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French Govt. Says It Must Consider Arab Wishes on Palestine; May Abstain on Partition

The French Foreign Office tonight issued a special communique declearing that on the question of partition or a federal state in Palestine, “France must consider the wishes of the Arabs. Despite Russian-American agreement for partition, France must reserve its decision, wishing to safeguard Moslem interests,” it concluded. The Jewish Telegraphic Agency learns from reliable sources that the French delegation at Lake Success will most probably abstain from voting.

The statement, which caused great disappointment in Zionist circles, is generally believed to be a result of the success of the Arab nationalists in yesterday’s elections in Algeria. Some sources expect that if the partition question does not come to a vote at the U.N. before the second part of the French municipal elections, which will take place next Sunday, the government’s attitude may change.

A Quai d’Orsay spokesman last week said that France would “reluctantly” vote for partition because the French delegation at Lake Success had participated in the establishment of the U.N. Special Committee on Palestine which subsequently recommended partition.