LAKE SUCCESS (Dec. 12)
The U.S. Government’s attitude on the question of the status of Jerusalem was outlined here today at the U.N. Special Political Committee by John C. Ross, American delegate, following the introduction by Belgium of a new resolution on Jerusalem.
The representative of Belgium, who yesterday opposed a Swedish proposal which recommends the internationalization of the Holy Places alone, today presented the Special Political Committee with a resolution of his own. It would instruct the U.N. Trusteeship Council to appoint a committee of four persons to study, in consultation with the Governments of Israel and Jordan, and “with authorities and religious bodies concerned” the conditions of a settlement which would insure effective international pretection of the Holy Places and of spiritual and religious interests in the Holy Land. The four-man committee would report back to the regular session of the U.N. General Assembly next year.
Expressing his opposition to the Belgian proposal, the U.S. delegate said that the negotiations which had already taken place on the Jerusalem question had been “to say the least, quite exhaustive.” He felt that the Assembly should take a step in the direction of a final settlement during the present session.
SUPPORTS INTERNATIONALIZATION OF JERUSALEM AREA “IN PRINCIPLE”
Mr. Ross emphasized that the United States “continues to support the principle of an international regime for the Jerusalem area.” However, the experience of the last year, he said, has borne out all too clearly that there is no way to enforce a statute of Jerusalem which is firmly opposed by the inhabitants of the Jerusalem area and by the Governments of Israel and Jordan.
This, Mr. Ross said, does not mean that Israel and Jordan should have what amounts to a vote ever decisions of the United Nations concerning Jerusalem, but it does mean that the United Nations should not take decisions which “by their very nature” give the Governments of Israel and Jordan as well as the people of Jerusalem “no alternative but to oppose them.”
The American delegate warned the U.N. Special Political Committee not to forget that conditions in Jerusalem have changed greatly in the three years since the concept of the internationalization of the city was established. He advised the United Nations to give full consideration to these changed conditions. He pointed out that huge financial and administrative burdens would result from any attempts to set up “a city state in Palestine.”
“The United States,” Mr. Ross continued, “had studied with interest the Swedish proposal which limits international supervision to the Holy Places only, and regarded this proposal as a very constructive contribution to the solution of the problem. As I understand it, Israel had indicated general acceptance of the proposal. The United States delegation is disappointed that Jordan considers some of the important aspects of the proposal unacceptable.”
Mr. Ross also suggested the possibility of sending to Jerusalem a U.N. representative, with a staff, rather than a High Commissioner, in view of Jordan’s objections. The representative would remain in the city to represent the interests of the which might be made on the recommendations of the U.N. representative. In addition, the proposed, both governments would be asked to pledge freedom of access to the Holy Places.
This approach, said Mr. Ross, would not be as satisfactory to the U.S. delegation as that in the present Swedish draft, and the United States would be prepared to support it only if it proved acceptable to the majority of the General Assembly and if Jordan and Israel agreed to accept “or as a minimum acquiesce” in its provisions. This would not constitute a final settlement of the Jerusalem question, he noted, but would be an important step upon which later decisions could be built.
FRANCE OPPOSES SWEDISH PROPOSAL; BRITAIN URGES DELEGATES TO VOTE FOR IT
The French representative told the U.N. Committee that his government would not accept the Swedish proposal, but would be inclined to support the Belgian proposal. He emphasized that France could only support provisions which offered adequate guarantees and which could be implemented. “I do not feel that the provisions of the Swedish proposal are capable of effective implementation since they have not secured the unreserved acceptance of Israel and Jordan,” he said. He pointed out that Israel accepted the proposal in principle only, while Jordan refused to give precise assurances.
The representative of Britian argued that territorial internationalization was an ideal that could not at present be realized. “Under the circumstances, the Swedish proposal seems to me a sensible and practical suggestion,” he said. He expressed opposition to the Belgian proposal. “I hope that the members of our committee will have the courage to vote for the Swedish proposal which at least containe specific measures and thus does not merely continue fruitless negotiations,” he declared. (At the time the Bulletin went to press no vote had been taken on either proposal.)
Twenty Latin American nations met in a closed caucus last night to resolve their position on the Jerusalem issue, and if possible to decide upon a common policy. Most of them supported the 1949 internationalization resolution that was originally sponsored by Australia. However, Australia reversed her position yesterday in favor of the Swedish draft.