SEPTEMBER 25, 1948
PARIS, Friday —The assassination of Count Folke Bernadotte of Sweden has thrown a gloomy atmosphere over these early sessions of the United Nations General Assembly.
There is a keen realization that no one in any nation can be permitted to jeopardize his life as a representative of the United Nations, especially when he is engaged in trying to bring about a peaceful solution to the difficulties that have baffled all efforts made in the past.
I am in complete agreement with Secretary of State George C. Marshall in calling upon the General Assembly to accept the proposals made by Count Bernadotte in the latter's report, asking strong U.N. action to end the Palestine strife, to accept as a fact the Jewish State of Israel and to settle the political future of Arab Palestine.
One can only hope that whatever comes out of the present situation, it will be an arrangement that will make it possible for the State of Israel to gain in strength and give its young people hope for the future.
In all my contacts with the young leaders of Israel, I have been impressed by their ardor and enthusiasm and their evident feeling that they are fighting for a chance for which it might well be worth dying.
I see in our United States newspapers that Dr. Abba Hillel Silver, head of the American section of the World Zionest Organization, attacked Dr. Ralph J. Bunche, Bernadotte's successor as truce commissioner, declaring that his "usefulness as a possible mediator" was over because Dr. Bunche had stated that the Israeli Government must bear the responsibility for this murder.
I cannot quite understand Dr. Silver's attitude, because the Israeli Government has accepted this responsibility and is trying to round up and clean out the Stern gang once and for all. If it held no responsibility for law and order within its borders, then it would hardly be a valid government.
On Wednesday, as you probably have read by now, the General Assembly completed its organization by electing seven vice presidents—five representing the Big Five powers and one each from Mexico and Poland.
This gives a fair geographical representation throughout the world to the 58 nations in conclave here, but it has changed in some areas the number of committee chairmanships representing those areas. This means, of course, that the positions of vice chairmen and rapporteurs of various committees will now have to be distributed with an eye toward giving more recognition to those on the very top level who have lost it.
I have always felt that the rapporteur of any committee has perhaps the most important role to fill. He writes the report of the work of his committee and he can slant it by the mere change of just a few words to make some action taken seem either good or irresponsible. This power to be objective and to report exactly everything of importance that has occurred during a committee session and to give exact weight which various expressions of opinion deserves makes all the difference in the world between an accurate report and one that presents the point of view of the individual. Such a point of view may not express the point of view of a trained observer interested in an exact interpretation of everything said during a meeting.
Following the morning session yesterday and after taking a little time out for lunch, I returned to my office for a meeting with my own committee. Finishing late in the afternoon, I decided to walk back to my hotel.
There is a chill in the air and, while the sun is warm and pleasant when you are walking outdoors, our hotel rooms have a chill which makes some of us wish we had brought our skiing underwear.