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U.N. Political Committee Postpones Debate on Palestine; Gives Priority to Atom Issue

October 21, 1948
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The United Nations Political and Security Committee today voted to postpone the Palestine discussion until after debate on a Mexican resolution to bring the Big Five together to seek a solution of the atomic impasse.

After two hours of discussion, the Committee voted 34 to 11 to give priority to the Mexican resolution. Debate of that proposal started immediately despite strong protests from representatives of eastern European nations. Earlier it had been hoped that the Palestine discussion might go before the 58-member committee late today.

Senator Warren R. Austin, chief United States delegate, voted in favor of a Cuban proposal to postpone the Palestine discussion. Britain and France abstained. Voting against the proposal were the six Eastern European nations, Denmark, Australia, the Dominican Republic and Uruguay.

Members of the Israeli delegation declared after deferment of the discussion of the Bernadotte report that “those who voted for postponement are wrong if they think they have done us harm.” Moshe Shertok, Israeli Foreign Minister, sat in a lounge outside, with his opening statement in his hand, ready to lay Israel’s case before the committee. After the negative vote was taken, he indicated that he might return to Israel soon.


Israeli spokesman said that the deferment, which is for an indeterminate period since the Mexican proposal is likely to produce long and high-flown speeches from all 58 delegations, had not injured the Israeli position. Pointing out that the Bernadotte proposals would take the Negev from the Jews, internationalize Jerusalem and give Israel all of Galilee, Israeli delegation circles said their nation now controls most of the Negev and also holds most of Jerusalem and Galileo.

An Israeli spokesman also said that today’s events proved that there is no longer great enthusiasm, among the majority of the delegations, for the Bernadotte proposals. He argued that it was becoming more evident daily to a great number of U.N. member states that the only road to peace lies in direct Arab-Jewish negotiations. The Arabs are deceiving themselves, the spokesman added, if they believe they can gain political advantage by delaying the discussions until after the United States elections Nov. 2. Eventually, he said, the Arabs must face the reality that Israel exists and sit down and talk peace.

Haiti, Iran, Greece, Colombia, El Salvador and Syria also supported immediate consideration of the Mexican proposal. Syria’s Faris el Khouri reiterated that the Political Committee has no right to make any proposals on Palestine as long as the Security Council is attempting to settle the Negev situation. Matters of peace and war are the exclusive responsibility of the Council, he asserted, and the Committee cannot act on them except when requested to do so by the Council.

Julius Katz-Suchy of Poland charged that the U.S. was seeking postponement until after the Presidential elections and asserted that the issue could not be delayed and must be discussed now. Britain’s Sir Hertley Showoross said there was nothing sinister about the fact that some delegations were not prepared to discuss Palestine at this time and that it would be “unfortunate” if they were forced to.

Shertok last night gave a reception for 35 delegations at the U.N. Representatives of all states except the Arabs were invited. John Foster Dulles represented the U.S.

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