U.N. General Assembly Adjourns; Appoints Three-power Palestine Conciliation Commission
Menu JTA Search

U.N. General Assembly Adjourns; Appoints Three-power Palestine Conciliation Commission

Download PDF for this date

The United Nations General Assembly adjourned its Paris session today following the formation of a Palestine conciliation commission composed of the United States, France and Turkey with the powers and functions formerly held by the U.N. Palestine mediator and the Security Council truce commission.

A resolution adopted by the Assembly instructs the commission to assist the governments concerned to achieve a final settlement on all outstanding questions with regard to Palestine. At the same tine, the Assembly resolution called on the Palestine disputants to seek agreement by negotiation either through the commission or directly. The Assembly also reaffirmed the decision of a year ago to place Jerusalem under an international regime.

The Assembly decision to set up the commission was adopted by a vote of 35 to 15, with eight abstentions. Voting for the resolution were:

Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Ethiopia, France, Great Britain, Greece, Haiti, Honduras, Iceland, Liberia, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, The Philippines, Siam, Sweden, Turkey, South Africa, the United States, Uruguay and Venezuela.

Against: Afghanistan, Byelorussia, Czechoslovakia, Cuba, Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Pakistan, Poland, Saudi Arabia, Syria, the Ukraine, the Soviet Union, Yemen and Yugoslavia.

Abstentions: Bolivia, Burma, Chile, Costa Rica, Guatemala, India, Iran and Mexico.


Commenting on the Assembly resolution, an Israeli delegation spokesman said: “Israel views with satisfaction that the resolution contains no vestige of endorsement of the late mediator’s report which the delegation declared from the outset to be unacceptable even as a basis for discussion. Moreover, there is nothing in the resolution which invalidates in any way the basic principles of the Palestine resolution of Nov. 29, 1947.”

Asserting that Israel has consistently advocated a settlement through negotiation — which the Assembly now provides — the spokesman reaffirmed Israel’s willingness to enter into negotiations without delay. The negotiations, he added, should aim at a solution of the problem by agreement of all problems between the Arabs and Jews, taking full account of “existing realities.”

The spokesman added a reminder that the conciliation commission’s effectiveness would depend greatly on the members who compose it and on favorable Security Council action on Israel’s application for U.N. membership. “Both factors may have a direct bearing on the prospects for successful conciliation,” he said.

The full text of the Assembly’s resolution setting up a Conciliation Commission reads:

THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY, having considered further the situation in Palestine, expresses its deep appreciation of the progress achieved through the good offices of the late United Nations Mediator in promoting a peaceful adjustment of the future situation in Palestine for which cause he sacrificed his life; and extends its thanks to the acting Mediator and his staff for their continued efforts and devotion to duty in Palestine.

2. ESTABLISHES a Conciliation Commission consisting of three states members of the United Nations which shall have the following functions: (a) To assume, in so far as it considers necessary in the existing circumstances, functions given to the United Nations Mediator on Palestine by resolution of the General Assembly of 14 April, 1948. (b) To carry out specific functions and directives given to it by the present resolution and such additional functions and directives as may be given to it by the General Assembly or by the Security Council, and,

(c) To undertake upon request of the Security Council any of the functions now assigned to the United Nations Mediator on Palestine or to the United Nations Truce Commission by resolutions of the Security Council, upon such request to the Conciliation Commission by the Security Council with respect to all remaining functions of the United Nations Mediator on Palestine under Security Council resolutions, the office of Mediator shall be terminated;

3. A committee of the Assembly consisting of China, France, U.S.S.R., United Kingdom and the United States of America shall present for approval of the Assembly a proposal concerning the names of three states who will constitute the Conciliation Commission.


4. REQUESTS the Commission to begin its functions at once, with a view to establishment of contact between the parties themselves and the Commission at the earliest possible date.

5. CALLS UPON the Governments and authorities concerned to extend the scope of negotiations provided for in the Security Council’s resolution of 16 November, 1948 and to seek agreement by negotiations conducted either with the Conciliation Commission or directly with the view to final settlement of all questions outstanding between them.

6. INSTRUCTS the Conciliation Commission to take stops to assist Government and authorities concerned to achieve final settlement of all questions outstanding between them.

7. RESOLVES that holy places, including Nazareth, religious buildings and sites in Palestine should be protected and free access to them assured, in accordance with existing rights and historical practice; that arrangements to this and should be under effective United Nations supervision; that the United Nations Conciliation Commission, in presenting to the fourth regular session of the General Assembly its detailed proposal for a permanent international regime for the territory of Jerusalem should include recommendations concerning holy places in that territory; that with re and to holy places in the rest of Palestine, the Commission should call upon political authorities of the areas concerned to give appropriate formal guarantees as to the protection of holy places and access to them; and that these undertakings should be presented to the General Assembly for approval.

8. RESOLVES that in view of its association with three world religions, the Jerusalem area, including the present municipality of Jerusalem, plus surrounding villages and towns, most eastern of which shall be Abu Dis; most southern Bethlehem; most western Ein Karim (including also the built-up area of Motsa) and most northern, Shufat, should be accorded special and separate treatment from the rest of Palestine and should be placed under effective United Nations control.

REQUESTS the Security Council to take further steps to ensure the demilitarization of Jerusalem at the earliest possible date.

INSTRUCTS the Conciliation Commission to present to fourth regular session of General Assembly detailed proposals for a permanent international regime for Jerusalem area which will provide for maximum local autonomy for distinctive groups consistent with the special international status of the Jerusalem area.

The Conciliation Commission is authorized to appoint United Nations representatives who shall cooperate with local authorities with respect to the interim administration of Jerusalem area.

9. RESOLVES that, pending agreement on more detailed arrangements among Governments and authorities concerned, the freest possible access to Jerusalem by road, rail or air should be accorded to all inhabitants of Palestine.

INSTRUCTS the Conciliation Commission to report immediately to the Security Council for appropriate action by that organ any attempt by any part to impede such access.

10. INSTRUCTS the Conciliation Commission to seek arrangements among Governments and authorities concerned which will facilitate economic development of the area, including arrangements for access to ports and airfields and use of transportation and communication facilities.

11. RESOLVES that refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbors should be permitted to do so at the earliest, date, and that compensation should be paid for property of those choosing not to return and for loss of or damage to property which under principles of international law or in equity should be made good by Governments or authorities responsible.

Instructs the Conciliation Commission to facilitate the repatriation, resettlement and economic and social rehabilitation of refugees and payment of compensation, and to maintain close relations with the director of the United Nations Relief for Palestine refugees and through him with appropriate organs and agencies of the United Nations.

12. Authorizes the Conciliation Commission to appoint such subsidiary bodies and to employ such technical experts acting under its authority as it may find necessary for effective discharge of its functions and responsibilities under the present resolution.

The Conciliation Commission will have its official headquarters at Jerusalem, Authorities responsible for maintaining order in Jerusalem will be responsible for taking all measures necessary to insure the security of the Commission. The Secretary-General will provide a limited number of guards for protection of the staff and premises of the Commission.

13. Instructs the Conciliation Commission to render progress reports periodically to the Secretary-General for transmission to the Security Council and to members of the United Nations.

14. Calls upon all Governments and authorities concerned to cooperate with the Conciliation Commission and to take all possible steps to assist in implementation of the present resolution.

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund