Learn about the beta

501.BB Palestine/4–41048: Telegram

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

secret
urgent

417. Following is report of third informal meeting of members of SC at the offices of USUN to discuss future of Palestine:

Present were delegates of all SC members except Gromyko. Hsia replaced Tsiang for China. SYG was absent. Sobolev and Protitch represented Secretariat. The meeting, which lasted more than two hours, began with an account by SC President Lopez of his meetings with representatives of AHC and JA to explore possibilities of truce in Palestine. Lopez stated he was discouraged at the prospects and could find no common ground between extreme positions as described by JA and AHC. He thought it was necessary for SC itself to decide what action it should take regarding truce and to make its own recommendations in this regard. Arguing with AHC and JA will not be successful. Two meetings with the two representatives separately showed that their conditions for a truce were incompatible. For example, with regard to immigration, JA would not stop what the Arabs [Page 810]called “illegal” immigration. This, Lopez thought, was the crux of the problem. The JA viewpoint was that the Arabs were attempting to make the JA stop immigration “at the point of a pistol”. Meanwhile, the Arabs said that immigration was illegal and must be stopped. On the other hand, JA accused AHC of illegal immigration with violent intent.

In the meantime, both sides claimed that because the mandate will end May 15, and that because administration is now steadily being dismantled and disrupted, they must create an administration in their zones to replace chaos and anarchy. In addition, the Arabs insist that nothing should be done to implement partition. “If nothing is done,” said Lopez, “there will certainly be anarchy in Palestine. I fail to see how the SC can discuss new proposals (by which he meant trusteeship) or get the Arabs and Jews to cooperate. I have tried the very best I could to show both parties that their position would only be helped by having a truce and eventually by permanent cooperation.”

Lopez added that Shertok said that JA action was “self-preservation”, that UK was getting out of Palestine, and that “we must protect our lives.” Shertok added that an administration and government were necessary for self-preservation. Lopez replied that, “you can’t create a provisional government unless it is done under the GA recommendation.” Shertok answered, “this is beside the point. Our lives are at stake and something must be done.” Lopez thought both sides were too worked up emotionally to listen to reason.

Lopez concluded that the SC under these circumstances should not only appeal for a truce but should take another step and ask UK to keep the mandate for some time longer. Otherwise he felt that this most perplexing and unfortunate problem of Palestine would only become more complicated. “I doubt whether we can reach a settlement which will meet with Arab-Jewish agreement at the present time,” he said. “I want the advice of members of the SC as to what to do next, but I fear that our efforts will bear no fruit unless we can ease the tension.”

Following Lopez’ statement, Tarasenko1 stated, “you have told us in effect that the truce can not be implemented. You are suggesting new measures for the SC to take. Why are these suggestions being made outside of the SC?” Lopez replied that he took it for granted that before an official report was made by him to SC concerning his truce efforts, members of the SC should have private discussion. All members, he said, were invited to this meeting. All have the right to [Page 811]exchange views, and indeed one of those views might be that this very question of the truce should no longer be discussed at this meeting.

[Here follows remainder of informal discussion.]

Austin
  1. Vasili Arkady Tarasenko, Ukrainian Representative at the United Nations.