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John F. Kennedy Administration: Telegram on UNRWA in Special Political Committee Debate

(November 29, 1962)

This is a telegram from the Department of State to the Mission to the United Nations offering guidance on the UNRWA item in the Special Political Committee debate.

After consideration this matter by President, following is background for UNRWA item. Dept sending officers today to brief Stevenson, Rowan and staff more fully. You should defer discussions with PCC members and others pending negotiations with Israelis here on following basis:

1. We would urge Johnson to submit as non-substantive report as possible to PCC;

2. We would support PCC report that does not endorse Johnson Plan;

3. We would sponsor GA resolution contained in Deptel 1371

4. We would also maintain our past position against recognition of Palestine entity, reconstitution of PCC, and Arab Custodian proposal.

Assumption is Johnson's role would be concluded and PCC effort would be pursued by US in post-GA period.

We seek commitments from Israel that:

1. It will not introduce or support a Direct Negotiations resolution for next two years;

2. It will be free to maintain its present private rejection of the Johnson Plan, but would not attack it publicly (including in GA debate);

3. It will resume discussions with the US shortly after GA to consider how progress can be made on refugee question with an acceptable mixture of repatriation and resettlement. This would include consideration of any ideas Israel has, twelve principles developed in the Harman-Talbot talks, and possible ways to resolve refugee question bilaterally, i.e., Jordan;

4. It will commit itself to continue to avoid actions along the border and to support effective use and improvement of UN instrumentalities in area.

If foregoing agreement achieved, it ought to be possible to guide debate in such way that onus for failure make progress on basis Johnson Plan will fall more or less equitably on both sides. Moreover, since Arabs, as well as the Israelis, would welcome non-substantive Johnson report which does not surface Johnson Plan, we ought to be able to use this and our willingness to extend UNRWA for a year as leverage with them on the Palestine entity, PCC reconstitution, and Custodian proposals.

In meeting November 29 with Ambassador Harman, U.S. officials discussed problem along above lines. Harman promised to seek instructions soonest. Reporting telegram containing further details on this meeting follows.


Sources: Foreign Relations of the United States, 1961-1963: Near East, 1962-1963, V. XVIII. DC: GPO, 2000.