Lake Success (Oct. 5)
The United Nations Ad Hoc Committee on Palestine is slated tomorrow to begin what it hopes will be the final week of debate on the Palestine problem.
The Committee marked time on Friday, hearing only Czechoslovakia and Lebanon, and it is not expected that the real debate will begin until the U.S. position is outlined. According to current reports, the Americans will present this government’s stand some time between Tuesday and Thursday.
Britain is understood to still be maneuvering to secure a decision by the Ad Hoc Committee, which would relieve the British of the obligations of the Mandate, at the same time that it would allow them to remain in the country.
Members of the British delegation have been suggesting to the other delegates that since there are sharp differences of opinion and much confusion among the 57 delegations on the UNSCOP report, it would be advisable to adopt those sections of the report which were recommended unanimously and defer action on the disputed portions.
This would leave Britain in unlimited control of Palestine until the U.N. is in a position to enforce any decision it may ultimately make with regard to the final status of Palestine, since the 11 UNSCOP members all agreed on the immediate termination of the Mandate.
ABILITY OF ARAB STATES TO WAGE REVOLT SCOUTED IN MEMO TO AD HOC COMMITTEE
The ability of the Arab states and the Palestine Arab community to stage and maintain an armed revolt against any decision of the United Nations is challenged in a memorandum submitted to the United Nations today by the Nation Associates. The document was submitted to Secretary-General Trygve Lie for forwarding to the Ad Hoc Committee.
In a 77-page study of military, social, economic and political conditions in the Middle Eastern states, the memorandum says that these countries together can hardly muster 150,000 soldiers; that these are for the most part ill-trained, ill-equipped, ill-disciplined, undernourished. “There is no air force to speak of. There is no navy. There are few modern weapons, and fewer still who know how to use them. There is very little military, command, or combat experience. The only decently trained and equipped force is that numbering 24,000 known as the Transjordan Arab Legion. They have no arms factories and no replacements for their military equipment.”
Their military strength apart, another factor which would make any revolt against the UN impossible is the condition of the largest section of the populations,” the memorandum says. It cites the following facts:
“1. Two percent of the population control the wealth and power of an area covering about 1,200,000 square miles in which some 36 million people live.
“2. Illiteracy is staggering, ranging from 80 percent to 97 percent in some countries.
“3. The infant and child mertality rate is record-breaking in some countries. Fifty percent of the children die before their fifth year. Life expectancy in other countries is from 24 percent to 26 percent.
“4. Great areas which could be developed to support millions of people are unused; a number of these countries are unpopulated.
“5. Mass poverty is added to by a taxation system which exempts the rich land-owning class and forces the majority of the populations to live under the subsistence level.
“6. The governments are corrupt and subject to no popular control, with 80 percent to 90 percent of all members of the Parliament coming from that upper strata of two percent which controls the area.”
The memorandum discloses that in two countries of the Middle East, Saudi Arabia and Yemen, slavery is recognized by law, and that in most of the Arab states women are bought and sold.
HITS THEORY ARABS WILL CANCEL OIL LEASES IF U.N. FAVORS JEWS
The memorandum scoffs at the threat that the Arabs will cancel the cil leases held by Anglo-American interests if the U.N. takes a decision favorable to the Jews. It points out withdrawal of the oil concessions is altogether unlikely since the “concessions benefit directly monarchs like Ibn Saud and the middle classes in other Middle Eastern countries.” The document cites the gains made by the Palestine Arabs in the fields of health and welfare services, education and earning power as a result of the colonization by Jews.
It concludes with a review of the strength of the Jewish defense force in Palestine, and says that if there is an armed Arab revolt, “it can only be because the Arabs are equipped and led by some outside power.”
In a message to President Truman today, the left-wing Jewish Peoples Fraternal Order, which has a membership of 60,000, called for a four-power temporary trusteeship over Palestine, with the U.S., Britain, the USSR and France as the trustees. It also called for the admission to Palestine of as many Jews as wish to enter the country.