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General Assembly Votes to Grant Jewish Agency Hearing Before U.N. Political Committee

May 6, 1947
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The Jewish Agency today won its first victory at the United Nations special session on Palestine, when the General Assembly voted 45 to 7 for a resolution instructing the Political Committee to grant a hearing to the Jewish Agency.

The resolution also authorized the committee to grant hearings, if it so desired, to other groups representing the population of Palestine, such as the Arab Higher Committee, which today applied for a hearing. The only delegations voting against the resolution were the five Arab states, Turkey and Afghanistan. India, Iran and Siem abstained.

The resolution was presented jointly by the delegations of Chile, Argentina, Byelorussia, Yugoslavia and Uruguay. Earlier in the day, each of these delegations had submitted separate resolutions. However, during the luncheon recess the five conferred at the suggestion of Assembly President Dr. Aranha and agreed to merge their resolutions into one, which reads as follows:

The General Assembly resolves: 1. That the First (political) Committee grant a hearing to the Jewish Agency for Palestine on the question before the committee; 2. To send to that same committee for its decision those other communications of a similar character from the Palestinian population which have been received by this special session of the General Assembly or may later on be submitted to it.”

The Polish-Czech resolution calling for admission of the Jewish Agency to the General Assembly to express its views was voted down 39 to 8. Only Poland, Byelorussia, Czechoslovakia, the Ukraine, the U.S.S.R., South Africa and Chile voted for it.

Leaders of the Jewish Agency expressed gratification that they will finally have an opportunity to state their case before all 55 member states of the United Nations, which comprise the Political Committee. They conferred with Lester Pearson. Canadian chairman of that committee, who assured them that he would give them a fair hearing, even though he feels that discussions at the committee should be restricted to the procedure of constituting and instructing a U.N. fact-finding committee to prepare for consideration of the Palestine question at the regular session of the Assembly in September.


Within their own ranks, the Jewish Agency leaders were today discussing the nature of the presentation which they should make when the Political Committee con{SPAN}(##){/SPAN} tomorrow at Lake Success. Some members of the Agency executive are inclined to restrict the presentation to the demand that the British Government be urged by the United Nations to carry out the provisions of the Palestine Mandate by revoking the

Other members insisted that in the light of the demand for the independence of Palestine voiced by the delegations of the five Arab states at this session, the agency must also request the establishment of a Jewish state.

A final decision will probably be taken when David Ben Gurion, who is expected are shortly from Palestine, arrives. As chairman of the Agency executive, he will be one of the principal members of the Agency delegation at the Political Committee.

The nature of the Agency presentation will be discussed tonight at a joint session of members of the American section of the executive and leaders of the American Jewish Committee, American Jewish Conference, World Jewish Congress and Agudas Israel.


The question of whether the non-Zionist groups which are supporting the Agency, such as the American Jewish Committee and the Agudah, should be included in the Agency delegation as representing the non-Zionists is also expected to be discussed tonight. Some of the officials of the Agency expressed the belief that the appearance of Judge Joseph M. Proskauer, president of the American Jewish Committee, in behalf of the non-Zionists would tend to dispel the argument advanced by the American delegation that the Jewish Agency does not represent all the Jews.

A six-man delegation of the Palestine Arab Executive, which is headed by the ex-Mufti, today filed with the U.N. a formal request for a hearing. The request was based on the argument that the delegates of the member states of the Arab League, who spoke at length last week, do not represent the Arabs of Palestine who wish to voice their views themselves before the present session. Their petition will be dealth with the Political Committee, which will probably decide to admit them, since the Assembly has instructed the same committee to admit the Jewish Agency.


The attitude of the Agency on admission of the Palestine Arabs is that they as well as the Jews of Palestine will be enabled to testify locally before the U.N. inquiry committee when it comes to the Holy land, while the Agency–in contrast to the Palestine Arab executive–is not a local body of Palestine Jewry, but is an internationally recognized representative of the Jewish people on matters concerning Palestine.

According to information available here, most of the six members of the Palestine Arab delegation aided the Mufti in his pro-Axis activities during the war, carrying on anti-Allied activities in Iraq, Iran and other countries. The information, it was pointed out, comes from the files of the British intelligence service.

The Byelorussian and Uruguayan resolutions were identical in stipulating that the Agency alone be heard. This implied that they did not support a hearing for the Palestine Arabs since their case had already been presented by delegates from the (##) Arab countries.

The resolutions offered by Argentina and Chile recommended that the Political committee admit the Agency, but decide on the admission of other groups which applied (##) may apply for a hearing. The Yugoslav resolution urged the Political Committee to hear the Agency as well as “other representatives of the Palestine population,” meaning the Palestine Arab delegation.

The joint five-nation resolution was formally presented on behalf of the five countries by Dr. Alberto Gonzales Fernandez of Columbia who said that his delegation could support it. He appealed for unanimous approval of the resolution. Further support came from Dr. Guillermo Belt of Cuba who contended that all members of the Assembly were agreed on the fact that the Jews as well as the Arabs should be heard and the (##) differences which remained concerned the procedural form such a hearing should (##).

Dr. Umberto Palza of Bolivia also appealed for the resolution. The Syrian delegate opposed it, on the ground that it discriminated between the Jewish and Arab populations of Palestine in favor of the former. Approval of the resolution would, in fact, be a form of prejudgment of the case, he added.


The American delegation indicated early in the morning session that it would defend its own resolution. However, later a spokesman for the U.S. said that the delegation, although preferring its own resolution, would not oppose a compromise proposal.

Dr. Jan Papanek of Czechoslovakia, in supporting the Polish-Czech resolution, declared that the Jews have suffered more than any other race from Nazi activities and if the Assembly refuses to grant them a hearing, when “perhaps their future existence As being decided,” it might “snuff out the light” of Jewish hope and aspiration “before it has achieved a steady glow.”

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