Memorandum of Conversation, by the Officer in Charge of Palestine, Israel, and Jordan Affairs (Rockwell)


Subject: Action on Jerusalem in General Assembly

Participants: G. N. Upton, 3rd Secretary Australian Embassy ANE—Mr. Rockwell

Problem: To receive views of Australian Government on possible course of action on Jerusalem in General Assembly.

Action Required: To consider above.

Action Assigned to: ANE, UNP, UND


Mr. Upton called under instructions to acquaint the Department with the Australian Foreign Office’s preliminary thinking on the course of action which might be followed concerning Jerusalem in the General Assembly this year.

[Here follow the views of the Australian Government that a corpus separatum should be maintained under full sovereignty of the United Nations, but that the international zone should be smaller than the original Jerusalem area and might include about half of the Old City and a corresponding portion of Jewish Jerusalem.]

I said that the Department believed that any Jerusalem solution should be acceptable to Jordan and Israel and receive a reasonable degree of concurrence by the International Community. I recalled that the United States had taken an active role in the preparation of the PCC Statute for Jerusalem last year, and that this Statute had not even been considered by the General Assembly. In our eyes the PCC Statute, with suitable modifications, still seemed to be a good basis for a compromise between the positions of the various elements interested in the Jerusalem problem. I recalled that the Israeli Government had submitted a proposal involving international control of the Holy Places alone, while it was our understanding that the Vatican still strongly supported the full internationalization of the whole Jerusalem area.

I added that in my opinion the passage of time had altered the situation in Palestine to such a degree that full internationalization of the entire Jerusalem area as envisaged in 1947 was no longer practicable. As a matter of fact, it seemed dubious that a two-thirds majority could be obtained this year for another resolution calling for full internationalization in view of the Soviet decision no longer to support this idea. It seemed to me that the idea of the territorial internationalization of a small area in Jerusalem would to a great deal depend for success upon the attitude of the parties. The trend of the [Page 958] present thinking of the Australian Government appeared to me to be leading toward a plan such as that proposed by Mr. Garreau, and I recalled that both Jordan and Israel had opposed this plan. There were also the costs of administration of an international territory to be considered.

I said that the Department had not adopted a firm position on this question as yet, and had not received an indication of the views of other nations on the subject. For this reason the Department would shortly request its missions in the field to ask the Governments to which they were accredited for their views. I thought it important that the Jerusalem question be removed from the UN agenda this year, but at the present time frankly could not foresee what decision the General Assembly would reach. To put it plainly, I said that we believed that the nations which had taken the lead in bringing the General Assembly to such an impracticable solution last year might well be expected to take the initiative toward a more workable solution this time. However, until we saw signs pointing toward such a solution, and its acceptability to a majority of the international community and the two parties most concerned, our entirely tentative thinking was that the PCC Statute was as good a point as any to start from.

Mr. Upton thanked me for these views and said he would communicate them to his Government.