Soviet Backs Arabs at U.n.; Urges Repatriation of Refugees to Israel

The Soviet Union told the General Assembly’s Special Political Committee today that “the only correct solution” to the Arab refugee problem is the “repatriation” of all the refugees who wish to go to Israel to be permitted to “return” to their “homeland” and pay compensation to those not going back.

Ambassador Mikhail Menshikov, representing the Soviet Union in the committee, declared that the “right” of the refugees to go back to what he called “their homeland” could not be doubted or ignored.

He recalled a 1948 resolution adopted by the General Assembly in support of his contention that repatriation or compensation constituted the only solution. While that resolution also mentioned the alternative of resettlement, Mr. Menshikov, following the policy of the Arab delegations, ignored that alternative. The real cause for the present refugee impasse, he said, was Israel’s refusal to carry out past UN resolutions. In passing he also attacked the Western Powers when he declared that “Israel would not be able to defy world opinion without the support of certain Western Powers.”

NEW ZEALAND DELEGATE CALLS FOR DIRECT ARAB-ISRAEL TALKS

O.P. Gabites, the New Zealand representative in the Political Committee, told the III-member group that no peace settlement between the Arabs and the Israelis could be

The statement by Mr. Gabites seemed particularly significant, since it followed a long speech by Lebanon’s Ambassador Georges Hakim who rejected in advance any possible resolution that may be presented calling for direct Arab-Israel peace talks.

Meanwhile, a long dispute evolved in the Committee when Arab spokesmen demanded that a speech made ten days ago by Ahmad Shukairy, spokesman for the so-called “Palestine Arab delegation,” be labeled officially as an address coming from that delegation head.

Last week, Mihail Haseganu of Rumania, chairman of the Committee, ruled that Mr. Shukairy’s speech be circulated as an official United Nations document. Today, Salah el-Dine Tarazi of Syria complained that the Shukairy speech as circulated identifies Shukairy only as an individual and not as “chairman of the Palestine Arab delegation.”

Israel’s permanent representative, Michael 5. Comay, told the Committee that the speech had been correctly identified as one coming from an individual in accordance with the Committee’s decision. Dr. Ralph J. Bunche, UN Undersecretary for Special Political Affairs, in a rare personal intervention before the Committee, told the group that he assumed “full responsibility” for the manner in which the Shukairy speech was titled.

After a discussion lasting nearly an hour and a half during which Dr. Bunche spoke twice, and Mr. Comay three times, the issue was left hanging in the air when Tarazi declined to call for a vote on the procedural issue.

NEXT STORY