LAUSANNE (Aug. 3)
The Israeli delegation today provided the United Nations Conciliation Commission on Palestine with its eagerly awaited plan for the repatriation of Palestine Arab refugees.
Reuven Shiloah, special assistant to Israeli Foreign Minister Moshe Sharett, told the Commission members that Israel was prepared to accept 100,000 Arab refugees provided the Arab states accepted that as part of the general settlement of the refugee question within the framework of the ultimate settlement of all outstanding questions between the Arab states and Israel.
The Arab states have already given their agreement to this, although they have not hidden their disappointment over the total number of refugees Israel has offered to take back. The Israeli delegation, however, proposed that discussion of details should begin at once, and it seems likely now that the first joint meeting of the two parties to the controversy will take place soon.
U.S. INDUCES ARAB DELEGATES TO ACCEPT ISRAELI TERMS
The most significant development at the meeting today was the assurances received by the Arabs from the United States that as soon as they agree to the Israeli proposals over the number of refugees to be accepted, Washington will begin immediate implementation of the McGhee Plan without waiting for a full peace settlement at Lausanne.
(The so-called McGhee Plan, advanced by George C. McGhee, new Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and African Affairs, would provide for the development of the entire Near East area.)
The Arab states have already replied, and informed the United States representatives on the Commission here of the number of refugees which they are willing to settle in their countries, subject to receiving the financial and technical assistance outlined in the McGhee Plan.
Transjordan proposes to take 100,000 refugees, Syria and Lebanon each 100,000, while about 30,000, it is estimated, will be resettled in central Arab Palestine; for its part, Egypt is prepared to accept 150,000 refugees for settlement in the Gaza area and such additional territories of Southern Palestine to which it lays claim.
The Conciliation Commission today issued a communique summing up the progress made thus far. It emphasized that the discussions with the Israeli and Arab delegations were based upon the following principles: “That repatriation of Arab refugees to Israel should be part of the general plan for a final settlement of the problem of the Palestine Arab refugees, and that the solution of the refugee question should constitute the opening of discussions directed toward a final settlement of the Palestine problem. It is understood by the two parties that the Lausanne talks envisage by a final settlement of the Palestine problem the establishment in the Middle East of an atmosphere favorable to stable and peaceful relations between the Arab states and Israel.”