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“WHEREAS the alleviation of conditions of starvation and distress among the Palestine refugees is one of the minimum conditions for the success of the efforts of the United Nations to bring peace to that land. ..."
At the same time the Delegation was careful to make it clear that the program should not be launched in such a way as to indicate any legal obligation or responsibility on the part of the United Nations for undertaking the care of the Palestinian refugees.
The Delegation concluded that it was essential for the General Assembly to fix the total amount required to meet the emergency, the estimated number of refugees, and the period for which the program should
be launched. The problem of how the needed funds and supplies should be obtained was more difficult. After a thorough study of the alternatives, it was concluded that in view of the size of the problem the funds would have to come from Member governments rather than from private contributions. It was also decided that in view of the size of the amount required, in relation to the United Nations budget, and the undesirability of creating a precedent, the funds for the program should not be included in the regular United Nations budget. The difficult question of whether there should be any
indication of the size of the contributions expected from governments was resolved in favor of a purely voluntary contribution with a strong recommendation to Members that they make contributions in kind or in funds sufficient to insure that the amount of supplies and funds required would be obtained. In order to make funds immediately available, it was decided that provision should be made for an advance from the Working Capital Fund of the United Nations.
Perhaps the most difficult question of all was that of the organization to be set up for carrying out the program. Although at first glance the logical answer would seem to be to utilize the resources of the International Refugee Organization, it was concluded that this was impracticable. The small membership of the Iro would unduly restrict the potential contributors to the program, and the burden put upon the Refugee Organization by this program would imperil the successful accomplishment of the main task for which it was established—the repatriation and resettlement of refugees in Europe. Agreement was finally reached in consultation with other delegations, the Acting Mediator, and the Secretariat, upon the creation of a small directing and coordinating organization responsible to the SecretaryGeneral and acting under a Director of Relief. Upon the initiative of the United States, it was agreed that the actual operations and distribution in the field should be carried out by nongovernmental organizations in agreement with the Secretary-General and the Direc
tor of Relief. The resolution as finally adopted makes special mention in this connection of the International Committee of the Red Cross and the League of Red Cross Societies. This scheme of organization would relieve the Secretary-General of the necessity for undertaking directly the extensive operational duties involved in the proposed program.
A program embodying these principles was set out in the joint resolution introduced by Belgium, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the United States on October 29. Committee 3 of the Assembly heard a report from the Acting Mediator and the Director of Relief on October 20 and after a short general debate referred the matter to a subcommittee on October 30. The resolution, recommended unamimously by the subcommittee, was adopted by the full Committee on November 13 by a vote of 52 to 0, with 4 abstentions. The budgetary aspects of the question were reviewed by the Fifth Committee, particularly the question of the utilization and safeguarding of the Working Capital Fund and the fixing of the amount required for administrative and local operational expenses. The resolution as finally adopted by the Assembly on November 19%
1. Fixes the amount required to provide relief for 500,000 refugees from December 1, 1948, to August 31, 1949, at $29,500,000 and the amount required for administrative expenses at $2,500,000;
2. Authorizes an advance from the Working Capital Fund of $5,000,000, to be repaid before the end of the period from the voluntary governmental contributions;
3. Urges all Member states to make voluntary contributions in kind or in funds to insure that the amount of funds and supplies required is obtained and provides for the acceptance of contributions from nonmembers;
4. Authorizes the Secretary-General to establish a special fund and, in consultation with the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions, to establish regulations for the administration and supervision of the fund;
5. Requests the Secretary-General to take all necessary steps to extend aid to the Palestinian refugees and to establish the required administrative organization, including the utilization of appropriate agencies of Member governments, the specialized agencies of the United Nations, the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the League of Red Cross Societies, and other voluntary agencies;
6. Requests the Secretary-General to appoint a United Nations Director of Relief for Palestine Refugees "to whom he may delegate such responsibility as he may consider appropriate for the over-all planning and implementation of the relief programme”;
7. Provides for the convoking, at the discretion of the SecretaryGeneral, of an ad hoc Advisory Committee of seven members to be selected by the President of the General Assembly, to which the Secretary-General may submit matters of principle and policy.
On December 4 the Secretary-General appointed Stanton Griffis, American Ambassador to Egypt, to the post of Director of Relief for Palestine Refugees. Mr. Griffis was given leave of absence by the Government of the United States from his post as Ambassador to enable him to accept the appointment. Dr. Bayard Dodge, formerly president of the American University of Beirut, was appointed as an adviser to the Director.
On December 7 an announcement was made simultaneously in Washington and Paris that President Truman would recommend to Congress that the United States contribute 50 percent of the amount provided for in the resolution of November 19, but in no case more than a total of $16,000,000, as the share of the United States. The United Kingdom Delegation announced during the debate in Committee 3 that it would make a contribution of £1,000,000 (approximately $4,000,000), and the French Delegation announced in the plenary session that it would recommend to the Chamber of Deputies a contribution of 500,000,000 francs (approximately $1,600,000).
THREATS TO POLITICAL INDEPENDENCE AND
TERRITORIAL INTEGRITY OF GREECE
Throughout 1948 the problem of curbing the assistance to the guerrillas in Greece by Albania, Bulgaria, and Yugoslavia and of finding means of settlement of the disputes between Greece and those countries has continued to require the attention of the United Nations. While the situation remains menacing, it may be said that the persistent efforts of the United Nations in this field have made a positive contribution toward a restoration of more peaceful conditions in the frontier areas of Greece and the continued existence of that country free from interference from its northern neighbors.
History of the Problem
It will be recalled that the Balkan problem was first considered by the Security Council as early as 1946. A commission appointed by the Security Council in 1946 completed an on-the-spot investigation and reported to the Council on May 23, 1947. Eight of the eleven
members of the commission found that all three of Greece's northern neighbors were supporting the guerrilla warfare in Greece. From June through August 1947, the Security Council's attempts to carry out the recommendations of the majority report of its investigating commission were frustrated by Soviet vetoes. On the initiative of the United States the case was removed from the Security Council agenda to the agenda of the General Assembly under the heading “Threats to the Political Independence and Territorial Integrity of Greece".
On October 21, 1947, the General Assembly, after minor modifications, adopted a resolution proposed by the United States. It called upon Albania, Bulgaria, and Yugoslavia to do nothing which could furnish aid to the Greek guerrillas, recommended the early establishment of normal diplomatic and good-neighborly relations among the four Balkan states, and urged those states to agree on effective frontier control machinery and to cooperate in handling refugee and minority problems. The resolution also established a Special Committee composed of 11 members to keep the situation under continuous observation, to make available its assistance to the four states concerned in the implementation of the Assembly recommendations, and to keep the United Nations informed of developments.
Work of Special Committee
The United Nations Special Committee on the Balkans, known as UNSCOB, has consisted of the representatives of 9 of the 11 governments originally named by the Assembly: Australia, Brazil, China, France, Mexico, the Netherlands, Pakistan, the United Kingdom, and the United States, with "seats being held open" for Poland and the Soviet Union, which refused to participate. The Committee established itself at Salonika in northern Greece in December 1947. Since the withdrawal of Alan G. Kirk, American Ambassador to Belgium, from active participation as United States Representative on the Committee in March 1948, Gerald A. Drew, a Foreign Service Officer, has become the United States Representative. Although the Committee was authorized to perform its functions wherever necessary in the territories of the four Balkan states involved, subject to the cooperation of their governments, Albania, Bulgaria, and Yugoslavia have refused to cooperate with, or even to recognize, the Committee. In contrast, Greece extended full cooperation to UNSCOB and afforded it all necessary facilities. To carry out its function of observation and investigation UNSCOB has established a number of observation groups in Greece stationed at vantage points near the northern frontiers and staffed by observers provided by seven of the governments represented on the Committee. In November 1948 the United States was furnishing 13 such observers. Although access to the border areas in Albanian, Bulgarian, and Yugoslav territory has consistently been denied them, the observation groups were able, at grave personal risk, to see at first hand from the Greek side of the frontiers evidence which confirmed the finding of last year's Security Council commission that Albania, Bulgaria, and Yugoslavia were giving substantial aid to the Greek guerrillas. These direct observations, supplemented by information obtained through the interrogation of hundreds of witnesses, formed the basis for the conclusions which UNSCOB adopted in its reports to the General Assembly.
UNSCOB also made repeated efforts to obtain the cooperation of the northern governments in order to enable it to discharge the conciliation duties provided for in the 1947 resolution of the General Assembly. But those governments invariably rejected UNSCOB's overtures. While protesting their desire to see their relations with Greece stabilized, they denounced as “illegal" and "imperialistic” the very agency which the United Nations had created to assist in achieving that goal.
Under these conditions, the Special Committee pursued its task, completing its main and two supplementary reports to the General Assembly on June 30, September 10, and October 22, 1948, respectively.
The following is a summary of the principal conclusions adopted by UNSCOB in its reports:
(a) Large-scale aid continued to be furnished to the Greek guerrillas from the northern countries despite the General Assembly's injunction against such a practice;
(6) The guerrillas in the frontier zones “have been largely dependent on external supply," and have been able to retire safely into the northern states' territory when the Greek Army “exerted great pressure," as well as to cross into such territory for tactical reasons and to return at will to Greece after regrouping their forces;
(c) As long as such conditions prevailed, the United Nations should maintain an appropriate body to keep watch in the Balkans and to work toward eventual peaceful settlement of disputes;
(d) The continuation of such a situation should be considered as a threat to the independence and integrity of Greece and to peace in the Balkans; the conduct of Albania, Bulgaria, and Yugoslavia should be regarded as “inconsistent with the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations”;