Jewish Agency Protests U.N. Action on British Request to Halt “illegal” Immigration
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Jewish Agency Protests U.N. Action on British Request to Halt “illegal” Immigration

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The Jewish Agency today protested to the United Nations against the action of Secretary-General Trygve Lie in transmitting to member states of the U.N. a British request that they curb “illegal immigration” to Palestine, and particularly against his asking that he be informed of any action taken by them in response to the request.

Pointing out that the United Nations is not committed to the Palestine immigration policy of the British Government and, therefore, can take no action on this score, the Jewish Agency said that the British note and the ensuing step taken by the U.N. Secretary-General would appear to be “altogether out of order.”

“The Secretary-General,” the protest stated, “by asking the member nations to inform him as to the action taken by them in pursuance of the British note, has improperly identified the United Nations with the policy of Great Britain on Jewish immigration as arbitrarily determined by Great Britain alone.”

The Agency pointed out that Mr. Lie was not bound to accept the British unilateral interpretation of the resolution adopted by the General Assembly last month, appealing for peace in Palestine during the period in which the U.N. inquiry committee will conduct its probe. It recalled that there was nothing in the resolution which empowered the Secretary-General to take any action as to its implementation, or to ask an accounting from member states as to their compliance with the request of the British Government.


“In doing so,” the Agency states, “it is submitted that he has gone outside and beyond the scope of his functions. It is with deep regret that we find ourselves constrained to protest the action of the Secretary-General.” It asked Mr. Lie to circulate its protest among all the member nations of the U.N. and said that it was forwarding a copy to the inquiry committee, since “the action of the Secretary-General introduces new and prejudicial factors into the situation.”

Commenting on the request of the British Government, the Agency note points out that the resolution adopted by the General Assembly “was intended to refer to violence or the threat of violence” in Palestine pending the report of the U.N. inquiry committee. “By no stretch of the imagination can it properly be interpreted as calling for cooperation by the United Nations in the campaign being waged by the British Government against the immigration of Jews into Palestine outside the quotas prescribed by the Palestine Government,” the Agency stated.

“Indeed, at no time in the course of the discussion at the U.N. Assembly did the British delegation ask for the inclusion in the proposed resolution of any clause designed to prevent such ‘illegal’ immigration,” the note continued. “Nor by a single word was it suggested that the so-called peace resolution was directed at the continuance of such immigration, the legality of which in the face of Britain’s illegal policy under the 1939 White Paper the Jewish Agency has repeatedly asserted. Had the British Government sought to do so, its action would undoubtedly have been challeged in the ground that it was bringing into issue the very matter for which the special committee of the United Nations was being appointed.”


The Jewish Agency emphasized that if the British Government desired action on the part of the United Nations with regard to “illegal immigration,” it could and should have sought such action in the course of the 18-day session of the Assembly.

“The failure of the British delegation to bring up the problem openly before the United Nations was undoubtedly because the British were uncertain of the possible reaction of other delegations,” the Agency charged. “Now that those delegations have left for their homes, however, by a forced interpretation of a resolution directed to another and, Great Britain seeks to obtain by subterfuge what she could not achieve by open discussion. This can only be described as a devious and improper stratagem to which it is regrettable that the Secretariat has given its support.”

Mr. Lie refused to make any comment on the Agency note.

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