Lake Success (Nov. 11)
The explosive Palestine issue was dumped squarely into the lap of the United Nations today, when Soviet delegate Nikolai V. Novikov strongly attacked Great Britain for failing to offer to place Palestine under U.N. trusteeship and charged that Britain’s direct consultation with Arab and Jewish groups and the United States was a violation of the U.N. Charter.
“One thing is clear,” Novikov told the Trusteeship Committee “the attempts of the British Government to solve the question of Palestine by negotiations with the U.S. Government as well as with Arab and Jewish representatives apart from the U.N. organization does not correspond to the principle of the U.N. charter.”
Novikov declared that Britain’s failure to submit a draft trusteeship agreement on Palestine “raises the question of the reasons which the British Government may have” for this action. He said sarcastically that the British have “not found it possible to inform” Moscow of its reasons. “If, however,” he continued, “the British Government considers that there are certain special circumstances compelling it to treat the Palestine mandate differently, it would have been better to inform the General Assembly accordingly and the latter could have considered the measures necessary.”
BRITISH SAY THEY READY TO SUBMIT ISSUE TO U.N. IF LONDON PARLEY FAILS
In answer to the Russian charges, Ivor Thomas, British member of the Trusteeship Committee, issued the following statement: “On the 17th of January Mr. Bevin fully explained that no proposals for the future of Palestine could be put forward until the Anglo-American Commission of Inquiry has reported, and the resulting talks with Arabs and Jews have still to be concluded.” Another British spokesman said that Britain was prepared to turn the matter over to the U.N. if the London conference on Palestine collapsed.
Novikov maintained that there are only two legal ways of dealing with former mandates: granting “true independence” or transforming them into trust territory. There is no third way, he stated.
He declared that the failure to submit an agreement on Palestine violated not only the U.N. Charter but also the General Assembly resolution of last February requiring mandatory powers to submit their mandates to trusteeship. He pointed out that neither of these “provides for any exceptions in respect to any territories under mandates and do not establish any postponement in the matter of the presentation of these draft agreements.”
Novikov also urged the Assembly to study carefully the treaty between Britain and Transjordan in order to aid the enforcement of charter principles and assist the people of Transjordan “in achieving actual and full independence.”
Referring to Transjordan, Thomas said that in February the Assembly had welcomed the action of Britain in establishing Transjordan as an independent state, adding that “were it not for Soviet opposition, Transjordan would undoubtedly be here…today.”