U.N. Begins Discussion on Trusteeship; Meets with Jews and Arabs on Jerusalem Truce
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U.N. Begins Discussion on Trusteeship; Meets with Jews and Arabs on Jerusalem Truce

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The U.N. Political Committee today concluded its general debate on the future government of Palestine and began a discussion on the draft of the trusteeship plan proposed by the United States.

At the same time the Trusteeship Council today began its deliberations on flans for safeguarding the city of Jerusalem. After discussing a French plan to Establish immediately a police force of 1,000 volunteers in Jerusalem under a United Nations commander, the Council held a closed session with Arab and Jewish representatives for the purpose of sounding out both parties on the projected Jerusalem truce.

British Colonial Secretary Arthur Creech-Jones, addressing the Trusteeship Council, spoke of the “difficulties” involved in leaving Jerusalem merely under a police force. He suggested that a “military” force might be required to protect the city’s supply lines in view of its generally perilous situation.

Speaking for the Arabs, the Iraqi delegate indicated Arab acceptance of the principle of a truce in Jerusalem on humanitarian considerations but stipulated that such a truce must be divorced “from political maneuvers to entangle this with the partition decision.”


Moshe Shertok, addressing the Political Committee, declared that the U.S. proposal for Palestine trusteeship was tantamount to a reversal of the partition decision of the General Assembly. The American trusteeship plan, he said, is from a Jewish standpoint “totally unreal.”

Shertok pointed out that under the trusteeship proposal the Jews were expected to forgo the independence and statehood already accorded them; they would not even have the guarantees in the Mandate designed to promote and protect the Jewish National Home; above all, the right of Jews, as Jews, to immigrate and settle in Palestine was no longer to be valid. He asked whether an attempt to set settle the Assembly’s resolution might not be at variance with international law.

While the present Special Assembly was deliberating, Shertok emphasized, the position in Palestine was changing. Systematically or otherwise, partition was being carried out. A Jewish Central authority was already in operation, and a Jewish militia was already in action, fighting battles daily. To impose a trusteeship, he said, was no longer a matter of substituting one resolution for another, but of contending with an established fact.

Declaring that Jewish fears of invasion by armed forces from neighboring Arab countries had materialized, Shertok stressed the fact that since the first Arab wave of invasion by volunteers and small groups had turned out a fiasco, the Arab countries were now considering the use of regular armies, with the Arab Legion of Tran Jordan as their spearhead. If the British-supported Arab Legion did move into Palestine, as reported, for conquest, then Britain and Tran Jordan would be jointly responsible, he said.

Shertok warned that the Jews of Palestine were making every possible preparation to meet this threatened invasion with their own force. The Arab Legion, he did, was not invincible, and the Jews would, if necessary, meet the challenge of that force. “Our strength may be limited but there is nothing that a people conscious of its past and cherishing its future will not do in defense of its life and ?erty,” he stated.


In a showdown move on the choice between trusteeship and partition, which allowed Shertok’s speech, Soviet delegate Andrei Gromyko declared that before the United States or any other delegation had submitted a proposal to revoke partition, which was accepted by a two-thirds majority, no consideration of the U.S. trusteeship proposal was legally or politically possible.

Dr. Julius Katz-Suchy, of Poland, said he did not know what political reasons prevented the U.S. from introducing a resolution to revoke partition, but whatever they were, the U.S. would have to introduce such a resolution before its proposal should be considered.

Neither the State Department nor the Arab states are prepared for an immediate showdown since most delegates agree it would be impossible to muster a two-thirds majority at this time. Charles Malik, of Lebanon, promptly intervened to suggest that the trusteeship proposal be referred at once, as U.S. delegate Philip C. ##ssup had suggested, to the Trusteeship Committee for technical study.

The chairman of the committee, Sir Carl Berendsen of New Zealand, said delegates were begging the big question–whether to adopt trusteeship or to let partition ?tand. The American proposal, he said, was the antithesis of partition and furthermore, if adopted, would impose trusteeship without a time limit until a majority of the Arabs and Jews agree on a settlement. He also supported a request by Gunnar ?agglof, of Sweden, that the big powers “lay their plans for enforcement on the ?able.”

After a lengthy procedural debate, the Political Committee this afternoon decided by a vote of 38 to seven, with seven abstentions, to begin discussion of the U.S. proposal for a temporary trusteeship for Palestine.

Dr. Jorge Garcia Granados, of Guatemala, introduced a resolution which said that as it was impossible to discuss the question of trusteeship before knowing whether it was desired by the population of Palestine, and whether it can be implemented, the Political Committee should establish a sub-committee which should consult with the representatives of the Mandatory Power, the Jewish Agency, the Arab Higher Committee and with legal and military exports of the U.N. Secretariat, and report its findings back to the Committee. The Guatemalan proposal will come up for discussion when the Committee meets again tomorrow morning.

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