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U.N. Secretariat Begins Working on Palestine Issue; Answers from “big Five” Awaited

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The United Nations secretariat today started assembling “basic factual material” on Palestine in connection with Secretary-General Trygve Lie’s plan to appoint a fact-finding commission to study and make recommendations on the Palestine issue to the next General Assembly session.

No definite answer has as yet been received by Mr. Lie from the U.N. delegations of the “Big Five” with whom he discussed his proposal, a U.N. source told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency today. None of the governments have yet signified their approval, he added. The same source said that formal submission of the Palestine issue by Britain to the United Nations can be expected any day.

Mr. Lie today indicated that he prefers to withhold the specific details of his plan until he gets the approval of Britain, the United States, Russia, France and China. It is understood that he is prepared to drop his proposal unless there is unanimity on it among the “Big Five.” On the other hand, if the plan is approved by the “Big Five,” he will immediately start a poll among the fifty-five member nations in order to be able to set up the committee within a fortnight.

BRITISH DELEGATION DISCUSSES POSSIBILITY OF INTERIM STEPS

A spokesman for the British delegation at the United Nations told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that the Palestine case may be submitted to the United Nations “within a few days.” The discussions between Sir Alexander Cadogan, head of the United Kingdom delegation, and Secretary-General Lio, he said, are now centered about possible interim steps. There has been no discussion on the composition of the committee, he stated.

A Jewish Agency spokesman said that if the committee is set up and is “fairly constituted,” the Jews will present their case to it. However, he emphasized that the committee will have to be a “real” international body and not merely “another British commission.” In the meantime, the Jewish Agency will continue to press its demand that Britain return to the terms of the Palestine Mandate during the interim period, which, he pointed out, may last for a long time.

A spokesman for the U.S. delegation told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that the attitude of the American Government with regard to speedy action by the United Nations on the Palestine issue is well known. “Our attitude is the sooner the better,” he declared.

Polish Ambassador Jerzy Michalowski, who has been substituting for the past month for Dr. Oscar Lange, Polish delegate at the Security Council, predicted that Palestine will be a difficult question even for the United Nations. “One of the difficulties,” he said, “is that the Arab states are members of the U.N. while the Jews have no direct representation and it may weaken their position. It will be easier for the Arabs to present their point of view. They also have five votes. Some way must be found to hear the Jewish side and perhaps it may be through the agency of a fact-finding committee.”

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