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Jewish Agency Will Probably Not Be Heard by U.N. Political Committee Before Tomorrow

May 7, 1947
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Jewish Agency leaders predicted tonight that their delegation will probably not appear before the U.N. Political Committee before Thursday, since discussions among executive members here and in Palestine and London on the composition of the Zionist representation are not expected to be completed before late tomorrow.

Dr. Oswaldo Aranha, the President of the Assembly, today cabled the Jewish Agency headquarters in Jerusalem, formally inviting it to send a delegation to the Pelitical Committee to express the views of the Agency on the constituting and instructing” of the special fact-finding committee which the Assembly will set up.


The Political Committee, after an all-day discussion on how to give equal status to the Agency and the Palestine Arab Higher Committee, adopted a joint United States-Argentine resolution, amended by the delegate from India, recommending that the Political Committee grant hearings “to the Jewish Agency and the Palestine Arab Higher Committee” thus placing both organizations in the same category despite the fact that the Agency is an internationally recognized body under the Palestine Mandate and the Higher Committee is not.

The joint resolution was adopted following the withdrawal by the Palestine Arabs of their request for a hearing before the U.N. in protest against the Assembly’s decision last night that the Political Committee invite the Jewish Agency, while the request of the Palestine Arabs be referred to the Committee for decision.

“This is not in keeping with the position and rights of the Arabs of Palestine, nor with the principles of justice and democracy,” a communication from the Palestine Arabs said in notifying the U.N. Secretariat of the withdrawal of its request. It added that the Arab delegation wishes “to put it on record before the United Nations that the Arabs have never recognized and will never recognize the Palestine Mandate or any act or body deriving from it,” and asked that the Secretariat convey this to the General Assembly. The text of the Arab letter was distributed to the 55 delegations.


The general sentiment of practically all the delegates of the 55 nations represented on the Political Committee was that the Arab Committee must be heard, even at the price of giving them the same status as the Agency. However, Soviet delegate Andrei Gromyko suggested that the Political Committee be guided by the decision of the Assembly. He urged that the committee invite the Jewish Agency to participate in its deliberations immediately, while all other requests for a hearing be referred either to a sub-committee or be dealt with by the Political Committee as a whole.

Chairman Lester Pearson announced that the official invitation had already been ##ched the Agency, but suggested that the appearance of the Agency delegation be deferred until the Agency submits a list of its delegates. Meanwhile, he stated. any non-governmental group, if granted a hearing before the Political Committee, will be placed on equal footing with the Agency. He urged that a telegram be sent to the Palestine Arab delegation regretting the withdrawal of its request and asking the delegation to resubmit it.

The Egyptian delegate argued that last night’s Assembly resolution barred any ?gal equality between the Agency and the Palestine Arab delegation. However, it is believed that the joint U.S.-Argentine resolution placing the two organizations in the same category will be acceptable to the Arab delegation.


An American resolution urging that the Jewish Agency as well as other Palestine organizations “representing a considerable element of the Palestine population” be permitted to offer their views only with regard to the terms of reference of the projected inquiry committee and not on the composition of the committee was strongly opposed by Mr. Gromyko, who also challenged another section of the American resolution which provided that non-governmental bodies appearing before the Political Committee not be permitted to express their views with regard to the substance of the Palestine problem.

The Soviet delegate insisted that the non-governmental delegations be given full freedom to express themselves on all aspects of the Palestine situation including the naming of the members of the inquiry committee, in which the Jewish Agency leaders are particularly interested, since they oppose the naming of Arab members to this committee.

As a result of the four-hour discussion on these points, the American delegation agreed to a resolution — which was adopted unanimously — urging that prior to any decision by the Political Committee on the formation of the inquiry commission, the Jewish Agency and the Palestine Arabs are to be heard regarding their views both on “constituting and instructing” this commission.


Another resolution adopted by the Political Committee recommended that requests for hearings submitted by all other bodies except the Jewish Agency and the Palestine Arab delegation, be referred to a sub-committee composed of representatives of Colombia, Sweden, Poland, Britain, and Iran for examination and subsequent decision by the full committee.

This resolution was adopted following the withdrawal by the United States and Argentina of a joint proposal that Britain alone as Mandatory Power should inform the Political Committee which of the applicants for a hearing were eligible to appear befor the Political Committee as organizations representing “a considerable element of the population of Palestine.”

The delegates of Brazil, Norway and the USSR spoke against this proposal and urged that the right to pass on the petitions of Palestine groups for a hearing should not be vested in the hands of the British delegation alone. Earlier, British delegate Sir Alexander Cadogan told the Political Committee that none of the other Jewish organizations which applied for a hearing hold a position comparable to the Jewish Agency. “If we hear the Jewish Agency we will have a fair picture of what Palestine Jewry wants,” he said.

The Agudas Israel organization today submitted a request to the U.N. for a hearing by the Political Committee, even though they formally agreed last week that the Jewish Agency should be the only Jewish body to ask a voice at the U.N.


In its communication to the U.N., signed by Jacob Rosenheim, world president, the Agudas Israel points out that it “is not and was never represented by the Jewish Agency, because deeply rooted differences of religious conviction separate historic Judaism from the modern purely national conceptions of Zionism.” Emphasizing that at represents not only Orthodox religious Jewry in countries outside of Palestine, but also “tens of thousands of Orthodox Jews in Palestine who are not members of the Jewish Agency.” the Agudah communication declares that “not to hear Agudas Israel would mean undue discrimination against traditional religious Judaism.”

The Political Action Committee for Palestine, a group which supports the Irgun Zvai Leumi, issued a statement under the signature of its chairman, Baruch Korpf, declaring that the appearance of the Jewish Agency before the Political Committee is tacit recognition by the official Zionist organization that the proposed inquiry committee can have some validity. It reiterates its contention that a delegation headed by Menahem Beigin of the Irgun Zvai Leumi should have been seated in the Assembly, and says that the Political Action Committee will not accept an invitation to appear before the Political Committee, if such an invitation is extended to it.

The Political Committee decided to limit the period for submission of requests for hearings by non-governmental groups until Thursday midnight. It elected Henrik De Kaufmann of Denmark as its rapporteur and Luis Padilla Nervo of Mexico as vicechairman.

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