Red Cross Negotiating Jerusalem Truce; U.N. Trusteeship Council Awaits Results
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Red Cross Negotiating Jerusalem Truce; U.N. Trusteeship Council Awaits Results

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News that the International Red Cross is trying to negotiate a truce for the whole of Jerusalem overshadowed the political debate at the U.N. today as John Fletcher Cooke of Britain informed the Trusteeship Council that, if the negotiations are successful, details will be broadcast from Jerusalem at midnight, Palestinian time.

The initiative, in this moat recent of many attempts to halt the fighting, was taken by Jacques de Reynier, International Red Cross representative in Palestine, Fletcher Cooke announced. He told the Council that he had received only a brief message from Palestine and did not know whether the truce talks were likely to succeed. He denied that the Red Cross had acted at the behest of the British authorities in Jerusalem.

The new move was revealed at a closed session of the Trusteeship Council. Pending the outcome of the talks now in progress, U.S. delegate Benjamin Gerig failed to press for further debate of his temporary trusteeship plan for Jerusalem. Its chances of acceptance are considered remote, in any case, since the Arab Higher Committee has rejected Jerusalem trusteeship as a move to bolster partition.

Alexandre Parodi, president of the Security Council, declared that no Council meeting would be held today to investigate Jewish Agency complaints that Syrian and Lebanese troops had crossed the border into Palestine. It was understood that he is awaiting detailed information from the Consular Truce Commission in Jerusalem.


The Red Cross expose came shortly after the Trusteeship Council president, Francis B. Sayre of the United States, had announced the receipt of a cable signed by David Ben Gurion confirming that 48-hour cease fire order had been issued in the Old City. Ben Gurion made it plain that one of the terms which must be elaborated is to safeguard the city’s food and water Supply lines. Unless there was agreement on detailed truce term, he said, both parties would be free to resume their activities.

A round of charges and counter-charges followed Fletcher Cooke’s reading of a communication from Greek Orthodox and Armenian patriarchs in Jerusalem, requesting that the U.N. act to safeguard the Holy Places. Jamal Husseini made a veiled charge that the Jews were plotting to find a pretext for military occupation of monasteries and other religious buildings. He denied that the Arabs had ever used such buildings as Saint Simeons Monastery for military purposes.

In reply Shertok submitted a five- point intelligence report listing religious sites within the Old City which are being used by the Arabs for manufacture or storing of arms and for billeting soldiers. He took to task the Patriarch of the Katamon Monastery for failing to report that Arab fighters are using his grounds.

Husseini denied these declarations, but he conceded that certain buildings in Jerusalem–including religious establishments–might have been “rented” to the ##s. “There may be people with rifles coming in and out, that is true,” he said, ?he denied Shertok’s charges that the Old City was in fact a thoroughgoing mili? establishment.


The Russian delegation at the Political Committee again condemned the U.S. ?king paper on trusteeship as “a shameful document” hardly worth detailed attention, said even if it were amended, it would be unacceptable. The Soviet delegate, ?yon K. Tsarapkin, charged the Arab states with trying to create the impression ?t they would accept trusteeship when in fact they were opposed to all the salient ?ts of the plan.

This tactic, he said, is part of the Arab game of ultimately scrapping ?tition. He warned that trusteeship would aggravate rather than improve the situation and that enforcement might require more troops than the British had employed ?ing their Mandate.

The Soviet delegate Joined Joza Vilfan of Yugoslavia in a slashing attack on virtually-dictatorial powers of the Governor-General. The whole U.S. working ##er, Vilfan said, could be, summarized in one paragraph: “All powers should be in ## hands of a Governor-General who shall be appointed by the well-known majority in Trusteeship Council.”

No real progress was recorded throughout the morning’s desultory debate, is was conceded by a tacit confession on the part of Philip C. Jessup of the ##ited State who asked the Committee to seek a “provisional adjustment” rather than final solution at this time. He suggested that the Committee would profit from ##urrent authentic information” on the latest developments which could be supplied the Trusteeship Council, the truce commission in Jerusalem, the Palestine Commission its Secretariat, the Jewish Agency, the Arab Higher Committee and the Mandatory Power.Sir Zafrullah Kban of Pakistan reiterated his objection to granting the Jews sovereignty over districts in which the Arabs have a majority. He might reconsider ?s opposition to partition, the Pakistan Foreign Minister daid, if the Jews would ?ontent themselves with proclaiming a state in those areas where they have a majority. ?is was the case, he said, only in the Jaffa sub-district embracing Tel Aviv.

Jorge Garcia Granados of Guatemala opposed the enforcement protocol which, according to the U.S. plan, would be appended to the trusteeship agreement, designating certain powers as ready to send in armed forces at the request of the Governor-General. As Tsarapkin had pointed out earlier, Granados declared, the Charter permitted only the Security Council to handle such a request. Furthermore, Granados said, it would not be effective unless the powers concerned had made a prior agreement to provide enforcement troops.

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