LAKE SUCCESS (Nov. 20)
The Soviet delegation at the United Nations will support a strong U.N. regime in Jerusalem at the forthcoming discussions here on the future status of the Holy City, it was learned today. Poland is expected to go along with the Soviet delegation on this issue.
Reports that delegations of the Arab states are preparing to submit their own proposals for a U.N. regime patterned along Russian lines persisted here over the week-end. Soviet policy, it was stated here, is based on the Russians’ consistent support of the original Palestine partition plan of Nov. 29, 1947, and on Moscow policy to bolster independent Arab states against the re-entry of colonial powers and the U.S. into the Near East.
Meanwhile, the U.N. Palestine Conciliation Commission revealed yesterday that Israel and four of its Arab neighbors–Egypt, Transjordan, Syria and Lebanon–have agreed in principle to guarantee protection and free access to the Holy Places. The disclosure was made in a Commission report submitted to the U.N. General Assembly and was based on replies received by the Commission to a communication sent to the five nations on Sept. 2.
The five governments involved, however, stipulated that they consider it premature for the setting up by the United Nations of supervisory machinery for the protection of the Holy Places. Israel and the four Arab states were asked by the Conciliation Commission to support a formal Commission declaration on the protection of religious sites and buildings in Palestine in accordance with existing nights and historical practice.
COMMISSION OMITS MENTION OF JERUSALEM’S HOLY PLACES
The Commission’s communication specifically excluded mention of Jerusalem’s Holy Places because the question of that city’s proposed internationalization is now under consideration by the United Nations.
Members of the Conciliation Commission, however, recalled in their letter to the five states that the General Assembly had resolved last December to establish effective United Nations supervision to back up any formal guarantees that might be made by the political authorities of the Arab and Jewish areas.
In a letter dated Nov. 8, Arthur Lourie, Israel Consul-General in New York and a member of the Jewish state’s delegation to the U.N., declared: “The Government of Israel herewith reiterates its readiness solemnly to give formal guaranties for the free exercise in Israel of all forms of worship; for the preservation of Holy Places, religious buildings and sites in Israel, and for the associated amenities; for the granting of rights of visit, access and non-disturbance; and for appropriate measures in regard to taxation.”
Mr. Lourie said, however, that actual formulation of a declaration should be deferred until the General Assembly deals with the whole Palestine issue, and noted that the character of U.N. representation and the method of settling disputes were still up in the air. He promised Israel would submit early “specific, positive and helpful proposals” on these issues.
Similar support for the general principles contained in the Commission’s plea for protection of the Holy Places was given by the four Arab countries concerned in a joint reply. While pledging sanctity for the Holy Places under their control, the Arab nations proposed their own draft declaration in place of that suggested by the Commission. Under the Arab version, which in general principles shoed the Commission’s draft, there would be no mention of United Nations supervision.
(Eliahu Sassoon, newly-named Israel. Minister to Turkey and Israel’s leading authority on Arab affairs, was quoted in a Tel Aviv dispatch appearing in the New York Herald Tribune today as stating that prospects of a peace settlement with the Jewish state and the Arab nations are worse now than at any time since the war last year. Mr. Sassoon added that it was useless for Israel to continue pressing for a treaty as long as present conditions of disunity and instability prevail in the Arab world.)