Search JTA's historical archive dating back to 1923

U.S. Delegate’s Intervention Halts Briton’s Speech at U.N. in Favor of Bernadote Plan

November 18, 1948
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Last-minute intervention by the United States delegate Philip C. Jessup, taking place in full view of the press gallery, brought a sudden and sensational end to this afternoon’s Palestine debate in the U.N. Political Committee and caused Britain’s Minister of State Hector McNeil to withhold delivery of a speech fully supporting the Bernadotte plan.

While the Iraq delegate was speaking, McNeil and his British advisers met outside the conference room. McNeil was given the draft of his speech. After reading it, he re-entered the session, intending to deliver it if there were no other speaker.

During a two-hour filibuster by Faris el Khoury of Syria, McNeil consulted at the conference table with Jessup, British chief delegate Sir Alexander Cadogan and United States State Department officials. Later, Jessup’s advisers returned with what appeared to be a draft of Jessup’s speech, and again the party went into a private huddle while EL. Khoury continued to recite Biblical history.

At 6:15 P.M. EL Khoury stopped talking. Chairman Paul-Henri Speak, of Belgium, announced he had no further speakers scheduled. No one moved. Angry, Speak looked pointedly at the cluster of British and American delegates. McNeil and Jessup stared fixedly ahead, taking no notice of the chairman’s appeals. McNeil had clearly dropped his intention of speaking today.


With considerable irritation Speak adjourned the meeting until tomorrow. The British unreadiness to proceed after constantly pressing for haste is linked with Jessup’s appeal not to spoil the chances of compromise by giving complete support to the Bernadotte plan and so bringing Anglo American differences into the open.

Consultations took place immediately after adjournment, and an attempt is being made to work out an Anglo-American compromise. This follows reports that the Israelis might be ready to agree on some compromise in the Negev and belief in American circles that Israel will be more cooperative than official statements would indicate.

Informants close to acting mediator Dr. Ralph Bunche today indicated doubt about the effectiveness of the armistice proposal. They complained that it leaves the whole matter of establishing an armistice up in the air, pending the outcome of negotiations into which the Arabs have repeatedly refused to enter. Dr. Bunche is known to regret that the Security Council stopped short of ordering the Parties to negotiate since he is convinced that at least two of the Arab states would actually have welcome such an order.

Recommended from JTA