LAUSANNE (May. 17)
Egypt has withdrawn its earlier offer to cede the Gaza coastal strip to Israel provided the Jewish state accepts the 150,000 Palestine Arab refugees now in the area, it was learned here today. It is believed in U.N. Conciliation Commission circles that some kind of a secret agreement on the future frontiers of Israel was recently reached by Egypt and Transjordan.
The Commission indicated today that it is prepared to continue the peace parley here until September, if necessary. The conference has been proceeding very slowly and it may require many months for the negotiations to bear fruit.
Mark Ethridge, United States member of the Commission, has postponed his departure at the request of the State Department until June 10.So far he has not received any inkling from the State Department about the identity of his successor–although the name of Dr. Ralph J. Bunche, former acting mediator for Palestine, continued to be mentioned as the most likely candidate.
The appointment of a technical committee to prepare all data on Palestine refugees is about to take place. It has been delayed by a quarrel and misunderstanding between the Turkish Government and the United Nations Secretariat at Lake Success. As this has now been cleared up, the composition of the refugee committee will be announced next week.