General Assembly Approval of Partition Considered Certain; U.N. Resumes Debate Today
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General Assembly Approval of Partition Considered Certain; U.N. Resumes Debate Today

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Barring unforeseen last-minute developments, it was considered a certainty in U.N. circles today that the Palestine partition plan submitted to the Ad Hoc Committee at the end of last week will receive the necessary two-thirds majority vote when it is presented to the General Assembly within the next few days.

A poll of various delegations indicated that the Latin American representatives were strongly influenced by an appeal last night by U.S. delegate Herschel V. Johnson against abstentions from the final vote at the Assembly. In addition, the Latin American bloc, which practically holds the balance of power at the Assembly by virtue of some 20 votes, was impressed by Johnson’s assurance that his government “will carry out its duties” in cooperating with the Security Council in implementing the partition plan. In almost all U.N. quarters it was considered certain that the majority of the Latin American delegates would vote with the U.S.

Johnson made his all-out effort, the strongest plea yet made by an American representative on the Palestine issue at this session of the Assembly, after a number of delegates announced at last night’s Ad Hoc Committee meeting that they had received instructions from their governments to abstain when the plan was put to a vote. Included among the delegations which declared their intentions of remaining aloof were: Belgium, Denmark, New Zealand, Yugoslavia, El Salvador and Colombia. The French representative remained non-committal during the debate in which virtually every delegation declared its intention. Most of the abstainees asserted that they were dissatisfied with the partition proposal because it does not provide means for “adequate” enforcement of the plan in the event of opposition.

The Arab delegations seized upon the same point in their campaign to discredit the plan. Once again they challenged the legality of the proposal, questioning the Assembly’s right to dispatch an administrative commission to Palestine to implement partition.


After attempting to stem the tide of abstentions with the positive statement that the U.S. will support and vote for the plan, although admitting it is not a perfect plan, Johnson turned on the British delegation and accused it of not making any attempt to assist the U.N. He lashed out at the “very desultory assistance of the Mandatory Power” and charged that the “lack of any suggestions whatsoever for a successful Palestine Government hampered the work of the partition sub-committee in its aim to achieve the most desirable implementation of a partition plan.”

Ambassador Johnson expressed confidence, however, that if cooperation were achieved between the U.N. and the Mandatory, it would guarantee the success of the


The effect of the American plea was felt almost immediately. At least two delegations–those of China and Bolivia–which had previously stated their opposition to the principle of partition, swung to the other side and announced their intention of voting for the plan. Other nations which placed themselves on the record {SPAN}##{/SPAN} pledging to vote for the plan included Canada, Poland, Chile and the Dominican republic. The Ad Hoc Committee debate will be resumed tomorrow, with about 20 delegates scheduled to speak.

In his plea against abstentions, Johnson declared that “partition is the most practicable and just solution of the Palestine problem. If the economic union is sufficiently flexible and U.N. members will loyally cooperate, then the independence of the people of Palestine will be achieved,” he added. The U.S., he insisted, refuses to believe that any member of the U.N. will defy its decisions.

Johnson said that the American delegation does not see any barrier in the U.N. Charter to the immediate transition of Palestine from its present mandatory status to independence. Urging that the independence of Palestine should be secured as rapidly as possible, Johnson said he believed the legalistic objections raised by the Arabs are purely formal and will not seriously affect the substance of partition.


He announced that the U.S. would withdraw its opposition to the inclusion of the Aqaba area in the proposed Jewish state. This announcement followed a declaration by Moshe Shertok at an earlier afternoon session of the committee, that the Jewish Agency is willing to surrender to the Arabs the Beersheba district of the Negev plus 2,000,000 dunams of land along the Egyptian frontier. Shertok said, however, that the Agency would not agree to giving up the Aqaba area.

British observer John Martin expressed resentment at Johnson’s criticism and warned the U.N. of a “risk” if a gap developed between the time the governmental authority was laid down by the Mandatory and assumed by the U.N. “With our knowledge of the situation in Palestine, we would fail in our duty if we did not point out this risk,” Martin said. He reiterated Britain’s insistence on undivided control in Palestine until British troops are withdrawn from the country.


The battle on the legality of an Assembly decision to send an implementation commission to Palestine developed shortly after partition sub-committee chairman Ksawery Pruszynski announced that his group had been forced to make “substantial changes” in its first report because of Britain’s announced intention of not participating in a plan which did not have the agreement of the Jews and the Arabs.

Quoting from various sections of the U.N. Charter, Pruszynski asserted that the San Francisco Conference had given the Assembly broad powers of recommendation and discussion in the peaceful adjustment of any situation which menaced international peace and security. Pointing out that the U.N. Implementation Commission would not be the government of Palestine, but merely an instrument for the assumption of governmental authority by the Provisional Councils of Government, the Polish delegate cited Articles X and XIV of the U.N. Charter as giving the Assembly the authority it needed in this case.

He ridiculed the Arab challenge of the legality of the Palestine Mandate and the Balfour Declaration, declaring that it is “fantastic” to doubt the legality of these documents 25 years after they went into effect. He also said that he anticipated no possibility of a deadlock between the Assembly and the Security Council over the workings of the U.N. Implementation Commission in Palestine.


Answering an issue raised unexpectedly by Arab delegates, Pruszynski stated that Jewish militia would not be used in the projected Arab state if the people of that area refused to cooperate with the U.N. Commission. In the event of Arab non-cooperation resulting in the failure to establish an Arab provisional government, the matter would be referred to the Security Council for further action, he said. Defining what he meant by militia, in response to an Arab questioner, he said the sub-committee visualized something between a police force and an army, drawn from the people of the state.

Syrian delegate Faris el Khouri announced once again that the Arabs would not accept partition and warned the member states of the U.N. not to vote for the plan if they wished to avoid a “serious situation.” Similar speeches with veiled references to the use of force were made by the Iraq and Pakistan delegates.

It is expected that the vote on the implementation plan at the Ad Hoc Committee will take place late tomorrow evening. It is hoped to speed up the final debate and vote in the Assembly, but it is not yet certain whether the matter can be rushed through by Tuesday, the present deadline for the closing of the Assembly.

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