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U.N. Working Group Mapping Relationship Between Implementation Body and Mandatory

November 13, 1947
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The division of authority between the proposed U.N. implementations commission for Palestine and the Mandatory Power was the chief subject of discussion today at the four-nation working group on implementation. The discussion was on a working paper submitted by the American delegation in an attempt to define the terms of reference for the commission, which would be responsible for carrying out a General Assembly decision on partition.

The talks were carried on under the shadow of an expected British refusal to carry out the implementation plan agreed upon by the United States, Russia, Canada and Guatemala. Nevertheless, the working group today confirmed its decision to recommend to the General Assembly that the Palestine Mandate be terminated on May 1, 1948, that all British forces be withrawn from Palestine by that date and that independent Jewish and Arab states be established on July 1, or at any time after the expiration of the Mandate before July 1.

In discussing the relationship between the commission and the Mandatory, the working group tried to clarify whether the commission or Mandatory would administer Palestine during the transition period. As the discussion developed, it became clear that the Soviet Union favored giving the commission most authority during the transition, while the United States was inclined to leave more power in the hands of Britain.

It was pointed out that in the case of possible riots the Mandatory would be the only authority having troops at its disposal and, therefore, able to restore order. Canadian delegate Lester Pearson suggested that the commission have authority to implement measures recommended by the General Assembly. Soviet delegate Semyon Tsarapkin demanded that the commission should be in complete charge of the administrative machinery.


The working group also discussed the question of whether the commission should be composed of five or three members. Tsarapkin urged that it consist of five members while U.S. delegate Herschel Johnson and Pearson suggested that the commission be composed of three. Jewish Agency circles would prefer a commission of three since this would prevent inclusion of members who are lukewarm to partition. No final decision was taken.

The group adopted a decision which provides that the commission, after consultation with Jewish and Arab democratic parties and other organizations in Palestine, shall select and appoint in each state a provisional Council of Government, and that the Councils, within six monts after their formation–but in any case before July 1, 1948–shall hold elections for Constituent Assemblies on democratic lines. Qualifications for voters and election regulations will be formulated later.

Guatemala proposed that in the event of refusal by one of the two projected states to cooperate in forming its provisional governing council, the commission


The working group adjourned without reaching a decision also on the questions of immigration, the relationship of the implementation commission to the Mandatory {SPAN}##d{/SPAN} the relationship of the commission to the Security Council. However, in addition {SPAN}##{/SPAN} agreeing on formation of the Provisional Councils, the conferees reached agreement {SPAN}##{/SPAN} the recruitment of a militia. The question of the relationship between the militia {SPAN}##d{/SPAN} the British forces is still to be decided. The militia will be commanded by its {SPAN}##n{/SPAN} officers, under the general authority of the U.N. commission.

During the discussions on immigration, it was pointed out that the UNSCOP recommendation to admit 6,250 immigrants monthly between now and the formation of the Jewish state might not be feasible because of the transition period being shortened from two years to several months. The question was raised that should the Mandatory accept the responsibility to maintain law and order, it may object to the immigration quota set by UNSCOP.

A proposal which would give Britain an opportunity to ignore completely the recommendation on immigration and to postpone action on the recommended abolishment of land-sale restrictions to Jews was made by the U.S. delegation in its working paper. The U.S. urges that Britain carry out the UNSCOP recommendations, but, at the same time, stipulates that this proposal be considered part of the American overall principle that the Mandatory be entrusted with security in Palestine until the termination of the mandate. This would open the way for the British not to carry out the UNSCOP recommendations because of “security reasons.”


It was announced by a U.N. spokesman that Sir Alexander Cadogan, chief of the British delegation at the U.N., will appear tomorrow at the partition sub-committee to clarify the British view on major questions. Rumors were being circulated earlier today that the American delegation, in expectation of a possible British refusal to cooperate in implementation of the partition plan, is prepared to meet this situation by offering a substitute implementation plan which it is holding in reserve. However, an American spokesman termed the rumors “nothing but British propaganda.”

The administration of Jerusalem under a U.N. trusteeship was also studied by the working group. All indications point to the fact that the entire city will be internationalized, despite Jewish Agency requests that the modern section be joined to the Jewish state. The division of Jerusalem as suggested by the Agency would have given the Jews 30,000 dunams of land and a Jewish population of 97,000 plus an Arab population of 5,000. The Arabs would have received 150,000 dunams and a population of 35,000 Arabs and 7,000 Jews. The Old City, which would remain under U.N. trusteeship, has 33,600 Arabs and 2,500 Jews.

At a night session, following adjournment of the working group on implementation, the full partition sub-committee resumed discussion of boundaries. The major item considered was the question of inclusion of Western Galilee in the Jewish state. Moshe Shertok, speaking for the Jewish Agency, forcefully pleaded for this modification of the UNSCOP boundaries, citing the proposed Jewish state’s need for the area. It is understood that the Agency demand is supported by the Soviet delegation.

(At the time the Bulletin went to press, the sub-committee was still in session.)

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