U.N. Assembly Committee Still Deadlocked on Arab Refugee Issue

After nearly three weeks of debate, in which 42 delegations have participated, and three weeks of fruitless behind the scenes negotiations, the General Assembly’s Special Political Committee was still deadlocked today on what to do next on the Arab refugee question.

The impasse is due to the fact that the United States insists on a committee resolution that would recommend a fresh look at the refugee problem before the expiration, in June 1960, of the mandate of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Arab Refugees. The Arab states, on the other hand, refuse to accept the American proposal and want a resolution simply authorizing UNRWA to continue its work beyond 1960.

Throughout the negotiations of the last three weeks, the Arab representatives have threatened that they would torpedo the American resolution even if it passed in the Special Political Committee. The committee could adopt such a resolution by a simple majority. But the draft would then have to go to a plenary session of the Assembly, where a two-thirds majority is required for passage. There it could be defeated by a combination of the Arab and Soviet blocs reinforced by a handful of other member nations.

Israel’s delegation chairman, Abba Eban, addressing the committee yesterday for the third time in a week, pressed home Israel’s insistence that the only solution to the Arab refugee problem consists of the integration of the Arabs in Arab countries as a pre-condition to Israel’s payment of compensation.

Mr. Eban told the committee that a proposal voiced last week calling for the appointment of a United Nations trustee or custodian for Arab property in Israel is unacceptable because such a custodian would “infringe on the sovereignty of Israel.”

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