68 Statement by Hood in General Assembly

Extracts, [PARIS], 11 December 1948

The essential purpose of the amendments is to specify, make more clear and more specific, and more practical, the intention expressed in the resolution adopted by the First Committee. That resolution, although it is by no means a short one, does, in its essence, express the general will of all delegations that were represented in the First Committee, namely, a desire to see the stage of conciliation in Palestine approached in a practical and realistic fashion.

[matter omitted]

The amendments proposed, as the delegates will observe, and as will be discussed in this General Assembly, contain the implicit question of the recognition of two outstanding facts in the situation, and it would be unreasonable for this Assembly to go forward to a further stage in this process without paying attention to these two aspects of the matter.

I refer to the actual existence in fact of a State of Israel, of a Government of Israel, and of an entity, both political and economic, which exists as an entity and is the State of Israel ... It is true that the resolution still contains no explicit reference to that fact; but let me make it clear that the Australian delegation considers that to be a basic element on which we must base any further consideration of the matter.

The other aspect which is also a necessary part of the process for our further efforts in this matter is the economic interest, which consideration has been amended as from the original resolution of the Assembly a year ago. I refer to the partition of Palestine. It would not be partition pure and simple, but it would be a constitutional setting-up of two politically independent States, subject to certain economic and political amendments. That has not come about. Nonetheless, it would be wrong to disregard the possibility, and indeed the necessity of the eventual establishment of a method which, if not in form, at any rate in practice and in fact, will meet the requirements which were made quite clear to the Assembly when it passed its vital resolution of last year. I hope that the resolution, with the amendments which we have put up, will forward the eventual development of the whole of Palestine, and that that will be taken in mind in any efforts which may be made at conciliation.

The situation as it at present exists in Palestine is not covered by the resolution in its original form, and it is necessary for the Assembly to take notice of the facts of the present situation. It would be wrong for the Assembly to do anything which might keep Palestine entirely outside the influence and entirely outside the political authority of the United Nations. That is the intention of the resolution. My delegation thinks that if any committee of conciliation is set up, it should be under the Assembly and its purposes must be closely concerned with the vital aspects of the matter. Any commission which is set up must be in fact a conciliation commission in the true sense of the word, and it must recognize the basic facts of the situation with which the commission has to deal.

[matter omitted]

A most important proposed amendment is the deletion from the resolution of the paragraph relating to the means of appointment of the commission. Representatives know that the proposal led, in the Committee, to some difficult debate, and there is by no means any general consensus of opinion. Our proposition now is to delete that specific proposal for the appointment of the members of the commission. The Assembly will eventually decide how many there should be - whether three or four or five - but it would seem right to us that, in this matter where the commission is the agent and servant of the Assembly, it should itself be chosen by the Assembly in the normal and democratic manner, and that is the object of the amendment.

[AA : A1838, 191/2/1]