12 Evatt to Burton

Cablegram E43 NEW YORK, 26 October 1947, 9.25 p.m.



The Palestine position is now as follows- 1. The full Committee [1] received not less than 17 draft proposals some referring to problem as a whole, others to certain aspects only. The two main proposals were- (A) United States proposal to agree in principle with majority plan for partition and economic unity in Palestine.

(B) Three Arab States' proposal for independence for Palestine as Unitary State.

2. However, United States in debate had proposed to alter boundaries proposed by majority report and to refer detailed consideration of majority of plan to Sub-Committee.

3. Dr. Evatt proposed that no preliminary vote on the two competing principles should be taken until full Committee knew what was involved in United States proposal including vital function of partitional Government. He said that otherwise there would be a second long debate with nothing decided at its end.

4. Similarly Arab proposals should be supplemented by details of implementation Unitary State [which] would of course involve handing over 660,000 Jews to Independent State containing 1,200,000 Arabs preserving Arab majority.

5. Accepting Dr. Evatt's suggestion, two Committees were appointed- (A) Sub-Committee 1 to draw up plan in accordance with United States proposals based on majority plan and unanimous recommendations of Special Committee to incorporate this plan in form of recommendation to consider administrative responsibility in Palestine during transitional period and to consider method by which recommendations of Palestine Committee would be brought into effect.

(B) Sub-Committee 2 to draw up analogous plan in accordance with principles of Arab proposals.

6. In addition Dr. Evatt suggested that he and Vice-Chairman be given authority to conciliate between all parties in dispute in order to increase area of agreement and reduce areas of disagreement. This was agreed to unanimously.

7. The other proposals of Dr. Evatt as Chairman were accepted and Sub-Committee[s] have commenced work with provisional deadline of October 29th for report to General Committee.

8. Composition of two Sub-Committees is as follows- (A) Sub-Committee No. 1: Canada, Czechoslovakia, Guatemala, Poland, South Africa, United States, U.S.S.R., Uruguay, Venezuela.

(B) Sub-Committee No. 2: Afghanistan, Colombia, Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Yemen.

9. After initial Meeting of 22nd October Sub-Committee No. 1 adjourned until 27th to enable closer examination of report of Special Committee and also some clarification of the ideas of the individual members regarding the means of implementation of majority plan.

10. Sub-Committee No. 2 has divided into three working groups to consider- (A) Legal aspects, including the request for a ruling by the International Court of Justice and the legal points involved in regard to the implementation of a plan for Palestine by the United Nations.

(B) A detailed plan for the future Government of Palestine in accordance with the Arab proposals for a Unitary Independent State, and (C) The question of Jewish displaced persons.

11. The object of Dr. Evatt's taking initiative was to secure at the earliest possible moment a full presentation to the Ad Hoc Committee on behalf of each of the two groups advocating respectively the setting up of two States and the establishment of the single Unitary State. When these two competing proposals are fully before the Main Committee the decisive vote will be taken.

In addition Dr. Evatt has already taken the initiative in preliminary attempt at conciliation.

12. Because of its decision to withdraw from Palestine United Kingdom has refrained from joining either Sub-Committee. Canada, South Africa and New Zealand are now publicly committed to majority report in principle.

13. Typical comment on Dr. Evatt's handling Committee was-'It was Dr. Evatt's loose reign but firm control that kept the Committee to the business on hand -procedure rather than representations debate on the majority of the proposals'.

14. Dr. Evatt has received numerous communications from Australia, including Bishop Pilcher [2] all supporting adoption of majority plan.

1 That is, the ad hoc committee chaired by Evatt.

2 Rt Rev. C. V. Pilcher, Anglican Coadjutor Bishop of Sydney.

[AA : A1838, TS852/20/2, i]