U.N. Assembly’s Legal Committee Votes to Invite Arab League Observer to U.N. Sessions

The United Nations Legal Committee today voted to extend a permanent invitation to the secretary-general of the Arab League to attend sessions of the U.N. General Assembly as an observer. The vote came after the Lebanese representative on the Committee had insisted that the objective of the Arab states in presenting the resolution to invite the League to U.N. meeting was not to seek U.N. recognition of the League as a regional arrangement under terms of the U.N. Charter, but to secure closer cooperation between the League and the world organization.

There were 42 votes in favor of the resolution, offered by Syria, seven abstentions and ten absentees. Israel cast the only negative vote. Abstaining were Bolivia and Guatemala who felt that there was no logal question involved concerning recognition of the League, that the Legal Committee was not the place for the question and it should merely refer the proposal back to the General Assembly with that statement. The members of the Soviet bloc comprised the other abstainees, and their views was that the question was strictly a juridical one concerning Charter provisions and they found no basis in the Charter for such an invitation.

Before the ballotting, the Israel delegate, Dr. Jacob Robinson, confined his final remarks to responding in some detail to various points which had been raised by other delegates during the debate. He maintained the Israel position that the nature, structure and function of the League were wholly relevant to the question of an invitation to its secretary-general and that it was not merely a matter of curtesy. He also bitterly attacked the Iraqi and Lebanese delegates for what he called their “spirit of vituperation in Hitlerian fashion,” which he said was in marked contrast to the objectivity displayed to all other delegations including Egypt.

The Western bloc resolution on Korea, which provides for a U.N. commission to hold Korean elections after the military occupation of that country, and which was adopted by the General Assembly’s Political Committee last night, included an Israel amendment. The amendment, which was accepted 29 to two, with 22 absentions, reads: “That all sections and representative bodies of the population of Korea, South and North, be invited to cooperate with organs of the United Nations in the restoration of peace, in the holding of elections and in the establisment of a unified “Government.”

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