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Partition Vote Deferred to Allow New Try at Arab-jewish Conciliation; Jews Hit Delay

November 30, 1947
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

In a surprise move this afternoon, a few minutes before it was due to vote on partition, the U.N. General Assembly adopted a French resolution to postpone the final vote until tomorrow at 4 p.m. to allow for a last-minute attempt at Arab-Jewish conciliation.

With a two-thirds majority for partition virtually assured, Alexandre Parodi, chief of the French delegation at the U.N., sprang his resolution on the surprised delegates at the conclusion of the general debate, despite the fact that he had instructions from his government to vote for partition. The resolution was adopted 25 to 15 by a show of hands.

Jewish Agency leaders termed the French delegate’s move a “fraud” aimed at postponing a favorable decision for partition and at giving the anti-partitionists more time to influence wavering delegates to vote against partition. It also provides more time for the Arab delegates to press for the seating of a new Siamese representative to replace the original delegate who voted against partition in the Ad Hoc Committee, but whose credentials were cancelled for internal reasons by the new Siamese Government–which remains opposed to partition.

Later, explaining his motives to a press conference, Parodi said that the sole reason for his asking a 24-hour postponement was the desire to “feel at ease” when he cast his vote–indicating that he will vote for partition. French circles interpreted his move as a face-saving device because of France’s stake in her Moslem-inhabited territories.


Arab delegations claimed to be puzzled by Parodi’s move. They emphasized that they knew nothing about preparations for conciliation negotiations. After the Assembly adjourned, President Oswaldo Aranha declared that he had no information of any conciliation moves and in any case has no initiative in the matter. It is now up to Parodi, he insisted, to submit a plan supplementing his proposal. Questioned as to whether he had a plan, Parodi shrugged his shoulders and said, “No.”

The French move was also greeted cooly by the Palestine Higher Arab Committee. Jamal Husseini, head of the Palestine Arab delegation, declared: “For me the question of Palestine will be solved in Palestine. I have not been invited to any conciliation.”

Moshe Shertok, commenting on the French move, said: “The course of history will not be changed in the next 24 hours.” However, Dr. Aranha was less optimistic. He indicated that the 24-hour postponement might lead to unexpected developments, especially since there is another motion, introduced by the Colombian delegate, proposing that the entire Palestine issue be returned to the Ad Hoc Committee with a view to seeking Arab-Jewish conciliation on a broader basis. “There will certainly become new moves within the next 24 hours,” he asserted.


The Colombian resolution was introduced simultaneously with the French proposal, but it was not voted on because Aranha ruled that Parodi’s motion must be voted on first. The Colombian proposal urged that the 57-nation Ad Hoc Committee be constituted “an interim subsidiary organ of the General Assembly in order to carry on the discussion of the Palestine question with a view to finding a satisfactory solution of the problem.” It formally proposed that the Ad Hoc Committee be authorized by the Assembly to perform the following functions:

1. To take all steps necessary to try to bring about an agreement between the representatives of the Arab and the Jewish populations of Palestine ad to the future government and political constitution of that country.

2. To request, if it deems it necessary, the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice on the Juridical questions that may arise in connection with the settlement of this case.

3. To study and formulate concrete recommendations as to the manner in which the members of the United Nations may give effect to unanimous recommendations VI and XII of the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine.

4. The Ad Hoc Committee on Palestine shall report on its work to the Secretary-General no later then February 29, 1948. The Secretary-General shall forward immediately the report to the member states, which shall advise him, not later than April 15, 1948, whether they wish to consider the matter in a special session of the General Assembly to be convened at the earliest practical date thereafter.

Late this evening, some of the Arab delegates suggested to Aranha that they be given more than 24 hours to prepare conciliation terms. However, Aranha informed them that the Assembly’s decision does not allow for any extension.


Jewish Agency circles, informed in advance of the intention of the French delegate to block the final vote for 24 hours, were in contact all morning with the French Embassy in an attempt to prevent the move. It is understood that the Embassy confirmed that the French Government had instructed Parodi to vote for partition without reservations and that Parodi acted on his own in requesting the delay.

Today’s move by Parodi was the second time that he has attempted to prevent speedy action on partition. He almost succeeded at the Ad Hoc Committee in having the entire problem removed from the agenda of the present session of the Assembly by proposing that the legal aspect of partition be referred to the International Court of Justice. If his proposal had been carried, the Ad Hoc Committee would have had to recommend this course to the Assembly, and the entire Palestine issue would have been left open until the International Court of Justice had rendered its opinion. However, the Parodi proposal was defeated at the Ad Hoc Committee by the narrow margin of only one vote.

Parodi based today’s proposal on the ostensible bid for cooperation contained in a generally belligerent speech this morning by Iraqi delegate Fadil Jamali, who

Jamali asserted that the partition report was completed under pressure of certain great powers and of the Jewish Agency. He warned that any U.N. member states who sent arms to implement a partition decision would incur Arab enmity. He also threatened violence against Jews in Arab states.


The French proposal was supported by Denmark and Luxembourg. In opposition were Poland and Colombia. Poland insisted on an immediate vote, arguing that the Arabs had been so intransigeant in their speeches, even today, as to leave no hope for conciliation. The Colombian delegate spoke against the French proposal because he wanted to delay not only the vote but final action on the entire issue.

During the general debate this morning, the Haitian delegate announced that he had received instructions from his government to switch to partition. The Argentine government also sent last-minute instructions to its delegation to switch from abstention to partition. Argentine delegate Jose Arce, however, telephoned directly to his Foreign Office in an attempt to have his instructions changed. The postponement gives Arce more time to convince his superiors.


Before the postponement was voted, the Jewish Agency had made arrangements with the United Nations Secretariat for Shertok to broadcast to Palestine over the U.N. facilities immediately after the final vote. He was to speak in both Hebrew and Arabic. The Agency had also prepared a statement for distribution to the press as soon as partition was approved. Their optimism was shared by Aranha, who predicted to newspapermen this morning that partition would win by 30 to 15 or 31 to 13.

The visitors galleries were jammed during both of today’s sessions and extra police were summoned to handle the record-breaking crowds, apparently to prevent any demonstration if a final vote had been taken. The delegates section was two-thirds empty this morning when Pakistan and Iraq made their attacks on partition, Cuba announced its decision to vote against partition and China and Ethiopia revealed that they would abstain. However, at the afternoon session every delegate was in his seat, ready for the final vote.

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