47 Hood to Burton
Letter, NEW YORK, 6 August 1948
I am enclosing with this copy of another letter I have had from Comay regarding recognition of the Israeli Government. I think there is no special motive in his raising the question again at this time - the letter seems to be more in the nature of an academic exercise. I have told him that so far as I am aware there is no immediate prospect of any change in the Australian Government's attitude.
On the question of Palestine in general, the feeling here now is that it may not, after all, be such a substantial issue in Paris as was earlier expected. Apparently Bernadotte is intending simply to report to the Assembly on his activities to date, especially in connection with the truce, resettlement of refugees etc., without putting up any new set of proposals. There is a very definite impression that his earlier proposals, rejected by both sides, were altogether premature and he is said to be quite prepared to let events take their course now for some time to come. Judging from reports now coming in, this may be in the direction of direct negotiation between the two parties without the intervention of the Mediator at all. In that case, the Assembly may be content just to know what has been done towards implementation of its May 14th resolution, without launching again into the basic question - unless the Arabs decide to provoke debate by some means, such as a move to get an opinion from the International Court.
When I saw Comay and Eban recently, they told me that Israel would make application early for membership, but apart from this would not be anxious for any General Assembly discussion on Palestine. It was not certain whether Shertok would be in Paris - he would only come if necessary. The Israelis are certainly in a very confident mood these days, not to say 'uppish', and they will not be particularly easy for anyone to deal with.