Zionist Meeting Today with U.S. Jewish Groups to Draft Testimony for U.N. Appearance
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Zionist Meeting Today with U.S. Jewish Groups to Draft Testimony for U.N. Appearance

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Leaders of the Jewish Agency will confer here tomorrow with representatives of major American Zionist and non-Zionist groups to discuss the testimony to be given by the Agency when and if it is invited to appear before the Political Committee of the U.N. General Assembly.

The Political Committee is expected to begin meeting at Lake Success on Tuesday to decide on the terms of reference of a fact-finding committee and to study the question of allowing an Agency spokesman to participate in its deliberation. In accordance with a resolution adopted by the General Committee on Friday, the Agency’s request for participation in the U.N. session was referred to the Political Committee. The Assembly is likely to endorse the decision of the General Committee tomorrow when it resumes debate on a Polish motion calling for a voteless seat for the Agency in the Assembly itself.

Rumors that the American section of the Agency executive has invited Dr. Chaim Weizmann to fly to the United States to act as the Zionist spokesman before the Political Committee were denied today by members of the executive. They revealed, however, that David Ben Gurion, chairman of the executive, has been asked to come to Flushing.

(A Jerusalem dispatch to the JTA tonight said that Ben Gurion would leave Lydda airport tomorrow morning for New York. The report said that Eliezer Kaplan, Agency treasurer, is also being sent to the United States. A meeting of the executive was held in Jerusalem this afternoon to discuss the situation at the U.N. prior to Ben Gurion’s departure. The meeting did not discuss the reported invitation to Dr. Weizmann.)


Agency leaders indicated today that should the Political Committee invite Zionist spokesmen to appear, they will do so only on the following conditions:

1. That the Agency is not to appear before any sub-committee, but before the full Political Committee which is composed of the 55 member states composing the United Nations.

2. That only representatives of the Agency, and of no other Jewish groups, are to be asked to express their views before the Committee.

In advancing the second demand, the Agency is aiming at establishing once and for all time its status as the only body internationally recognized as the spokesman for the Jewish people in matters affecting Palestine. This is of particular importance now in view of the attitude of the American delegation–as expressed by Sen. Austin on Friday–that the Agency not only does not represent all Jews, but not even all Jews in Palestine.

There was a strong possibility that the stand of the Agency might result in barring it from testifying before the Political Committee. The U.S. delegation has demanded that an acknowledgement that the Agency does not speak for all Jews be one of the conditions for approving the appearance of a Zionist representation before the committee, and Soviet delegate Andrei Gromyko has emphasized that he advocates non-voting participation in the Assembly for all Jewish groups who so desire, not only the Agency.


Another, and more serious, obstacle is the British delegation, which is continuing to exert pressure on the other representatives to back its proposal that the Jews be asked to testify at closed hearings before a sub-committee of the Political Committee or a small committee of five established for that purpose. The British move, which is reported to have the support of Canadian delegate Lester Pearson, chairman of the Political Committee, is aimed at preventing a public condemnation of the British Government for its violation of the Palestine Mandate through the promulagation of the White Paper of 1939, which had been rejected by the Mandates Commission of the League of Nations.

Pearson, who has already stated that he will attempt to limit discussion at the Political Committee to questions of procedure, can, as chairman, decide when to call the Agency. Even if it is decided to allow the Jews to appear before the full committee, he can first order discussion of the establishment of the inquiry committee, and invite the Agency only after the probe body has already been set up. This would severely limit the scope of the Agency’s participation.


The Polish delegate, Dr. Alfred Fiderkiewicz, who was defeated at the General Committee on Friday, when he attempted to secure a seat in the Assembly for the Agency, resumed the fight before the plenary session yesterday, with the support of Mr. Gromyko. He was opposed, as on Friday, by Sen. Austin who cited the legal grounds why the Agency could not appear before the Assembly.

Replying to the U.S. delegate, Mr. Gromyko attacked the American stand as a purely technical maneuver designed to prevent Jewish representation. He reiterated that the Jews must have an opportunity to be heard, particularly since the Arabs had had an ample opportunity to present their case. It would be abnormal, he added, to bar the Jews.

The Polish representative pleaded with the Assembly to reverse the previous day’s decision of the General Committee, declaring that his request was completely within the spirit and letter of the Charter. The debate, which had been scheduled to continue until a vote had been taken, was interrupted at 6:30 p.m. at the suggestion of the Australian delegation. It will be resumed tomorrow morning at 11 a.m. when the Assembly has voted, the scene will shift from Flushing Meadows to Lake Success, where the Political Committee will convene.


In a last-minute effort to win a full and complete hearing, the Agency today issued an appeal to the members of the U.N. to consider the Zionist case “on its merits” and not allow it to “be prejudiced by conflicts on other issues.” Without mentioning those nations by name, the statement voiced thanks for the support given the Agency plea for participation in the Assembly by Poland, the Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia, and expressed regret that the United States and Britian have not taken a similar position. The text of the statement read as follows:

“The Jewish Agency for Palestine appreciates the stand of those countries that have supported its request for the opportunity to be heard by the General Assembly. It keenly regrets that the mandatory power, the first great nation to promise assistance to the establishment of the Jewish National Home, and the United States, which has always supported Jewish national aspirations in Palestine, have not taken a similar position.

“The Jewish people, who fought in all the armies of the United Nations during the war and who proportionately suffered larger losses than any other people, are hopeful that their case will be considered by the General Assembly on its merits and will not be prejudiced by conflicts on other issues.

“There is irony in the technical objection that the Jewish people cannot be heard in the General Assembly because their spokesman is not a state. This is striking evidence of the validity of the Zionist thesis that a Jewish state must be established in Palestine.

“It is not as reward for the services that the Jewish people rendered in the war, nor as reparation for injuries sustained that we submit our plea. All peoples are justified in asking the United Nations for the opportunity to defend their rights to survival and self-fulfilment. It is that consideration which gives capacity and meaning to our request to plead our own cause. To condemn our people to wait in the anti-chambers while opponents are freely permitted every opportunity to do us injury is to add peril and indignity to the lot of those already too much wronged.”

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