3 Addison to Australian Government

Cablegram D227 LONDON, 8 March 1947, 5.20 p.m.


My telegram D.146 of 14th February. Palestine.

In view of the importance of achieving early settlement of Palestine problem we have been considering possible means by which consideration by the United Nations Assembly might be expedited.

We do not consider it practicable to suggest summoning a special session of the Assembly and the Palestine question will not therefore come before the Assembly until its next session in September; even then the Assembly, which will have many other problems on its hands, will probably be unable to reach any definite conclusions unless preparatory work has been done.

2. The course which commends itself to us is that the Secretary- General should summon Ad Hoc Committee as soon as possible to this preparatory work and to report to the Assembly. The permanent United Kingdom representative to the United Nations has ascertained, in private conversation with the Secretary-General, that the latter would be prepared to propose this; we have therefore authorised Sir A. Cadogan, when formally requesting him to place the Palestine problem on the Assembly Agenda, to suggest summoning an Ad Hoc Committee on the above lines.

3. As regards composition of the Committee, our preliminary view is that it should consist of representatives of 5 permanent members of the Security Council and of the Netherlands, Czechoslovakia and Brazil, but we have not yet decided whether this should be formally suggested to the Secretary-General. On general grounds it seems obvious that permanent members of the Security Council should be represented and they will probably expect this. Choice of the other three is based on the following considerations:

(a) Geographical distribution.

(b) They are, in our view, likely to be neutral and open-minded on the Palestine issue.

(c) Their nomination would not expose us to a charge of trying to 'pack' the Committee.

4. The Secretary-General has suggested informally that Jewish and Arab representatives should be members of the Committee. There is in our view, strong objection to inclusion of Jewish representatives, which would set a dangerous precedent for participation of non-governmental organisations in Committees of United Nations. Clearly, however, if Jewish representatives are excluded, Arab States should also be excluded on these grounds and as the proposed Committee would be principally concerned with examination of facts, it seems more appropriate for both Arabs and Jews to be invited to give evidence through representatives with special knowledge of Palestine, who could, if desired, be available for consultation throughout proceedings.

[AA: A1068, M47/17/1/2]