Arabs Given Veto Power over Partition Under British Plan Presented to United Nations
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Arabs Given Veto Power over Partition Under British Plan Presented to United Nations

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The British Government today virtually barred the partitioning of Palestine by announcing at the Ad Hoc Committee of the U.N. Assembly that whatever settlement the Assembly recommends will have to be accepted by both Arabs and Jews before Britain agrees to participate in its implementation.

In making the decisions of the U.N. General Assembly dependent on their acceptance by the Arabs and the Jews rather than on a majority vote of the members of the United Nations, the British Government has practically vested veto powers in the hands of the Palestine Arabs with regard to the majority recommendations of the U.N. Special Committee on Palestine, which proposed the establishment of a Jewish State in a partitioned Palestine.

Arthur Creech-Jones, British Colonial Secretary, speaking at the Ad Hoc Committee, said that Britain end##ses “without reservation” the view that the Palestine Mandate should be terminated now. However, it will not implement any policy recommended by the U.N. General Assembly which is not acceptable to the Jews and the Arabs. Futhermore, in considering any proposal to the effect that Britain should participate with others in the enforcement of a settlement recommended by the United Nations, the British Government will first take into account “the inherent justice of the settlement and the extent to which force would be required to give effect to it,” he added.

“In order that there may be no misunderstanding of the attitude and the policy of Britain, I have been instructed by His Majesty’s Government to announce with all solemnity that they have consequently decided that in the absence of a settlement, they must plan for an early withdrawal of British forces and of the British administration from Palestine,” Creech-Jones declared. (The full text of the Colonial Secretary’s speech is attached as a special supplement to this issue.)


While the British Colonial Secretary was speaking, Dr. Abba Hillel Silver and Moshe Shertok, leaders of the Jewish Agency, were in conference with Secretary of State George C. Marshall who is the head of the American delegation at the United Nations. The talks lasted for more than an hour and took place in the headquarters of the U.S. delegation.

No statement on the nature of the conference was made either by the Jewish conferees or the members of the American delegation, but it is understood that the Zionist leaders acquainted Secretary Marshall with the views of the Jewish Agency on the UNSCOP report, and asked his support for the majority recommendations. Gen John Hilldring and three other members of the American delegation were present at the conference.

The official views of the Agency on the UNSCOP recommendations will be presented at the U.N. Ad Hoc Committee on Tuesday. The views of the Palestine Arab Higher Committee will be given on Monday.

It is expected that Dr. Silver and Mr. Shertok will appear before the Committee as spokesmen for the Agency. Dr. Emanuel Neuman and Dr. Nahum Goldmann were present today at the Committee as official representatives of the Jewish Agency. A delegation of the Palestine Arabs was also at the meeting.


Soviet delegate Andrei Vishinsky, at a press conference this afternoon, said that the British attitude means the ultimate withdrawal of the Jews from Palestine. “I feel,” he declared, “that the English proposal regarding withdrawal should be understood as a proposal for the ultimate withdrawal of Jews from Palestine. If this is the case, our reaction is certainly negative.”

Arab delgations at the United Nations were elated over the British statement, while Jewish spokesmen were inclined to believe that by making the implementation of the U.N. recommendations conditional on their acceptance by both the Jews and the Arabs, the British Government was sabotaging the effort of the United Nations to reach a solution of the Palestine problem. They pointed out that Britain itself has failed to find a solution acceptable equally to Jews and Arabs and is determined to put the United Nations in the same position.


In his statement to the Ad Hoc Committee, the British Colonial Secretary said that his government agrees with the UNSCOP recommendation that the General Assembly should immediately undertake the initiation and execution of an international agreement to deal with the problem of distressed European Jews “as a matter of extreme urgency.”

Judge Emil Sandstroem, chairman of UNSCOP, who followed Creech-Jones, said that it was impossible to find a solution of the Palestine problem that would be acceptable to all parties concerned, or that could objectively be considered as entirely satisfactory. “Nevertheless,” he added, “a solution had to be found.”

Judge Sandstroem stressed the achievements of the Jewish colonists and the fact that they had mostly settled on previously uncultivated areas. Some of these settlements, however, form pockets in the Arab districts and this increases the difficulty of finding a solution inasmuch as the Arab and Jewish populations keep apart and follow their own different ways of life, he added.

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