UNITED NATIONS CONCILIATION COMMISSION FOR PALESTINE
SUMMARY RECORD OF THE TENTH MEETING
held in the King David Hotel, Jerusalem,
on 3 February 1949 at 1500 hrs.
1. Visits to the Governments of the Arab States and the Government of Israel.
2. Preliminary and unofficial contact with the Government of Israel and eventually the Government of Transjordan.
3. Attitude of the Commission toward the Armistice Negotiations presided over by the Acting Mediator.
4. Opening of the Constituent Assembly of Israel in Jerusalem on 14 February 1949.
The CHAIRMAN submitted to the Commission the question of its proposed visit to the Arab capitals and Tel Aviv, as well as the suggestion of its entering into preliminary and unofficial contact with the Governments of Israel and Transjordan.
Mr. ETHRIDGE informed the Commission of the substance of his conversation with Dr. Bunche, which concerned not only the first two points on the agenda, but also the third and fourth, regarding the Commission’s attitude toward the armistice negotiations taking place in Rhodes, and the opening of the Constituent Assembly.
He stated that Dr. Bunche had indicated that the negotiations had reached a critical point and would soon be concluded, either successfully or unsuccessfully. The answers of the two Governments concerned were expected. Dr. Bunche had also informed him that King Abdullah had asked to know when he could expect to be invited to participate in the Rhodes talks. At the same time, Dr. Bunche had informed the King that the negotiations with Egypt were not progressing satisfactorily and the King had suggested that invitations should be sent to all the Arab States to take part in armistice negotiations. Mr. Ethridge expressed the opinion that the Commission should await the outcome of the Rhodes talks before proceeding on its visits to the Arab States. Furthermore, he pointed out that, in view of the fact that the Commission had received a special mandate from the General Assembly with regard to Jerusalem, and since the actions of the Government of Israel — namely the placing of the New City under civil administration and the opening of the sessions of the Constituent Assembly in ,Jerusalem — seemed to be an attempt to prejudice the status of the City, the Commission should contact the Government of Israel immediately in order to establish its authority in matters relating to Jerusalem. Such contact should also be made with the Government of Transjordan, since any possible armistice negotiations between that country and Israel might involve the status of Jerusalem, on which matter the Commission was bound by the decision of the General Assembly.
In answer to a question by the Chairman as to whether awaiting the conclusion of the Rhodes negotiations and preliminary contact with Israel would delay the Commission’s visit to the Arab States, Mr. ETHERIDGE replied that Dr. Bunche had made no comment on this point.
He went on to say that, in his opinion if an armistice were signed between Egypt and Israel, the other countries would quickly follow suit, a state of affairs which would create a much sounder basis for the Commission’s work..
The Commission agreed, even though negotiations on the military plans were proceeding at Rhodes, to enter into preliminary contact with Israel and Transjordan before fixing the date for its departure for the visits to the various countries party to the conflict. It was assumed that these conversations would not last more than. a week.
The CHAIRMAN instructed the Principal Secretary to arrange meeting between the Commission and Mr. Shertok, the Foreign Minister of Israel, as soon as possible. This meeting was to be held at Government House, if possible, and otherwise at a mutually acceptable place. The meeting should not take place in Tel Aviv, since it would then appear as if the Commission were establishing formal contact with Israel first, and a simultaneous visit to King Abdullah of Transjordan would then be necessary. The invitation to Mr. Shertok should be addressed through the medium of Mr. Gaulan, representative of the Israeli Ministry for Foreign Affairs attached to the Commission, and should state that the Commission desired to discuss various subjects, including Jerusalem.
The Commission agreed to meet after the meeting with Mr. Shertok had been arranged, in order to discuss the points that it would raise with him.
The Commission decided to send a telegram to Dr. Bunche, expressing its thanks for his message and best wishes for his success.
The Commission further decided that the current conversations between the Arab and Jewish Military Commanders of Jerusalem fell within the purview of its interest and authority, and that, consequently, the Commission should ask to be represented by one or more observers during these talks. To this end, it was agreed to convey the above to the Military Commanders through the medium of the French and American Consuls in Jerusalem. Should it be decided that the Commission were to be represented at these talks by the Consuls themselves, the Consul of Turkey would also be included.
Meetings of the Commission (Verbatim or Summary Records); Relations with the Press.
On the question of the kind of records of its meetings that the Commission wished to have kept, it was decided that, as a rule, a summary record of meetings would be sufficient and that the Commission would indicate when it wished verbatim records to be taken.
With regard to the Commission’s policy toward the press, it was decided that the delicate nature of its negotiations would compel the Commission to be extremely discreet in its relations with the press. All statements to the press were to be made by the Chairman, or approved by him.
The Commission decided. to issue a communique to the press simply stating that the Commission had met in plenary session.
The meeting rose at 1700 hours.
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Réunion avec des interlocuteurs israélo-arabe/Attitude envers les négociations d'armistice - Dixième séance de CCNUP - Compte rendu Français