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Bunche Regrets “misunderstanding”; Says His Note to Israel Was Not Recriminatory

September 23, 1948
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Foreign Minister Moshe Shertok has received a letter from Dr. Ralph Bunche, acting mediator, expressing “regrets” that any “misunderstanding” arose in the exchange of notes between Shertok and Bunche following the assassination of Count Folke Bernadotte, and adding that his note was not intended to strike a recriminatory note against Israel, it was officially announced last night.

Dr. Bunche’s latest letter followed a second meeting in three days between Shertok and Dr. Bunche. This meeting was officially described as “very satisfactory” and a “friendly discussion.”

The letter from the mediator described Shertok’s message to the Security Council, immediately after the assassination, as “forthright, impressive and reassuring.” In that note the Foreign Minister expressed Israel’s regrets at the incident and pledged that the entire resources of the government would be mobilized to find the originals and make further crimes of such a nature impossible.

Explaining his attack on statements made by Shertok at a press conference, Dr Bunche’s letter said that the Israeli minister’s charges of partiality and unfairness in the administration of the truce were “unfounded.” He added that “our organization has suffered six fatalities and seven wounded plus many narrow escapes. Naturally, the United Nations is much concerned with the safety of the staff in their thankless and hazardous task.”

The process of disbanding the Irgun and taking its military personnel into the Israeli Army in Jerusalem was described today by Col. Moshe Dayan, Jerusalem military commander, as “quiet and without Incident.” Col. Dayan revealed that, well ahead of the schedule laid out for their enlistment, one Irgun company mobilized in front of an army recruiting office as provided in the agreement to disband the Irgun.

He stated that former Irgunists will be treated no differently than any other member of the armed forces and that every Irgun officer found fit for duty will receive a commission. He added that any Irgunist who avoids his duties under the mobilization order will be treated “like an ordinary shirker.”

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