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U.N. Assembly Enters Third Month Today with Major Palestine Problems Still Unsolved

November 17, 1947
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The United Nations General Assembly enters the third month of its current session tomorrow with several major points of the Palestine problem still unsettled.

Three vital questions to which no final answers have yet been found are: the termination date of the British Mandate, the scope of authority of the Implementation Commission to be established by the General Assembly and its relationship with the Mandatory Power, and the disposition of assets remaining in the hands of the Palestine Government at the time that Britain relinquishes civil administration. Varying progress has been made on all these points.

Moshe Shertok, speaking for the Jewish Agency, yesterday told the working group on implementation that the Agency would prefer to have the Mandate terminated by March 1, 1948. He stated that this was necessary since an early start in the transfer of authority to the Jewish state was vital because of the sufferings of the internees in Cyprus, the growing tenseness in the European DP camps and the possibility that further outbreaks of violence will occur if the U.N. moves too slowly. It was imperative, he stressed, that the Jewish state be empowered as soon as possible to deal with immigration, land transfer and to begin organizing and training its own militia.


Discussing the ultimate formation of Provisional Councils of Government by the U.N. Commission, Shertok said that the Agency and the Jewish National Council want the right to propose names from which the Commission will chose the members of the Council.

On the question of the termination of the Mandate, Canada proposed yesterday that the Mandate end on May 1 at the same time that the independence of the Jewish and Arab states is proclaimed. The Canadian delegation said that this was necessary, since otherwise there would be a gap between the time the Mandate ends and the new states come into being during which no body would exercise sovereignty in Palestine. This was opposed by the Russian delegation, which said that it was impossible to conceive of independent states being established while an occupying power still had troops on their soil. The working group deferred a decision on the Canadian proposal.

Alarmed by reports that the Palestine Government planned to dispose of its ## before liquidation of the Mandate, the Jewish Agency yesterday asked the sub-committee on partition to provide that “during the period between appointment of a ### Commission and termination of the Mandate, the Mandatory shall negotiate with ## Commission on any measure which it may contemplate involving liquidation, ## and encumbering of assets of the Palestine Government, such as accumulated ## surplus, proceeds of government bonds, state lands or any other assets.” The sub-committee did not act on the Agency proposal, but it was indicated that some safeguards would be provided to ensure that the future Jewish and Arab states would ##eceive assets rightfully due them.The sub-committee finally approved an earlier Agency demand that a ceiling of 16,000,000 be placed on the contributions of the Jewish state to the joint economic union. It adopted a compromise Agency proposal which suggested that surplus revenues from customs and other common services shall be divided in the following manner: not ?ess than five or more than ten percent to the city of Jerusalem; the residue to be allocated to each state by the joint economic board equally except that the share of either shall not exceed the amount of that state’s contribution to the revenue of the economic union by more than approximately $16,000,000 in any year. After five years the principle of distribution of joint revenues shall be revised by the joint economic board.

The sub-committee adopted provisionally a clause supporting the admission of the Jewish and Arab states to the U.N., with a U.S. modification that when the independence of the two states was effected, “sympathetic consideration should be given to their applications.”

The sub-committee also recommended the establishment of a three-man court of claims to consider disputes arising from the refusal of either state to recognize the abrogation of the Mandate. The court would consist of a representative of the U.N., of Britain and of the Jewish or Arab state. It also agreed to refer to the International Court of Justice disputes on international conventions and treaties signed by Britain.

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