Question of Palestine home
5 May 1947
SEVENTY-FIFTH PLENARY MEETING
Held in the General Assembly Hall at Flushing
Meadow, New York, on Monday, 5 May 1947,
at 2.30 p.m.
Mr. O. ARANHA (Brazil).
17. Continuation of the discussion on the report of the General Committee (document A/299)
RESIDENT: I shall ask the Executive Assistant to the Secretary-General to read a resumé of the communications which we have received.
ORDIER (Executive Assistant to the Secretary-General): The resume is very brief. The Jewish Agency for Palestine, New York, requests authorization for the Agency to attend meetings of the present session of the General Assembly to participate in the discussions.
The Zionist Organization of America, New York, requests that the proposal for solution of the Palestine question should be brought before the present session of the General Assembly.
The Hebrew Committee of National Liberation, Washington, D. C., requests that Hebrew national delegations should be granted a seat at the present session of the General Assembly.
We have a second letter from the Hebrew Committee of National Liberation which urges Mr. Aranha and the members of the General Committee to allow Hebrew participation in the deliberations of the United Nations on Palestine.
ONZÁLEZ FERNÁNDEZ (Colombia): The Colombian delegation, from the very beginning has been in favour of ensuring to all parties interested in the Palestine question the possibility of a fair and equitable hearing by the proper organs of the General Assembly at the opportune moment. We have believed from the outset that we would be disregarding our obligations under the Charter and the very reason for our being here if we failed to ensure that possibility to one of the parties most directly concerned.
We have not held before and we do not hold now as decisive--and not even of substantial importance--the fact that such parties should be heard at the plenary meetings of the General Assembly as initially proposed by the Polish delegation, or at the Political Committee as is suggested by the report under discussion. What we do hold essential, as an important act of justice, is that this Assembly should recognize clearly and definitely the right of those parties to be guaranteed a fair hearing by the representatives of all the countries represented at this special session. To our mind the Polish proposal has a rather restricted sense and, moreover, it is liable to raise new questions on the interpretation of our rules of procedure which, being so new, so complicated, and to some of us not fully known as yet, have caused so much unnecessary discussion at the beginning of our work.
On the other hand, it is our opinion that the proposals made by the Argentine and Chilean delegations satisfactorily meet all the aspects of the question and offer a fortunate amalgamation of the points raised by the delegations of the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic, Uruguay and Yugoslavia and those implied in the General Committee's report. In view of that fact, and of our wish to co-operate with the Assembly in seeking a broad agreement on certain questions, I had the pleasure and the privilege of discussing the matter with the representatives of Argentina, the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic, Uruguay, Yugoslavia, and Chile, and we have agreed on a text which includes all the proposals under discussion and satisfies all the conflicting points of view.
The proposal which I am going to read is presented by those five delegations and has also the support of my own delegation; moreover, I have had the pleasure of hearing several other delegations recommend it as an equitable solution. I am very glad to have been instrumental in this agreement, and it has simply been accidental that I happen to be the one charged to present this proposal to you. I was on the list of speakers and I am very pleased to be able to bring this solution to you. Before reading the proposal, I wish to commend very highly the cordial, conciliatory way in which the five delegations which presented the original points have agreed on a joint proposal.
The joint resolution submitted by the delegations of Chile, Uruguay, the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic, Yugoslavia and Argentina (document A/305), reads as follows:
The General Assembly resolves
"1. That the First Committee grant a hearing to the Jewish Agency for Palestine on the question before the Committee;
"2. To send to that same Committee for its decision those other communications of a similar character from the Palestinian population which have been received by this special session of the General Assembly or may later be submitted to it."
I wish to warmly recommend to the Assembly the approval of this proposal. It would be a very fine thing if we could terminate our first week of work with the completion, by unanimity if possible, of the first stage of our work, and if we could recommend to refer to the First Committee the duty of initiating the task of preparing a solution for the Palestinian question.
ELT (Cuba) (
translated from Spanish
): I am going to be extremely brief. But for the ambiguity, vagueness and timidity of the General Committee's resolution, we should now have reached an agreement.
I blame myself for the discussion having been postponed, as it was I who asked for the adjournment of the Assembly the other day.
I never believed that the representatives would have devoted their Sunday to formulating proposals and preparing speeches. I understand that it was a mistake on my part to ask for the adjournment of the Assembly.
Now, however, I think I am interpreting the feelings of the majority in saying that we shall all agree, sooner or later, that it would not be fair for the Assembly to make any recommendation concerning the problem submitted for our consideration, without listening to both parties, and without allowing the two parties to the dispute to put forward, clearly and fully, all their arguments about so important a question.
We all, or nearly all, agree in this matter. We differ, however, with regard to the way in which the representatives of the two parties should be heard.
Some think that this Assembly should hear them. I am not going to repeat the arguments against the General Assembly of the United Nations hearing the arguments of both parties.
In Article 9 of the Charter, it is clearly stated that this Assembly is constituted by the States Members of the Organization. That means that those who are not Member States cannot take part, in any way, in the discussions of this Assembly.
Nevertheless, I consider that the First Committee, and this is the view of the delegation of Cuba, should hear the representatives of the Jews and of the Arabs. To listen to one party only would be unjust, while it would be a great injustice not to hear either of them.
The delegation of Cuba wanted to submit a motion or, I should rather say, it submitted a motion and then withdrew it, because it did not wish to prolong the discussion any further. The proposal was the following:
"That all communications addressed to the President of the General Assembly by the various Arab and Jewish agencies and organizations be transmitted to the First Committee for its information and action. That the First Committee be instructed to allow the representatives of the Arabs and Jews of Palestine to appear and express their points of view and arguments before the said Committee at a time to be appointed by it".
In order not to prolong or extend the discussion further, I withdrew the proposal and supported the proposal put forward jointly by the delegations of Chile, Uruguay, the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic, Yugoslavia and Argentina, as I considered that it would enable us to start discussing this important problem sooner.
I do not think we have the right to keep the whole world waiting on this question, by discussing something so trivial as which of the organs of this Assembly should hear the two parties to the dispute.
For these reasons I support that proposal (document A/305), on the understanding that the First Committee will not only hear the Jewish Agency for Palestine, but the Arab representatives as well. Anything else would be an injustice.
RESIDENT: I now recognize the representative of Australia.
Colonel HODGSON (Australia): Mr. President, in view of the developments which took place this morning, I do not desire to speak at this time.
ALZA (Bolivia) (
translated from Spanish
): I believe that the most effective contribution to the solution of the problem at the present stage is brevity; and I promise you to be brief. I am anxious, however, to reconcile brevity with the right, derived from the Charter itself, of equal opportunity for all countries, large or small, to give their votes and their opinions here, and accordingly I wish to explain my country's position with regard to the so-called Palestine problem.
My country is and has been in agreement with the conditions governing the convening of this special session of the Assembly, namely that its special and sole purpose is that of furnishing the elements of study in order that a conclusion may later be reached with regard to this problem.
Consequently, Bolivia understood that what was required at present was not the taking of any decision on the substance of the problem, but purely and simply to obtain all the evidence necessary for a decision.
It was on this understanding that the Bolivian delegation voted in favour of the first item of the provisional agenda recommended by the General Committee, in which the appointment of a special committee was proposed, and abstained with regard to the second item which proposed the declaration of Palestine's independence, as it felt that the declaration was one of the many roads which might be taken towards the solution of this problem, a solution which we desire in the depths of our hearts.
But, as regards the specific point at issue, my delegation--which is speaking in the name of Bolivia--thinks that the fullest hearing should be given to any statement which it is desired to make before the United Nations by all who are interested in or affected by the problem of Palestine. As to where they should be heard, my delegation does not even raise the question whether it should be in the Assembly itself or in one of its organs. The delegation of Bolivia believes that the truth should be valued for its own sake, and not on account of the place where it is spoken. Consequently, it agrees, as regards procedure, that the statements should be heard in the Political Committee and that all documents necessary to clarify the problem should be submitted there.
In putting forward this point of view, the Bolivian delegation is adhering strictly to the terms of the Charter. Those who have read the Charter with care--and all the representatives who are listening to me have done so many times--have realized that the Assembly was constituted in a form which may be called nuclear; a central body and subsidiary--as the Charter itself calls them--or dependent organs. These subsidiary or dependent organs have the specific function of facilitating the work of the Assembly in solving the complex problems which present themselves.
Consequently, the Bolivian delegation, taking its stand on that principle, or on that practical or procedural point of view, supports the joint proposal under consideration (document A/305), to the effect that the Political Committee, or such other body as the Assembly may decide upon, be made responsible for studying the problem so that it may be finally solved at the next session of the Assembly in September.
The Bolivian delegation came to the Assembly fully convinced that with regard to this problem all the documents must be submitted, and all the circumstances stated, and consequently, it came with the greatest willingness to become acquainted with every detail of the problem. In these circumstances it supports the view that the fullest hearing should be given to any who feel themselves to be affected by, or interested in this problem.
The views of the Government of Bolivia can be summed up in two points:
1. That this special Assembly should not specify the nature of the problem itself but should merely study it, and
2. That in order that this task of securing evidence for a decision may be fulfilled, the parties should have the greatest freedom to express their views, not necessarily before the Assembly itself, but before a body appointed by the Assembly.
The Bolivian delegation supports the joint resolution of five countries which is under consideration.
EINEDDINE (Syria): In the course of this long discussion on a question said to be one of mere procedure, none of the delegations of the Arab States has yet been heard, although I think it is to be conceded to each one of them that they should be considered as States most directly concerned with the problem before us.
Questions of substance have been dealt with, and many delegations here, and in the General Committee, have wandered into substantive questions and expressed views with regard to them. The Syrian delegation would like to reserve its right to take up such views whenever the real question is brought before the deliberations of this Assembly or the First Committee. We should like to confine ourselves to some clarifications about what has been said. We do not intend to go into questions of substance beyond those that have already been treated by the delegations which have spoken here.
The whole issue of hearing or not hearing the Jewish Agency was brought as a result of two affirmations, which are, in our mind, gratuitous: namely, that the Jewish Agency and other organizations should be heard in order to secure sufficient information and data. To support this view, two arguments were used. The first one is that when the item on the agenda was being discussed, the Arab delegations touched upon questions of substance. The second is that the Palestine Arab point of view has been represented here, and that the Assembly, therefore, wishes to hear the other point of view.
The first argument could have been relevant when the item submitted for inclusion in the agenda by the Arab States was discussed, but unfortunately it was not carried, and the whole discussion in this General Assembly was clearly and definitely limited to questions of procedure. We should not, it has been said, try to solve the Palestine problem nor even hold a full discussion on it, but only examine in this special session how the Palestine problem should be solved.
When the Arab delegations were supporting their point of view, they were not discussing questions of substance. They were not discussing the elements of the problem. They were simply trying to put a description of the problem and its subject matter before the Assembly, so that the latter might decide whether it should be discussed or not. If there has been any discussion of substance which may influence the future decisions of the Assembly, it seems to me that far more has happened today in this regard than happened in previous meetings.
On the other hand, I do not think that the Zionist point of view has really lacked presentation to date. Many arguments have been advanced in favour of the Palestine mandate, particularly of that very article 4 which other delegations contest and which is the essence of the whole Palestine problem. It is the keystone which, once put into the arch, would keep the arch standing. It is the basis upon which the Palestine mandate is really being conceived and carried out. I repeat, it is article 4 of the mandate and its implications which are the very essence of the Palestine problem. That matter has been dealt with in a manner which was in fact applauded, if not in this room, at least in the meeting held last Saturday.
The second argument presented -- and one which, to my mind, is completely unfounded--is that the Palestinian Arab point of view was presented here. The Syrian delegation, as well as delegations of other Arab States, does not represent the Palestinian Arabs. The Syrian delegation represents the Government of the Syrian Republic; unless it is to be implied that Palestine is within the confines of the Syrian Republic, we cannot say that we represent it in the least.
On this problem, the views of the Palestine Arabs are to a large extent different from those which the five Governments expressed and brought forward before this Assembly. Their point of view has not been expressed at all here.
What we as Arab States were dealing with was quite different from what the Palestinian Arabs would have had to say. I am not going to speak for the latter, but I should like to explain what the Arab States were dealing with, in what respect, and under what qualifications. In the first place, we were dealing with this question, as provided for under Article 79 of the Charter. The Charter recognizes that certain States "directly concerned", shall discuss and prepare possible trusteeship agreements for territories which may be placed under the trusteeship system. As long as there is a possibility for such action, the point of view of the Arab States was relevant.
On the other hand, there is a point of far greater importance: we feel that there exists in Palestine a situation which was created by the mingling of the interests of the principal Allied and associated Powers after the First World War. And at San Remo, that very San Remo which some of the representatives mentioned here today, Palestine was placed under a mandate which, to our mind, is not justified. That situation should be examined, as provided for in the Charter; the mistake should be corrected and the situation readjusted in accordance with the principles and provisions of the Charter.
We were not trying to present the Arab point of view on Palestine but as Member States under the Charter, to readjust a situation which was, in our minds, contrary to the principles of the Charter; and to other principles....
RESIDENT: I am very sorry, but I must call your attention to the fact that we are not discussing the problem of the Arab States here, but just considering the report of the General Committee. To date, I have given the Syrian delegation more scope than any other delegation, to put forward all kinds of explanations in the General Committee and in this Assembly. I know your criticisms, but I insist that the Chair has been most liberal and impartial.
EINEDDINE (Syria): Mr. President, I respectfully submit that I am dealing with this question in order to show the lack of foundation of the arguments used in favour of calling for another point of view before this Assembly or its Committees since we are not dealing with it from the Palestinian Arab point of view. I was trying to explain how we had dealt with it. I am not discussing the situation but merely referring to it.
It should not be inferred in any way that we look with the least misgiving to the gathering of relevant information on the problem before us; on the contrary, we should like to have all possible relevant and trustworthy information. In accordance with the Charter, such information should be gathered and used at the proper time and in the proper manner.
Therefore, we do not in the least wish to prejudge the question, nor do we admit that the question should in any way be prejudged. We do not wish to prevent any information from being brought out at the proper time; indeed, we are greatly interested in obtaining such information in order that it may be compared and that we may emerge from the mystification which has been created through various means of propaganda, personal contacts, and the like. We should like the problem to be put very clearly by all sides, so that there may be a complete hearing on this question.
But the question before us is not solely one of information to be gathered, as the Polish-Czechoslovak proposal pretends. It goes far beyond that. It goes to the extent of dealing with the problem of Palestine and prejudging it by deciding upon the distinctive and particular character of an agency established by virtue of the very mandate which is contested. A great deal of argumentation has been heard in connexion with that proposal.
We have been referred to Article 71 of the Charter, which reads as follows:
"The Economic and Social Council may make suitable arrangements for consultation with non-governmental organizations which are concerned with matters within its competence. Such arrangements may be made with international organizations and, where appropriate, with national organizations after consultation with the Member of the United Nations concerned."
There has been a tendency to find some explanation to justify application of Article 71 to organs other than the Economic and Social Council.
In refutation of this point of view, I need add nothing to what has already been said by the representative of the United States. He has referred to Articles 2, 32, 35 and, in particular, to Article 10. It seems to me that Article 71 is the exception confirming the general rule that, in the deliberations and procedure of the United Nations--and particularly in procedure--the arrangement suggested can be applied only to the Economic and Social Council, and not to other organs, because it is specifically stated that only States may take part in the discussions of other bodies.
However, let us now assume, for the sake of argument, that Article 71 applies to the particular situation before us. Is the organization in question an international or a national organization? In so far as the provisions of the Charter are concerned, in what category should we classify it? If it is an international organization, why is it national in aim? Why does it receive the unique function under the mandate of advising and co-operating with the Administration of Palestine in economic and social matters,
and why should its function cease when that Administration feels that the organization and its method of work are not in accord with the views and decisions of the mandatory Power, under the control of which the organization is working?
If it is a national organization or, as has been said, a public body--and a public body is always national, concerned with a particular State or government--there should be consultation with the mandatory Power itself, because the latter part of Article 71 would then apply; it states that in the case of such organizations the Member of the United Nations concerned should be consulted.
In fact, it is very difficult to decide what the nature of this organization is. It is national, international, governmental, non-governmental; international and at the same time national in aim, and it can combine all possible kinds of paradoxes without ever falling within the purview of the provisions of the Charter.
We have been told that such organizations have not been heard before in the Assembly--or in committee, which is practically the same thing--because the experience of the United Nations has been too brief and too limited to provide sufficient precedents for the formulation of a general rule.
In answer, I might say that the Palestine mandate existed under the League of Nations. Did the Jewish Agency have any particular status in relation to the League of Nations itself? Its status was only in relation to the mandatory Power; it had no international status of any kind, no right to be present or to participate in the deliberations or discussions of any organs of the League.
Reference has been made to Article 80 of the Charter, which states that, until trusteeship agreements have been concluded, ". . . nothing in this Chapter shall be construed in or of itself to alter in any manner the rights whatsoever of any States or any peoples or the terms of existing international instruments to which Members of the United Nations may respectively be parties".
As to existing international instruments, you have before you the text of the Palestine mandate. However, the latter is founded on Article 22 of the Covenant of the League of Nations, which is similar to a constitutional law in regard to all mandates. We have insistently asked that Article 22, and particularly paragraph 4 thereof, should be distributed to the Members, so that they might have it before them for comparison. Until now, however, that has not been done, and I shall therefore have to read the text. Article
22, paragraph 4, which is at the basis of the question, reads as follows:
"Certain communities formerly belonging to the Turkish Empire have reached a stage of development where their existence as independent nations can be provisionally recognized subject to the rendering of administrative advice and assistance by a Mandatory until such time as they are able to stand alone. The wishes of these communities must be a principal consideration in the selection of the Mandatory."
Where are the wishes of these peoples, as a nation, recognized under that paragraph? According to the last proposal, they are relegated to a committee for decision. What about those organizations which have not been mentioned? A decision is to be taken here, particularly in so far as giving one of them some form of recognition or particular status.
This is no longer a question of seeking information. We want to obtain as much real information as it is possible to obtain at every possible moment. But why differentiate between the representatives of one people and the representatives of another? Is it because the Arabs of Palestine, according to paragraph 4 of Article 22, are recognized as an independent nation, whose wishes are to be a principal consideration governing the selection of the mandatory, a nation constituting two-thirds of the population of Palestine? Or shall we simply look at article 4 of the mandate, which affords that possibility to one organization only, and which gives it a particular status?
By taking such a decision, we would be pre-judging the whole question. Our delegation stated that it wished the mandate to be terminated. It was decided that this question could not be discussed. We would now be keeping the essence of the mandate, which we are trying to discuss, by accepting a proposal such as the one before us. I am sure that such a prejudgment of a question for which fair treatment is desired, is a matter which should be carefully reconsidered in its real light, and not in the light of a hasty solution which does not give careful consideration to the implications which may be involved in such a situation.
It has been said that we should not discuss the Palestine problem because this would create difficulties, because the question would be thrown so wide open that it would have repercussions in many parts of the world. Does not this prejudgment of the question have repercussions for which we should all feel a sense of responsibility? It is a responsibility of which my Government, above any other, would very much like to be relieved.
Of course, I can understand to a large extent the solicitude which some delegations have for this particular problem and the way in which the question is presented in the proposal which originated from the Polish delegation. The representative of Poland was kind enough to state his reasons for submitting his proposal. I believe he said that fifty per cent of the displaced persons, or rather of the persons who have taken the trouble to displace themselves, speak the Polish language.
Of course we can appreciate such a feeling. We Syrians, Palestinians, or Lebanese count approximately one-fourth of our population as emigrants; we would hail such emigrants with joy if it was their intention to return home to make use of their talents and their abilities. Our normal feeling would be that which we have towards emigrants: if the prodigal son came back, we should slay the fatted calf, we should be merry and rejoice.
However, on the contrary, in certain cases, on account of its peculiar nature, the question seems to take quite a different aspect. To put forth this proposal, and to try in that manner--to our mind at least--to prejudge somehow the whole question, seems to us to impair the rights of those States which were not members of the League of Nations, which have not accepted or agreed to the mandate, and whose rights are safeguarded by Article 80 of the Charter, wherein are mentioned the specific rights of all parties concerned.
Furthermore, the Organization which conferred this mandate has already faded away.
RESIDENT: I am really very sorry, but I shall be forced to use the rule which reduces or fixes the time for speakers. I do not have the right to allow speakers to discuss the entire matter of Palestine when we are just examining a report from the General Committee. You have to recognize the position of the Chair in relation to the other representatives in the Assembly.
EINEDDINE (Syria): Mr. President, I respectfully submit that all the questions to which I am referring have been dealt with by other representatives; we have not taken the floor before, and that is why I am trying to explain them. In order to save time, I shall abbreviate my speech and just give you a resumé, provided that other speakers may be allowed to explain such points as they have in mind.
It seems to me that the question is not one of seeking information; it is of a very different nature. That being the case, we should not be moved by the consideration of obtaining information, because we can do so at the right and proper time. Furthermore, equal and fair treatment should be given to those who represent the points of view of the parties concerned in Palestine.
I do not think that we should be serving the purposes of the Charter by trying to apply that procedure in a manner not in accordance with Articles 80 or 71 or other Articles of the Charter, and by not endeavouring to take a decision which, by its very nature, touches the essence of the problem, though merely called one of procedure.
I beg you to consider the question under that angle and to see its implications. The Charter is not a law applicable to individuals which, if it does not actually prohibit something, allows it. It is an international agreement which stipulates that Member States confer under the principle of sovereign equality. Consequently, if there is a function not particularly attributed to the United Nations by virtue of the Charter itself, it remains within the domain of the particular State. We should not go to the extent of trying to distort the Charter and add things to it which have not been agreed upon, and we should not in the least go against the spirit which my Government and my country most strongly and solemnly support.
RESIDENT: The Syrian representative, our last speaker, complained that the Secretariat had not produced as documents the texts of the Palestine mandate and of Article 22 of the Covenant. I wish to state that the representative of Syria is wrong. The texts are reproduced in documents A/292 and A/297, dated 18 and 30 April 1947 respectively. Therefore it is the duty of the Chair to state that the criticism against the Secretariat is unfounded.
EINEDDINE (Syria): I stand corrected.
Mr. PAPANEK (Czechoslovakia): Special, extraordinary, and urgent situations require special and exceptional action. It was because the situation in Palestine is exceptionally urgent and troublesome that this special session of the General Assembly was called. That is a simple statement of fact.
The Jews in Palestine, and Jews all over the world, will be affected by any action we may or may not take here. They are one of the interested parties. If some of us in the occupied territories suffered greatly during the occupation and during the war, the Jews, in comparison, have suffered most during the last decade, and have not yet ceased to suffer. One-third of them--more than six million--were killed with no other reason but the cold purpose of exterminating a people.
A national home was promised to the Jews twenty-five years ago. This national home is now in the process of realization. These people look to us and upon our actions with great anxiety. Their courage for carrying on will be strengthened or destroyed by our deeds. That is why it is important not only to express our sympathy, but also to take action as a result thereof.
The darkness which has engulfed the Jews for so long can only be dispelled by any ray of light kindled here for them. If we refuse to give them a hearing, we shall extinguish that light before it has had a chance to become a steady glow.
Therefore, m?? special ??? makes every effort to make it possible for the Jews to be heard with regard to the Palestine question, even if our rules prevent their full co-operation or participation in the General Assembly. They should be heard when the question of their future, perhaps even of their national survival, is being decided upon.
We have before us the application of a Jewish organization which is recognized internationally. Individual States, Members of this Assembly, recognize it as such, and deal with it accordingly. What, then, is to prevent us from dealing with it collectively? The decision of the General Assembly as to whether this organization should be invited to the Assembly is one of great importance, not only in this specific case, but also for our future actions.
In the General Committee, the Czechoslovak delegation supported the Polish proposal to invite the Jewish Agency to state its case before this Assembly, and submitted an amendment thereto in document A/BUR/80. We are still of the same opinion, and continue to support it.
RESIDENT: There are no more speakers on the list. You will remember that it was decided on Saturday to close the list of speakers on this proposal (document A/305). The list was read out and communicated by the Secretariat. At the present time, I am in receipt of many requests for new inscriptions. However, in my position of President, I cannot act arbitrarily. I am compelled to follow the decision of the Assembly, and when we adjourned last Saturday, the Assembly had agreed on a list which was satisfactory to everybody. Although I should like to listen to additional speeches, I do not possess the power to change the decision of the Assembly, and am thus compelled to refuse any additional requests.
I have in mind two specific cases. One request was submitted by the representative of Iraq, who sent me a letter stating that he raised his hand on Saturday but was not inscribed on the list. We have now exhausted the entire list. I fear that either the representative of Iraq was too late in his movement or we were blind when we looked at the Assembly. The representative of Iraq wishes to explain his position, but I am powerless to call on him unless the Assembly decides that we should hear him.
The second case is more serious to me. It concerns Mr. Asaf Ali. You will remember that I invited the representative of India to take the Chair in my absence. While he was Acting President, Mr. Asaf Ali scratched his name from the list because, I assume, he did not wish to be Acting President and representative simultaneously. He has again asked me for permission to explain his position. As a matter of courtesy, which I owe to you all, but especially to the representative of India, I should be very glad to hear him. As I stated before, however, the President has to follow the decision of the Assembly and cannot decide matters by himself. I am very sorry, but I must at this time proceed to call for a vote.
I shall first ask the Executive Assistant to the Secretary-General to read a telegram which the Chair has just received. Immediately thereafter, we shall take up a request for a point of order.
ORDIER (Executive Assistant to the Secretary-General): This telegram calls attention to the fact that the communication from the Political Action Committee for Palestine was not read at the beginning of the afternoon session.
In document SG/CRO/11,
you will find recorded a communication from the Political Action Committee for Palestine containing a request for an opportunity to testify before the present session of the General Assembly.
RESIDENT: I now recognize the representative of Lebanon on a point of order.
ALIK (Lebanon): I am referring to rule 68 of the provisional rules of procedure, which reads as follows:
"During the discussion of any matter, a representative may rise to a point of order and the point of order shall be immediately decided by the President in accordance with the rules of procedure. A representative may appeal against the ruling of the President. The appeal shall immediately be put to the vote, and the President's ruling shall stand unless overruled by the majority of the Members present and voting."
Mr. President, you have just ruled that the list of speakers is exhausted, and that you will therefore allow no one to speak against it. I consider that ruling to be out of order, because the list of speakers was closed last Saturday for the specific item which was before us then--namely, the report of the General Committee.
This morning we found before us five new documents, and this afternoon, a sixth document. I submit that it is perfectly obvious that the list of speakers which was closed on Saturday, in so far as the report of the General Committee is concerned, cannot possibly, in all fairness, be regarded as closed now, because today we find ourselves presented with six entirely new documents which were not even mentioned or contemplated during the discussion last Saturday. It seems perfectly obvious to me that if any hint had been given then before the Assembly that we were to be deluged with this set of amendments today, many of us would certainly have asked to be recognized today.
We found this morning an entirely new situation which calls for all your forebearance and goodness and the forbearance of the Assembly. Consequently, Mr. President, I request you and this Assembly to reopen the debate.
RESIDENT: The Assembly must realize that I did not rule that myself; I am just obeying a decision of the Assembly. Rule 68 refers to the ruling of the President. I shall be liberal and submit the point of the representative of Lebanon to the vote. Those who are in favour of reopening the debate will please raise their hands.
A vote was taken by a show of hands.
RESIDENT: The Chair has been informed that there are twelve votes in favour of reopening the debate, and thirty-two against. The motion is rejected.
The representative of Iraq has requested permission to speak. It is impossible for me to continue to violate the decision of the Assembly, simply because different representatives want to continue this debate.
AMALI (Iraq): I should like to speak on a point of order.
On Saturday evening, I raised my nameplate before the vote was taken. My neighbour, the representative of Iran, witnessed that request. I know of no reason why my name was not inscribed. It might have been a slight error, or you might not have seen me. Probably the Assembly was very busy, or the Chair's attention was occupied elsewhere; however, I raised my name-plate and established my right. That is why I maintain that I can exercise that right, according to democratic rules.
RESIDENT: Since the Assembly has clearly taken two decisions on Saturday and again now, I do not see in all fairness how I have the power to hear the representative of Iraq.
In the absence of definite rules establishing the order of voting on different proposals, the Chair intends to adopt the following course of action. We shall first vote on the Polish proposal, amended by Czechoslovakia (document A/BUR/80), which involves an important procedural point: namely, that of inviting to the Assembly the Jewish Agency.
If the Polish proposal is rejected, we shall vote on the joint draft resolution presented by five delegations (document A/305), which calls for the decision of the Assembly on one of the matters before it.
Finally, we shall vote on the recommendation of the General Committee (document A/299), which does not call for any decision of the Assembly, but simply refers the question for decision to one of its Committees.
In other words, in the absence of a rule, I propose that in our voting, we should adopt the order of importance of the proposals, as far as the decision of the General Assembly is concerned. If there is no objection, I shall consider that proposal accepted.
We shall now vote on the Polish resolution as amended by Czechoslovakia contained in document A/BUR/80. It reads as follows:
The General Assembly,
to give careful consideration to the point of view of the Jewish people on the Palestine question,
to invite the representatives of the Jewish Agency for Palestine to appear before the plenary meeting of the General Assembly for the purpose of stating their views on this question."
A roll-call vote was taken with the following result
: Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic, Chile, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, Union of South Africa, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, Yugoslavia.
: Afghanistan, Australia, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Cuba, Denmark, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, France, Greece, Haiti, Honduras, Iceland, India, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Liberia, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippine Republic, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, Syria, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States of America.
: Argentina, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Mexico, Siam, Uruguay, Venezuela.
: Costa Rica.
RESIDENT: The result communicated by the Secretary-General is as follows: eight votes for; thirty-nine votes against; seven abstentions; one absent.
The proposal is rejected.
We shall now proceed to vote in the same manner on the joint resolution contained in document A/305 submitted by the delegations of Chile, Uruguay, the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic, Yugoslavia, and Argentina. It reads as follows:
The General Assembly resolves
"1. That the First Committee grant a hearing to the Jewish Agency for Palestine on the question before the Committee;
"2. To send to that same Committee for its decision those other communications of a similar character from the Palestinian population which have been received by this special session of the General Assembly or may later be submitted to it."
A roll-call was taken with the following result
: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Cuba, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Ethiopia, France, Greece, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Iceland, Liberia, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippine Republic, Poland, Sweden, Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, Union of South Africa, United Kingdom, United States of America, Uruguay, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, Venezuela, Yugoslavia.
: Afghanistan, Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey.
: India, Iran, Siam.
: Costa Rica.
RESIDENT: The result communicated by the Secretary-General is as follows: forty-four votes for; seven against; three abstentions; one absent.
The proposal is adopted.
Before we adjourn, I shall read a letter which I just received from Mr. Pearson, the Chairman of the First Committee. It reads:
"I should be grateful if you would announce that the First Committee will hold its first meeting at 11 a.m., on Tuesday, 6 May 1947, at Lake Success. The items on the agenda will be those which appear in today's Journal."
The meeting is now adjourned.
The meeting rose at 5.23 p.m.
/ Article 4 of the mandate for Palestine.
/ Restricted document.