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U.N. Session Closes After Approving Inquiry Body’s Instructions and Membership

May 16, 1947
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The historic special session of the United Nations on Palestine ended at 1:58 this afternoon in an aura of good-will, as the 55-nation Assembly, with only the Middle East statee and Afghanistan in opposition, approved the terms of reference and the composition of the inquiry committee, which it is hoped will recommend a final solution of the age-old problem.

Last minute efforts were made by Poland and Argentina to have the Big Five and one Arab country included in the inquiry commission, but they were unsuccessful. Asaf Ali, the Indian delegate, who was among those who eventually voted for the terms of reference, earlier spoke against them and warned that they night precipitate Arab disturbances in Palestine and lead to a third world war.

The Assembly adopted a resolution proposed by Norway, calling upon all governments and peoples, particularly the inhabitants of Palestine, to refrain from “the threat or use of force or any other action, “pending a decision by the Assembly in September.


It was officially announced by the U.N. Secretariat that the inquiry commission will hold its first meeting on May 26 at Lake Success, at which time it will draft a program of work. It will then leave for Palestine, and probably go to Europe later. It was doubted whether the commission will hold hearings in the U.S. prior to its return from Palestine and Europe, but the commission has a free hand in deciding its procedure.

The vote on the resolution as a whole was 46 to 7 with one abstention and one absence. Voting against it were the Arab countries, Afghanistan and Turkey with Siam abstaining. The Arab delegates also refused to agree to an interim truce in Palestine while the inquiry commission is studying the problem on the spot, and were the only ones to abstain from voting on the Norwegian resolution.

The Soviet bloc joined the Arabs in abstaining from voting on the composition of the inquiry commission when it was taken to a separate vote this morning, but did not vote against it despite the fact that at the Political Committee the Soviet bloc cast a negative vote on the resolution to form an eleven-man commission without the Big Five. Also abstaining from voting were Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia who are among the eleven members of the commission.

The session concluded with a speech by Assembly President Aranha, who declared that a solution of the Palestine problem was the most decisive test yet put to the U.N. He urged the inquiry committee to be guided not merely by the latter of their instructions, but according to the complexity of the problem.

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