PARIS (Nov. 18)
The British today presented a resolution to the United Nations Political Committee, amounting to complete endorsement of the Bernadette recommendations as a specific formula for a Palestine settlement, rather than as a basis for negotiations. The resolution, presented by Hector MoNeil, British Minister of State, was offered despite the failure of the United States to support the project.
The resolution “endorses the specific conclusions contained in Part I of the mediator’s report as the basis for a peaceful settlement of the Palestine question,” and establishes a three-nation Conciliation Commission which, in turn as recommended by Count Folks Bernadotte, would appoint a technical boundaries commission to lay down frontiers (based on the specific conclusions) of that report.
These include the awarding to the Arabs of the whole Negev south of the Majdal-Faluja line, and the designating of Galilee as Israeli territory. This proviso could be altered only to the extent of permitting “such adjustments as may promote agreement between the governments and the authorities concerned, without altering the general equilibrium of the mediator’s conclusions.”
BRITISH RESOLUTION FAVORS GIVING NEGEV TO TRANS JORDAN
The British proposal, which is five pages in length, also approves the Bernadotte recommendation that the Palestine Arab areas should preferably he allotted to Transjordan, although providing that their disposition should be made by the Arab states in consultation with the Palestine Arab population.
The resolution further provides that the Holy Places in Jerusalem are to be protected and free access assured by “effective United Nations supervision.” The U.N. Conciliation Commission is instructed to draw up detailed proposals for a permanent international regime in Jerusalem, based upon maximum autonomy for the Arab and Jewish committees, to be submitted for consideration next year at the regular meeting of the U.N. General Assembly.
Unimpeded access to Jerusalem by road, rail and air is to be accorded all Palestinians by the governments and authorities concerned, and the seven-nation Conciliation Commission is authorized to report to the Security Council any attempt to impair access to the Holy City.
The British proposal also provides for the dissolution of the U.N. truce commission and the present mediation machinery. It would instruct the Security Council to specify that the office of the U.N. mediator for Palestine will terminate when the Council transfers all the functions of mediation to the Conciliation Commission.
Syrian delegate Faris el Khoury led off the Arab opposition to the plan, He rejected it completely, reverting once again to a plea for a single, Arab state in Palestine. The delegates of Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Egypt all joined in denouncing the Bernadette recommendations. They were the only speakers to take the floor after McNeil and the session ended early for lack of speakers. A spokesman for the French delegation told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency today that France definitely does not consider the Bernadette plan more than a basis for discussion and said that the French delegation will offer some amendments to the British resolution. It was reported reliably that Canada, New Zealand and Australia are also not willing to stand behind the British proposal in its present form.
U.S. DELEGATION TO MAKE PRELIMINARY STATEMENT TODAY
An American spokesman indicated today that the U.S. delegation will make a preliminary statement on Palestine tomorrow. No information on what that statement would contain was revealed.
(At his vacation resort in Key West, President Truman today designated John Foster Dulles as acting chairman of the U.S. delegation to the United Nations. At the same time he appointed Benjamin Cohen chief U.S. delegate to the General Assembly to replace Rep. Warren Austin, who is ill.)
Meanwhile, the smaller nations at the U.N. are holding back from debate participation, waiting for the U.S. to make its position clear. If the U.S. should unqualifiedly support the British resolution, then the Arabs are expected to abstain and the resolution will probably obtain the necessary two-thirds vote. Only the U.S.S.R. and the Eastern European bloc is expected to oppose the decision in such an event. If, however, the U.S. does not follow the British lead this session of the Assembly will probably not reach any final solution of the Palestine problem.