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consistent with international law. The Fourth Geneva Convention speaks directly to the issue of population transfer in article 49:
The occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.
Clearly, then, substantial resettlement of the Israeli civilian population in occupied territories, including East Jerusalem, is illegal under the Convention and cannot be considered to have prejudged the outcome of future negotiations between the parties on the location of the borders of States of the Middle East. Indeed, the presence of these settlements is seen by my Government as an obstacle to the success of the negotiations for a just and final peace between Israel and its neighbors. The real issues of peace and stability in the Middle East are very difficult indeed; and unilateral acts, such as civilian population transfers, have been taken which serve to inflame emotions on both sides.
Ambassador Scranton concluded by saying that the United States would apply three tests to any proposed Council action:
- Do the facts and judgment on which it is based correspond to the actual situation?
- Will the action advance the proper administration of the areas involved?
- Will the action help or hinder the peaceful settlement process? In explanation of the U.S. veto, Ambassador Scranton said that the draft resolution failed to meet the above criteria, especially because it reflected or implied judgments which did not correspond to the actual situation in the area. He stated that references to Israeli efforts to change the religious character of Jerusalem and to Israeli violations of human rights in the occupied territories were not justified by the actual situation in the area, and that the draft resolution would not help in the peaceful settlement process.
For statements by Ambassador Scranton on Mar. 23 and 25, 1976, see Dept. of State Bulletin, Vol. LXXIV, No. 1921, Apr. 19, 1976, pp. 527-530. See also U.N. Doc. S/PV.1896, Mar. 23, 1976, pp. 28-40. The text of the draft resolution follows:
The Security Council,
Having considered recent developments in the occupied Arab territories, Deeply concerned at the serious situation which has arisen in these territories as a result of continued Israeli occupation,
Deeply concerned further at the measures taken by the Israeli authorities leading to the present grave situation, including measures aimed at changing the physical, cultural, demographic and religious character of the occupied territories and, in particular, the City of Jerusalem, the establishment of Israeli settlements in the occupied territories and other violations of the human rights of the inhabitants of those territories,
Emphasizing the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war,
Recalling and reaffirming the resolutions of the General Assembly and the Security Council calling upon Israel to rescind all measures already taken and to desist from taking any further action which would alter the status of the City of Jerusalem and the character of the occupied Arab territories,
Noting that, notwithstanding the aforementioned resolutions, Israel persists in its policy aiming at changing the physical, cultural, demographic and religious character of the City of Jerusalem in particular,
Reaffirming the urgent need for establishing a just and lasting peace in the Middle
1. Deplores Israel's failure to put a stop to actions and policies tending to change the status of the City of Jerusalem and to rescind measures already taken to that effect;
2. Calls on Israel, pending the speedy termination of its occupation, to refrain from all measures against the Arab inhabitants of the occupied territories:
3. Calls on Israel to respect and uphold the inviolability of the Holy Places which are under its occupation and to desist from the expropriation of or encroachment upon Arab lands and property or the establishment of Israeli settlements thereon in the occupied Arab territories and to desist from all other action and policies designed to change the legal status of the City of Jerusalem and to rescind measures already taken to that effect;
4. Decides to keep the situation under constant attention with a view to meeting again should circumstances so require.
U.N. Doc. S/12022. The draft resolution was not adopted owing to the negative vote by a permanent member of the Council. The vote was 14 in favor, 1 (U.S.) against.
During the debate in Committee Four at the United Nations on the question of Namibia on December 2, 1976, Ambassador William W. Scranton, U.S. Representative to the United Nations, restated the U.S. position on Namibia:
This year has . . . witnessed extensive consultations to bring the Namibian problem to the conference table. The United States has made a concerted and vigorous effort to persuade the interested parties to resolve the problem of Namibia by negotiations and not bloodshed. Although formal talks have not yet begun, progress has been made and diplomatic consultations continue. The United States is dedicated to ending the illegal occupation of Namibia by South Africa and to bringing about majority rule and independence for Namibia as a single unitary state. Šecretary Kissinger outlined the main elements of a negotiated solution to the Namibian problem in his speech to the General Assembly on September 30; the United States favors the following elements:
- Independence for Namibia within a fixed short time limit; The calling of a constitutional conference at a neutral location under the United Nations aegis; and
- The participation in the conference of all authentic national forces including specifically SWAPO.
Progress toward all these objectives has been made in negotiations with the Government of South Africa. But we must also be realistic. There are other genuine Namibian interests and voices which must be heard on the future of the territory. The United States believes that the place to resolve the differences between the parties to the Namibian problem is the conference
table. We will exert every effort to bring the parties to undertake a process of negotiations.
Press Release USUN-176 (76), Dec. 2, 1976. For Secretary Kissinger's speech to the General Assembly on Sept. 30, 1976, see Dept. of State Bulletin, Vol. LXXV, No. 1948, Oct. 25, 1976, pp. 497-510.
The U.N. General Assembly passed, on December 20, 1976, eight resolutions on Namibia recommended by the Decolonization Committee. The United States voted against the resolution concerning the "Situation in Namibia" (Res. 31/146) and abstained on five others. U.S. representative Stephen Hess explained with respect to the negative vote that the United States could not "be party to the endorsement in the resolution of armed struggle as a means to resolve the Namibian problem. . . . [W]e are committed to the search for a peaceful, negotiated solution to the Namibian problem." He explained also that the United States could not support paragraphs of the resolution which describe the situation in Namibia as constituting a threat to international peace and security and call on the Security Council to impose a mandatory arms embargo against South Africa. See ante, Ch. 10, § 12, p. 571. He added that the United States did not recognize any one of the political groups inside or outside of Namibia as the sole authentic representative of the Namibian people. Press Release USUN-176 (76), Dec. 2, 1976.
The United States vetoed a draft resolution (S/12119) on Palestinian rights which came to a vote in the U.N. Security Council on June 29, 1976. The vote was 10 in favor, 1 against, with 4 abstentions. The U.S. voted negatively on the grounds that the resolution was unbalanced and dealt with a matter which was more properly a subject of negotiation. Ambassador Albert W. Sherer, Jr., U.S. Representative, in a statement to the Council, said that the framework for settlement existed in Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338. He added:
Our reason is not lack of concern for the Palestinian people. We have consistently made clear our concerns on this score and our conviction that there must be a solution to the Palestinian issue if there is to be a lasting settlement. We are convinced that resolutions and committee reports are not the most effective way of dealing with the question of the political future of the Palestinians. The United States will do its utmost to bring about the early resumption of serious negotiations looking toward a settlement of
all the issues, and we believe that it is through such negotiations that we must seek a solution to the issue of the Palestinians. There are, in our view, two fundamental flaws to this
First, the text is totally devoid of balance, stressing the rights and interests of one party to the Middle East dispute and ignoring the rights and interests of other parties.
Second, the draft "affirms the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people to self-determination, including the right of return and the right to national independence and sovereignty in Palestine. . . ." The political interests of the Palestinians and their role in a final Middle East settlement constitute, in my government's view, a matter that must be negotiated between the parties before it can be defined in resolutions of this Council.
The text of the draft resolution follows:
The Security Council,
Having considered the item entitled "The question of the exercise by the Palestinian people of its inalienable rights." in accordance with the request contained in paragraph 8 of General Assembly Resolution 3376 (XXX) of November 10, 1975,
Having heard the representatives of the parties concerned, including the Palestine Liberation Organization, representative of the Palestinian people,
Having considered the report of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (document S/12090), transmitted to the Security Council in accordance with the provisions of paragraph 7 of General Assembly Resolution 3376 (XXX),
Deeply concerned that no just solution to the problem of Palestine has been achieved, and that this problem therefore continues to aggravate the Arab-Israeli conflict, of which it is the core, and to endanger international peace and security. Recognizing that a just and lasting peace in the Middle East cannot be established without the achievement, inter alia, of a just solution of the problem of Palestine on the basis of the recognition of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, 1. Takes note of the report of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (document S/12090);
2. Affirms the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people to self-determination. including the right of return and the right to national independence and sovereignty in Palestine, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations.
For the full text of Ambassador Sherer's statement, see Press Release USUN-71(76), June 29, 1976; Dept. of State Bulletin, Vol. LXXV, No. 1935, July 26, 1976, pp. 143-144.
The U.N. General Assembly on November 24, 1976, adopted Resolution 31/20, endorsing the recommendations of the report of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, which, inter alia, (1) called for Israeli withdrawal from all occupied territories and the return of 1967 war refugees to those territories at the latest by June 1977, and (2) endorsed the "inalienable" right of the Palestinian people to achieve selfdetermination and national independence in Palestine. The resolution was adopted by a vote of 90-16 (U.S.), with 30 abstentions.
Ambassador William W. Scranton, U.S. Representative to the United Nations, delivered a statement on November 23 criticizing the report as "totally devoid of balance with conclusions that are unworkable and recommendations that prejudge the outcome of negotiations." He noted that the recommendation on complete withdrawal by Israeli occupation forces conflicted with Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338, which called for negotiations between the parties concerned for the settlement of all outstanding problems. Ambassador Scranton stressed, however, that the United States agreed with the apparent intention of the Committee-"to bring to the attention of the General Assembly that the legitimate aspirations and interests of the Palestinian people must be taken into account in, working out a settlement in the Middle East."
For the text of Ambassador Scranton's statement, see Press Release USUN-159(76), Nov. 23, 1976.
The U. N. Security Council, on August 25, 1976, adopted by consensus Resolution 395 (1976) cosponsored by the United States, France, Italy, and the United Kingdom relative to the Greek-Turkish dispute in the Aegean Sea. The resolution asked Greece and Turkey to resume dialogue toward resolving their differences, to continue to refrain from unilateral actions which might prejudice the dialogue, and to consider all appropriate forums in which elements in the dispute might be settled. The Greek representative, in a letter of August 10, 1976, to the President of the Security Council (U.N. Doc. S/12167) had requested an urgent meeting of the Council to consider what it termed "a dangerous situation . . . threatening international peace and security" resulting from alleged violations by Turkey of the "sovereign rights of Greece on its continental shelf in the Aegean."
Ambassador W. Tapley Bennett, Jr., Deputy U.S. Representative to the United Nations, stated in the Security Council on August 25, 1976:
The legal issues related to the continental shelf are among the most sensitive in the entire field of the law of the sea. I do not believe, however, that this is the place to analyze such complex issues of international law. This Council, instead, should do all it can to encourage the two parties to engage in contacts and discussions that will ensure that the problem between them does not now or at any time in the future lead to a threat to the peace of the area