WASHINGTON (Jun. 16)
Mark Ethridge, former U.S. representative on the U.N. Palestine Conciliation Commission, expressed pessimism today at the results of the Lausanne negotiations, following a White House meeting with President Truman.”The Lausanne talks are completely deadlocked unless they find a new approach this week, and I am not sure they will,” he stated.
Agreement in principle has teen reached by the Commission on a plan for internationalization of Jerusalem, he said. He added that neither side knew about it yet and predicted that neither the Arabs or Jews would like it. Both will “wrangle,” be asserted; “it will he something hard for them to fight.” The Commission, he revealed, has thought of “15 ways” to internationalizeJerusalem, from a minimum proposal to the most severe which would entail occupation by international forces. He would not disclose what sort of compromise was reached.
Ethridge, who today submitted his formal resignation, emphasized that he found President Truman “well briefed” on the Lausanne situation. The Arab refugee problem is the central “core” of trouble at Lausanne, he said. He indicated that he did not think the present lack of agreement meant termination of the talks. If nothing is accomplished, however, the Commission will report to the U.N. General Assembly in September and the Assembly will then discharge the body, he declared.
The retiring U.S. representative described the problems of the Commission, telling how territorial disagreements were “inextricably linked” with the Arab refugee question. If certain territorial agreements could be reached 200,000 people could settle down immediately,” he declared, adding that “a good deal has been done and is being done on the refugee problem.”
REVEALS ISRAELI OFFER FOR ESTABLISHMENT OF “FREE ZONE” AT HAIFA
Another mission of the Commission, he said, was discussion of economic phases of the situation. Israel has already proved its willingness to cooperate on this phase of the talks, he stated. Mr. Ethridge cited an Israeli offer with regard to establishment of a “free zone” at Haifa.
The Arab position has been that Israel must abide by the Dec. 11, 1948 U.N. resolution calling for the return of peaceful Arab to their homes in Israel, he declared. Ethridge pointed out that Israel has shown its “good faith” by offering emergency repatriation for members of separated Arab families. This, he said, caused trouble because the Arabs have a broader conception of the composition of families than the Israelis and sometimes consider even fifth cousins to be close kins who should be repatriated.