LAKE SUCCESS (Mar. 9)
The Big Four powers today questioned British representative Sir Alexander Cadogan in an effort to determine whether Palestine faces an immediate or future threat to the peace.
Sir Alexander was unprepared to answer most of the questions, pending more information from London. However, his replies indicated that Britain was very hazy about the general security of Palestine either now or after termination of the Mandate. His replies to several scores of questions established the following points;
The British admit three invasions whose forces or arms they could not identify, but deny that there is an Arab army in Palestine. British troops will not be responsible for law and order after May 15, except to protect lines of evacuation. Britain could not say what the security situation will be in Palestine after May 15, but Sir Alexander, told the Big Four to expect real fighting.
He also added that the British could not be sure of unfreezing Tel Aviv or any other port even after May 15. The British expect the Jewish Agency to remove all immigrants from Cyprus between May 15 and August 1, he stated.
After tonight’s meeting of the Big Four representatives, Sen. Warren Austin issued a statement expressing regret over the statement this morning of a “high Soviet official”–later identified as Andrei Gromyko–reiterating Soviet support of partition and expressing the opinion that the U.S. was attempting to reopen the Palestine issue. Austin added that “we shall judge the issue when the consultations are completed,”
Earlier, an American spokesman at Lake Success today admitted that the United States was pushing a “conciliation” plan to solve the Palestine issue and had sent notes to the Arab capitals and the Palestine Arab Higher Committee urging them to send representatives to the Big Four consultations and the Security Council.
The release of a U.N. working paper describing the Palestine Commission as having full power to implement partition without the authority of the Security Council caused a minor furor at the Council meeting this afternoon which was devoted to the question of Trieste.
Argentina’s delegate, Jose Arce, described it as the product of “an unbalanced kind,” and demanded an explanation from Secretary-General Irygve Lie. Austin defended the Secretariat but expressed “serious reservations on the substance of the document.” Gromyko thought the document building up the powers of the commission against those of the Council “very interesting” and the whole discussion unworthy of the Council.