501.BB Palestine/11–1847: Telegram

The United States Representative at the United Nations (Austin) to the Secretary of State


1230. For the Under Secretary from Johnson and Hilldring. The work of the Sub-committee on the majority plan will probably be completed today. A solution on implementation satisfactory to the [Page 1267] USDel has been accepted unanimously by Sub-committee 1. This seems to assure US-Soviet accord as to the Palestine situation.

With two exceptions, Sub-committee has agreed with changes in the majority plan by the USDel.

First of these exceptions is the US position as to Negev. Situation regarding boundaries in general is:

Population: (a) Seduction of approximately 80,000 Arabs in the Jewish state, leaving approximately 427,000 Arabs, including both Bedouins and settled people. This is a decrease of approximately 16 percent of Arabs in the Jewish state. This leaves approximately 950,000 people within geographic boundaries of the Jewish state. (b) This results in about 825,000 people in the geographic boundaries of the Arab state.
Territory: (a) The agreed adjustments assign 542,000 dunums to the Jewish state but remove 166,000 dunums, leaving a net addition of 376,000 dunums to the Jewish state, of which 225,000 are desert along the Dead Sea. This is approximately 2.4 percent addition to the Jewish state, (b) The Jewish Agency proposes to concede an additional 300,000 dunums to the north and around the town of Beersheba including the city.
Only the United States Delegation has asked for assignment of territory in the Negev to the Arab state. At yesterday’s meeting, the Jewish Agency agreed at the insistence of the United States to the transfer of a further 2,000,000 dunums in the Negev to the Arab state, and has agreed to concede to the Arab state a strip of territory one kilometer in width across the central section of the southern Negev in order that Arab tribes in this area may pass from Egypt through Palestine to Transjordan on Arab territory. As a result of the above changes, the Jewish state will have about 14 million dunums and the Arab state approximately 12 million, instead of 16 to 10 million as in UNSCOP.
Relationships: The population relationships will be approximately 9 to 8 and the area 7 to 6, or roughly proportionate.

Concessions referred to in (2) (b) do not meet the Department’s position as described in Deptel 558, November 12. USDel has accordingly reserved its position in Sub-committee 1 in order that that Committee may proceed with its work and send its report to the Ad Hoc Committee. Both of us feel strongly that it would be a mistake to carry this issue of the Negev farther. If the US introduces the question in this Ad Hoc Committee, it will be vigorously opposed by the Jewish Agency and probably by all the friends of partition in the 57-nation committee. It is certain in any case that only the Arab state will actively support the US position. In the event of the defeat [of the] majority report in the Ad Hoc Committee or in the GA, the blame for it will unquestionably be placed upon the US for raising this major doubt as to the justice of the partition plan. So many of the US recommendations have been accepted by the Sub-committee, and so large a [Page 1268]portion of the inequities in the UNSCOP report have been removed that both of us feel very strongly that US should accept the boundary recommendations which are being transmitted to the Ad Hoc Committee by Sub-committee 1.

There remain certain changes in the Sub-committee report on economic union that the Department desires made. They deal with financial structure, with the actual amount that any state shall pay to the other in any year, and provisions regarding commercial and financial treaties. There is no support in the Sub-committee for the US proposals. We stand alone in advocating these changes. We therefore have permitted the Sub-committee to submit the views of the other eight members with a reservation that we may wish to reintroduce our proposals in the Ad Hoc Committee. On two of these points, financial structure and commercial treaties, the decision is exceedingly close.

As to a ceiling on payments under economic union, we much prefer our formula to that of the Sub-committee and will try to effect its adoption. However, in view of Evatt’s intention to get a vote in the Ad Hoc Committee by Thursday night and Aranha’s announcement that he will finish with Palestine in the GA by Saturday night, we request authority to deal with this point in the Committee and in the GA in accordance with the judgment of the USDel based on developments and debate in each forum. As to the other two issues, namely, financial structure and commercial treaties, we recommend that they be dropped. [Johnson and Hilldring]