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U.N. Assembly Establishes Ad Hoc Committee on Palestine; Will Start Meetings Thursday

September 24, 1947
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The General Assembly today approved the recommendation of its General Committee that an Ad Hoc Committee on Palestine be established to deal with the report of the U.N. Special Committee on Palestine.

The Ad Hoc Committee, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency learns, will hold its first session at Lake Success on Thursday morning to elect a chairman. It is almost certain that Herbert V. Evatt of Australia will be named. The committee will be composed of representatives of each of the 55 states of which the United Nations is composed.

Opposition to the establishment of the Ad Hoc Committee was expressed at today’s session of the Assembly by representatives of Iraq and Lebanon who demanded that the Palestine issue be referred to the U.N. Political Committee. The Assembly, however, approved the Ad Hoc body by a vote of 29 to 11, with 16 abstaining. All the Big Five voted affirmatively.

Iraq representative Fadhil Jamali opened the Arab attack, arguing that “top level men” of the Political Committee should handle the Palestine question with its serious consequences for Middle Eastern and world peace. Many delegations, he asserted, would have to assign the same men to both the Political and Palestine committees, and since the Political Committee had already dealt with the Palestine problem, it should be referred to it.


Charles Malik, head of the Lebanese delegation, said that an Ad Hoc Committee would be more susceptible to the influence of “certain pressure groups” than would the Political Committee. Recalling the plea of French delegate Bidault to the Assembly for a solution based on Arab-Jewish harmony, Malik declared that “any permanent solution requires the consent of the Arabs and, therefore, from the start if we have felt that the question is treated in a peculiar and special way, it is not conducive to the constructive atmosphere necessary for a permanent solution.”

Malik further contended that the Arabs want the “politically responsible first delegates” of the Political Committee to consider the question, and not merely “specialists or alternate delegates” who, he said, would compromise the Ad Hoc Committee. “To tear this problem out of context of the other great problems and set it aside by itself for a special committee is to treat it abstractly and falsely,” Malik charged. He stressed its importance as equal to that of the other questions to be discussed by the Political Committee. He reiterated Arab opposition to “peculiar standards used for Palestine which do not apply elsewhere.”

In the vote which followed immediately after the Arab speeches, those opposing the Ad Hoc Committee included, beside the Arab countries, Greece, India Cuba, Costa Rica and Afghanistan. Yugoslavia and Belgium were among those abstaining.

The American representative on the Palestine Committee will be Herschel V. Johnson, with Major General John H. Hilldring (ret.) as alternate. The Soviet Union will be represented by Semen K. Tsarapkin, Minister Counselor of the Embassy in Washington.

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