501.BB Palestine/2–448: Telegram

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

top secret

138. Following meeting in my office this morning on Kashmir case, Sir Alexander Cadogan stayed behind and we discussed Palestine in light your 27, January 23. I asked Sir Alexander to inform me just what situation is in his relationships with Palestine Commission, informing him that Department is concerned at possible attitude of SC towards UK when commission’s report is discussed.

In response to my specific question whether UK is furnishing utmost facilities by way of advice and continuing SC cooperation to commission from outset, Cadogan replied that to best of his ability he has been giving commission just that. He has been meeting with commission or having discussions with members of commission virtually every day. His experts have been in close touch with commission experts. He said two principal points concerning commission were, first, brief overlap from May 1, when according to present schedule commission would arrive, to May 15 when British would withdraw. On this point he said Lisicky had told him privately it was humanly impossible for commission to organize its job in this two-weeks interval but there was chance it could do so in month. Second point worrying commission was provision of some neutral force which would guarantee law and order and thereby permit commission to perform its function. He thought commission was critical of UK with regard to first point but not critical with regard to second.1

Cadogan said information and advice which he had tried to give commission with full candor and frankness was not always palatable [Page 600]to them because it is very difficult situation and facts speak for themselves.

Commission is considering possibility of sending members of it staff to Palestine before May 1, including one or two military men who could work on problem of a police organization. Cadogan has referred these questions to London for advice.

I asked him about possibility of commission going to London. He replied he thought this might be feasible and commission would, of course, in London get much wider range of technical advice.

[Here follows one paragraph giving Ambassador Cadogan’s evaluation of the members of the Palestine Commission.]

In concluding our conversation Cadogan offered to put his experts and any information he has at our disposal.

  1. New York informed the Department, on February 2, that at a closed meeting of the Palestine Commission on January 30, Sir Alexander advised the Commission that the United Kingdom would defend the whole of Palestine until May 15 and thereafter only those areas occupied by British troops. He underscored British insistence that the Commission not arrive in Palestine more than two weeks prior to May 15, but conceded that one or two members of the Commission’s Secretariat would be allowed to enter Palestine in April to make preliminary arrangements (telegram 126, from New York, 501.BB Palestine/2–248). The Palestine Commission advised Sir Alexander on February 3 that the British position concerning the time of the Commission’s arrival in Palestine was not satisfactory (telegram 135, February 3, 10:15 p. m., from New York, footnote 1, p. 572.