UNITED NATIONS, N. Y (Oct. 7)
The General Assembly’s Special Political Committee convened here today for the first meeting of this year’s session with the Arab refugee problem one of the main topics on its agenda. The Arab League promptly jumped into another anti-Israel fray, by presenting to Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold a memorandum insisting on the return of all the refugees to Israel as the only solution to that problem.
The memorandum, given to Mr. Hammarskjold by Abdel Khalek Hassouna, Secretary General of the Arab League, made these points: 1. The League rejects the Hammarskjold plan for integration of the refugees into the economies of the Middle East. Such a plan, the League contends, is “incompatible with existing United Nations resolutions on Palestine and will be strongly resisted by the Arab states.” The memorandum “reasserts the stand of the Arab states, and the Arab people of Palestine, on the rights of the refugees to return to their homes and rejects any project even indirectly aimed at resettling them outside their homeland.” 2. The memorandum called the UN’s attention to “the danger of Jewish immigration to Palestine which constitutes a major obstacle to the implementation of the United Nations resolution on the repatriation of the refugees.” According to the League, “every material or political assistance facilitating such immigration is considered by the Arab states as an unfriendly act.”
While the Special Political Committee is convening today, it is not expected to start debating the Arab refugee problem, however, until about October 20. Today’s meeting will deal only with organizational matters and the election of other officers, besides Charles T.O. King, of Liberia, who is the chairman. But the importance with which the committee’s work is viewed seemed emphasized by the fact that Britain will be represented in the group by its delegation chairman, Sir Pierson Dixon.
Sitting in for the United States today was the American delegation’s only Jewish member, Harold Riegelman, Later, when the refugee problem comes up, the U.S. delegation may be represented on the committee by Undersecretary of State Walter S. Robertson. The focussing of attention on the Arab refugee problem here today followed the completion in the Assembly’s general debate yesterday of a three-week long discussion centered often on Israel’s grievance against the United Arab Republic’s blockade of the Suez Canal.