320/12–2052: Telegram

No. 535
The United States Representative at the United Nations (Austin) to the Department of State


Delga 389. Re Palestine. For Dept’s consideration and further planning our conclusions on outcome of Pal debate may be summarized as fols: [Page 1084]


Defeat of 8-power draft res, after our intensive efforts obtain wide support (Gadel 104)1 and our consistent efforts from beginning debate to encourage widespread expression opinion favoring direct negotiations, should not be regarded as substantive setback. Net result of consideration Pal question this Assembly has been to make clear that majority opinion in UN favors settlement undertaken directly by parties and that Assembly can no longer be expected entertain discussion on Pal question on basis past Arab policy and practices. Net result may also indicate, however, Assembly cannot be expected to give affirmative sanction to total disregard by Israel of past UN resolutions on Pal.

Arab reps here, we feel, recognize that their reliance on past resolutions to avoid practical solution and settlement with Israel of outstanding Pal questions has lost much of its effectiveness. Thus Jamali (Iraq), following yesterday’s plenary mtg, said to USDel he recognized Arab policy in bringing question to this session of Assembly had been mistake, but that there were still constructive actions that could be taken which he sincerely hoped we would not lose sight of. (He also expressed regret that situation had led to Sov support.)

Mostafa (Egypt) expressed his belief that outcome Pal debate provided opportunity for constructive action by continuing PCC efforts on practical problems and said he planned so inform PCC by letter. Mostafa expressed his disgust and regret at Arabs’ bad handling Pal question and his disagreement with statement attributed to Shukairi (Syria) following plenary that PCC was not removed from Pal question. These and other substantial indications of split in Arab bloc will need careful appraisal in terms of our future policy toward the Arab States individually and as a group.

Israel reaction on outcome, as expressed to USDel immediately after plenary and later in evening, was one of satisfaction bordering on enthusiasm. Although disappointed GA was incapable taking desirable affirmative action, their net appraisal is that Assembly has in effect told parties it is up to them to settle their differences and that Arabs have actually suffered major defeat. (Arabs, on other hand, will certainly portray rejection of comite res as major defeat for Israel.) On questions of repatriation and internationalization of Jerusalem, Israel reps expressed view UN interest in these principles had been effectively diminished. Rafael stated that yesterday’s vote showed UN can no longer muster a majority vote for internationalization of Jerusalem and that to put question thus to test had been from Catholic standpoint great error. Thus if local reps views can be taken as indicative general [Page 1085] Israel attitude, Israel may well feel that as result of this year’s Pal debate they are freed from some of the troublesome restraints UN has previously imposed.

There was suggestion in Eban’s and Rafael’s attitude of feeling that PCC no longer had any function to serve. This attitude with respect to PCC seemed however to be more one of conjecture than a firm position.


Foregoing leads us to conclusion that outcome Pal debate this year can be turned to constructive advantage if urgent efforts are now made on realistic basis to deal with practical problems. Debate has cleared away some of atmosphere of unreality and, if prompt consideration is given problems of compensation and territorial adjustments of armistice lines, important and necessary progress can be made looking toward ultimate settlement between parties.

Arab Govts on reflection may well feel that they must salvage from their Pal policy some practical gains and therefore be more ready now to accept compensation and resettlement of refugees.

It seems to us most important, however, that time not be lost in pursuing these practical questions while some at least of Arab States are in receptive mood. If impression should be created that nothing along lines of compensation and territorial adjustment will be attempted the strength of extremists like Shukairi will be confirmed at expense of moderate Arab sentiment disposed to early settlement. Likewise, unless Israel is promptly advised to pursue program of blocked accounts to conclusion, and to undertake compensation and territorial adjustments without delay, tentative Israeli view that little of substance may now be expected of them will be confirmed and opportunity to move ahead in any of these fields may be lost.


We recommend that Dept consider immediate instructions to our missions in Tel Aviv and Arab capitals in light of above conclusions and encourage prompt action by Israel Govt and where appropriate by PCC on compensation, and conclusion total release of blocked accounts. If this done and Israeli reaction promising, Arab Govts should be encouraged anticipate results. Similarly disturbances on Israel borders should be made occasion strong representations that Israel make progress in enlarging armistice agreements and settling territorial problems involving demilitarized zones. These points are all matters on which Eban indicated in statements to committee progress could be made. In discussions prior to Assembly debate, Eban indicated Israel view that work along these lines could continue with assistance present UN machinery without Assembly action.

Missions in Arab countries and Tel Aviv should be informed of role played by Sov bloc in ensuring defeat of res unacceptable to [Page 1086] Arabs as portending probable role Sov will play if prompt and realistic efforts by both sides to deal with these problems not made.

In addition to representations in Tel Aviv and Arab capitals, we urge early discussion with Israel Amb in Wash if Dept shares our appraisal and need for action.