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U.S. Will Support Palestine Partition Plan, Marshall Indicates in U.N. Assembly Speech

September 18, 1947
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Secretary of State George C. Marshall, speaking before the United Nations General Assembly today, indicated that the United States Government will support the majority recommendations of the report submitted by the U.N. Special Committee on Palestine, which urge the partitioning of the country into Jewish and Arab states.

The Government of the United States, he said, gives “great weight not only by the recommendations which have met with the unanimous approval of the Special Committee, but also to those which have been approved by the majority of that committee.” Marshall did not refer to the minority report proposing federalization.

Marshall gave assurance that the United States “intends to do everything within its power at this session of the General Assembly to assist in finding a solution for the difficult problem which has atirred up such violent passions and which is now resulting in the shedding of blood and in great mental and moral angnish.”

Declaring that any solution offered by the Assembly “cannot be ideally satisfactory to either of the two great peoples primarily concerned,” he emphasized that the Assembly’s final decision “must properly await detailed consideration of the report.”


Well informed official sources clarified the Marshall statement to mean that the United States neither supports nor rejects the UNSCOP recommendations at the present time. So far as the minority proposals are concerned, the United States, in view of its adherence to democratic processes, attaches greater weight to the majority’s recommendations. Beyond this, it was indicated, the United States will not go at this stage.

The Secretary highly praised UNSCOP for its contribution to a solution of the Palestine problem. “Although the members of this committee were not able to agree unanimously upon a number of important issues, including that of partition,” marshall said, “they have been able to find the basis for agreement on eleven recommendations to this Assembly. Their achievement in reaching unanimity on so many points represents definite progress.” He called for courage, resolution and retraint in reaching a solution.


A spokesman for the Jewish Agency issued a statement on the heels of Marshall’s speech, expressing approval of the Secretary’s declaration regarding Palestine. The text of the statement follows:

“We are happy to note that the United States Government ‘intends to do everything within its power at this session of the General Assembly to assist in finding a solution’ for the Palestine problem. We attach special significance to Secretary Marshall’s declaration that the U.S. Government ‘gives great weight not only to the recommendations which have met with the unanimous approval of the Special Committee but also to those which have been approved by the majority of that committee.'”

Polish Foreign Minister Zygmunt Modzelewski, who heads his country’s delegation, made the only other reference to Palestine at today’s plenary session. Declaring that “we cannot remain indifferent to the state of the Jews,” he drew attention to UNSCOP’s unanimity on “the necessity for the withdrawal of foreign troops” from Palestine “so that the matter could be settled in a peaceful manner.” He promised further discussion of the UNSCOP report, when “we shall avail ourselves of the opportunity to restate our attitude.”


The General (Steering) Committee as the first item on its agenda this afternoon established an “Ad Hoc Committee on the Palestinian question.” The United States representative Warren R. Austin expressed it as his understanding that this committee would not be a sub-committee of any other committee, but a committee of the General Assembly with its own Jurisdiction and the right to function like all committees of the Assembly. There was no objection to this clarification at the meeting.

The Syrian representative of the committee, Faris el Khouri, objected to Secretary-General Trygve Lie’s proposal for an ad hoc political committee declaring that such a body would encompass both legal and political matters. Hector McNeil, the British representative, agreed to this and proposed an “Ad Hoc Palestine Committee,” omitting the word “political.” He welcomed the proposal for an ad hoc committee declaring “we would belittle our instructions if we did not address ourselves quickly to Palestine.” He declared the question is economic, sociological and biological as well as political. Polish delegate Oscar Lange also suggested elimination of the word “political” from the committee’s title and moved creation of the body. Chinese delegate Wellington Koo suggested the final name which was adopted.

The Ad Hoc committee will consist of the 55 member nations of the Assembly. A chairman is expected to be elected tomorrow.

Lie announced that he already has one request for a hearing by the Assembly and anticipates others. He reiterated his opinion as expressed at the special session on Palestine last spring that a sub-committee rather than the Assembly hear private organizations and others.

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