Palestine Issue Flares Up at Congressional Hearing on Revising U.N. Charter
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Palestine Issue Flares Up at Congressional Hearing on Revising U.N. Charter

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The Palestine question was the subject of several ?eated questions and answers today in a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing that as supposed to be confined strictly to the matter of amending the United Nations carter.

U.S. delegate to the United Nations Warren R. Austin, appearing as a witness, ?sed the Palestine case now before the U.N. as an illustration of “the basic doctrine that General Assembly recommendations depend wholly on voluntary cooperation of member Nations, “and said that a recommendation by the General Assembly does not necessarily ?sure that it will be automatically implemented.

Several members seized upon the opportunity to question Ambassador Austin ?closely on the Palestine matter, although Chairman Eaton had requested the committee members to confine themselves to the U.N. Charter subject since Palestine was “of such tremendous importance for the safety of the world” that special hearings had been scheduled by the committee.

Rep. Sol Bloom of New York, however, over the objections of Eaton, asked Austin whether he was kept informed what Great Britain is doing in Palestine with reference to the Mandate. Recalling that the Anglo-American treaty of 1924 required that the U.S. be fully informed before any change could be made in the Palestine Mandate, Bloom asked Austin if he was “sure Great Britain is going to withdraw on May 15.”

“I am not sure of anything,” Austin replied. “I may have opinions on what Great Britain will do that are not shared by others,” he said, adding that he had nothing on the record to go on except the public statements of Great Britain that she would terminate her Mandate on May 15.

“Why then are they returning their troops?” Bloom asked.

Austin, pointing out that Bloom was “asking questions that should be addressed to the Mandatory Power” suggested that two incidents, the attack on Jaffa and the threat of invasion from outside of Palestine, might have been the reason for the recent dispatch of British reinforcements.

“What is the U.S. position on recognition of the Jewish State after May 15?” Bloom then asked Austin.

With obvious irritation, Austin said: “You don’t expect me to answer that question, do you?”

“I certainly do,” Bloom retorted, adding, when Austin offered no further answer, that, “You don’t mean to tell me that the U.S. does not know what its position will be in regard to recognition of the Jewish State.”

At this point Chairman Eaton halted the questioning between Bloom and Austin. A few moments later, Rep. James Fulton of Pennsylvania asked Austin to say whether he had participated in the decision to change the U.S. policy from one in support of partition to that of temporary trusteeship or whether he had been merely carrying out instructions when he announced the new U.S. policy to the U.N.

“I don’t think you are treating the witness fairly,” Austin retorted “It is not in good taste to ask me that question,” he said, adding that, in spite his objections, he ma prepared to answer the question if Fulton pressed him. At this point the question was ruled out of order by Eaton.

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