LAKE SUCCESS (Aug. 19)
Acting on a warning from U.N. Palestine mediator Count Folke Bernadotte that the situation in Jerusalem is “gradually getting out of hand” and that the strife might spread to all of Palestine, the Security Council at an urgent meeting today adopted a proposal aimed at preventing any breakdown in the Arab-Jewish truce.
The proposal, presented to the Council by the U.S. delegation and supported by the British, French and Canadian delegations, gave the mediator wider powers to enforce the observance of the truce. The Jews end Arabs, under the terms of the proposal, were each made responsible for acts of “irregulars” within their respective territories. Each party was obligated “to use all means” to prevent any possible violations of the cease-fire order.
The proposal also obligates both sides to bring to speedy trial and punishment individuals and groups involved in truce breaches. Neither party is permitted to violate the truce on the grounds that it is undertaking reprisal or retaliatory action. Military and political advantages gained through truce violations will not be recognized, the proposal provides.
The resolution adopted by the Council is based on specific requests made by Count Bernadotte in his appeal to the Council to act promptly on the Jerusalem situation. The mediator, in his appeal, pointed out that “it is difficult to assess reasonability and idle to try to ascertain” whether the Jews or Arabs are more to blame for the present truce breaches. “They both have come deliberately to ignore the authority of the United Nations,” he said.
The Security Council was prepared to adjourn its Lake Success sessions today and start a month-long recess before reconvening in Paris. The Council members hoped that Bernadotte would be able to keep the truce in effect at least through the month of August.
Israeli representative Aubrey Eban called the attention of the Council to a seeming contradiction between the U.N. mediator’s demands and a previous ruling. He pointed out that while Bernadotte now requested that neither party institute reprisals against attack, the mediator had previously ruled that a limited defense was permissible, U.S. delegate Philip Jessup said that the resolution adopted by the Council does not contradict the mediator’s earlier ruling.
Dmitri Manuilsky, Ukrainian delegate, told the Council that Bernadotte’s request for a tighter truce must be considered a confession of his failure as a mediator. (At the time the Bulletin went to press, the discussions were still continuing.)