285 Distinguished Americans Urge International Curatorship for Holy Places in Jerusalem

Two hundred and eighty-five American leaders, representing outstanding spokesmen for the religious, labor, political and cultural communities of the United States, in a communication to President Truman made public here today, requested the United States Government to take the initiative in resolving the Jerusalem question by asking the United Nations to abandon the corpus separatum internationalization scheme and substitute for it a system of international control limited solely to Holy Places.

Making the request on the eve of resumption of the United Nations Trusteeship Council meeting, the group submitted a substitute plan which it asked be accepted as the basis for American policy. Specifically the leaders proposed that the Jewish zone of Jerusalem, already integrated with Israel, be recognized as belonging to the Jewish state, and that the Arab zone of Jerusalem, under the control of King Abdullah, be integrated with an Arab state.

Respecting the Holy Places, they suggested that there be established an International Curatorship for the Holy Places to be discharged by a United Nations commission composed of representatives of the Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Greek Orthodox and Moslem faiths. Such a commission, responsible to the Security Council and having the power to employ guards, should have as its function: (a) to authenticate the Holy Sites in Palestine; (b) to be responsible for their preservation; (c) to insure free access to them at all times; and, (d) to supervise the restoration of such Holy Places as may have been damaged in the Palestine war.

Joining in making this proposal were 19 Bishops of the Protestant Episcopal Church, 77 Episcopalian religious and lay leaders, including the Secretary of the House of Bishops; six Bishops of the Evanbelical United Brethren Church; 18 Methodist Bishops; 42 heads of Christian Theological Seminaries; the president of the American Unitarian Association; the executive secretary of the Northern Baptist Convention; 25 Unitarian clergymen; seven presidents of colleges; 20 college professors and many out-standing personalities in warious walks of life.

“The principle embodied in the proposal for an International Curatorship should be accepted as the basis for American policy,” they urged, “with a view to later presentation of a statute to the United Nations based ontthis principle.” They praised the opposition of the United States to the December resolution of the United Nations and the Statute drafted by the Trusteeship Council, but pointed out that opposition in not enough. What is now required is “leadership in a constructive proposal as a substitute for an unjust and unworkable one,” they said.

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