Lake Success (Oct. 20)
The governments of the United States and Britain differ on the question of whether the British have the legal right to unilaterally surrender the Palestine Mandate and withdraw their troops, leaving the country in state of possible chaos, it was learned here today.
Officials of the U.S. delegation at the United Nations emphasize that inasmuch is the U.S. is a co-signatory to the Mandate and is responsible for protecting American interests in Palestine, Washington does not agree with the view of the British Government that the Mandate can be terminated by Britain and her troops withdraw without any obligation to the countries which entrusted her with the Mandate.
The question is now being studied by U.S. experts from a purely judicial point of view, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency learns. No official negotiations have yet been undertaken by this government, except for its indication, in Herschel Johnson’s statement at the Ad Hoc Committee, that the U.S, expects Britain to maintain order in Palestine. To this, British Colonial Minister Arthur Creech-Jones replied, in his second statement at the Committee, that Britain believes that she can lay down the Mandate and withdraw from its obligations whenever she so desires.
Although the U.S. delegation suggested in its statement at the Ad Hoc Committee that the U.N. may have to organize a constabulary for Palestine on a voluntary basis, members of the American delegation would prefer that the British continue to hear the responsibility for maintaining order in Palestine during the transition ported–set at two years by the UNSCOP majority report–even if the Mandate is abolished.
The attitude of the U.S. delegation with regard to methods of implementation will be made clear at the sub-committee which is expected to be appointed this week by the Ad Hoc Committee to prepare a detailed plan of partition, and its enforcement. In the meantime, however, the American delegation is carefully abstaining from indicating its attitude to any of the delegations from countries on the American continent which look to the United States for their lead.
Even countries like the Philippines, the Dominican Republic and Haiti, which are known to be completely under U.S. influence and almost always vote as the U.S. does, have up to now hesitated to endorse partition. It is known that delegations from the smaller American countries have approached members of the U.S. delegation for advice, but were told that they can vote as they wish on the partition issue. Some delegations have interproted this as an indication that the U.S. delegation is not anxious to lend its full support to partition.