Trans-Jordan Arab Legion1The Holy Land Crisis

Trans-Jordan King Says He’ll Lead Syria, Lebanon Troops; Egypt May Also Send a Force

France Said to Have Plan for U. N. Police To Guard Jerusalem

LAKE SUCCESS, April 26-France is reported sponsoring the creation of a heavily-armed volunteer United Nations elite police corps to safeguard Jerusalem. The proposal is said to have tentative approval of Jews and Arabs as well as a number of delegates.

The 500-to-800-man force as suggested by France might include at least 100 New York police volunteers, but no Russians if the Western powers could exclude them.

Others could be drawn from among London bobbies, British Palestine forces, French mobile guards, and trained police from other countries around the globe.

Fifty Palestine policemen have notified the U. N. they would join such a force.

The French proposal was said to be ready for action by the U. N. Trusteeship Council tomorrow at 10 a. m.


At an emergency sitting in plenary session today the second special U. N. Assembly on Palestine formally directed the Trusteeship Council to consider promptly what can be done to safeguard the holy places of Jerusalem. The vote was 47 to 0. The Soviet bloc and Costa Rica abstained.

Delegate after delegate warned here that the Assembly must act to save Jerusalem at least.

The partition battle went on in the 58-member political committee during the afternoon; the Arab Higher Committee told the U. N. the Arabs would set up an independent nation covering all of Palestine on May 15 unless the U. N. partition scheme is scrapped.

Observers speculated that any Russian volunteers might be kept off the French-proposed police force through a screening process that would weed out undesirables on a basis of individual qualifications. The United States and other nations have been reported anxious to keep Russian troops out of any international force sent to Palestine.

The U. N. police would be equipped with tanks, armored cars and the latest small arms for their task under the French plan.


An informed source said a Swiss officer, a Colonel Gonnard, 50, was favored by the French for police chief for Jerusalem. It was said the Swiss government had agreed to make Colonel Gonnard available to the U. N.

The Arabs were reported to have agreed to co-operate as long as the French proposal did not touch on the partition of Palestine in any way and did not go beyond the scope of saving Jerusalem’s relics sacred to Christians, Jews and Moslems-from destruction.

Representatives of the Jewish Agency for Palestine also were reported to have said later they would co-operate.

Jamal Husseini, vice chairman or the Arab Higher Committee, told the political committee the Arabs would consider the American plan for an interim U. N. trusteeship only if it provided for an eventual unitary (Arab majority) nation.

He declared Britain was responsible under the mandate for setting up a single country.

The Assembly proper was in session only five minutes. It approved a French-Swedish request calling on the trusteeship council to devise immediate plans to safeguard the Holy City and its inhabitants.

The same 58 delegates sat as the plenary Assembly just after the political committee had accepted the plan 44 to 3. Russia, the Soviet Ukraine and White Russia voted in opposition in committee on the grounds that the Assembly itself should institute the measures. In the final Assembly vote, Russia abstained.

Approval in committee came after the Soviet bloc was voted down overwhelmingly in what might be viewed as a test ballot on partition itself. Czechoslovakia forced the issue by seeking to insert a clause in the Jerusalem plan calling attention to the Assembly’s November 24, 1947, decision to split the Holy Land. The move was lost, 38 to 5, with only the Eastern European countries in support.

Source:  The San Francisco Chronicle, AP.  “The Holy Land in Crisis,” April 27, 1948.