501.BB Palestine/10–748: Telegram

The Chargé in the United Kingdom (Holmes) to the Secretary of State


4421. Following obtained October 6 and 7 from Wright, Burrows and Beeley regarding Palestine.

Maneuvers of PGI in Paris to amend Bernadotte Plan are understood by Foreign Office officials to be forceful and widespread. PGI representatives have been very active with delegations and are taking line that decision regarding Negeb is most important point requiring modification. Israeli strategy appears to be that once principle has been established that Bernadotte Plan can be amended regarding [Page 1464] Negeb it will be possible for them to bring about other amendments.
By contrast, only Arab intervention in Paris has been working for delay in Committee I and this has been harmful to Arab cause. Arabs do not seem to be doing much lobbying.
Foregoing activities PGI regarding emphasizing in the minds of Foreign Office officials crucial importance of US–UK standing firmly together against any amendments to Bernadotte Plan. Wright said that if difficult task of obtaining acquiescence from both sides is to be accomplished, US and UK must both turn deaf ears to appeals for amendments involving Negeb or anything else. Strength of Bernadotte Plan rests largely on US and UK solidarity in accepting plan in its entirety. On this basis French Government, although it has been subjected to strong Zionist pressure, is prepared to support plan in its entirety, and there are other governments in roughly same position. However, if UK should be induced to back some pro-Arab amendment, US would probably, back a pro-Israeli amendment and from this divergence (perhaps at first on some very minor matter) there would develop a flood of inspired amendments from smaller states which would very shortly put situation back to pre-Bernadotte Plan days.
Wright emphasized that so far British Government has firmly resisted various Arab offers of collaboration with UK if only latter will abandon its support for Bernadotte Plan (Embassy’s 4308, September 29 reference talk with Gallad Bey; Embassy’s 4361, October 4 reference Bevin’s talk with head Iraqi delegation Paris; and Embassy’s 4350 October 1 reference talk British Chargé with Syrian Foreign Minister).1 HMG can only hold this line if US likewise maintains its support for entire Bernadotte Plan.
Foreign Office officials believe that in the interval between its publication and present a good deal of the emotional appeal and drive behind Bernadotte Plan has been dissipated. Consequently they feel some steps will have to be taken to refocus attention of world on uneasy character of truce in Palestine and vital need for the fair and equitable settlement offered by Bernadotte Plan. UK delegation Paris will discuss with USGADel in near future desirability of holding, shortly before Committee I takes up Bernadotte Plan, an SC meeting to consider latest report of truce commission and Bunche’s report that authority of UN is being undermined by both sides. Bunche has asked for a new SC resolution and “has almost drafted it,”
Eastern Department has been considering also attitude which UK should adopt toward UNGA hearing of representatives of Transjordan and Provisional Arab Government (PAG). Present thinking is that Transjordan representative should be heard but there is divergence views re PAG representative. In case of latter there could be [Page 1465] no question of referring to him by title but some Foreign Office officers think that he might be allowed as spokesman for Arab population Palestine to occupy seat vacated by Arab Higher Committee. This school of thought believes that if Transjordan representative is seated and PAG representative is refused seat this will direct undesirable spotlight on Transjordan.
When possibility Soviet reversal re Palestine was mentioned to Beeley (Embassy’s 4360, October 42) he said UK delegation knows that Soviet delegation has been in touch with Lebanese Prime Minister Paris although details of meeting are not known. Beeley said there has been no indication of line of Soviet thought beyond rather vague reference to effect Western Powers are sabotaging November 29 resolution.

Sent Department 4421, repeated Paris for Gadel 720.

  1. None printed.
  2. Not printed; but see footnote 1, p. 1432.