Lake Success (Nov. 5)
The four–nation group which is working on the coordination of American and Soviet proposals for implementation of a United Nations partition decision today cancelled its scheduled meeting apparently because the Soviet delegation was awaiting instructions from Moscow on the extent of the compromise acceptable to the Soviet Government.
The Soviet delegation was also believed to be waiting for guidance from Moscow before replying to three questions put forward last night by the Canadian delegation at the meeting of the working group, which is composed of representatives of the U.S., U.S.S.R., Guatemala and Canada. The questions were aimed at establishing whether the Soviet proposals provide for the use of the veto power on decisions of the implementation commission, if the commission is made responsible to the Security Council.
The Canadian delegation also sought clarification from the Soviet representative on whether unanimity will be required among the representatives of the “Big Five” on the implementation commission. Canada asked further what forces will be available to the commission to keep order.
Meanwhile, Canadian delegate Lester B. Pearson, is refraining from making any statement concerning the compromise proposal which he announced will be placed before the group shortly. He is evidently waiting until the Soviet proposition is put forward, before presenting the Canadian plan which has been touted as an attempt to reconcile the U.S. and Soviet positions.
JEWISH AGENCY CIRCLES OPTIMISTIC ON POSSIBILITY OF U.S.-SOVIET AGREEMENT
Soviet delegate Semyon Tsarapkin indicated last night to the working group that his government might not accept a compromise which would provide for appointment of the implementation commission by the General Assembly, with the commission functioning under the jurisdiction of the Security Council. However, this was not a clearcut rejection. A feeling of optimism, therefore, prevailed today with regard to an eventual solution acceptable to both the Soviet Union and the United States.
Jewish Agency circles were of the opinion that a compromise proposal is likely to be accepted by the Soviet delegation, notwithstanding the initially negative attitude taken by Tsarapkin. The fact that the Soviet delegation agreed for the first time in the history of the United Nations to sit with members of the United States delegation without the participation of other big powers is taken in Jewish circles as an indication of a Soviet willingness to meet the Americans half-way.
Informal talks are sometimes more important than even formal negotiations,”a leader of the Jewish Agency said today, commenting on the fact that Tsarapkin insisted that the working group not be considered a formal group and that its deliberations act commit any of the participants to a formal decision. The Agency leader expressed the belief that there will be more freedom on the part of the Soviet and American delegates in stating their opinions because of the informality of the talks.
The Arab delegations are watching the behind the scenes bargaining between the United States and Russia with no less interest than the Jewish Agency. The sub-committee dealing with the Arab proposals today adjourned until Friday, awaiting the outcome of the deliberations on implementation. An official communique issued by the sub-committee reveals that the Arabs have already completed a draft report to the As Sec Committee, but decided, to revise it.
ARABS FEAR SOVIET AIMS AT BARRING MUFTI FROM GOVT. OF ARAB STATE
There is a definite suspicion among the Arab delegations that the Soviets are determined to keep the Mufti and other Axis collaborators from participating in the formation of an Arab government in the Arab state of partitioned Palestine or from influencing the formation of this government. This belief is based upon the stipulation in the Soviet proposal that the implementation commission is to consult “democratic parties” on the election by the commission of a provisional government council. It is obvious to the members of the Arab delegations that this provision is directed primarily at eliminating the Mufti whom the Russians consider an active war-time agent of the Nazis.
The working group on boundaries today circulated among the members of the partition sub-committee its report on the proposed revision of the UNSCOP boundaries between the Jewish and Arab states. While proposing certain concessions in favor of the Jews in western Galilee, the report recommends the inclusion of Jaffa and of a part of the Negev in the Arab state. It is reported that these latter recommendations are a result of pressure by the United States delegation which wishes to increase the area of the Arab state.
While the Jewish Agency would consent to the transfer of Jaffa to the Arab state, there is strong opposition by Jewish leadership to the proposed modification of the Negev borders. This is because the revised lines proposed by the working group would deprive the Jewish state of the most important section of the Negev, which borders on the Red Sea harbor of Aquaba, and which is important not only strategically but also commercially, since it lies at the mouth of the waters leading to markets in the Near East.
The insistence of the United States delegation on having this part of the Negev assigned to the Arab state is due to strong pressure from the British. They are particularly interested in having this strategic section of Palestine in Arab hands because of the existing agreement between Britain and Transjordan under which British troops will remain in Transjordan after withdrawing from Palestine. British diplomats do not believe that an Arab state will be established in Palestine. They think in terms of Transjordan absorbing that part of Palestine marked for the Arab state.
This explains why Britain is so deeply interested in securing for the Arabs the tip of the Negev bordering on the Red Sea and Aquaba harbor. With Transjordan in full control of the entire area, which is the gate not only to the Red Sea but to the Persian Gulf and to India, British troops will remain virtually the only military force in that area.
In addition to replacing the Suez Canal privileges for Britain, the Aquaba area, especially in the Negev, is reported to be the only area in Palestine which has oil potentialities as well as uranium deposits. All this makes its inclusion in the Jewish state more essential for the economy of the state and its future development. However, the Americans seem to be under the impression that Britain may agree to remain in Palestine during the transition period and to enforce the U.N. decision on partition, should this part of the Negev be transferred to the Arab state.