Israel membership in the UN – SecCo debate – Verbatim record




Held at the Palais de Chaillot, Paris, on Friday, 17 December 1948, at 10:30 a.m.

President:  Mr. VAN LANGENHOVE  (Belgium).

Present:  The representatives of the following countries:  Argentina, Belgium, Canada, China, Colombia, France, Syria, Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, United Kingdom, United States of America.

1. Provisional agenda (S/Agenda 385)

1. Adoption of the agenda.

2. Application of Israel for admission to membership in the United Nations:

(a) Letter dated 29 November 1948 from Israel’s Foreign Minister to the Secretary-General concerning Israel’s application for admission to membership in the United Nations and declaration accepting obligations under the Charter (S/1093).

(b) Letter dated 7 December 1948 from the Chairman of the Committee on the Admission of New Members to the President of the Security Council concerning Israel’s application for admission to membership in the United Nations (S/1110 and S/1110/Corr.1).

The PRESIDENT (translated from French):  I wish to inform the members of the Security Council that we shall have consecutive interpretation during this meeting.  Moreover, no verbatim record will be taken.  Consequently, the official record will have to be made on the basis of the sound recordings and I shall therefore ask the members of the Council to speak as distinctly as possible in order to facilitate the sound recordings.

2.  Adoption of the agenda

The agenda was adopted.

3. Continuation of the discussion on the application of Israel for admission to membership in the United Nations

The PRESIDENT (translated from French): The agenda calls for the continuation of consideration of the request submitted by Israel for admission to the Organization.  It will be recalled that at its last meeting the Council had before it a draft resolution submitted by the United Kingdom delegation [S/1121].  That document will continue to serve as a basis for the discussion.

Sir Alexander CADOGAN (United Kingdom): I have very little more to say.  I have already taken up a little of the time of the Security Council, when I introduced this resolution, but I want to comment on one or two of the remarks subsequently made.  In the course of his statement, the representative of the United States of America expressed the belief that the admission of Israel to the United Nations would facilitate the negotiations which are to take place on the subject of the ultimate fate of Palestine.  He did not give any particular reasons for that, and I beg to doubt whether, in fact, that would be the effect.  I am rather inclined to the belief, or the fear, that negotiations might be found to be rather more difficult if Israel were at this moment admitted to the United Nations.

In the course of my earlier statement [384th meeting], I did say that it seemed to me to be necessary for the Council to assure itself that the authorities were complying with resolution 194 (III) of the General Assembly and with the various resolutions of the Security Council itself.  I referred to the various questions which had not been cleared up and, I think, have still not been cleared up in regard to the various alleged breaches of the truce and the movement of troops.  The representative of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics declared, in his speech, that there was nothing in the charge Israel of moving troops, since those troops were being moved entirely on its own territory and nobody could question the right of any Government to move troops within its own country.  While Mr. Malik always solemnly invokes the General Assembly’s resolution 181 (II) of 29 November 1947, it is admitted that there are Jewish troops, for instance at Faluja.  If Mr. Malik will give himself the trouble to consult the map of the partition recommended by the General Assembly’s resolution of 29 November 1947, he will see that Faluja was awarded not to the Jews but to the Arabs.  Therefore, Jewish forces have no right of which I am aware to have their troops in that particular spot.  There are other places such as Lebanon and Transjordan where Jewish troop movements have also been reported.

I do not say that Jewish State is the only one responsible for any irregularities under the various truce agreements and orders, but I do assert and aver that the whole of that situation has not yet been cleared up, and while any doubt still exists, it seems to me it would be extremely rash of the Security Council to take a decision for the admission of Israel at this stage.  I cannot quite understand the reason for this very great haste with which we are invited to vote for this admission.  It is strange to hear the representative of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics urging the immediate admission of Israel to the United Nations.  That same representative, or, rather, his Government, has vetoed the admission of twelve other candidates.  At our last meeting, the representative of the USSR explained that fact by saying that all should be admitted:  all or none.  Why, then, is he an advocate for admitting immediately one whose candidature was put before us after all the other twelve had been examined and vetoed by him?  It seems to me a very curious attitude to adopt.

These are the few remarks that I wish to add to supplement my earlier statement.  I can only once again urge the Security Council to look favorably upon the resolution which I have the honor to have submitted, and I hope it will be voted.

Mr. EL-KHOURI (Syria):  Since we are discussing the substance of the application, I should like to make a few remarks in that respect, and request that the members of the Security Council either accept my arguments or analyze them in order to convince me and others who listen all over the world that my remarks are not just.  It is not fair that the arguments submitted by one party, or by a member of the Security Council, which are based on law, should be overlooked without being analyzed or answered.

In the first place, I should say that this application applies to the so-called State of Israel.  Any State which is to be considered worthy of being examined and admitted to membership in the United Nations must have certain qualifications.

The first qualification is that it should have defined territory which is not contested by other States. The State of Israel has no territory which is not contested.  The Arab States and all the neighbouring State of the Near East contest the existence of that State; it is not only its frontiers that they contest, but the existence of the State itself.  There are six Arab States, Members of the United Nations, who contest the existence of such a State in my part of the territory of Palestine.  They do not contest only the definition of frontiers, as the representative of the United States inferred the other day.  He said that for a long time the frontiers of his country were not defined.  In that case, however, it was only a matter of frontiers and borders, not one of contesting the essential existence of that State.  So long as such a matter remains unsolved in a way which is not in conformity with international laws, no such application can be submitted or taken into consideration by the Security Council.  


If we consider the territory over which de facto authority is exercised by the Zionists, we find that land itself is owed by the Arabs and not by the Jews.  Only seven per cent of the land is Palestine is owed by the Jews; ninety-three per cent of the land is owed by Arabs.  Therefore, the people who are there are immigrants and invaders who have imposed themselves upon the population of the country.  They happen to buy seven per cent of the land.  They have proclaimed a sovereign State and have applied for membership in the United Nations.  That is something which is quite extraordinary and which cannot reasonably be considered with any semblance of justice.

We must consider the people living on the land.  The people in the area over which the Jews claim that they exercise de facto authority are not all Jews.  The majority are not Jews.  The majority of the population in that area is Arab.  If the entire population of that area is taken into consideration, it can be seen that the majority of the people are against the formation of this State.  If they were to be consulted, and if a plebiscite were held, we would find that the majority of the Arabs reject the idea of the formation of such a State.  I do not speak now of all of Palestine, but of that area where the Jews claimed to be exercising de facto authority.  They have gained certain advantages over the Arabs simply by terrorism and armed force.  Furthermore, they have expelled the Arab population, massacred the people, looted their property and oppressed them to such an extent that they have been compelled to leave their own country.  Under such circumstances, we cannot consider that they have authority over people who are enjoying a democratic way of life, or who are living, peacefully and in conditions of friendship and neighbourlines with others.

There is a third provision: that there must be a Government.  What is the Provisional Government of Israel?  Who elected it?  Does it rest upon the people?  There have been no elections so far.  The Government has nothing to substantiate it.  It cannot be recognized as a democratic government.  It is simply a group of usurpers who have proclaimed themselves Ministers and given themselves governmental titles. There have been no elections even among the Jews themselves.  We cannot consider such a Government as a Government with adequate right to claim admission to membership in the United Nations.

There is a further point.  There are certain Member States of the United Nations which have recognized the Provisional Government of Israel as a de facto authority.  Such de facto authority is well known in international law.  It is not de jure authority.  It does not indicate final and definite recognition.  All of the fifty-eight Members of the United Nations are de jure authorities in their own countries.  There is a requirement in the Charter of the United Nations to the effect that Member States shall have sovereign equality.  It is possible to admit a de facto authority, which is not a de jure authority, to membership in the United Nations and to permit that nation to enjoy the right of sovereign equality with other Members of the United Nations?

There is no sovereign equality here.  That authority cannot be admitted under such circumstances.  Furthermore, the States which have recognized it is as de facto authority are not in the majority in the United Nations.  They form a minority.  All of the Members of the United Nations have not recognized it, either as a de facto or as a de jure authority.  How can the Security Council recommend its admission to membership in the United Nations and impose this on those nations which have not recognized its existence? If it is admitted, it means imposing recognition on states are opposing it and contest the position it claims to hold.

At its third session, the General Assembly discussed the question of the Jewish State in Palestine lengthily, both in the First Committee and in the plenary meetings of the Assembly.  Let us see the reactions in the First Committee and in the General Assembly.  Do the discussions which took place, the resolutions adopted and the amendments rejected–that is to say, the general results of the activities of the First Committee and the General Assembly–encourage such a step as the one now proposed by the Security Council?

All of the statements presented, all the draft resolutions submitted in the First Committee which indicated that there was a State of Israel, that its boundaries should be fixed, and that its existence was in conformity with the resolution of 29 November 1947, were rejected by large majorities. The only reference to the resolution of November in the General Assembly resolution was deleted by the Assembly by a majority of more than four-fifths of the Members. There was another paragraph which mentioned the State of Israel. It was also deleted by the General Assembly by a very large majority. All mention of the resolution of 29 November, all mention of the Mediator’s report [S/1042], as well as the recommendations he submitted, were deleted by the General Assembly by large majorities. What does that mean? The actions of the General Assembly should exert a certain impact upon world opinion, and especially on that of the Security Council.

At previous meetings [383rd and 384th], the Security Council declared that it would wait until the First Committee and the General Assembly completed their examination of the subject in order to gain some enlightenment in regard to the path it should follow in considering this application for membership. Those resolutions and amendments were all contrary to what the Zionist expected. They were against the Zionists. It was very clear that no recognition of any kind was given by the General Assembly or by First Committee Therefore, we find from the discussion in those bodies that the applications did not receive any support. Those discussions showed clearly that it should not be taken up at this time.

Now, let us see how this affects other nations. There are many countries in the Security Council which have not given even de facto recognition to this State of Israel. It is not just the fact that those countries do not entertain diplomatic relations with the State of Israel, as the representative of USSR pointed out when the admission of Transjordan was discussed. It may be that many States do not have diplomatic relations with others. But that does not mean that those States do not exist as States. However, in this case, the circumstances are different. This matter has been thoroughly and fully discussed in the General Assembly for two years, and is well known to everyone. The Zionists all over the world are trying to obtain recognition from as many States as possible. They have obtained recognition from some of them, but they could  not get either a majority or a sufficient substantial number to have any great effect upon the positions of other States or the position of the United Nations in general.

There is another point to which I should like to refer, I mentioned this point the other day [384th meeting], and I expected that those who advocate the case of Israel would make a certain analysis of my contention. The Security Council decided, on several different occasions, that no military or political advantage should be gained by either party during the truce or armistice. If the Security Council should recommend the admission of Israel to membership in the United Nations, would that not be a political advantage? How then can the Security Council contradict itself? It would be violating its own resolutions in a way which cannot be accepted. Such an action is not possible in the Security Council, which is expected to give an example of justice and integrity. If the Security Council were to make such a recommendation, it would be giving a political advantage to one side during the truce. This would be a violation of its own resolutions. Under such circumstances, would it be possible to convince the other parties of the good faith of the Security Council? I do not see how we can accept such a position.

Furthermore, all the acts of the Security Council should be directed toward the establishment of good relations between nations. If the Council were to make such a recommendation in the present situation, what would be the reaction in the Arab States, in the Moslem States and in all of those which have rejected the State of Israel?

To encourage them now in such a way would be rendering the Jews so arrogant and so uncompromising as not only upset the work of the Conciliation Commission and make it very difficult, but also to make the Jews in Palestine unconciliatory. If the Security Council were to make such a recommendation, they would no longer try to find compromises. Having one result in hand, they would have no regard for the work of the Conciliation Commission.

Many representatives who are among those advocating the Jewish cause say that we have here an accomplished fact: that the State of Israel exists, that it is a reality in order to determine how it came into existence and whether it is just and right and in conformity with international law. Actually, what we have here is simply an invasion by foreigners, by intruders who have come from all parts of the world to impose themselves on the population of Palestine with the help of some great Powers, to establish themselves against the wishes to the people of the country, to devastate the country and expel its population. That is an aggression; it is invasion; it is conquest. Is the right of conquest going to be recognized by Security Council? Invasions may be carried on by force in certain places, but they should not be accorded recognition by organs of the United Nations.

Let us see what the Jews have done in that area over which they claim to have authority. They say that there is an Arab minority in their country. Let us agree, for the sake of argument, that the Arabs are a minority there.  But the Charter of the United Nations and the principles on which the Organization is based call for the protection of rights of minorities and prohibit their molestation. How have the Jews in Palestine treated what they call the Arab minority in their area? Where are those Arabs now? They have been dispersed, widely scattered; they are dying of starvation and disease.

Can any State which has respect for international law or for human rights deal with minorities in that way and then come before the United Nations and ask to be admitted to membership?  Is membership in United Nations the reward that they are to receive for expelling the Arabs in numbers equal to their own, for exposing them to danger and death in other parts of the world?  Would it be fair to give consideration to this application for membership when we see how the Jews are dealing with those whom they call a minority in their own country?  Seventy or eighty thousand people have been expelled from Jaffa, cast out naked into the desert of Sinai of forced to take to the sea in small boats. The people of Haifa have also been subjected to the same miserable treatment, as have the people of Acre, Tiberias and many other places in Palestine. The Jews having expelled people from their homes on that manner, how can the Security Council now consider them to be a legitimate State, a peace-loving people, a civilized nation?

It will be remembered that when Mr. Schuman, the Foreign Minister of France, spoke to the General Assembly on 11 December, 1/ he said that the United Nations should not allow the atrocities and the outrages committed against the Jews to be repeated by those by those persecuted people themselves against the Arabs of Palestine. We were thankful that he appreciated the situation; he knew what the situation was, and he expressed himself openly. That persecution is still going on–and now the Security Council is discussing the admission of the State of Israel to membership in the United Nations!

The representative of the United Kingdom referred to the Faluja attack. We have received information today that the Jews are pressing their attack on Faluja, although it is not within their territory. They are depriving those within Faluja of food and water and all other necessities. But they are not waiting for them to starve or to die of thirst; they have now opened up a bombardment and are attacking Faluja severely in an attempt to destroy the people who are there.  What right do they have to do that when a truce has been imposed by the Security Council?  That truce was verbally accepted  by the parties, but actually it has been daily violated by the Jews.

The other day one of the members of the Security Council gave a long history of the truce violations committed by the Jews. I need not repeat what he said; I believe that the members of the Security Council are sufficiently acquainted with that matter and know that the Jews are violating the truce and are paying no attention to recommendations of the Security Council or the General Assembly. The very proclamation of the Jewish State on 14 May of this year was in violation of resolution 186 (S-2) of the General Assembly of that date and even of the resolution of 29 November 1947. The Jews are not listening to any recommendations made by the United Nations.

In the course of our last meeting, I said that I intend to submit a draft resolution providing that the matter be referred to the International Court of Justice. If, in a situation like this, the International Court of Justice is not to be asked for an advisory opinion, just when are we going to use the Court? In the First Committee of the General Assembly, twenty-one delegations voted in favour of referring the question to the International Court of Justice, twenty-one were opposed, and others abstained. 2/  When so many delegations are doubtful of the validity of the position which is being taken, would it not be advisable and would it not be fair to ask the International Court of Justice to render an opinion in order to clarify the question and in order to dissipate the doubts entertained by many Members of the United Nations? If only one member had such doubts, it would behoove us to try to dissipate those doubts. But actually, as I have said, there were only twenty-one delegations which had no doubts, while twenty-one others voted in favour of reference to the International Court of Justice and still others abstained. Those that abstained, however, were indicating they also had doubts; they were not sure, one way or the other. That means that the majority of the Members of the United Nations are doubtful about the actions already taken by the Organization in the matter of Palestine. Why, then, should we not ask the International Court of Justice to render an advisory opinion?

I have attempted more than once to have the matter referred to the Court. I attempted it last year in the General Assembly, but my resolution [A/AC.14/25] was rejected by twenty-one votes to twenty. 3/  I tried it again in the Security Council [304th meeting], as will be remembered; there were six votes in favour of the resolution [S/894] one against, and four abstentions, and therefore the resolution failed to pass. Those votes indicate that there is hesitation and doubt among the members in regard to this matter.

A new phase of the matter has now come up: an application for admission to membership on the part of the Jewish State. This new phase again obliges us to refer the matter to the International Court of Justice in order to obtain an advisory opinion. I have therefore prepared a draft resolution [S/1125] on the subject, which reads as follows:

“The Security Council,

“Noting the contentions raised by one of the members of the Security Council to the effect that the application of the “State of Israel” for admission to membership in the United Nations is not worthy of being recommended, owing to the fact that the international status of Palestine at the termination of Mandate on 15 May 1948 is not yet established so as to permit the legitimate creation of a Jewish sovereign State in any part of that country against the wishes of the majority of its population and the recognition of that State by certain member nations as de facto authority does not entitled this de facto authority to enjoy sovereign equality with the de jure authority and sovereignty of other Member States under the provisions of the Charter of the United Nations,

Decides to request an advisory legal opinion of the International Court of Justice, under Article 96 of the Charter and Chapter IV of the Statute of the Court, on the following questions:

“1. Do the recommendations of the General Assembly in the resolution of 29 November 1947 for a plan of partition with economic union, which was rejected by the Arabs of Palestine, create a right for the Jewish minority to proclaim their separate State at the termination of the Mandate on the area assigned to them by that resolution?

“2. What is the international status of Palestine at the termination of the Mandate on 15 May 1948?

“3. Under the present circumstances, would the Security Council be acting in conformity with the United Nations Charter and the international law if it recommended the admission of the State of Israel to membership in the United Nations?

“4. Is the General Assembly empowered to partition Palestine between the Arabs and the Jews without consulting the lawful inhabitants of that country and securing their consent?

Requests the Secretary-General to supply the Court with all information and documents which the Court may require to clarify the question.”

It is well known that by its resolution 171 (II), the General Assembly decided at its second session that greater use should be made of the International Court of Justice even for the interpretation of the Charter.  Here there is a dispute about the interpretation of the Charter.  There are many delegations which say that the Charter does not allow the General Assembly to make recommendations such as it has made with regard to Palestine, and to impose them: to recommend that the Security Council impose them by force if necessary.

This is a question which has been disputed.  Why should the International Court of Justice not be asked for an opinion?  An advisory opinion can be given in time, especially now that the General Assembly will not meet again for three and a half months.  We have a long time.  The reply of the International Court may be received in the meantime.  Why this haste to recommend this admission now?  Why should we not take the necessary steps to pave the way for the Security Council to move forward in the light and not continue to stumble in the dark, as we are doing now because of power politics and a policy of expediency?  As this draft resolution now has preliminary priority on the subject which is under discussion, it is, in practice, a dilatory intervention.  I hope that it will be discussed and voted upon before the question of the admission itself.

Mr. Jessup (United States of America):  At the beginning of his remarks this morning, it seemed to me that the representative of Syria suggested that perhaps members of the Security Council had not taken full account of the various positions which he had suggested in his previous statement on the subject to the Security Council at our meeting of 15 December [384th meeting].  I thought that he was asking the members of the Security Council to devote full attention to the points which he was about to make.

I should like to assure the representative of Syria that I have listened with great attention to the arguments which he had made and to the statements which are included in the verbatim record of our meeting of 15 December.

If I do not attempt to comment upon all of the arguments made by the representative of Syria, it is because I have already spoken at some length on this question on behalf of my delegation and have dealt with many of the points to which he has attributed importance in earlier statements to the Security Council.  I do not believe that it would be appropriate for me to repeat the arguments which I have already made on behalf of my delegation, particularly those contained in the statements to the Security Council on 2 December [383rd meeting].  However, there are certain points on which I should like to comment in regard to the arguments which were presented this morning by the representative of Syria.

The first is one upon which the representative of Syria dwelt at some length on 15 December and relates to the question of the recognition of the State of Israel.  I touch upon this because the statement which he made on 15 December and which, in substance, I understood length him to repeat this morning, is not a correct reflection of the official action of the Government of the United States.

On 15 December the representative of Syria stated, “The United States did not recognize them”–that is, the State of Israel–“as a de facto authority.”  I understand that the representative of Syria repeated that position this morning.

The actual situation is, as I stated to the Security Council on 2 December, that the United States extended immediate and full recognition to the State of Israel.  Perhaps some confusion arises between recognition of the State of Israel and recognition of the Provisional Government of Israel.  So far as recognition of the State is concerned–and that is the basic question with which I understand the Security Council is concerned in this context–as I have stated before and as my Government has made it clear on other occasions, the recognition accorded by the United States Government to the State of Israel was immediate and full recognition.  There was no qualification.  It was not conditional; it was not de facto recognition to that Provisional Government of Israel.  

In regard to the question of admission to the United Nations, the issue, I believe, particularly in the terms in which the representative of Syria is concerned, is the existence of the State.  When he talks in terms of sovereign equality and the question as to whether that can exist between Members of the United Nations and the State of Israel, the question is on the existence of the State and not in regard to the nature of the recognition of the Government of the State.  The character of equality pertain to the State and not to the Government.

So far as the position of my Government is concerned, there is no qualification in that position.  As I have already stated, that position is that our recognition of the State is complete.  We believe the State exists.  I believe that is also the position taken by a number of other members of the United Nations.

Another point which was raised by the representative of Syria in the same connection is the question of the effect of a vote of the Security Council recommending the State of Israel for membership in the United Nations.  I understood him to say this morning that this would impose recognition on other States.

I have already dealt with that point, and I do not wish to repeat the details of my argument.  However, I feel that both in principle and in terms of the practices of the United Nations, that is not a sound position.

The representative of Syria dwelt at length on the question of the desirability of referring this matter to the International Court of Justice for an advisory opinion.  He told us that twice he had attempted to secure a favourable action on this question in the General Assembly, and twice he failed to secure it.  He referred also to the fact that the Security Council had considered the question and had not approved it.

It is unnecessary to review from time to time all the reasons which have motivated the Members of the United Nations in voting on proposals referred to them.  The fact on the record is that the General Assembly has twice had the opportunity to consider this matter, and twice it felt that it could not recommend such action.  The Security Council recently also registered its view in the same sense.  My delegation would be forced to repeat its vote if the representative of Syria felt that it is once more necessary to record the view which has already been so fully expressed.

Concerning the draft resolution submitted by the delegation of the United Kingdom, [S/1121], at our previous meeting I stated the view of my delegation in opposition to the deferment or postponement therein suggested, and have indicated that my delegation is prepared to proceed to vote in favour of the admission of the State of Israel.

Mr. Muñoz (Argentina) (translated from Spanish):  I wish to refer in the first place to the question of procedure.  In that connection, as I stated recently in the Committee on the Admission of New Members, I consider that it is the exclusive function of the Security Council to solve this question within the framework of the provisions from special cases given in the last paragraph of rule 60 of our rules of procedure.  This question calls for a judgement of a political nature which only the Council can make, taken account of the circumstances which the delegations will appraise in each case.

Even though the decision to hold a second part of the Assembly’s session next April has reduced the importance of the time limits fixed by rule 59 of the rules of procedure, the question of the desirability of passing upon the recommendation which the Council must make to the General Assembly under the second part of Article 4 of the Charter continues to be a subject of political appraisal within the competence of this body.

With regard to the substance of this question, I shall explain briefly the reasons for my delegation’s favorably vote on the admission of Israel into the United Nations.  The attitude of my country towards the plan to partition Palestine which the General Assembly approved on 20 November 1947 was in keeping with our desire to remain aloof from the international dispute over a territorial question.  For that reason we abstained in the vote which was taken at that time.  Since the termination of the Mandate on 14 May of this year, we have lent our support to various steps taken by the Council and the Assembly directed toward establishing peace in Palestine, when those steps did not affect the right claimed by both parties.  This continues to be our attitude toward the territorial problem in Palestine.

But the question which concerns us at the moment is a different one.  Actually, the admission of Israel confronts the Security Council with an indisputable realty; a constituted government with effective jurisdiction over a people and over a territory.  Although the limits of that territory are not definitely established, by reason of the recent constitution of the new State, that fact constitutes a territorial situation which no country has ever escaped, and of which, for that matter, more than one example exists even today.  As a member of the Security Council, Argentina cannot remain indifferent to so obvious a situation of fact.

As we have said on earlier occasions, the recognition of a State by another State is independent, in a certain way, of its admission into the association of nations; but I should like to recall that an analogy may exists between these two questions, and that the traditional Argentine view of the question of recognition has always been based on the factor I have mentioned–reality and effective control by a definite Government which has effectively established its authority over a territory and its inhabitants.  As this aspect of the question has been dealt with in every detail by the distinguished representative of the United States of America, I do not now need to enlarge upon it further.  We feel, moreover, that Israel satisfactorily fulfills the requirements of Article 4 of the San Francisco Charter.

Furthermore, even though it is not interpreted in its largest sense, as some would claim, the concept of universality at least requires that great discretion should be exercised before an application for membership of the United Nations is refused.

From what has been said it is evident that nothing has in the least altered the bonds of friendship which unite us with the Arab nations.  We maintain the most cordial relations with them, and their nationals reside in my country, adapting themselves to our customs in the same way as other races (among them the Jews) and contributing to the progress of the country where they live.

The position of the Argentine Government reflects the sentiments of our people, sentiments of tolerance and understanding without racial or religious prejudice, and of respect for the authority which makes national and international order possible.  We are convinced that the admission of Israel to our Organization will facilitate the peaceful solution of the serious problem of Palestine.  It is with this firm purpose of making a contribution to the harmony and peace of the Near East that Argentina will cast its vote in favour of recommending the admission of Israel to membership in the United Nations.

For the same reasons we cannot vote for the proposal of the distinguished representative of the United Kingdom to postpone the question.  Neither would we consider the intervention of the International Court of Justice, as just suggested by the distinguished representative of Syria, opportune at this crucial point in the development of the Palestine problem.

Mr. PARODI (France) (translated from French):  In view of the lateness of the hour and the fact that several resolutions are now before the Security Council, I shall explain the point of view of my Government as concisely as possible.

I wish, however, to emphasize that that point of view was adopted after a particularly careful and thorough and I shall say, a scrupulous study of the question before the Council.  We constantly bore in mind the fact that France was to appoint one of the members of the Conciliation Commission which the Assembly recently decided to establish and which will bear the responsibility for the next stage in the settlement of the Palestine question.  Consequently, we were thoroughly aware of our responsibility, and it is in that spirit that we have reviewed the various factors of the problem now before the Council.

I shall begin with those factors which I shall call the “objective” ones, the legal arguments which deal with the very existence of the State of Israel, its ability to fulfill the obligations of the Charter, whether or not it is a peace-loving State and its willingness to fulfill the obligations imposed upon Member States by the Charter.

In the course of our study, we did not forget that the French delegation has always favoured the principle of the universality of the United Nations, and that only recently we defended that principle in the General Assembly.  Nor did we forget, when we considered the objection raised to the admission of Israel on the grounds that it had been established very recently, that in the course of the years since the United Nations was first established, we have had to take decisions on requests for admission to the Organization submitted by States which had only recently been established.  Yet we have not demanded a kind of trial or probation period for those States.  On the contrary, the legal precedent adopted by the Security Council has been t o place full confidence in new States, and in the cases of India, Pakistan and, more recently, Burma, we admitted them shortly after they had been constituted.  

The most important of these factors is that which concerns the actual existence of the State of Israel.

At the last meeting, the representative of the United Kingdom said that the position of his Government was not based on any doubt regarding the self-evident fact that the Jewish State was in the process of being formed or that it would continue to exist.

The point of view of my Government is very similar to that expressed by the United Kingdom representative.  However, I would go somewhat further.  It seems to me that the existence of the State of Israel can now no longer be seriously challenged.  As a result of the de facto situation which has arisen in Palestine and of the legal precedent established by the Security Council which I have just recalled, some time or other–and perhaps very soon–the State of Israel will have to be admitted to the United Nations.

But we feel that the real question which arises is a question of time, a matter of determining whether today, or this very moment, is actually the opportune time to grant admission to that State.

While it can hardly be disputed that the State of Israel is a reality, on the other hand, we cannot overlook the fact that its existence is being challenged by the neighbouring States and, still less, the fact that the whole question of the boundaries of the State of Israel is quite unsettled and strongly disputed, not–I am thinking of what the representative of the United States said the other day [383rd meeting]–because their final limits would depend on clearing of the land or of a struggle against savage tribes, but because the delimitation of those boundaries is being challenged by the States bordering on Israel.

This leads me to what we have considered the principal point:  the admission of the State of Israel cannot be considered from the legal point of view only, it cannot be separated from the whole of the Palestine question.  We have made every effort to consider it in relation to the whole problem and always to try and foresee the effects that a decision will have on the settlement of the Palestine question for which both the Security Council and the Assembly are responsible.

The United Nations General Assembly recently set in motion a procedure which should alleviate–and, I hope, settle–the Palestine problem by setting up the Conciliation Commission to which I referred.  We have tried to determine to what degree the admission or non-admission of the Jewish State might influence the work of the Conciliation Commission.  I feel that that is actually a very basic question which the Security Council should bear in mind.

In reality, two opposing lines of argument have been presented.

It has been argued here–and I recognize that the arguments is to a large extent well-founded–that the Security Council, by deciding to admit the State of Israel, might facilitate the negotiations because it would help to neutralize the objection in principle put forward by the Arab States which are disturbed because they feel that negotiations would imply a kind of recognition of the State of Israel which they refuse to grant; if the Security Council should decide to admit Israel, the opposition of the Arab States would probably diminish.

Supporting the other side, strong arguments have been made here with respect to the possible psychological consequences of the admission of Israel at the very moment when the Conciliation Commission is to begin its work.  We must not take such statements lightly; they, too, should be careful weighed.

Besides the effort towards settlement which will soon be made by the Conciliation Commission set up by the Assembly, there is in progress another method of settlement, which the Security Council controls, which it has set in motion and the implementation of which it supervises: that method consists, first, in maintaining the truce, and, secondly, in changing the truce into an armistice.  I wish to point out that we have taken into account the assurances made by Israel with respect to the implementation of Security Council’s recent resolutions; we have done so, however, in the light of the fact that they were made by a country the troops of which have won territory and which would certainly find it difficult to bring those troops back to their starting point.

The implementation of the Security Council’s resolution which provides that the truce is to be followed by an armistice has, however, barely begun; we must not forget that the solution of a great many of the questions pending between Israel and the Arab States is as yet completely undetermined and that it is hard for us even to foresee how they may develop in the immediate future.  Such questions as that of the refugees or of Jerusalem are still in the evolutionary stage and their solution still remains rather doubtful.

All those considerations have led my Government to state that, at the present stage of development in the Palestine situation and of the discussion of the question in the Security Council, it found it extremely difficult to come to a firm opinion which would enable us to say with certainty–or at least with reasonable certainty–that it would help to provide a basis for attaining our main objective, which is reopening negotiations and re-establishing peace in Palestine.

My Government feels, therefore, that, for the time being, it cannot form a view based on full knowledge of the facts.  It feels that the wisest solution for the Council would be to give itself time to reach an opinion on the development of events and to form its judgement on more solid bases.

Out position does not, however, coincide exactly with that taken by the United Kingdom representative.  We are not in favour of a sine die adjournment of the question.  We think it would preferable for the Council, without taking any decision now on the application for admission, to reserve the right to take the question up again after a short period, for instance in a month’s time.  It seems to us that within a month the situation in Palestine will be sufficiently clarified, and that, in particular, we shall be able to see what line is being taken with respect to implementing the Council’s resolutions on the armistice; the Council will then be able to take a decision on the application before it with more thought and better judgment.

I am consequently submitting to the Security Council a very short draft resolution [S/1127] which meets the points I have raised and reads as follows:

The Security Council,

Having received from the Provisional Government of Israel an application for the admission of the State of Israel to membership in the United Nations;

Considering the situation in Palestine as a whole,

“Decides to postpone for one month the consideration of the above-mentioned application.”

I have the honor to submit this draft resolution to the Council.

Mr. MALIK (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) (translated from Russian):  It is already 1 p.m.  In view of the fact that the Canadian representative has indicated his desire to speak, that I myself should like to speak for ten or fifteen minutes and that other representatives may also wish to state their views on the subject, I think it would be advisable to adjourn now and to meet again at 3 o’clock.  An added reason is that three resolutions have been submitted to the Security Council and that we shall not be able to resolve this question in a short space of time.

Mr. EL-KHOURI (Syria):  A point of order:  if the suggestion of the representative of the USSR is accepted, I should like to request that another item be inserted in the agenda of this afternoon’s meeting.  The item concerns a despatch [S/1126] which I have just received from the Prime Minister of Egypt.  It reads as follows:

“A strong Zionist concentration is attacking our troops at Faluja.  Please raise question urgently in Security Council.” 4/

I understand that Mr. de Azcarate, the Chief Observer, has informed the Secretariat of this new violation of the truce and of the severe attacks which are being made against Faluja.  I believe it would be wise to take this into account if there is to be a meeting this afternoon.

The PRESIDENT (translated from French):  We shall first decide on the request for adjournment until this afternoon made by the USSR representative.  When that question has been decided, we shall consider the one raised by the representative of Syria.

Are there any objections to postponing the discussion until this afternoon at 3 p.m.?

We can discuss the point raised by the representative of Syria either now or this afternoon when we adopt the provisional agenda.  Since the Council seems to be in agreement that the meeting should be closed now, if there are no objections, I shall consider that it prefers to discuss that point this afternoon when we adopt the provisional agenda

The meeting rose at 1.10 p.m.


Document symbol: S/PV.385
Document Type: Meeting record
Document Sources: Security Council
Country: Israel
Subject: Agenda Item, Statehood-related
Publication Date: 17/12/1948

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