Jerusalem (Jun. 23)
Chief Secretary Sir Henry L. Gurney of the Palestine Government today delivered a public rebuke to the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine, without waiting for receipt of the resolution adopted yesterday by UNSCOP.
In a letter to the commission’s secretary, Gurney said that since the death sentences of the three Jewish youths have not yet been confirmed, and since without confirmation they have no legal effect, “the matter is therefore sub judice and in these circumstances it is necessary to avoid public comment.”
Sir Henry declared that the fact that the sentences were announced the same day UNSCOP opened its sessions here was purely coincidental and “there would not be any truth” in other interpretations. He is reported to have added that recent death sentences have had a salutary effect on the security situation here.
Emil Sandstroem, chairman of UNSCOP, discussed commutation of the sentences with Gurney on Saturday, after which he summoned the first of five closed meetings the probers held on the issue. It is learned that the vote for the resolution, which instructed U.N. Secretary-General Trygve Lie to take up the matter with London, was nine to one, with one abstention.
During the discussion some of the members pointed out that it was on the basis of the General Assembly’s “truce” resolution of May 15 that Britain appealed to all U.N. members to halt illegal immigration to Falestine. If Britain’s action was justified, then the committee had the right to intervene in the case of three Irgunists, which also threatened continued peace, they argued. One delegate even requested that UNSCOP should interview representatives of the Irgun and the Stern Group.
Sandstroem, accompained by Czech delegate Karel Lisicky, Uruguayan delegate Prof. Enrique Rodriquez Fabregat and U.N. Assistant Secretary-General Victor Hoe, today visited Dr. Chaim Weizmann at his home in Rehovoth and questioned the venerable Zionist leader concerning colonization and economic problems. Later, they were shown around the Sieff and Weizmann Institutes, and were noticeably impressed by the high level of agricultural and scientific experimentation.
It is learned that Dr. Weizmann is slated to testify at a public hearing of UNSCOP some time between July 5 and 10. The committee is scheduled to leave Palestine on July 20.