Sharett Asks U.N. to Defer Final Decision on Jerusalem for a Year; Offers Pact
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Sharett Asks U.N. to Defer Final Decision on Jerusalem for a Year; Offers Pact

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Israel Foreign Minister Moshe Sharett today called on a 17-nation United Nations subcommittee on Jerusalem to accept a minimum agreement with the Israel Government for the protection of the Holy Places and to defer the final decision on the entire Jerusalem issue until the next Assembly.

At the same time, Mr. Sharett called upon the representative of Transjordan, seated at the subcommittee table, to join Israel in an agreement. He reminded the subcommittee that “a very important factor” in the issue is the people of Jerusalem. He hinted that the Government of Israel could not be responsible for any resistance they may put forth against the United Nations. Israel cannot be deprived of her sovereignty in the city while that sovereignty is invoked against the people, he said. “You cannot have it both ways.”

He rejected the repeated contention that the U.N. could not legally change its own partition decision and questioned the legal right of the Assembly to implement its decision whenever it saw fit, as when it left Jerusalem in a “vacuum of energy.” Israel, he said, filled that vacuum, and added the strongest assertion yet made by Israel on the status quo in the city: “I submit, Mr. Chairman, that today the established authorities in Jerusalem cannot be displaced.”

(A New York Times report from Istanbul today stated that the parley of all American diplomats in the Middle East which is taking place there is “dominated by evidence that King Abdullah of Transjordan is determined to make a separate peace with Israel. The Times added that there are concrete reports that Abdullah has informed at least one Levant state that he does not intend to wait for a decision by the Arab League and that he will initiate negotiations with Israel.)


Establishment of a “Near-East Relief and Work Agency” by the United Nations to carry out an 18-month public works program in Arab Palestine and contiguous Arab areas in order to put 100,000 Arab refugees to work was recommended today in a resolution introduced to the U.N. Special Political Committee by the United States, Britain, France and Turkey.

Embodying the substance of proposals made in a recently-received report of the Economic Survey Mission for the Middle East, headed by Gordon R. Clapp, the new refugee plan would set up a U.N.-appointed director of the agency with an advisory commission composed of representatives of the four sponsors of the resolution. Direct relief would be continued until April 1, 1950, and the agency would continue until June 30, 1951. The total cost of both direct and work relief is estimated in the resolution at $54,900,000 and all member countries are urged to make voluntary contributions to meet this cost.

Observers noted today that the solution suggested in the Clapp Report and embodied in the resolution before the Special Political Committee sidestepped the whole question of repatriation upon which the Arab nations especially had previously put considerable emphasis. In today’s discussion the Egyptian delegate referred to the subject of repatriation but gave “wholehearted” support to the principle and the teams of the resolution which was introduced by John C. Ross of the United States.

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