TWO HUNDRED AND SEVENTY-FIFTH MEETING
Held at Lake Success, New York, on Tuesday, 30 March 1948, at 2.30 p.m.
President: Mr. T. F. TSIANG — (China).
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.
38. Provisional agenda
(document S/Agenda 275)
1. Adoption of the agenda.
2. The Palestine question:
(a) First monthly progress report to the Security Council of the United Nations Palestine Commission (document S/663).
(b) First special report to the Security Council: the problem of security in Palestine; submitted by the United Nations Palestine Commission (document S/676).
(c) Second monthly progress report to the Security Council of the United Nations Palestine Commission (document S/695).
39. Adoption of the agenda
The agenda was adopted.
40. Continuation of the discussion on the Palestine question
At the invitation of the President, Mr. Lisicky, Chairman of the United Nations Palestine Commission; Mahmoud Fawzi Bey, the representative of Egypt; and Rabbi Abba Hillel Silver, the representative of the Jewish Agency for Palestine, took their places at the Security Council table.
Mr. AUSTIN (United States of America): The time appears suitable to offer to the Security Council draft resolutions to carry out part II of the paper representing the views of four of the permanent members presented, as follows, at 270th meeting:
“As a result of the consultations of the permanent members regarding the situation with respect to Palestine, they find and report that a continuation of the infiltration into Palestine, by land and by sea, of groups and persons with the purpose of taking part in violence, would aggravate still further the situation, and recommend:
“(a) That the Security Council should make it clear to the parties and Governments concerned that the Security Council is determined not to permit the existence of a threat to international peace in Palestine; and
“(b) That the Security Council should take further action by all means available to it to bring about the immediate cessation of violence and the restoration of peace and order in Palestine.”
The statement made by the President of the United States on 25 March indicates the urgent necessity of exerting every effort in the Security Council to arrange a truce between the Jews and Arabs of Palestine.
Such a truce should be based on two fundamental considerations.
First, it is absolutely essential that violence and bloodshed in Palestine cease. This is demanded by humanitarian considerations. We must prevent anarchy. This is required to keep international peace. Cessation of hostilities is imperative.
Secondly, both the Jews and Arabs of Palestine must be prepared to accept truce arrangements which would not prejudice the claims of either group. The truce should include suspension of political as well as military activity.
My Government considers it essential that representatives of the Jewish Agency for Palestine and of the Arab Higher Committee be called upon to state their views on the necessary arrangements for a truce. Such representatives should, of course, be fully authorized to enter into definitive truce arrangements with the Security Council.
To provide for the immediate cessation of hostilities and the basis for a truce, I have submitted for the consideration of the Security Council the following draft resolution, which may be found in document S/704, dated 30 March 1948:
“The Security Council,
“In the exercise of its primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security,
“Notes with grave concern the increasing violence and disorder in Palestine and believes that it is of the utmost urgency that an immediate truce be effected in Palestine;
“Calls upon the Jewish Agency for Palestine and the Arab Higher Committee to make available representatives to meet at once with the Security Council for the purpose of arranging a truce between the Arab and Jewish communities of Palestine; and emphasizes the heavy responsibility which would fall upon any party failing to observe a truce;
“Calls upon Arab and Jewish armed groups in Palestine to cease acts of violence immediately.”
It is the view of my Government that the immediate cessation of hostilities and the establishment of a truce in Palestine are the most urgent objectives. We believe that the Security Council should also proceed as promptly as possible to the consideration of the additional conclusions and recommendations concerning Palestine. I alluded to these in my statement to the Security Council at its 271st meeting.
In this connexion, we feel that the first step which should be taken by the Security Council is to request the Secretary-General to convoke a special session of the General Assembly. Accordingly, I have been requested by my Government to submit for the consideration of the Security Council the following draft resolution, which will be found in document S/705 of 30 March 1948:
“The Security Council:
“Having received, on 9 December 1947, the resolution of the General Assembly concerning Palestine dated November 29, 1947;
“Having called on 5 March 1948 on the permanent members of the Council to consult;
“Having taken note of the reports made concerning those consultations;
“Requests the Security-General, in accordance with Article 20 of the United Nations Charter, to convoke a special session of the General Assembly to consider further the question of the future government of Palestine.”
It will be noted that this resolution does not mention trusteeship. The United States adheres to the view I stated in the Security Council on 19 March at the 271st meeting, and which was reaffirmed by the Secretary of State on 20 March and again by the President of the United States on 25 March, that a temporary trusteeship should be established to maintain the peace. This trusteeship would be without prejudice to the character of the final political settlement in Palestine. We believe that a trusteeship is essential to establish order, without which a peaceful solution of this problem cannot be found or put into effect.
The exigencies confronting exigencies of the time limits confronting the Security Council require prompt decision and issuance of the call for a special session. This should not be delayed by debate over details of the `temporary trusteeship. The United States is ready, during the required period of notification, to offer and consider with other members of the Security Council proposals regarding such details.
Mr. GROMYKO (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) (translated from Russian): The Security Council has been discussing the Palestine question since 24 February. However, it has made no progress whatever in fulfilling its task — that of rendering assistance to the United Nations Palestine Commission — which has been given the responsibility for implementing the decision of the General Assembly on the partition of Palestine into two States.
Moreover we are all aware that the Security Council not only has failed to make any progress in this matter, but has begun to move backwards. Not only does it not render any assistance to the Palestine Commission in the fulfilment of the task assigned to it, nor give it appropriate instructions to this end; on the contrary, it confuses and complicates the whole Palestine question and jeopardizes the implementations of a decision already adopted by the United Nations. It is<obvious `that the greatest complications have arisen from the submission of the new United States proposals envisaging the abandonment of the already adopted plan of partition and its replacement by the establishment of a United Nations trusteeship over Palestine.
Given the situation which has now arisen in the Security Council in the course of its discussion of the Palestine question, and, in particular, the submission of the new United States proposals, I consider it necessary to state the position of the USSR both on these new proposals as well as on the general situation created in the Security Council during the discussion of this problem.
The Government of the USSR considers, as it has all along, that the decision adopted by the General Assembly on the partition of Palestine into two independent Jewish and Arab States is just one. It is just, first of all, because it corresponds to the fundamental national interests of both Jews and Arabs. It is precisely because this decision corresponds to the interest of both peoples inhabiting Palestine, each of which has the right to create an independent State, that the USSR arrived at the conclusion, as a result of the discussion of the future of Palestine by the General Assembly, that such a decision is the most just one.
As we know, this was not arrived at by the United Nations on the spur of the moment. It was the result of long and thorough consideration, first by the special session of the General Assembly, then in the Committee specially set up by this special session, and finally at the second session of the General Assembly which adopted the partition plan in resolution 181 (II). As a result of such exhaustive consideration of the question of the future of Palestine, it was recognized that partition presented advantages over any other possible solution.
It will be recalled that, at the beginning of the discussion of the Palestine question, particularly at the special session of .the General Assembly, several possible alternative solutions were mentioned, including that of the establishment of a single Jewish-Arab State with equal rights for Jews and Arabs. During the study of this question, however, it became clear that neither the proposal to establish a single Jewish-Arab State, nor the other proposals, could constitute a basis for settling the relations between Jews and Arabs nor, consequently, a basis for a proper solution of the question of the future of Palestine. On the contrary, it was clear that the partition of Palestine into two independent States would establish a solid foundation for the settlement of the relations between these peoples, both in their own interest and in the interests of international peace.
Precisely because of the fact that a partition of Palestine into two States has an advantage over any other solution of the Palestine problem, the overwhelming majority of States at the General Assembly accepted the partition plan and voted for its approval. The United States also voted in favour of this plan: not only did it vote for I t— it was an active defender of such a. decision. At the General Assembly the United Stases delegation championed the proposal on the partition of Palestine and strove to have it adopted by the required majority of States. The United States representatives used all their influence order to achieve the adoption of this plan. It is clear that, in so doing, the. United States Government took upon itself a great responsibility for the decision adopted by the General Assembly on the partition of Palestine.
But what is the situation today? We are witnessing a very strange phenomenon. The United States has changed its attitude towards a decision already adopted, and adopted with its active participation. Not only has it refused to support this decision, but it has raised the question of its revocation and introduced entirely new proposals to that effect.
Needless to say, such conduct on the part of the United States aimed at blocking the decision table on Palestine adopted by the United Nations has evoked more than astonishment in all the countries of the world — which is hardly surprising, It is clear to anyone that the desire on the part of the United States to block the adopted decision is dictated by interests that have nothing in common with the interests of the United Nations which the ruling circles of the United States have long since ceased to take into account.
The United States representative in the Security Council asserts that the decision to partition Palestine cannot be implemented by peaceful means. He tries to prove to us, without bringing to bear any facts or arguments worthy of attention, that peaceful measures alone are not sufficient for carrying out the decision on partition. In this way he tries to convince us that the partition of Palestine into two States is in practice unrealizable, and that the United Nations must seek another solution.
Now it has become apparent that all these arguments were aimed at preparing the ground to bury the partition plan and to justify the new United States proposal on Palestine. We can now see clearly what could only have been conjectured two or three weeks ago, especially when the representatives of the permanent members of the Security Council held their consultations at the request of the Security Council, which had asked them to carry out such consultations for the purpose of preparing future Security Council recommendations that would ensure the fulfilment of the General Assembly decision.
All the arguments of the United States representative were intended to substantiate and justify the move of the United States Government directed at blocking the decision on partition and at replacing it by the establishment of a trusteeship over Palestine. It must be said, however, that these arguments are quite unconvincing and cannot bear scrutiny. It is impossible to agree with an assertion that the decision on partition cannot be carried out by peaceful means. No one has ever proved this. The Security Council has hardly discussed this question, nor have the permanent members of the Security Council discussed it in the course of their consultations. Only the representatives of the United States and China have made definite statements in this connexion, statements the meaning of which it was not difficult to understand even before the submission of the United States proposal on trusteeship.
But it would not change matters if the point of view of the United States representative were shared not only by the representative of China but also by the representatives of some other States. It would not change matters, because such a point of view is not supported by facts. The assertion to the effect that the decision on the partition of Palestine cannot be implemented by peaceful means is unfounded for the very reason that the Security Council not only has failed to make use of all possible peaceful means, but generally has not adopted a single decision aimed at' ensuring the partition of Palestine.
In view of the position of several States, and particularly of that of the United States, the Security Council embarked upon endless discussions and delay in the consideration of this matter at a time when it was required to take concrete decisions that would ensure the effective fulfilment of the decision on partition. What grounds are there for the assertion that partition cannot be effected by peaceful means?
There are no grounds for such an assertion, nor can there be any. The statements by the United States representative to this effect only mislead public opinion.
For the same reason, there are no grounds for asserting that the fulfilment of the General Assembly decision may involve greater sacrifices for the population of Palestine than the administration of Palestine on a trusteeship basis. But what is the source of this deduction; what are the grounds for it? It is obvious that there is no basis for such a conclusion, especially if we take into account the reaction which the new United States proposals evoked among the peoples of Palestine.
Sacrifices can be reduced only through the prompt and effective creation, as planned by the General Assembly, of two States in Palestine. If the United States and some other States block the implementation of partition and regard Palestine as an element in their economic and military-strategic calculations, then any decision on the future of Palestine, including the establishment of a trusteeship, will mean the transformation of Palestine into a field of strife and dissension between the Arabs and the Jews. This will only increase the number of victims. Naturally this would harm, first all, the peoples of Palestine — the Arabs and the Jews — whose legitimate rights have already been violated enough in the past, particularly during the period of the administration of Palestine under the Mandate.
All this gives us grounds for the conclusion that full responsibility for blocking the decision on the partition of Palestine falls on the United States, which, according to general opinion, is concerned not with the just settlement of the question of the future of Palestine and the relations between Arabs and Jews, but with its own oil interests and military-strategic positions in the Near East. All of the members of the Council are aware that this is precisely what underlies the new political course of the United States on the Palestine issue, a course directed towards sacrificing the decision already adopted by the United Nations to the economic and military-strategic interests of one Power — interests which, as I have already pointed out, have nothing in common with the interests of the United Nations as a whole.
There can be no doubt that the blocking of the decision on the partition of Palestine would be a serious blow to the United Nations, and that the responsibility for such a blow rests fully with the United States.
Some United States politicians, and all United States diplomats without exception, often like, to speak of their support of the United Nations. We had no doubt, even before, that statements of this kind do not correspond to reality — an opinion which is at present becoming more and more widespread. The people of the United States themselves, lacking, prominent persons as, for example; many members of Congress, are now talking about it increasingly. This point of view is also fully shared by a large part of the Press in the United States. If any further proof is necessary that the ruling circles of the United States always ignore the United Nations when the interests of the Organization do not coincide with the narrow interests of one Power, then the best proof of this is to be found in the policy of the United States on the Palestine question.
The United States has submitted its new proposals on the establishment of a so-called temporary United Nations trusteeship over Palestine. We should stop to consider carefully these proposals so as to discover their meaning and direction. It is not difficult to understand what these new proposals mean, and what their authors are driving at. First of all, it is necessary to note that these proposals are considered, not without reason, as an attempt, under the pretext of maintaining order in Palestine, to convert that country into a military-strategic base for the United States and the United Kingdom.
It can be said that there is no mention of this in the United States proposals. Certainly, the United States proposals make to no direct mention of this — that would be the last thing we would expect from their authors. But everyone understands that this is precisely what the new United States proposals are aiming at. This fact alone shows that the new proposals are in direct opposition to the interests of our Organization expressed in the decision adopted on partition and, consequently, to the interests of the maintenance elf peace. To adopt such proposals would mean to replace the common interests of the United Nations by the interests of certain individual States, to the detriment of the cause of security.
Moreover, it should be pointed out that the decision to establish a trusteeship for Palestine would not eliminate the difficulties which the United States and some other State cite in refusing to support the General Assembly resolution, since the establishment of a trusteeship would be directed against those living in Palestine, both the Arabs and the Jews. Should a decision on trusteeship be adopted both the Jews ad the Arabs in Palestine would be placed in the position of peoples deprived of the right to an independent State. Thus, not only is the trusteeship proposal not in accordance with the interests of the maintenance of international peace, but it is contrary to the interests of the Arabs and the Jews in Palestine. Its adoption would suit only the interests of influential circles of some of the great Powers which place their own economic and military-strategic interests above the common interests of the United Nations.
When submitting the new proposals on the Palestine question, the United States also proposed that a special session of the. General Assembly should be convened in order to revise the previously adopted decision. We see no grounds for convening a special session of the Assembly, since such a session on Palestine has already taken place in 1947. It was as a result of that special session, and also of the discussion of this question at the second session in 1947, that the decision on partition was adopted. Convening, a new special session on the Palestine question would mean setting back the United Nations by at least a year with regard to the Palestine question, at a time when it is our task not to lose any ground but to move forward and to give force to the decision already adopted.
It follows, therefore, that the Security Council would be acting incorrectly were it to accept the proposal that the Palestine Commission should be given instructions to suspend its work aimed at the implementation of the decision on partition. The Commission cannot stop its work, since it has no right to do so as long as the decision adopted by the General Assembly remains in force.
Finally, it should be noted that reports have been appearing more and more frequently in the Press lately to the effect that the statements of United Kingdom representatives on the withdrawal of British troops in Palestine, pursuant to the termination of the Mandate on 15 May 1948, may remain unfulfilled. In that connexion hints are being dropped that the United Kingdom may change its decision and leave its troops in Palestine either at the request of the United States, or perhaps at the request of someone else, in order to ensure the realization of the United States plan for the establishment of a trusteeship over Palestine, and to start the execution of this plan with the help of the same British bayonets which the population of Palestine already knows so well, or of other foreign arms.
I do not know to what extent these reports correspond to reality, but the public opinion of the United Nations has the right to be on the alert in connexion with the appearance of such reports. As regards the reversal of the United States position on the Palestine question, public opinion realizes that reliance cannot always be placed upon statements made by the official representatives of those countries for which Palestine is but one of the pawns in their political game.
The PRESIDENT: As there are no representatives who wish to speak at this time, I propose that the meeting be adjourned.
I have consulted with the representative who will be the President of the Security Council for the month of April, and it is proposed that the next meeting on the Palestine question be held on 1 April 1945, at 2.30 p.m.
The meeting rose at 4.20 p.m.
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Document Type: Meeting record, Provisional verbatim record
Document Sources: Security Council, Trusteeship Council, United Nations Palestine Commission (UNPC)
Subject: Incidents, Middle East situation, Negotiations and agreements, Palestine question, Peace proposals and efforts
Publication Date: 30/03/1948