Letter dated 19 June 1949 addressed by Dr. Walter Eytan, Head of the Delegation of Israel,
to the Principal Secretary of the Conciliation Commission
My delegation has held consistently that one of the cardinal questions requiring decision if a final settlement of the Palestine conflict is to be attained is that of the future of the Arab parts of the country. May I refer you in this connection to document SR/LM/13, which records a meeting between the Conciliation Commission and the Israeli delegation on 14th May? A statement I made on this subject is summarized on page 5: —
“The general view of (the Israeli) Government was that the future of the Arab regions of Palestine should be left to the inhabitants to decide. The principle of political independence for those areas must be conceded and supported. Before a legitimate authority or administration could be established, the people living in those districts had the right to be consulted concerning the form of that authority and that administration”.
Mr. Mark Ethridge, at that time the American member of the Commission, commented on my suggestion and stated (ibid.page 7) that I “had in effect asked the Commission to organise a plebiscite”.
I have looked through the records of subsequent meetings and have not been able to find any expression of the Commission’s views on this suggestion. As my Government attaches importance to the future of the Arab areas of Palestine and considers that the determining voice must be that of the actual inhabitants of those areas, I should be much obliged if you would bring this letter to the notice of the Conciliation Commission with a request that it study the question of a plebiscite as suggested by my delegation on 14th May.
My delegation, which believes that it is expedient, just and practicable to carry out a plebiscite of this kind, will be glad to cooperate with the Commission in giving the matter further study.