San Francisco (Apr. 27)
More than fifty representatives of Arab countries, all united with regard to the Palestine problem though far from being united on internal Arab affairs, are watching with great interest any move that Jews may make with regard to the Palestine problem during the sessions of the United Nations Conference.
They are aware that the British and United States governments are determined that no mention of Palestine be made during closed or open sessions, but they are also aware of the fact that some of the Jewish groups here have prepared memorandums on Jewish aspirations for Palestine for submission to the secretariate of the Parley. They are also aware that the Hebrew Committee for National Liberation is making preparations for a huge mass meeting here on Jewish rights on Palestine to be hold while the conference is in session.
The strategy which these representatives of Saudi-Arabia, Syria, Egypt, Lebanon and Iraq have mapped out to counteract any Jewish moves remains a secret. It is recalled that during the last visit of the Saudi-Arabian princes to the United States a kind of truce was arranged by the State Department under which both American Zionist leaders and the Saudi-Arabian guests pledged themselves not to issue any statements attacking each other. This truce worked well at that time, but whether it will work now remains to be seen. All that can be said is that the State Department officials are trying their best to prevent the Arab delegations from making any statements on Palestine.
BOTH JEWS AND ARABS INTENT ON AVOIDING OPEN CONFLICT
There is no contact whatsoever between any of the Jewish representatives who came here from New York and the members of the Arab delegations. Each side, however, is quictly watching the other and is intent on not being the first to antagonize the other. The official list of the delegates discloses that Egypt has eighteen accredited members and experts at the parley, Iraq has seventeen, Saudi-Arabia has seven, Syria six and Lebanon five. In addition, there are also seventeen accredited members and exports representing Iran which, at meetings of the League of Nations in Geneva, always supported the Arab cause whenever the Palestine question was raised.
There are, of course, many friends of the Zionist cause among the delegations of other nations at the conference. However, it remains to be seen what such pro-Zionist delegates as Prime Minister Smuts of South Africa, or Foreign Minister Jan Masaryk of Czechoslovakia, can do to prevent any of the Arab delegations from seeking a place on the committee which will deal with the problem of international trusteeship over mandated territories.
Representatives of some influential American non-Jewish civic groups which will exercise an influence on the conference through their consultants to the United States delegation feel that, although this conference will definitely avoid the Palestine question even in the committee which will deal with setting up the machinery for international trusteeship, the best solution of the Palestine problem would be declaring Palestine a permanent international territory to be administered by an international commission of five composed of one United States representative, one British representative and one representative of either Russia or France. The remaining places would go to one Jewish and one Arab representative.
NON-JEWISH CIVIC GROUPS FAVOR RULE BY INTERNATIONAL COMMISSION
Outlining this plan today, privately, one of the leading members of a powerful American liberal organization expressed the belief that under such a permanent international administration, which would be backed by mixed armed forces, Arab-Jewish catagonism would gradually lose its sharpness, especially since both Jews and Arabs will each have cultural autonomy in Palestine. Thorny political and administrative questions, such as immigration and land mules would, under this plan, be decided by the international commission which would replace the High Commissioner.
Nobody expects that this, or any other plan with regard to Palestine, will even be discussed at the sessions here. However, the fact that such plans are being Spenly talked about in the lobby of the Opere House where the plenary sossions of the conference are being held is indicative. It shows that although Palestine is not a subject for official discussions here, unofficially a good deal of thought is being given to it.