Memorandum by the President’s Special Counsel (Clifford)1
Proposed Program on the Palestine Problem
Unless immediate action is taken to preserve peace in Palestine, chaos and war will follow Great Britain’s withdrawal on May 15th. Such a situation will seriously damage United States prestige and United States interests. It will surely be exploited by the Russians.
The policy of the United States must be to support the United Nations settlement of the Palestine issue. This Government urged partition upon the United Nations in the first place and it is unthinkable that it should fail to back up that decision in every possible way. To do so, the United States Government should adopt the following program of immediate action:
A. Preservation of Peace
- During the period of Five-Power discussions, provided for by the Security Council Resolution of March 5th, the United States should exert every pressure it can bring to bear upon the Arab States to accept partition. Strong pressures may already have been applied, but it does not look that way to the American people. Rather, there have been numerous examples of what appear to be acts of appeasement toward the Arabs. It is inconceivable to most Americans and to [Page 688] many other countries that we cannot—if we really wish to do so—exert effective pressure both on the Arabs and on the British.
- At the conclusion of the ten-day period provided for under the Resolution of the Security Council, the United States should take the initiative in branding the Arab States as aggressors and should move in the Security Council that Arab action constitutes a threat to the peace.
- The United States should further call upon the Security Council to require Great Britain to comply with the General Assembly’s resolution to refrain from taking “any action to prevent, obstruct or delay the implementation by the (Palestine) Commission of the measures recommended by the General Assembly.”
- In particular, Great Britain should be required to:
- permit immediate entry of the UN Commission into Palestine as directed by the General Assembly resolution;
- set aside Tel Aviv and its vicinity as a port, in compliance with the General Assembly resolution.
B. Arab and Jewish Militias
- The United States should call upon the Security Council immediately to create the Arab and Jewish armed militias provided for in the General Assembly’s resolution, and to provide means for and supervise the procurement of the necessary arms.
- The United States should immediately lift its unilateral embargo on arms to the Middle East. Shipments of arms should be freely allowed subject to limitations set by the UN Palestine Commission or the Security Council. This will give the Jewish militia and Hagana, which are striving to implement the UN decision, equal opportunity with the Arabs to arm for self-defense.
- The United States should withdraw its instructions to the American Consulate General in Jerusalem which requires recalling the passports of all Americans serving in Arab or Jewish militia created by the UN.
- The United States should cooperate fully with any programs set up by the UN Palestine Commission to carry out its functions in respect of Arab and Jewish militias.
C. International Security Force
- The United States should cooperate to the fullest with the UN Palestine Commission in plans for establishing an international security force in Palestine.
- The United States position on the composition of this force should continue as it was prior to the General Assembly’s action: recruitment [Page 689] from volunteers and not by calls on member states for national contingents. Thus, no American troops would be involved. But the United States should assume its part of the cost of recruiting, arming, and maintaining this international security force.
- Further protections are wise:
- the pattern should be the one followed in setting up the UN Palestine Commission: no recruitment from nationals of permanent members of the Security Council or from nations directly involved in the Middle East. This means a volunteer force from the smaller nations and excludes United States, Russia, and Great Britain.
- Service should not be in national uniform. The international security force should be under UN control and supervision, and serve as a UN force.
- If Russia vetoes the exclusion of volunteers from the great
powers, the United States should concede that point, subject to the
- the total number of volunteers from the 5 great powers shall not exceed ½ of the total authorized force; and
- the number of volunteers who are nationals of any one great power shall not exceed ⅕ of the quota reserved for the 5 great powers.
This would mean, for example, that Russian volunteers would not be more than ⅒ of the total authorized international security force.
In the event such program be adopted, the United States should remove any limitations penalizing Americans for serving in such force. American citizens were not barred from joining the British Air Force or the Chinese Flying Tigers in the last war.
- If competent military authorities determine that a force composed of individual volunteers cannot be made ready soon enough to meet the needs of the situation, then the United States should agree to proposals for the Security Council to exercise its authority under the UN Charter to call on member nations to provide troops.
- But here too, the composition should be as above indicated; first, if possible, by troops supplied voluntarily by member nations; secondly, if that should prove to be impossible, by call on all nations. In either event, this force should be subject to the quota limitations above outlined.
- Special attention should be paid to the needs of the City of Jerusalem, in order that on the withdrawal of Great Britain on May 15, Christian holy places and religious buildings and sites sacred to the entire Christian world would not be left at the mercy of fanatical Moslems.
- Although the source text contains no indication of authorship, Mr. Clifford has stated that he was the drafter. (Memorandum of conversation by William M. Franklin, June 20, 1974, 501.BB Palestine/3–2248)↩