Home || Permalink


5 February 1949

Original: English



held in the King David Hotel, Jerusalem,
on 4 February, 1949, at 2100 hours.

Present:Mr. de Boisanger(France) Chairman
Mr. Yalchin (Turkey)
Mr. Ethridge(U.S.A.)
Mr. Azcarate Principal. Secretary.

Unofficial contact with Mr. Shertok, and conversation between the Arab and Jewish Commanders.

Mr. AZCARATE, informed the Commission that Mr. Shertok (Foreign Minister of Israel) was prepared to meet them at his house in Jerusalem, either for tea or after dinner on Monday, 7 February, 1949.

After a preliminary exchange of views regarding the implications of such a meeting and the way in which the matter was to be approached, the Commission decided to see Mr. Shertok after dinner on Monday, 7 February, 1949. The Principal Secretary was to ascertain whether Mr. Shertok would receive the Commission alone or in the presence of his advisers. In the former case, the members of the Commission would also be unattended except for the Principal Secretary, the political adviser of the United States delegate and in interpreter. In the latter case, the advisers of the Commissioners would also attend the meeting. The Commission agreed to meet again on Monday to discuss in detail the substance of its proposed conversation with Mr. Shertok. On this subject, the United States delegation submitted the following points for the Commission’s consideration:

Commission’s discussion with Mr. Shertock.

“1. Commission’s terms of reference under the General Assembly’s resolution of December 11, 1948.

A. General — to assist the parties.

B. Holy Places.

C. Jerusalem.

D. Economic matters.

E. Refugees.

“2. In order to assist the parties, the Commission shortly plans an official tour to ascertain in what way it can assist the parties.

“3. It had decided, however, to establish informal contact with Mr. Shertok in advance, for the purpose of ascertaining Israelis views re Jerusalem. This action was taken because the Commission had been informed that Israel planned to hold its meetings of the Constituent Assembly in Jerusalem and to extend Israeli Civil Law to Jerusalem. Such steps would appear to be in conflict with the General Assembly’s resolution of December 11, 1948.

“4. The Commission understands that the Israeli and Transjordan commanders have recently been discussing an adjustment of the present military and administrative situation in Jerusalem. The Commission had informally urged both commanders to continue such discussions and has indicated that the Commission would be glad to assist by providing observers from each delegation on the Commission.

“5. The Commission suggests that if the provisions of the General Assembly’s resolution of December 11, 1948 regarding Jerusalem are not observed, the Commission’s principal task of assisting the parties will be nullified because the. Arabs will undoubtedly lose confidence in the Commission. Such a state of affairs would benefit neither the Israelis nor the Arabs at this critical moment.

“6. It is therefore suggested that Israel should refrain from holding its Constituent Assembly in Jerusalem and avoid any further steps which might be considered in conflict with the General Assembly’s resolution of December 11. It is suggested, in addition; that the Israeli Government might urge its military commander in Jerusalem to continue his previous conversations with the Transjordan military commander with the assistance of Commission observers.”

The COMMISSION further agreed to seek a meeting with the Government of Transjordan on Tuesday, 8 February. The meeting was to be arranged through the medium of Colonel Abdullah el Tell, Arab Military Commander in Jerusalem, or of Mr. Shamsee, United Nations representative in Amman, and was to take place either in the Arab part of Jerusalem (American School)

or in Jericho. Arrangements for the meeting with the representatives of the Government of Transjordan were to be made before the Commission met Mr. Shertok.

Although the date of. the Commission’s departure on its tour to the various capitals was not definitely decided upon, it was, agreed to set Saturday, 12 February as the tentative date of departure and arrival in Cairo.

The Commission instructed the Principal Secretary to have an airplane made available on that date. Mr. BARNES informed. the Commission that either the Mediator’s plane, or its equivalent, would be available on Saturday.

Road from Government House Arab area

Mr. BARNES further reported to the Commission that two Italian civil engineers with considerable experience of road building in the Middle East, would inspect the site of the proposed road from the Arab side on Monday, and would then give an estimate of the time and money required for the completion of the project.

Information Service Relations; with the Press; Secrecy of Deliberations.

With regard to the Information Service, Mr. BARNES informed the Commission that:

a) newspapers from London, Paris and New York were being mailed by air and would be distributed on arrival;

b) a digest of the United Press, Reuters, Agence France Presse and radio news services was being prepared and would be circulated daily to the members of the Commission;

c) digests of the Hebrew Press, and later the Arab Press, would also be made available to the Commission.

With regard to the secrecy of the Commission’s deliberations it was decided to maintain strict secrecy.

Duties and Responsibilities of the Commission regarding Refugees.

Regarding the duties and responsibilities of the Commission in connection with refugees, it was decided that, if it proved possible the Commission would meet Mr. Griffis, Director of United Nations Relief for Palestine Refugees, in Cairo, at the outset of its tour, in order to be informed en the refugee situation.

Meanwhile, it was agreed that the Commission needed to keep in constant, touch with the refugee relief organization, and the Principal Secretary was instructed to appoint a person to carry out this function. The qualifications for such a post were a certain experience of the Middle East, considerable administrative capability and preferably knowledge of French, ‘English and Arabic.

The meeting rose at 2300 hours.

Document in PDF format

Conversation avec M. Shertock/Conversation entre les Commandants juif et arabe – 15e séance de CCNUP – Compte rendu Français