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Eban Pleads Before U.N. Council for Abandonment of Jerusalem Internationalization

February 21, 1950
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

In an hour-long speech to the United Nations Trusteeship Council, Aubrey S. Eban today explained Israel’s negative attitude toward the internationalization of Jerusalem. He was preceded by a Jordan representative who said–in a one-sentence speech–that his government “repeats its previous views and is prepared to discuss the Jerusalem issue.”

Mr. Eban challenged the legal right of the Trusteeship Council, under the U.N. Charter, to proceed with implementation of the General Assembly resolution calling for the establishment of an international regime in Jerusalem. Pleading with the Council to abandon the international statute which, he said, had ceased to be practical, the Israel diplomat held out the possibility that Israel and Jordan would collaborate with the Council on an agreement or statute for the protection of the Holy Places.

An attempt to implement the Council’s statute for Jerusalem–originally drafted in connection with the U.N.’s Palestine partition decision of 1947–would impair the effectiveness of the Israel-Jordan armistice pact and would thus endanger the public order and security of the city, he warned. He added that the inovitable consequence of an international regime would be renewal of the war by the Arab states.

“Above all,” Mr. Eban continued, “the people of Jerusalem ask the Trusteeship Council in the light of the history of recent months and years to direct to itself a decisive and moral question: Having been unable to provide Jerusalem with a government, security and subsistence when it needed them with desperate urgency, can you now come to disturb the government security and subsistence which we have consecrated with our sacrifices and toil?”


In his challenge of the legality of the Council’s task, the head of Israel’s delegation at the U.N. stated: “The Charter conferred upon the General Assembly no power for the solution of international problems except by means of conciliation. The Arab representatives, hoping against hope that their audience has not read the Charter recently, have proclaimed that the Charter offers a shortcut towards implementation. They have asserted that the General Assembly recommendations have legislative effect; that the Charter provides means of enforcing them in case they fail to win consent. The Charter, of course, provides absolutely nothing of the kind.”

“Our vision of Jerusalem,” Mr. Eban declared, “is of a Jerusalem wherein a free people develops its reviving institutions, while a United Nations representative, in all tranquility and dignity, fulfills the universal responsibility for the safety and accessibility of the Holy Places. I believe that this is a vision worthy of the U.N.” He also urged that the international body move immediately to “realize this easily available harmony,” adding that “perhaps in this, as in other critical periods of history, a free and powerful Jerusalem may contribute a message of hope and redemption to mankind.”

Before the session adjourned the representatives of Iraq and Syria appealed to the Council not to be swayed by the views expressed by Israel and Jordan, but proceed with implementation of the Assembly decision. However, these objections were overruled by Ambassador Roger Garreau, chairman of the Council.

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