Sunday, August 14, 2016

Forgotten history, 1947:  Sub-Committee 2 and the one state solution.
Rapporteur: Mr. Thor THORS (Iceland)

...8. At its twentieth meeting the Committee considered the question of the composition of the conciliation group and of the two Sub-Committees which it had decided to create. As regards the conciliation group, the Chairman, Vice-Chairman and Rapporteur were authorized, if they succeeded in initiating the conciliation process, to co-opt other members to assist with their task.

As to the composition of the two Sub-Committees, the representative of the Soviet Union proposed that the Sub-Committee entrusted with the drawing up of the detailed plan of partition with economic union (Sub-Committee 1) should be composed of fifteen members and should include all the members of the Security Council. The proposal was not adopted, (six votes in favour; thirty-two votes against) and the Chairman was authorized to name the members of that Sub-Committee as well as those of Sub-Committee 2, which was to work out the details of the plan for one State in Palestine. The Sub-Committee were asked to submit their reports not later than 29 October, subject to an extension of that time limit if necessary.

9. With regard to the various draft resolutions which the Committee had not yet considered, it was decided at the twentieth meeting; (1) that the discussion of the draft resolution by Sweden and the United States approving the principles of the majority plan of the Special Committee on Palestine (A/AC.14/16) should be deferred until the report of Sub-Committee 1 had been received; (2) that the various resolutions proposing to amend the plan of the majority of the Special Committee should be referred to Sub-Committee 1; (3) that the Colombian draft resolution on acts of violence (A/AC.14/11) should be considered when the Committee discussed its recommendations to the General Assembly; (4) that either Sub-Committee was empowered to take up and consider any or all written proposals before the Ad Hoc Committee which it deemed to be relevant to the performance of its functions, such as the draft resolutions relating to the problem of Jewish refugees and displaced persons. A proposal by the Colombian delegation to set up a special sub-committee to study this problem was not adopted (seven votes in favour; nineteen votes against).

10. By virtue of the authority vested in him by the Committee, the Chairman appointed, on 22 October, the following members to serve on the Sub-Committees:

(a) Sub-Committee 1: Canada, Czechoslovakia, Guatemala, Poland, South Africa, United States of America, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, Uruguay, Venezuela.
(b) Sub-Committee 2: Afghanistan, Colombia, Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Yemen.


Composition and terms of reference of Sub-Committee

1. Sub-Committee 2 on Palestine was set up on 23 October 1947 following the decision of the Ad Hoc Committee of Palestine to establish two Sub-Committees. By virtue of the authority conferred on him by the Ad Hoc Committee, the Chairman nominated the following countries as members of Sub-Committee 2: Afghanistan, Colombia, Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Yemen.

The terms of reference of the Sub-Committee were as follows:

1. “To draw up a detailed plan for the future government of Palestine in accordance with the basic principles expressed in the proposals submitted to the General Assembly by the delegations of Saudi Arabia and Iraq (documents A/317 and A/328, respectively) and the proposal submitted to the Ad Hoc Committee by the delegation of Syria (document A/AC.14/22); and

2. To incorporate this plan in the form of recommendations.”

The Sub-Committee was also authorized to take up and consider any of the other proposals before the Ad Hoc Committee which were considered to be necessary.

2. The Sub-Committee held its first meeting on 23 October 1947 and elected the delegate for Colombia, Dr. A. Gonzalez Fernandez, as Chairman, and the delegate for Pakistan as Rapporteur. It was explained by the Chairman that the representative of the United Kingdom would sit on the Sub-Committee as an observer and that his advice would be available to the Sub-Committee as and when required.

3. On a preliminary review of the task assigned to it, the Sub-Committee felt that it was somewhat unfortunate that both Sub-Committee 1 and Sub-Committee 2 on Palestine were so constituted as to include in each of them representatives of only one school of thought, and that there was insufficient representation of neutral countries, It was accordingly proposed that the Chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee should be requested that, irrespective of what might be done with regard to Sub-Committee 1, Sub-Committee 2 should be reconstituted so as to replace two of the Arab states in the Sub-Committee (which were prepared to withdraw) by neutrals or countries which had not definitely committed themselves to any particular solution of the Palestine question. This request was laid before the Chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee, but for reasons which he explained to the Sub-Committee, he could not see his way to accepting the Sub-Committee’s recommendation. In those circumstances, the delegate for Colombia resigned on 28 October and Sir Zafrullah Khan, the delegate for Pakistan, was elected as Chairman in his place.

Sub-Committee’s Plan of work

4. With regard to its work, the Sub-Committee decided at the very outset to concentrate on three broad issues:
(i) The legal questions connected with or arising from the Palestine problem, in particular the three proposals bearing on the subject submitted to the Ad Hoc Committee by the delegations of Iraq, Egypt and Syria. (documents A/AC.14/21, A/AC.14/2 and A/AC.14/25).

(ii) The problem of Jewish refugees and displaced persons and its connection with the Palestinian question.

(iii) The termination of the Mandate over Palestine and constitutional proposals for the establishment of a unitary and independent state on the basis of the proposals submitted by Iraq and Saudi Arabia to the General Assembly.

Working groups were established to deal with each of these main issues and they were constituted as follows:
(i) Legal Problems – Pakistan, Syria and Saudi Arabia
(ii) Refugee Problem – Afghanistan, Colombia and Lebanon
(iii)Constitutional Proposals – Egypt, Iraq and Yemen
The reports of working groups were considered by the Sub-Committee and, as finally adopted, constitute chapters I, II, and III respectively of this report. The conclusions of the Sub-Committee have been embodied in the form of three resolutions for submission to the General Assembly, and are contained in the concluding chapter.

5. The Sub-Committee wishes to record its gratitude to Mr. H. Beeley, the United Kingdom representative, for his assistance and advice, and to Mr. H. Vigier, the Secretary of the Sub-Committee, and his colleagues, for supplying the Sub-Committee, and his colleagues, for supplying the Sub-Committee with some of the documentary material utilized for the preparation of the report, and for their readiness to lend the Sub-Committee their assistance.


The bottom of the page links to a pdf of a typewritten copy of the report; the header page tagged in modern computer font: Best Copy Available

The links above are often slow or unresponsive. The report is also available here.
...85. While the task of framing a constitution must naturally be left to the Constituent Assembly, the Sub-Committee feels that it should indicate in general terms the main principles on which the future constitution be based. These are summarized below:
(a) Palestine shall be a unitary and sovereign State.
(b) It shall have a democratic constitution, with en elected legislature and an Executive responsible to the legislature.
(c) The constitution shall provide guarantees for the sanctity of the Holy Places covering inviolability, maintenance, freedom of access and freedom of worship in accordance with the status quo.
(d) The constitution shall guarantee respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion and freedom of religious belief and practice in accordance with the status quo (including the maintenance of separate religious courts with matters of personal status).
(e) The constitution shall guarantee the right of religious bodies or other societies and individuals to maintain, in addition to educational establishments administered by public authority, educational institutions of their own, subject to normal government supervision and inspection.
(f) The constitution shall recognize the right of Jews to employ Hebrew as a second official language in areas in which they are in a a majority.
(g) The Law of Naturalization and Citizenship shall provide, amongst other conditions, that the applicant should be a legal resident of Palestine for a continuous period to be determined by the Constituent Assembly.
(h) The constitution shell ensure adequate representation in the Legislature for all important sections of the citizenry in proportion to their numerical strength.
(i) The constitution shall also provide for adequate reflection in the Executive and the Administration of the distribution of representation in the Legislature.
(j) The constitution shall authorize the Legislature to invest local authorities with wide discretion in matters, connected with education, health, and other social services.
(k) The constitution shell provide for the setting up of a Supreme Court, the jurisdiction of which include inter alia, the power to pronounce upon the constitutional validity of all legislation, and it shell be open to any aggrieved party to have recourse to that tribunal.
(i) The guarantees contained in the constitution concerning the rights and safeguards of the minorities shall not be subject to amendment or modification without the consent of the minority concerned expressed through a majority, of its representatives in the Legislature. 

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