UNITED NATIONS, N. Y (Sep. 15)
The 14th session of the United Nations General Assembly opened here today with more than 60 items on its agenda, including several which are of direct importance to Israel and to Jews throughout the world. The Israel delegation at the Assembly consists of 17 members headed by Golda Meir, Israel’s Foreign Minister.
The Arab refugee problem is one of the major questions which the Assembly will take up. At its session last year, the Assembly adopted a resolution noting with grave concern that the financial situation of the UN Relief and Work Agency is serious. UN Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold later recommended that the UNRWA should continue its existence pending the “reintegration of the refugees into the economic life of the Middle East either by repatriation or by resettlement.” The agency’s mandate expires June 30, 1960.
Another item on the Assembly’s agenda which is of direct interest to Israel is maintenance of the United Nations Emergency Force which is stationed between Israel and Egypt to prevent possible clashes between the two countries. The cost of maintaining the UNEF during 1960 is estimated by the UN Secretary General at $18, 916, 000. The Assembly will have to decide on the manner of financing the force which is made up of military units from seven countries. It will also hear a progress report on the force.
Of interest to Jews throughout the world is the item on the agenda dealing with the drafting of an international convention of human rights. Last year the Assembly decided to give priority at this session to consideration of the draft international covenants on human rights. These covenants were originally prepared by the UN Commission on Human Rights and have been on the agenda since 1954.
LEBANESE PREMIER RAISES ARAB REFUGEE ISSUE AT OPENING SESSION
At the opening session of the Assembly today. Premier Rachid Karame of Lebanon–who opened the Assembly supplanting Dr. Charles Malik, ex-Lebanese Foreign Minister who was Assembly president last year–touched on the Arab refugee problem and, without mentioning Israel by name, said that the Arab refugees “have been brutally driven from their homes.”
“The World Refugee Year, ” he declared, “deserves our attention. Lebanon, which received a number of refugees equal to one-tenth of its population, as well as the other Arab countries, naturally realized the importance of sustained international action aimed at meeting the needs of this group of human beings who were deprived of their rights and brutally driven from their homes. “
“Lebanon, ” he continued, “cannot but insist that United Nations aid be maintained and reinforced. In this field, as in others, our organization cannot, without failing in its essential purpose, evade its responsibilities. “
Immediately after Mr. Karame concluded his opening remarks, the Assembly elected Dr. Victor Andre Belaunde, 75-year-old Peruvian jurist, as president of the 14th General Assembly. Dr. Belaunde, who participated in the drafting of the United Nations charter at San Francisco in 1945, and who has been chairman of his country’s delegation at all sessions of the Assembly since 1949, is considered a friend of Israel.
Earlier today Abdel Khalek Hassouna, Secretary General of the Arab League, held a brief conference with United Nations Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold. They were believed to have discussed the Arab League’s attitude toward Mr. Hammarskjold’s recently proposed plan for the integration of the Arab refugees into the Middle East economy.