held in Beirut, 19 March 1949




Mr. de Boisanger



Mr. Yalcin


Mr. Ethridge


Mr. Azcarate

Principal Secretary

After a discussion of administrative arrangements for the forthcoming meeting the Commission discussed the nature of the opening meeting to be held on Monday afternoon. The CHAIRMAN said that the meeting should be simple, and outlined his proposed opening remarks.

Mr. ETHRIDGE thought that the Commission should go further, since a purely formal meeting would be a waste of time for the Foreign Ministers, many of whom would want to return home as soon as possible. He suggested that at the first meeting the problem be explained in three aspects: a short relief period, an interim period and the period for repatriation or resettlement. The delegates should be asked for suggestions and for statistics, if available, regarding the refugees.

The CHAIRMAN did not think the Commission could go too far in the first meeting without forcing the Arab representatives to take a position which, in the presence of the other delegations, might be binding.

After some discussion the Commission agreed that the first meeting would not go into detail, not would the Israeli reply regarding the return of the refugees be mentioned.

Mr. ETHRIDGE enquired as to the procedure to be followed during the individual meetings.

The CHAIRMAN thought that, in accordance with Mr. Ethridge’s earlier suggestion, the delegations might be asked, at the Monday meeting, to provide the Commission with information at the subsequent meetings. If the Commission were questioned as to the Jewish position the Chairman would prefer to give such information during the course of the individual meetings.

Mr. YENISEY informed the Commission that Mr. Gaulan thought the Commission should consider Israel as one of the countries of the Middle East who could receive quotas of refugees for resettlement the number to be decided upon by the Commission,