357.AC/1–2751: Telegram

The United States Representative on the Palestine Conciliation Commission ( Palmer ) to the Secretary of State


408. Palun 370. Joint PCCUNRWA meeting 25 ended on note of cooperation and understanding. Prior to meeting with UNRWA, USDel had presented to PCC our views on future relations with UNRWA and respective concentration of efforts. PCC accepted readily US views in complete accordance Deptel 497, January 23.1 These views were communicated to UNRWA in joint meeting in remarks by French Turk and US representatives. While British and French members UNRWA advisory commission expressed concern over possible overlapping with UNRWA reintegration program, PCC statement of understanding its role under GA resolution2 and intentions as outlined Deptel 497 met no opposition. It was agreed that PCC and UNRWA should communicate regularly and exchange full information [Page 565] on progress respective tasks. Second joint meeting, at which UNRWA will discuss with PCC details of reintegration program, is scheduled for first week following close Istanbul conference.3

PCC and UNRWA considered Israel conditional offer to UNRWA reintegration fund.4 After joint meeting, PCC telegraphed to secretary negotiation committee as follows: “Dear Mr. White: Further to my letter of 10 January,5 I would like to inform you that the conciliation commission has considered the conditional offer of the government of Israel to the relief and reintegration program for Palestine refugees, both at its meeting of 26 January and at joint meeting of the commission and UNRWA held on the same day.

The commission has asked me to thank the negotiation committee for having brought this matter to its attention. I would like to request the committee to urge upon the government of Israel the importance of making an offer without conditions as to compensation. The Commission believes that such an unconditional offer by Israel would be a demonstration of goodwill that would greatly accelerate the work of the conciliation commission in final settlement of the refugee problem and all other questions outstanding between Israel and Arab states.” PCC informed UNRWA its intention forward above telegram and received copy UNRWA’s communication to negotiation committee.6

[ Palmer ]
  1. Ante, p. 562.
  2. Presumably that cited in footnote 3, p. 563.
  3. For documentation on the Middle East Chiefs of Mission meeting held in Istanbul February 14–21, see pp. 49 ff.
  4. On December 13, 1950, the Government of Israel had indicated its readiness to contribute approximately $2,800,000 to a reintegration program for Palestine refugees if it were in return given assurance that the contribution would release it from all individual claims for compensation for abandoned Arab lands. (Information based on part of telegram 78 from Marseilles, January 15; 357.AC/1–1551) The offer had been made to a negotiating committee whose terms of reference are set forth in Resolution 393 (V) of the United Nations General Assembly.
  5. Not found in Department of State files.
  6. In telegram 93 to Jerusalem (Unpal 262), February 19, drafted by Mr. Ludlow of UNP and marked “For Palmer,” the Department stated in part: “While Dept holds present Israeli compensation proposals to negotiating comite wholly unacceptable Dept believes area for negotiating relationship reintegration fund and Israeli obligation compensate does exist and shld be basis for prompt discussions by PCC with Israeli reps. Dept views as likely basis agreement procedure whereby individual Arab claims wld be cancelled as Israeli ear-marked funds were used to resettle individual, PRA being agency handling such procedure.” The Department urged Mr. Palmer to persuade his PCC colleagues to negotiate with Israel “conditions linking compensation and resettlement which might induce Israeli contribution reintegration fund no less than equivalent 5 million dollars first installment.” This telegram was cleared by NE, NEA, UNE, and UNA. (357.AC/2–1951) For background to this policy instruction, see Mr. Ludlow’s memorandum of March 14 to John D. Hickerson, p. 592.