U.S. Supports Partition, but Armed Forces Should Not Enforce It, Austin Tells U.N.
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U.S. Supports Partition, but Armed Forces Should Not Enforce It, Austin Tells U.N.

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Senator Warren Austin, head of the American delegation to the United Nations, today told the Security Council that the United States has no intention of backing down on its support of the partition of Palestine into Jewish and Arab states.

“The General Assembly,” Austin said, “voted for partition as the solution of the Palestine problem. The United States of America voted for that solution and still supports it.”

The U.S. delegate stood firm on his resolution presented to the Security Council last week, especially on that section which called on the Council to accept responsibility for partition as requested in the General Assembly’s decision.

At the same time, he restated the American view that acceptance of such responsibility is “subject to the limitation that armed forces cannot be used for implementation of the plan because the U.N. Charter limits the use of United Nations force expressly to threats and breaches, and aggression affecting international peace.” Implementation of the partition decision must be achieved by peaceful measures, Austin insisted.

Going into elaborate detail on the legal interpretation placed upon the Assembly resolution and the U.N. Charter by the United States, Sen. Austin made it clear that if the Council should decide that the Palestine situation constitutes a threat to world peace. The following steps, Austin said, could then be taken:

1.Military measures under Article 42 of the U.N. Charter.

2.Impose economic or other non-military sanctions upon those states which are involved in creating a threat to peace.

3. Take provisional measures to halt hostilities pending settlement of the dispute under Article 40 of the Charter.

If a threat to peace is determined, the U.S. delegate declared, the Council would be required to follow one or more of these lines of action. This is an obligation that exists without the General Assembly resolution, because the Charter requires it, he pointed out.

Austin’s address today came in reply to a Belgian amendment to the American resolution which would have struck out the part of the proposal calling on the Council to accept its assigned responsibilities for the implementation of the partition plan as recommended by the General Assembly. In elaborating upon the request contained in the General Assembly resolution Senator Austin said:

“The Council may regard attempts to alter by force the settlement envisaged by this resolution as constituting a threat to peace. The obligation must be tarried out by the process of determination and not solely at the request of the General Assembly.”


The Soviet Union made known its stand in a short statement by Andrei Gromyko calling for Big Five consultations, but outside of committee. Instead, Gromyko said, these consultations should be directly among the big powers. In addition, he called for haste, and urged that the Big Five report to the Council within ten to 15 days.

Gromyko also described as ”complicated and confusing” the parts of the U.S. resolution which imply involved consultations with the Jews and Arabs. These consultations, he said, have been drawn out long enough. For additional information, the Soviet delegate pointed out, the Palestine Commission was available and ready to answer all questions and give all explanations, He asked the U.S. to delete that part of the proposal. The U.S. plan for consultations, he stressed, was “artificially put forth and cannot be justified” on practical grounds.

Gromyko also declared himself in favor of the part of the American proposal which accords recognition to the demands of the General Assembly upon the Council, thus taking a stand in direct opposition to the Syrian and Belgian proposals.


Following Austin’s statement, British Colonial Secretary Arthur Creech-Jones told the Security Council that the British Government “cannot agree to take part in the Committee” of the Big Five proposed by the U.S. and Belgian resolutions to establish whether the present situation in Palestine presents a threat to peace. Britain, he announced, will cooperate with the work of the Big Five Committee, but will not vote for either the American or Belgian resolution.

Creech-Jones warned the Council that after May 15, when the Palestine Mandate expires, the country “is likely to become disorganized, disintegrated and even more violent and disrupted on that date.” He expressed the hope that the Council will find a way to secure effective assumption of authority in Palestine by the United Nations when the Mandate is ended. At the same time, he warned that any force sent into Palestine from outside to impose any plan not acceptable either to the Jews or to the Arabs would have to be kept there for a long period.

The British Colonial Secretary then made a vicious attack on the Jewish Agency. He said that the statement by Moshe Shertok before the Security Council last Friday was one of “suppressions, distortions and half-truths.” It was an attempt to divert attention “from its political ineptitude and moral weakness,” he charged. “The Agency,” he said, “has consistently subordinated moral considerations to political expediency.”

The Council session opened with a fiery statement by Syria’s delegate Faris Kl. Khoury challenging the legal right of the Council to implement partition. In an article by article analysis of the U.S. resolution, EL Khoury defied Austin to answer his basic contentions that the Council has neither the right nor the power to muster force against the Arabs who, he said, have “the sacred right to defend themselves against criminal greed.” The Syrian denied the right of the Big Five to supersede the Council and supported the Belgian resolution.

The Council adjourned the Palestine-debate this evening and will resume its discussion tomorrow afternoon.

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