Britain Drops Blanket Endorsement of Bernadotte Plan; Submits to U.S. Modifications
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Britain Drops Blanket Endorsement of Bernadotte Plan; Submits to U.S. Modifications

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Within 48 hours of the expected final decision on Palestine by the U.N. Political Committee, the British delegation today formally abandoned its blanket support of the Bernadotte report, which recommends the yielding by Israel of the Negev, and submitted to the stand taken by the U.S. delegation.

This British decision came after Harold Beeley, British Foreign Office Middle East expert and acting British delegate, had been told by the United States delegate, Dr. Philip C. Jessup, during a joint consultation last night, that the United States delegation had received strict instructions to make no further concessions to the British; that any further compromises to achieve a joint Anglo-American policy on Palestine would have to come from the British. The British, thereupon, agreed to throw out the paragraph in their draft resolution which endorses the Bernadotte report and modify the clause which gave definitive instructions to the proposed conciliation commission for settling territorial questions.

The British delegation, however, insisted that in accordance with a statement made by Dr. Jessup previously, Israel should give up some territory awarded the U.N. partition resolution if the Israelis wished to obtain additional areas, either in Galilee or on the road to Jerusalem. Furthermore, the latest revision of the British text incorporates the Bernadotte recommendation that Haifa and Lydda become a free port and a free airport, respectively. Agreement by the United States delegation is not yet assured for the interchange of territory clause; this has been sent to Washington for a decision.


Israeli Foreign Minister Moshe Shertok later criticized the revised version of the British resolution as drafted today by the Political Committee. He insisted that a careful reading of the draft resolution reveals that Britain is proposing to attribute equal value to the U.N. partition resolution and the report of the late Count Folke Bernadotte. Another point, he said, is that the British propose to abolish the mediator’s post but at the same time suggest setting up a conciliation commission which would take over the mediator’s duties and functions.

The British proposal as to the future status of Jerusalem and the problem of the Arab refugees also was unacceptable to Israel, Shertok said. He criticized the provision that would give the projected commission powers to decide the fate of Jerusalem and to appoint a governor for the city, even before making a report to the next meeting of the U.N. General Assembly. The British resolution also suggests permitting Arab refugees to return to Israel before peace is concluded, he pointed out.

The Israeli Foreign Minister revealed that Israeli observers at the United Nations session were not maintaining any contacts or conducting any negotiations with the British delegation except as to the future of 11,200 Jewish refugees who have been detained at Cyprus as “illegal immigrants to Palestine” by Britain.

At the afternoon session, Israeli representative Aubrey S. Eban said that the state of Israel does not exist because of a fait accompli, as some Arab representatives have tried to imply. “This is nothing but a grotesque distortiin of fact,” he said. “The state of Israel was called into existence by the international community of the world and the people of Israel answered that call.

“Today harmony exists between the will of the General Assembly and actual fact in Israel,” Eban said. “On the other hand, the Egyptian occupation of Gaza is nothing but a fait accompli. At this stage of the discussion I believe the Arabs are wasting time when they try to imply that the state of Israel came into existence by the sheer use of force and is today a fait accompli. The state of Israel is the expression of the will of the Assembly.”


Soviet delegate S.K. Tsarapkin criticized the revised British resolution. He said that there was complete agreement between the United States and Britain to weaken as much as possible the state of Israel and strengthen by territorial acquisitions the “puppet kingdom of Transjordan.” He also made it clear that any solution placing Palestine territory under King Abdullah of Transjordan–even with Israeli consent–would be opposed by the Soviet blue. The delegates from the Ukraine and Byelorussia declared that in their view the original U.N. partition resolution alone should be the basis of any new resolution on Palestine.

The first reply from an Arab state to the Security Council’s armistice resolution was received morning from Saudi Arabia. The reply was non-committal and restrained in tone. The Saudi Arabians merely expressed their desire to emphasize that the Palestine problem “is a serious one,” and went on to state that if it were not solved “according to principles of right and justice,” it would lead to “unexpected developments of far-reaching and unlimited calamities.”

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