 May 1949, at Lausanne, a protocol which the Commission had very properly proposed as the basis for its work. This protocol had taken the partition map of 1947 as a basis for discussions between the parties and the Commission. No sooner, however, had Israel signed the protocol than it proceeded to obstruct the work of the Commission. It had insisted on combining all the issues of the problem and delaying the solution of any one of them until a final settlement had been reached on all.
Under the Armistice Agreement Israel controlled 5,000 square miles beyond the area allotted to it under the partition plan. If Israel wished to be reasonable it would allow the refugees to return to that area, thereby enabling half a million refugees to be repatriated. In view of the express refusal of Israel, it was difficult to see how direct negotiations could succeed when Israel refused to consider the cession of territory that had not been assigned to it by the Assembly resolution.
As regards compensation, the Commission had proposed that the Israel Government should make good its pledge to pay compensation for property belonging to non-repatriated Arab refugees. However, the sum to be paid was to be linked to Israel's financial capacity. The Arab States had made considerable reservations on that aspect of the proposal. The Arab representatives agreed that the right of the refugees to compensation had been guaranteed by the Assembly's 1948 resolution; it was an individual right which could not be restricted. Israel had recognized its obligation to honour that right; failure to do so was tantamount to confiscation of Arab property. The financial difficulties in which the Israel Government found itself as a result of its policy of mass immigration, despite United States financial aid, could not be invoked as a pretext for delaying full compensation or subordinating it to any conditions whatsoever.
With regard to the question of blocked accounts, it was recalled that, since the last General Assembly resolution (512 (VI)), the Commission had dealt almost exclusively with the question of the release of blocked accounts of Palestine Arabs from Israel banks. Thus it was inverting the logical order for dealing with the refugee problem. The first and primary right of the refugees to repatriation continued to be disregarded, while the very complex question of compensation, which affected only those who did not wish to return to their homes, seemed to have priority. Compensation should become a primary question only after repatriation had been completed. Moreover the sum released by the Israel Government represented a very small amount in relation to the total value of the blocked accounts. Israel should free all accounts as speedily as possible; any temporizing on that matter by the Commission would be an admission of its helplessness.
As for the internationalization of Jerusalem and its Holy Places, the Commission had been unable to implement the Assembly's decisions. Not only could it not secure the acceptance of the internationalization principle by Israel, but the latter still occupied part of Jerusalem, in defiance of the Assembly's resolutions, and the Prime Minister of Israel had even declared officially that Jerusalem was and would always remain the capital of Israel.
(b) VIEWS OF THE REPRESENTATIVE OF ISRAEL
The representative of Israel stated that the representatives of the Arab States appeared to be seeking not so much a constructive and just solution of the problem as a scapegoat for the difficulties which prevented a solution. They had been more concerned with the interpretation and binding force to be attributed to documents than with the current situation and the future of the Near East. Nevertheless, his Government thought the time was ripe for the consideration of a peaceful settlement based on neighbourly relations between Israel and its Arab neighbours.
The problem was to transform into stable treaties the armistice agreements Israel had concluded with Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. Israel was prepared to negotiate a final settlement for the establishment of peaceful relations with any of those States. It would neither impose nor accept any preconditions for such negotiations, in which each party should be free to make its own proposals and United Nations machinery or other good offices should be used by mutual consent.
As to the question of the peace settlement and related problems, he stated that it was the primary responsibility of the Government of Israel and the Governments of the Arab States to settle their differences by negotiation. Experience had shown that mediating and conciliating agencies could not substantially influence inter-State relations unless the parties entered into free negotiations. The Conciliation Commission itself in its report of 1950 had acknowledged the need for such negotiations.
In connection with the question as to whether an agreement between Israel and the Arab States must necessarily conform with previous Assembly resolutions, he said that he wished to remove the impression that the Arab Governments had always accepted United Nations resolutions. Since the Mandatory Power had submitted the Palestine problem to the General Assembly, each of the Governments concerned had, on some occasions, failed to comply with resolutions of the Assembly. As a general rule, the Arab States had opposed the resolutions when the circumstances had been favourable to their implementation and had demanded compliance with them when it had been quite safe to assume that they could no longer be implemented. It was hardly arguable that recommendations should retain an unchanging validity in the face of radically changed situations. Nothing would be more prejudicial to the success of direct negotiations which might materialize than to link future prospects to unfulfilled proposals of the past. His Government, therefore, considered that any measures to limit the parties in their sovereign power of agreement by preconditions requiring conformity with previous programmes would be an error which would destroy the prospects for a peaceful Near East.
His Government believed that the relations between Israel and the Arab States had six major aspects, all of which should appear on an agenda for direct negotiations.
The first question related to security. The Armistice Agreements could only be replaced by a final peace settlement; they did not in themselves constitute a satisfactory basis for relations between Israel and the Arab States in the matter of security. Israel, having experienced a sudden invasion four years before and having to deal with subsequent infiltration, was of the opinion that the peace settlement should include more binding mutual guarantees against aggression than those contained in the Armistice Agreements. In view of the prevailing situation, the Governments of the Near East were maintaining higher military budgets than they would in normal circumstances, and thus there was a permanent danger of an armaments race. Moreover, the Arab States had expressed fear of a possible expansion of Israel; that fear was quite unfounded. However, if they were sincere, the Arab States should, logically, support a peace treaty embodying non-aggression guarantees. Also, a pacific settlement would make it possible to limit military budgets and to avoid an armaments race.
The second question was that of territorial adjustments. The previous frontiers laid down by the Armistice Agreements could be modified and adjusted within the framework of a negotiated peace settlement. In that connection, one of the problems to be studied would be that of the demilitarized zones, where division of authority had always caused serious tensions at critical times. Similarly, both parties could take the necessary action to re-unite with their lands and fields certain villages now separated by frontiers laid down in the Armistice Agreements. Actually, in signing the Armistice Agreements, the parties had accepted the principle that frontier adjustments required consent; and the United Nations had always maintained that frontier adjustments, provided they could be effected by consent, were within the exclusive competence of the governments concerned.
The third question was that of the refugees. Israel, which had made more sacrifices than any State in history on behalf of refugees coming to it from outside, regarded that problem as one of urgent humanitarian concern. In the circumstance, nothing would be more inspiring than for the two negotiating parties to make joint proposals to the Commission for international assistance in solving the problem. His Government, in spite of the current political tension and the great strain on its economy, had agreed to release certain accounts held by Arab refugees in Israel banks and had further agreed, at the request of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, to settle 19,000 refugees in Israel. It had also undertaken a special programme to unite families, thereby facilitating the passage of thousands of refugees across the lines, notwithstanding the state of tension. The Israel Government had always held that the settlement of the refugee question was an integral part of the establishment of normal relations between Israel and the Arab States. Nevertheless, it had agreed to the request of the Conciliation Commission to discuss the compensation question separately. It had also accepted the obligation to pay compensation for lands abandoned by Arab refugees, and it would cooperate with the United Nations organs concerned in working out a plan to that effect.
The fourth question related to the economic questions between the two parties. Since the States of the Near East were faced with similar or related economic problems, peaceful cooperation among them could enhance the welfare of the entire region; the economy of both the Arab States and of Israel would benefit considerably if the present blockade measures were replaced by normal economic relations. Cooperation between the States in the area in evolving new methods for the development of the area as a whole would assist the industrial growth needed by each country to supplement its agricultural production, would improve the exploitation of the area's natural resources and could even solve the common problem of the encroachment of the desert upon the cultivated area.
The fifth question concerned regional cooperation which had four aspects: communications, social and health questions, scientific and cultural questions and cooperation in technical assistance. The material and cultural predominance of the Near East in the past had resulted largely from active inter-communications between the countries of the region; the peace negotiations should consider ways and means of re-establishing road and railway communications, the interruption of which was harmful to the entire region. One of the chief obstacles to progress in the Near East was its low standard of public health and its lack of progress in social organization. The absence of regional cooperation in matters common to all the Near Eastern countries, such as the battle against malaria and the traffic in narcotics, was a threat to the general human welfare. In the field of science and culture, the interchange by governmental agreement of students and teachers would serve to remind both the Hebrew and the Arab peoples of the human elements in their own traditions, thus removing the unnatural estrangement that had separated them in recent times. Finally, all the countries of the Near East needed technical assistance to solve their water, health and organizational problems, which could be dealt with only through cooperation.
The sixth question related to diplomatic and juridical relations. The establishment of normal relations in all the fields outlined should, the representative of Israel stated, be given formal effect in diplomatic international instruments. A treaty of peace should replace the Armistice Agreements. The boycott and blockade should be succeeded by trade treaties and transit agreements. Navigation, air and visa agreements and all the other conventions which normally existed between sovereign States and peace with each other should replace the ostracism and silence which at the moment marked the relations between Israel and the Arab States. There was nothing Utopian, he said, in the prospects he had outlined which represented merely Israel's view of a possible agenda for direct peace negotiations between Israel and its Arab neighbours. Israel would prefer to meet separately with each of the Arab States as it had met with each of them to conclude Armistice Agreements. If the proposals he had outlined were adopted as a result of the United Nations calling for free and direct peace negotiations, the Organization's prestige would be greatly enhanced.
In reply, the Arab representatives, in particular the representative of Syria, said that the plan outlined by the representative of Israel merely evaded the real problem before the Committee, since it dealt with the development of the Middle East and not with the rights of the refugees. It was an endeavour to obscure the issues by referring to a large number of subjects which fell within the sphere of the sovereign rights of Member States. Such problems, he held, could not be considered by the United Nations. The plan was not far removed from colonialism and the Arab States were not prepared to exchange European colonialism, which they were still fighting, for Israel colonialism. They added that the plan constituted simply a new version of the plans which the pioneers of Zionism had presented successively to various Powers, each time recommending an alliance and pointing out the advantages to be derived by the Power concerned, both for its economy and for its influence and prestige throughout the world. They added that before a peace plan could be negotiated the parties concerned must be sincerely and honestly prepared to respect all the obligations laid down in the Charter and all the resolutions of the General Assembly. For their part, the Arab States accepted all the Assembly's resolutions concerning the Palestine question. Israel, on the other hand, demanded that direct negotiations should be opened and stated from the outset that it intended to ignore the General Assembly's resolutions.
(c) DRAFT RESOLUTIONS AND AMENDMENTS SUBMITTED
IN THE AD HOC POLITICAL COMMITTEE
In the course of the debate, three draft resolutions were submitted:
(1) a joint draft resolution (A/AC.61/L.23) originally submitted by Canada, Denmark, Ecuador, Netherlands, Norway and Uruguay which was later also sponsored by Cuba (A/AC.61/L.23/Rev.1) and by Panama (A/AC.61/L.23/Rev.2), (2) a joint draft resolution (A/AC.61/L.25) by Afghanistan; Indonesia, Iran and Pakistan; and (3) a Syrian draft resolution (A/AC.61/L.33).
Under the eight-Power draft resolution (A/AC.61/L.23/Rev.2), the Assembly, recalling its own resolutions and the resolutions of the Security Council, especially those calling upon the parties in Palestine to achieve an early agreement on a final settlement, and taking note of the twelfth report of the Palestine Conciliation Commission, would:
(1) call upon all parties to desist from any further acts of hostility, (2) reaffirm the principle that the Governments concerned had the primary responsibility for reaching a settlement; (3) urge these Governments to begin early direct negotiations for a settlement; and (4) request the Conciliation Commission to be available for that purpose, if so desired.
The following amendments to the eight-Power draft were submitted:
An amendment by Chile
(A/AC.61/L.26) which would change the first paragraph of the operative part to refer to "any act" of hostility rather than to "any further acts" and in the third paragraph add a provision that in the envisaged negotiations due consideration would be given to the fundamental principles contained in United Nations resolutions on Palestine and its problems.
A joint amendment by Colombia, Costa Rica El Salvador, Haiti and Honduras
(A/AC.61/L.27) which would: (1) add a paragraph expressing appreciation of the Commission's work; (2) rephrase the third paragraph to add a reference to Article 33 of the Charter and the previous Assembly resolutions and to include a provision asking the Governments concerned to use in their negotiations the good offices of the Commission and the facilities of the United Nations; (3) replace the fourth paragraph by one which would urge the Commission to continue helping the parties in reaching a settlement and to initiate direct negotiations between them, and (4) add at the end two new paragraphs which would request the Commission to render periodic reports and the Secretary-General to provide facilities for carrying out the terms of the resolution.
An amendment by Peru
(A/AC.61/L.28) which would insert a clause to refer to the jurisdiction vested under the Charter in the United Nations and particularly in the Assembly and the Security Council under the previous resolutions on Palestine.
At the 36th meeting of the Committee on 8 December another revision of the eight-Power draft resolution was presented (A/AC.61/L.23/Rev.3) which took into account the various amendments. The new text contained a provision whereby the Governments would enter into direct negotiations without prejudice to their respective rights and claims and would bear in mind the principal United Nations objectives in Palestine including the religious interests of third parries. The representatives of Chile and Peru therefore withdrew their amendments and the representative of Costa Rica, on behalf of the sponsors, withdrew the joint amendment. This draft underwent a further change (A/AC.61/L.23/Rev.4) when, at the suggestion of the Mexican representative, words were added to the effect that the Governments concerned would bear in mind resolutions of the United Nations as well as the religious interests of third parties.
In explaining their draft resolution, the sponsors of the eight-Power draft, supported by the representatives of Chile, Colombia, France, New Zealand, the Union of South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States, said that the draft resolution was intended to accomplish one of the essential purposes of the United Nations, namely, the pacific settlement of international disputes by means of direct negotiations.
The unsettled situation in the Near East, they said, was a factor making for instability in the world. It was necessary to establish normal relations between Israel and the neighbouring States and many attempts had already been made in that connection, more particularly by the Conciliation Commission for Palestine. It was to be hoped that the Commission would continue its efforts, but they were convinced that an appeal should be made for direct negotiations between the parties.
Since the United Nations and its agencies could only recommend and not impose any solution, the primary responsibility for reaching a settlement rested on the parties themselves. They were aware of the difficulties of the problem, particularly those presented by the unsettled refugee question. However they doubted the wisdom of making direct negotiations conditional upon settlement of that question and suggested that that settlement had perhaps been rendered more difficult because the matter had been considered in isolation. They felt that it would be preferable to seek a comprehensive settlement by direct negotiations and if that attempt failed, at least a clear picture of the whole problem would have been obtained.
Moreover, the joint draft resolution recalled old resolutions adopted by the United Nations on the Palestine question. None of these resolutions had been rejected and the Arab delegations were perfectly free to propose them as a basis for negotiations, while every delegation would have the right to put forward new and different proposals in the light of events. These resolutions undoubtedly contained many useful proposals which could and should still be implemented; nevertheless, they inevitably took account of the situation at the time of their adoption and did not necessarily bind the Assembly forever. In the present case, the Assembly would certainly not wish some of its resolutions to stand in the way of an agreement between the parties. They added that it was encouraging to note that the Arab States had not rejected the idea of direct negotiations although they wished them to take place on the basis of past General Assembly resolutions. However, to make these resolutions a prerequisite for negotiation was not the best procedure to achieve good results.
The representatives of the Arab States rejected the eight-Power draft resolution as being partial, impractical and useless. Their central thesis was that the direct negotiations called for in the joint draft would be fruitless if they were not based upon the previous resolutions of the United Nations, and in particular resolution 194 (III) of 11 December 1948.
Under the joint draft resolution (A/AC.61/L.25) submitted by Afghanistan, Indonesia, Iran and Pakistan, the General Assembly would reaffirm its resolution 512 (VI) of 26 January 1952, express appreciation of the efforts of the Conciliation Commission and note with regret that during the previous year the progress had not come up to expectations. It would further: request the Commission to continue efforts to fulfil its task under Assembly resolutions; decide that its headquarters should be located in Jerusalem; increase the Commission's membership to five, the two additional members to be nominated by the Assembly; and request the Commission to report to the eighth session of the Assembly.
The sponsors of the four-Power draft resolution, supported by the representatives of the Arab States as well as by those of Ethiopia and India, considered that the previous resolutions should be reaffirmed and not merely recalled, as in the eight-Power draft resolution, and that the United Nations objectives in Palestine should be specific and the basis for the recommended negotiations should be made clear. They also felt some concern at the statement by the Israel representative that the previous resolutions had been rendered obsolete by the march of events and could not serve as a basis for negotiations. These resolutions, they considered, should continue to be the basis for negotiations. If the parties subsequently agreed to modify some of the Assembly's decisions, there would be no grounds for objection; the essential point was to afford them a basis upon which negotiations could be started. The draft reaffirmed Assembly resolution 512 (VI), giving particular importance to the fourth and fifth operative paragraphs. The headquarters of the Commission should, they argued, be in Jerusalem, if only for the moral effect it would have on the peoples concerned; the Commission's presence there would show that it was prepared to take an active part in the negotiations between the parties to the dispute. As for the increase in the membership of the Commission, one of the reasons for such an increase was that, in its report to the Assembly's sixth session, the Conciliation Commission had stated that its members had received instructions from their Governments which they had felt obliged to carry out. United Nations commissions should be objective, impartial and truly international in character and an extension of the Commission's membership would probably increase confidence in its impartiality. Moreover, the Commission, had begun to show signs of fatigue during its four years in office, might gain in vigour by the introduction of new blood.
The representative of Syria was of the opinion that the joint eight-Power draft resolution raised legal questions of the highest importance. Since direct negotiations would deal with the rights of the refugees, he wondered whether the United Nations could invite Israel and the Arab States to reach agreement with respect to the purely private rights of persons who were not even their nationals. Before coming to a decision on the eight-Power draft, the Committee should, logically, ask the highest international legal authority for an answer to the question. That course of action was essential so that the members of the Committee should no longer have any doubt in their minds as to the justice and equity of the decisions they would be required to adopt. Therefore he introduced a draft resolution (A/AC.61/L.33), according to which the General Assembly would state that the problem of the Palestine Arab refugees involved questions of law and would call for legal examination of the various rights of refugees. It would request, in accordance with Article 96, paragraph 1, of the Charter, the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice on the following legal questions:
(1) whether Palestine Arab refugees were entitled as of right to be repatriated to their former homes and to exercise their rights to their properties and interests (2) whether Israel was entitled to deny refugees these rights; (3) whether these rights should be observed by themselves or required to be negotiated by States, the refugees not being nationals thereof, and (4) whether Member States were entitled in law to enter into any agreement in relation to these rights.
Both the representatives of France and of the USSR expressed their opposition to the principles contained in the Syrian draft resolution.
The representative of France recalled that his delegation had consistently taken the position that the International Court of Justice had not been created as a United Nations tribunal and had no competence to interpret the Charter or render advisory opinions to the Assembly, as would be seen from a study of Chapter II of its Statute. Practice had been different, but his Government's position had been in some measure vindicated by the fate of advisory opinions so far rendered. This course was to be deplored because it compromised the authority of the Court in purely political questions. The French delegation, therefore, opposed the Syrian draft resolution on principle. It further objected to the Syrian proposal in the interests of the Arab refugees themselves. The special circumstances of the Palestine question had rendered the General Assembly competent to deal with it. If, as Syria argued, the Assembly was not competent to recommend negotiations between the parties, its competence to settle the refugee question could also be called into question. Were the Syrian argument carried to its logical conclusion, it would in fact deprive the refugees of the international protection afforded by an Assembly resolution and leave them no other recourse than to the courts of Israel. In the interests of the refugees, France would vote against the Syrian proposal.
The representative of the USSR argued that the rights of the Arab refugees had been recognized by General Assembly decisions which could not be revised or annulled. There was therefore no need for an opinion from the International Court. Moreover, it would be incorrect to refer such a political matter to the Court. Accordingly, the USSR would vote against the Syrian draft resolution.
At the 39th meeting on 11 December 1952, the Committee voted on the three draft resolutions before it in the order of their submission, having rejected by a roll-call vote of 21 to 13, with 24 abstentions, a motion by the representative of Syria to give priority to his draft resolution (A/AC.61/L.33).
The revised eight-Power draft resolution (A/AC.61/L.23/Rev.4) was voted on first, with the following results:
The preamble and the first three paragraphs of the operative part were adopted by 34 votes to 11, with 9 abstentions; paragraph 4 of the operative part was adopted by a roll-call vote of 31 to 14, with 13 abstentions; paragraphs 5, 6 and 7 were adopted by 35 votes to 16, with 3 abstentions. The draft resolution as a whole was adopted by a roll-call vote of 32 to 13, with 13 abstentions.
The four-Power draft resolution (A/AC.61/L.25) was rejected by 27 votes to 14, with 13 abstentions, and the Syrian draft resolution (A/AC.61/L.33) was rejected by 26 votes to 13, with 19 abstentions. The text of the draft resolution adopted by the Committee read:
"The General Assembly,
that it is the primary duty of all Members of the United Nations, when involved in an international dispute, to seek the settlement of such a dispute by peaceful means, in accordance with Article 33 of the Charter,
the existing resolutions of the General Assembly and the Security Council on Palestine,
especially those resolutions which call upon the parties to achieve at an early date agreement on a final settlement of their outstanding differences,
of the twelfth progress report (A/2216) of the United Nations Conciliation Commission for Palestine in which it is suggested that general or partial agreement could be sought through direct negotiations, with United Nations assistance or mediation,
its appreciation of the efforts made to date by the Conciliation Commission for Palestine in the discharge of its mandate;
the parties to honour fully their undertaking to refrain from any acts of hostility against each other;
the principle that the Governments concerned have the primary responsibility for reaching a settlement of their outstanding differences, and with this in view;
the Governments concerned to enter at an early date, without prejudice to their respective rights and claims, into direct negotiations for the establishment of such a settlement, bearing in mind the resolutions as well as the principal objectives of the United Nations on the Palestine question, including the religious interests of third parties;
the Conciliation Commission for Palestine to continue its efforts to fulfil the tasks entrusted to it under General Assembly resolutions and to be available for assistance in the negotiations if so desired;
the Conciliation Commission for Palestine to render progress reports periodically to the Secretary-General for transmission to the Members of the United Nations; and
the Secretary-General to continue to provide the necessary staff and facilities for carrying out the terms of the present resolution."
Consideration by the General Assembly in Plenary Session
The report of the Ad Hoc Political Committee (A/2310) was considered by the General Assembly at its 405th and 406th plenary meetings on 18 December. The representative of the Philippines submitted an amendment (A/L.134) to alter the fourth paragraph of the operative part of the draft resolution recommended by the Committee to read:
"Urges the Governments concerned to enter at an early date, without prejudice to their respective rights and claims, into direct negotiations for the establishment of such a settlement,
on the basis of
the resolutions as well as the principal objectives of the United Nations on the Palestine question, including the religious interests of third parties,
and, in particular, the principle of the internationalization of Jerusalem.
The words "on the basis of" would replace the words "bearing in mind" and the reference to the principle of the internationalization of Jerusalem would be added. The representatives of Belgium, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Pakistan and Peru, speaking in favour of the amendment, declared that they were doing so because it reaffirmed all United Nations resolutions relating to the Palestine question, especially to the internationalization of Jerusalem. The representatives of Australia, France, the Netherlands, New Zealand and the United States declared that they would vote against the amendment because it would limit the freedom of the proposed negotiations by dictating, in advance, the conditions for those negotiations. Moreover, it would make the question of the internationalization of Jerusalem a subject for negotiations between the parties, whereas that question was an international one. Furthermore, some representatives, while supporting the internationalization principle, doubted whether the two parties affected, namely, Israel and Jordan, would be ready to accept implementation of that principle.
The representatives of Iraq and Egypt reiterated the view they had previously expressed in the Ad Hoc Political Committee to the effect that the direct negotiations called for in the proposed resolution would be fruitless. They quoted excerpts from an interview of Mr. Ben Gurion, Prime Minister of Israel, who was alleged to have said that the Arab refugees should not be repatriated, that Jerusalem should not be internationalized and that no part of Israel territory could be ceded. In view of that declaration, they said, the Arabs were wondering what remained to be negotiated.
The representative of Israel remarked that the dispatch of the New York Times which was referred to had not accurately described the intentions of the Israel Prime Minister, but had merely reflected the correspondent's interpretation of the Prime Minister's views. He suggested that it would not be in keeping with the usual procedures of international relations to describe the viewpoints of governments from unofficial sources.
The representative of Syria agreed that only official governmental views should be taken into consideration. However, he recalled that Mr. Ben Gurion himself had, on 13 December 1949, officially declared in the Israel Parliament that the United Nations decision to internationalize Jerusalem was utterly incapable of implementation. Moreover, the Conciliation Commission had declared in its third progress report that it had not succeeded in achieving the acceptance by Israel of the principle of repatriation. Furthermore, Mr. Eban, the permanent representative of Israel to the United Nations, in a letter dated 28 October 1949 addressed to the Conciliation Commission, had declared that there could be no cession of the present Israel territory. If the New York Times dispatch and these quotations were either false or had misinterpreted the intentions of the Government of Israel, the Syrian representative maintained, the representative of Israel should so inform the Assembly.
At its 406th plenary meeting on 18 December, the General Assembly voted on the Philippine amendment. It first rejected, by a roll-call vote of 26 in favour to 24 against, with 10 abstentions,
/ the proposal to replace the words "bearing in mind" by the words "on the basis of" in the fourth operative paragraph. Voting was as follows:
Afghanistan, Argentina, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, China, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Thailand, Turkey, Yemen, Yugoslavia.
Australia, Byelorussian SSR, Canada, Chile, Cuba, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Ecuador, France, Iceland, Israel, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Poland, Sweden, Ukrainian SSR, Union of South Africa, USSR, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay.
Burma, Costa Rica, Greece, Guatemala, Honduras, Liberia, Luxembourg, Mexico, Paraguay, Venezuela.
The Assembly then rejected, by a roll-call vote of 28 in favour to 20 against, with 12 abstentions,
/ the remainder of the amendment, referring to the principle of the internationalization of Jerusalem. Voting was as follows:
Afghanistan, Argentina, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Pakistan, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Thailand, Venezuela, Yemen.
Byelorussian SSR, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Ecuador, Iceland, Israel, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Panama, Poland, Sweden, Turkey, Ukrainian SSR, Union of South Africa, USSR, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Yugoslavia.
Australia, Burma, Canada, China, France, Greece, Guatemala, Honduras, Liberia, Luxembourg, Mexico, Nicaragua.
The draft resolution proposed by the Ad Hoc Political Committee was rejected by a roll-call vote of 24 in favour to 21 against, with 15 abstentions,
/ as follows:
Australia, Brazil, Burma, Canada, Chile, Cuba, Denmark, Ecuador, France, Iceland, Israel, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Sweden, Union of South Africa, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Yugoslavia.
Afghanistan, Bolivia, Byelorussian SSR, China, Czechoslovakia, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Pakistan, Poland, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Thailand, Ukrainian SSR, USSR Yemen.
Argentina, Belgium, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Greece, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Liberia, Mexico, Peru, Philippines, Turkey, Venezuela.
In explaining his vote, the USSR representative recalled that in the course of the debates in the Ad Hoc Political Committee several resolutions had been submitted. However, "as a result of corridor politics", the draft of the resolution recommended to the Assembly had been changed several times. His delegation had abstained on that resolution since it referred to the Conciliation Commission to the creation and activities of which the Soviet Union had always objected. He also recalled that his delegation had, on a number of occasions, pointed out that the Commission, which was created at the initiative of and headed by the United States, did not serve to reconcile the interests and settle disputes between the parties in Palestine. In fact, he said, the whole activity of the Commission testified to the fact that not only did it not help to settle points of dispute, but it was rendering the situation in the Middle East more acute and was not acting in the interests of the people of that area. The presence in the resolution of items relating to the work of the Commission had made the whole resolution unacceptable to his delegation.
No resolution on the question was adopted at the seventh session of the General Assembly, and the resolution adopted at its sixth session (512 (VI)) therefore remained in force.
Complaint of Israel against Arab States
In a letter (A/2185) dated 14 September 1952 to the Secretary-General, the permanent representative of Israel stated that, in the event of an item concerning the Palestine conciliation effort being included in the agenda of the Assembly's seventh session, his Government would request that, with a view to a balanced consideration of this question by the Assembly, the following item should be included: "Violation by Arab States of their obligations under the Charter, United Nations resolutions and specific provisions of the General Armistice Agreements concluded with Israel, requiring them to desist from policies and practices of hostility and to seek agreement by negotiation for the establishment of peaceful relations with Israel".
Subsequently, by a letter (A/2185/Add.1) dated 9 October 1952, the permanent representative of Israel submitted an explanatory memorandum recalling that hostilities between the Arab States and Israel, brought about by the armed intervention of the Arab States in defiance of the General Assembly resolution 181 (II) of 29 November 1947, were terminated early in 1949 by the series of Armistice Agreements between Israel, on the one hand, and Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria, on the other. Despite the lapse of nearly four years, there had been little or no further progress towards the conclusion of a final peace settlement between the parties.
The Assembly, in resolution 194 (III) of 11 December 1948, the memorandum said, had called upon the Arab States to seek agreement by negotiation with a view to the final settlement of all questions outstanding between the Arab States and Israel. Similar calls to the parties to settle their differences by negotiations had repeatedly been made by both the General Assembly itself and by the Security Council, most recently by Assembly resolution 512 (VI) of 26 January 1952. Moreover, the Armistice Agreements of which the above-mentioned States were signatories, were intended, according to their very text, to facilitate the transition to permanent peace.
The Government of Israel, the memorandum continued, had at all times indicated its readiness to meet with representatives of the Arab countries with a view to achieving such a settlement. The Arab States on the contrary, it charged, had continued to maintain tension and to endanger peace and security throughout the region: by constantly rejecting proposals for direct discussion and negotiation; by reiterated threats of force and by inflaming public sentiment against Israel; by declared ambitions of territorial expansion against Israel, including acts of armed infiltration across the borders; by acts of illicit blockade condemned by the Security Council; and by refusal to implement vital provisions of the Armistice Agreements, including provisions for ensuring free access to and operation of institutions of science, culture and religion. All efforts of the United Nations Conciliation Commission for Palestine throughout the four years of its existence to bring the parties together had, therefore, remained fruitless.
The refusal of the Arab States to enter into negotiations with Israel also, it was maintained, constituted a violation of the United Nations Charter, which, in Article 2, paragraph 3, enjoined all Members to settle their international disputes by peaceful means and, in Article 33, enjoined the parties to any dispute to seek a solution by negotiation or other peaceful means of their own choice.
Israel therefore requested that the General Assembly give further consideration to the situation with a view to calling upon the Arab States to seek a peaceful settlement of their dispute with Israel by direct negotiations.
The General Assembly, at its 380th plenary meeting on 16 October, decided to include the question in its agenda and at its 382nd plenary the meeting on 17 October, decided to refer it to the Ad Hoc Political Committee.
By a letter (A/AC.61/L.45) dated 19 December 1952, addressed to the Chairman of the Ad Hoc Political Committee, the representative of Israel stated that since the problem had been fully discussed during consideration of the item "The Conciliation Commission for Palestine and its work in the light of the resolutions of the United Nations" (see above), his delegation did not insist that the new item proposed by his delegation should be considered by the Ad Hoc Political Committee.
On the proposal of the Chairman, the Ad Hoc Political Committee at its 50th meeting on 19 December, by 47 votes to none, with 10 abstentions, adopted a draft resolution taking note of the communication from Israel.
The draft resolution proposed in the Committee's report (A/2340) was adopted by the General Assembly at its 410th plenary meeting on 21 December by 37 votes to 1, with 11 abstentions, as resolution 619 (VII). It read:
"The General Assembly
of the communication of 19 December 1952 from the representative of Israel to the Chairman of the Ad Hoc Political Committee, stating that the debate in that Committee on item 67 of the agenda of the General Assembly had dealt fully with most aspects of Item 68 and that the Israel delegation did not insist on the consideration of the latter item."
Assistance to Palestine Refugees
In accordance with General Assembly resolution 302 (IV) of 8 December 1949, establishing the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWAPRNE), the Director of UNRWAPRNE submitted an annual report (A/2171) covering the period 1 July 1951 to 30 June 1952 and a special report (A/2171/Add.1) containing recommendations of the Director and the Agency's Advisory Commission for the future work of assistance to the Palestine refugees.
a. REPORT OF THE DIRECTOR OF UNRWAPRNE
The report of the Director of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWAPRNE) (A/2171) covering the period 1 July 1951 to 30 June 1952 stated that as of June 1952 there were more than 880,000 refugees on the Agency's ration rolls. They were distributed as follows:
Late in June 1952, agreement was reached with Israel that it would assume responsibility for the care of 19,000 refugees on its soil. Supplies already delivered, as well as technical assistance from the Agency's staff were, however, to be available over a transition period of two months.
Only one third of the registered refugee population lived in Agency-organized camps, the report said. The other two-thirds had managed to find lodging on their own. However, with their diminishing resources, a large number had found it impossible to continue independently and had to be admitted to camps. The requests of many more had been turned down.
Due to the world shortage of tents and the experience of the 1951-52 winter when very large numbers of tents were destroyed by storms, new shelter and hut construction programmes had been launched by the Agency in Jordan, Syria and parts of the Gaza strip where there was a more or less permanent refugee population.
A satisfactory nutritional level was maintained during the period - a fact attested by experts of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) after a survey conducted in April 1952. The experts however emphasized the fact that the satisfactory nutritional level had been maintained largely on account of the supply of milk to 450,000 refugee infants, children and mothers by the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF). (Milk was not supplied by the Agency.) Standards of health care remained high and no outbreaks of disease occurred during the year, it was reported.
The report said that with relief funds it had been barely possible to maintain minimum standards of food, shelter and health and that clothing of the refugees had been dependent on voluntary contributions organized in a number of countries.
A welfare programme was also provided including social case-work for the individual refugee, recreational facilities, Boy and Girl Scouts and other youth activities and sewing and embroidery centres for girls. The Agency also developed, with the assistance of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), an education and school system at the primary level.
The report emphasized the need to terminate relief operations by providing regular work for refugees in order to prevent the development of "a professional refugee mentality". It further emphasized the need for dispersal of refugees in areas with an economic potential. The report then reviewed the Agency's work
/ from its inception to the adoption by the Assembly at its sixth session of resolution 513 (VI)
/ by which it approved a $250 million programme and called for contributions of that amount over a period of approximately three years. This provided for $50 million for relief and $200 million for the new programme of improvement of living conditions of refugees.
Explaining the new programme, the report said that its essence was the improvement of living conditions of refugees and the elimination of camp life and ration rolls, an aim to be achieved without prejudicing the interests of refugees as regards repatriation and/or compensation. This objective, the report said, was to be accomplished through: helping refugees to find employment; training for occupations where there was shortage of trained workers; making loans and grants to refugees to establish small enterprises; building houses in or near urban areas where employment was available; establishing villages in areas where cultivable land was available; developing agricultural lands through the drilling of wells, irrigation works, and access roads; and enhancing economic development generally and providing technical assistance where there were assurances of proportionate benefit to refugees.
Giving the status of the programme in various areas, the report said that Jordan, which had within its borders almost half the refugees, had offered citizenship to them and opportunities for self-support. The Jordan Government was completing a 200-unit housing project for refugees at Ghor Nimrim. The Agency's activities in Jordan comprised: (1) the establishment of a Development Bank for a small loan programme for refugees; (2) studies for an agricultural project at Sheraa; (3) the completion of a 50-unit housing programme in Amman; (4) the establishment of a small cooperative on government land ■ the first crops under this cooperative were good and the project was being expanded; (5) the establishment of a 36-unit Merj Naja Agricultural Community; (6) the merging of small training projects into a $1 million vocational programme; and (7) the drawing up of an agreement for an $11 million programme which had been approved by the Government.
As regards Syria, the report stated that there were good prospects of helping refugees in that country and that a small loan programme was at present in operation. A large vocational programme was being planned. Iraq and Libya were, in the opinion of the Agency, suitable as placement centres. Iraq already had 5,000 refugees under government refugee care while the new Government of Libya had suggested the admission of 1,200 refugee families.
In Lebanon, the report said, the Government did not feel that there were opportunities for refugees and in Gaza water and soil survey did not yield good results. However, plans were being made in Gaza for large-scale vocational training projects.
The Agency expressed the hope that in the coming year it would demonstrate convincingly the economic potential of a capital investment of $200 million in improving refugee living conditions. It also envisaged economic benefits to the countries where the refugees were settled.
The report stated that the Agency's total income for the fiscal year amounted to some $43.3 million, including cash contributions of $41.8 million, contributions in kind of $1.1 million, and miscellaneous receipts of $400,000. The greater part of the cash contributions were against current pledges amounting to some $66 million. Contributions by countries were: United States $30,000,000, United Kingdom $8,000,000, France $2,000,000, others $1,030,921. Thus, the report stated, as against $77 million budgeted by UNRWAPRNE and authorized by the General Assembly resolution, some $66 million were pledged by governments and $41 million were actually received. The total expenditure was stated by the report to have been $29.19 million out of which $25.90 million were spent on relief and $3.28 million on the new programme. The Agency expected that ample funds would be available for the new fiscal year. On 1 July the Agency had approximately $11 million of unallotted and unreserved cash, and $25.2 million were expected on pledges for the fiscal year 1951-52. In addition, a total of $80 million was anticipated during the fiscal year 1952-53 as follows: United States $60 million; United Kingdom $15 million; France $3 million; other contributors $2 million.
Though the available resources for the new fiscal year were nearly $116 million, the report stated that only a small part of the sum would be available for the relief programme, since two of the contributing governments had stipulated that only a limited portion of their funds might be used for that purpose. However, a large part of the funds would be available for financing projects under the new programme.
Under the heading "Operational Reports", the Agency dealt with its organization and administration; procedures and methods of supply and procurement; the organization, personnel and budget of its health and medical programme; the organization of refugee welfare including social welfare, placement and statistics of refugees; the organization of its education division including pre-vocational and technical training, and fundamental and adult education; co-ordination with specialized agencies and other bodies; and the legal aspects of the Agency's work.
A special report (A/2171/Add.1) of the Director and the Advisory Commission of the Agency, dated 17 October, stated that the Director and the Advisory Commission together had reviewed the programme operations. They now submitted their conclusions and recommendations which were as follows:
(1) During the intervening months, the Agency had made efforts to negotiate programme agreements with the governments in tile area and to start projects which would take refugees off relief without prejudice to their interests in repatriation or compensation.
(2) Although the programme had started and agreements had been reached, a revision of schedules was necessary.
(3) Relief costs for the current year would approximate $23 million instead of the estimated $18 million. The Agency was prepared financially to commit and to expend during the current fiscal year $100 million on works projects. It was hoped that project agreements would be executed for the balance of the programme by 30 June 1954.
(4) Acceleration of the programme was essential. Relief funds were running out and the flow of funds for projects could not be sustained unless available funds were utilized.
(5) The Director and the Advisory Commission would urge governments concerned to cooperate with the Agency in preparing specific projects and helping in their execution.
The Director and the Advisory Commission therefore recommended that the Assembly:
(1) authorize the Agency to spend $23 million for relief and to commit and expend $100 million for works projects in the fiscal year 1952-53; (2) authorize the Director after consultation with the Advisory Commission to formulate and revise as required a fiscal plan for the fiscal year 1953-54 within limits of the over-all programme under Assembly resolution 513 (VI); (3) direct that revisions and transfers with respect to fiscal plans for 1952-53 and 1953-54 be reported to the Assembly at its eighth regular session; and (4) request that negotiations for contributions necessary to finance the programme be continued by the Negotiating Committee for Extra Budgetary Funds.
b. CONSIDERATION BY THE AD HOC POLITICAL COMMITTEE
The General Assembly decided to include the two reports in its agenda and referred them to the Ad Hoc Political Committee which discussed them at its 3rd to 7th meetings between 23 and 30 October 1952.
In a statement supplementing the reports, the Director of the Agency said that UNRWAPRNE's function was to help improve the living conditions of the Palestine refugees and to enable them to become self-supporting without prejudice to their right to repatriation or to compensation if they decided not to return to their homes.
The success of the programme, he declared, would depend upon the cooperation of the governments of the host countries, the generosity of contributing governments, a spirit of understanding on the part of refugees and administrative effectiveness on the part of the Agency. It was important, he said, that the programme had been endorsed by the Arab League. With that solid foundation, the Agency had drawn up works projects which had been submitted to governments of host countries and have received their approval. The current financial year was a decisive one for the Agency as well as for the refugees, the interested governments and the contributing governments. Relief expenses, he said would amount to $23 million, but that sum would only cover the most urgent needs and would suffice only if food prices remained stationary, if relief was restricted to refugees really in need and if the operation of the new programme progressed according to plan. He noted also that the estimated relief expenses for the current financial year would exhaust allocations for relief. Any increase in expenditure would have to be met out of funds allocated for the projects and would jeopardize their execution. He then recapitulated the progress achieved by the Agency in its work (see above).
He concluded by stating that during the current financial year the Agency would have $100 million to devote to the work of improving the condition of the refugees - a heartening fact which held out fresh hope.
Discussion in the Committee centred in a draft resolution (A/AC.61/L.1) submitted jointly by France, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States, under which the General Assembly, recalling its previous resolutions and recognizing that immediate realization of the goals for the reduction of relief expenditure envisaged in the three-year $250 million programme approved in resolution 513 (VI) had not proved possible, would:
authorize the Agency to increase the budget for relief to $23 million for the fiscal year ending June 1953, and to make such further adjustments as it might deem necessary to maintain adequate standards. It would, further, authorize the Agency to adopt an $18 million relief budget for the fiscal year ending 30 June 1954, and to allocate any funds remaining for reintegration according to time schedules deemed appropriate. The draft resolution would request that negotiations regarding contributions for the programme should be carried out with Member and non-member states by the Negotiating Committee for Extra-Budgetary Funds.
The following amendments to the draft resolution were submitted:
(1) An amendment by El Salvador (A/AC.61/L.2) which would add at the end of the operative part a fourth paragraph reiterating gratitude to the voluntary agencies of various countries, and specially of the United States, for their cooperation and requesting them to continue their effective, humanitarian assistance.
(2) An amendment by the Philippines (A/AC.61/L.3) which would add, after the Salvadorian amendment, a paragraph expressing appreciation of the collaboration of the specialized agencies and the hope that such collaboration would continue.
The Committee decided, at the suggestion of the United States and with the agreement of El Salvador and the Philippines, to include in the record a statement by the Chairman on behalf of the Committee expressing its appreciation for the close collaboration of the specialized agencies and the hope that it would continue in increasing measure. The Committee also reiterated its gratitude to the numerous voluntary agencies, mostly religious agencies of various countries, which on their own initiative had cooperated with UNRWAPRNE. It urgently requested them to continue their effective, humanitarian assistance which the civilized world needed, profoundly appreciated and whole-heartedly commended. Thereupon the representatives of El Salvador and the Philippines withdrew their amendments.
Opening the debate, the representative of the United States paid tribute to the work of the Agency stating that in the past year it had housed, fed and clothed more than 800,000 refugees scattered over more than 100,000 square miles. It had made progress with large-scale, long-range projects which would mean work and wages for thousands now on relief. He agreed with the Director's report that widespread projects to enable the refugees to live by their own efforts should be sought. The United States, he said, had contributed $110 million to the $250 million programme so far and the Executive Branch was ready to ask Congress for more funds, on condition that other nations should meet a fair share of the cost.
He said that the Agency's three-year programme of diminishing relief and expanding development had thus far not been achieved and the relief budget for the current year would have to be increased beyond the $18 million set at the Assembly's sixth session and therefore adjustments within the $250 million programme would be necessary for the coming fiscal year. The joint draft resolution, he said, provided for the $23 million budget proposed by the Agency but also allowed for flexibility permitting the Agency either to exceed the figure or to reduce expenditure if unexpected economies could be effected. By contrast it proposed a definite figure for the relief budget for the fiscal year 1954. It did not provide for the revision of that figure by the Agency since the Assembly could review it at its eighth session. The lesser figure for 1954 however, he emphasized, did not mean that less would be done for the refugees that year. On the other hand, more would be done in other helpful ways.
The representative of the United States expressed his Government's hope that before the next Assembly the capital funds available would have been utilized on programmes of economic development on a cooperative basis. As more and more work was found for refugees on such programmes, wages would replace relief and they would move forward as self-supporting members of the community.
Reiterating the need for increasing the relief budget, the representative of the United Kingdom stated that the programme had suffered a set-back for unavoidable reasons but that there was no need for disappointment. His Government's belief in the programme, he said, was indicated by its willingness to contribute $15 million during the current year towards its realization.
The representative of Turkey stated that his country's concern for the refugees had been demonstrated by the contributions it had made either directly to UNRWAPRNE or through the Turkish Red Crescent. But because of its preoccupation with its own refugee problem - the resettlement of refugees coming from Bulgaria ■ it did not have sufficient financial resources to make a formal commitment regarding its contribution for the current fiscal year. Consequently its sponsorship of the joint draft resolution should not be construed as a financial commitment.
The representative of France stated that in order to advance its work the Agency must settle its current budgetary problem. The draft resolution, he said, offered a practical solution. The $23 million figure for relief for 1952-53 would be supplemented by the $2 million held in reserve from the previous year's budget. This would, he said, bring the relief budget up to $25 million, a sum comparable to that actually spent for the previous year's operations.
The representative of Canada stated that, while the rehabilitation of refugees could not be accomplished without the active cooperation of all Members, those in a position to render the best assistance were the countries closest, both geographically and in other respects, to the refugees themselves. The Canadian Government had contributed over $3 million to the relief of refugees but it was neither sound nor equitable for a few great Powers and a small number of other States to assume almost the entire financial responsibility for the United Nations undertaking. The generous impulses of some peoples, he said, might lose their warmth unless they were convinced that Member States as a whole were doing their share and that opportunities for rehabilitation and not mere relief were being offered to the victims of war.
The representatives of Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Yemen were united in the view that the report of the Director had painted an unduly rosy picture of the condition of refugees. They held that the refugees were inadequately housed, clothed and fed and that their health conditions were far from satisfactory. In this connection, the representative of Yemen charged that ten per cent of them were suffering from tuberculosis. The representative of Lebanon said that there was an acute shortage of trained doctors, hospital beds and homes for orphaned children. He also referred to the lack of educational facilities for refugee children, of whom more than three quarters were receiving no schooling at all. The Lebanese Government was providing education to 12,000 refugee children even at the risk of depriving Lebanese children of the schooling they would normally receive. All these representatives expressed the view that the only effective way of dealing with the refugee situation was to repatriate them to their homes and to pay compensation to those not wishing to return, as laid down in previous Assembly resolutions.
Discussing specific problems, the representative of Egypt stated that the flexibility in handling funds which had been provided for in the joint draft resolution might make it possible to exceed the ceiling and provide refugees with a basic subsistence level. With this in view he expressed the hope that UNRWAPRNE's Director might be able to cut administrative costs to the minimum.
The representatives of Saudi Arabia and Lebanon referred to the per capita allowance of the refugees which, it was stated, was $2.62 per month. In this connection the representative of Lebanon stated that immigrants into Israel who were now being settled in the former homes of the refugees were receiving three times the assistance given to Arab refugees.
The representative of Iraq stated that it was the duty of the Assembly to compel Israel to yield for settlement by refugees territory it had occupied beyond that authorized by the General Assembly's partition plan and to implement provisions of Assembly resolutions on repatriation and compensation. He said that Israel could not legitimately claim compensation from Germany until it had complied with the obligation to pay compensation to Arab refugees.
The Secretary-General of the Arab Refugee Committee, invited by the Chairman at the suggestion of the representative of Iraq to make a statement, said that for three years, 1948, 1949 and 1950, the Committee had discussed the question of relief for refugees pending their repatriation. In 1951, however, it had added the question of resettling the refugees in the Arab countries, for which purpose it had allocated $200 million. Despite the phrase "without prejudice to their right of repatriation" this meant nothing less than their permanent exile.
He said that the rents and proceeds from the abandoned properties of the refugees were estimated at £20 million, or about $60 million a year, an amount which, if made available to the refugees by Israel, would release UNRWAPRNE from most of its responsibilities and the United States Congress from further payments.
The refugees, he said, complained of UNRWAPRNE's large international staff receiving high salaries although most of them were nontechnicians and could be replaced by nationals at much lower salaries; the employment of foreign typists, secretaries, clerks, nurses and others while the unemployed nationals were starving was incomprehensible.
Turning to the rations given to the refugees, the Secretary-General of the Refugee Committee stated that they were receiving only 1,600 calories per day instead of the needed minimum of 2,200. Moreover, since the ration did not include meat or fresh vegetables, the refugee had to sell part of his flour ration to secure these, thus further reducing the calorific value of his diet to a dangerous level.
Only one third of the refugees, he said, lived in tents, the remainder living in miserable houses, mosques, caves and stables. Many of the camps were infested with insects and in most of them there were no public latrines or baths. Many of the refugees were in rags and the clothing supplied by UNRWAPRNE was what it got from philanthropic institutions. A family of eight was supplied with one blanket and a family of nine and over with two blankets. Health services were superficial, with only 75 doctors to serve 850,000 refugees. Only one half to two thirds of the children received even the most primitive education.
The Secretary-General of the Arab Refugee Committee also observed that the refugees were implacably against any form of resettlement except in Palestine. The return of every person to his fatherland, home and property, a principle decreed and guaranteed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, was, he said, fundamental. For the refugees, this had also been reaffirmed by the United Nations resolutions.
The representatives of Egypt, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Yemen proposed orally that the four-Power draft resolution be modified to make $27 million rather than $23 million available for relief.
The representative of Israel, replying to some of the statements by Arab representatives, protested against the remarks of the representative of Iraq who, he said, had made a totally false and evil comparison between the alleged expulsion of the Arab refugees and the victimization of Jews by Hitler. Comments on treaty relations between Israel and the Federal Republic of Germany were also out of order, he declared. He said that the plight of Arab refugees was a direct consequence of the armed assault of Arab States on the mandated area of Palestine with the intent to frustrate the United Nations recommendation for the establishment of Israel. Therefore, neither the United Nations nor Israel could legitimately be made to bear the responsibility for the refugees; it was an essential function of the United Nations to assign this responsibility to those who had taken the initiative in using force.
Since the Arab States were responsible for the exodus of the refugees from Palestine, he stated, they should share with Israel in the efforts to help them through the three-year relief and reintegration programmes unanimously endorsed by the Assembly and concurred in by the Arab States as well as by Israel, precisely because the humanitarian problem had been isolated from its political context. He observed that, despite heavy strain on its economy aggravated by economic boycott and blockade by Arab Governments, Israel was aiding the refugees. It had acceded to the Palestine Conciliation Commission's request for the progressive release of the refugee's blocked bank deposits. It had further responded to UNRWAPRNE's request by assuming full responsibility for the welfare and complete integration into Israel of 19,000 refugees, making possible a saving for the Agency of $600,000 annually. Israel, he said, was the only country to comply with the Assembly's request to help to reduce the relief budget, despite the incredible drain on its economy caused by the absorption of some 750,000 immigrants, of whom 350,000 came from Arab countries.
The Arab policy, he continued, was to thwart the natural process of refugee integration. Given the normal affinities of the refugees for the peoples of the same language, culture and national sentiments among whom they were living, their social and economic absorption should not be difficult. Israel believed that the only just, merciful and practical solution of the refugee problem lay in resettlement in the Arab countries. The Conciliation Commission for Palestine had urged regional integration and had stated candidly that the assumption under which the Assembly had adopted its resolution of 11 December 1948 was no longer valid in the light of the real situation in the Middle East. Other countries also held this view, which, the representative of Israel considered, served to emphasize that repatriation would result in cultural conflict, economic adversity and a threat to the security of Israel.
Statements in support of the draft resolution were made by a number of representatives, including those of Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Burma, China, Costa Rica, Cuba, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, the Netherlands and New Zealand.
The representative of Australia stated that the four-Power draft resolution might lead to a final settlement of the refugee problem and open the way to fruitful discussion of other differences between Arab States and Israel. He referred to an apparent reluctance to press on with resettlement, as well as to an attitude likely to inflate relief provisions at the expense of a more permanent solution. Should that come about, he said, it might well throw the whole programme out of balance and make it much more difficult for his country to continue to make contributions of any consequence, not because of any lack of sympathy with the plight of the refugees, but because the primary purpose would not be achieved and there would seem to be no end to it all. The representative of Australia expressed interest in a statement by the Minister of Construction and Development of Jordan who had said, reportedly, that the economic potential of Jordan should be exploited while providing work for refugees who would then become a source of power, rather than of weakness.
The representative of Belgium suggested that UNRWAPRNE should purchase weaving equipment so that refugees could be gainfully employed and the clothing shortage met on the spot. He cautioned, however, that UNRWAPRNE should beware of glutting the labour market of the host countries and should move groups of refugees to areas where they could be more easily absorbed.
Some representatives, including those of Afghanistan, Argentina, Ethiopia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Haiti, Honduras, Liberia, Mexico, Peru and Uruguay, indicated that, while they would vote in favour of the draft resolution, their vote should not be construed to mean the willingness of their Governments to contribute to the programme.
The four-Power draft resolution was voted on at the 7th meeting of the Ad Hoc Political Committee and was adopted by 50 votes to none, with 7 abstentions.
The representative of Iraq stated that he had abstained from voting on the joint draft resolution because a document had just been brought to his notice explaining that the discriminatory policy practiced against the refugees was that of a certain Power.
c. RESOLUTION ADOPTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY
At its 391st plenary meeting on 6 November the General Assembly adopted without discussion the draft resolution submitted by the Ad Hoc Political Committee (A/2246) by 48 votes to none, with 6 abstentions.
In explanation of his vote, the representative of Iraq stated that he had abstained because the relief provided was inadequate to meet the subhuman conditions under which many of the refugees were living, and because the resolution would not correct those conditions. Further, his delegation felt that one of the Powers most instrumental in "causing this tragedy" viewed the refugees in a discriminatory way. It did not want them treated as human beings or as refugees of other races were treated, but recognized in their case a sub-human standard. The representative of Syria stated that repatriation was the only way to save the refugees from their moral and physical stagnation and their unprecedented misery.
The representative of Israel said that Israel had voted in favour of the resolution and would do its best to contribute to the alleviation of suffering in the area. He, however, reiterated his earlier views regarding Arab responsibility for the plight of the refugees and said that their absorption into Arab society was the best remedy for the situation. Israel had absorbed thousands of refugees from abroad and if the Arab countries had the same attitude towards their own people the current situation would never have arisen.
The resolution 614 (VII) adopted by the General Assembly read:
"The General Assembly,
its resolutions 194 (III) of 11 December 1948, 302 (IV) of
8 December 1949, 393 (V) of 2 December 1950 and 513 (VI) of 26 January 1952,
the report of the Director of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East and the special joint report of the Director and the Advisory Commission of the United Nations Relief and Worlds Agency,
that negotiations have taken place between the Agency and governments of Near Eastern countries under the programme approved in resolution 513 (VI),
"Having in mind
the goals for the reduction of relief expenditure envisaged in the three-year $US 250 million relief and reintegration programme, approved by the General Assembly in its resolution 513 (VI) without prejudice to the provisions of paragraph 11 of resolution 194 (III) or to the provisions of paragraph 4 of resolution 393 (V) relative to reintegration either by repatriation or resettlement,
that immediate realization of these goals has not proved possible and that increased relief expenditures are therefore required, with a resultant reduction in the reintegration funds,
the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East to increase the budget for relief to $23 million for the fiscal year ending 30 June 1953 and to make such further adjustments as it may deem necessary to maintain adequate standards; and to adopt a budget for relief of $18 million for the fiscal year ending 30 June 1954 which shall be subject to review at the eighth session of the General Assembly;
the United Nations Relief and Works Agency to allocate funds remaining for reintegration according to time schedules deemed appropriate up to 30 June 1954;
that negotiations regarding contributions for the programme be carried out with Member and non-member States by the Negotiating Committee for Extra-Budgetary Funds."
/See Y.U.N. 1951, pp. 290-91.
/See Y.U.N. 1951, p. 309.
/See Y.U.N., 1951, p. 309.
/The proposals were not adopted as they did not receive the required two-thirds majority.
/The proposals were not adopted as they did not receive the required two-thirds majority.
/The proposals were not adopted as they did not receive the required two-thirds majority.
/See Y.U.N., 1950, pp. 323-28 and Y.U.N., 1951, pp. 309-16.
/See Y.U.N., 1951, pp. 315-16.