CUNNINGHAM, ALAN

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CUNNINGHAM, ALAN - Waging Peace in Palestine 1947: Alan Cunningham, British High Commissioner in Jerusalem
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CUNNINGHAM, ALAN - Waging Peace in Palestine 1947: Alan Cunningham, British High Commissioner in Jerusalem

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Great Britain’s Last High Commissioner for Palestine Welcomes to Jerusalem, the Chairman of the UN Committee Sent to Make Recommendations on the Territory’s Future

 

CUNNINGHAM, ALAN. (1887-1983). British general and High Commissioner for Palestine. TLS. (“A. Cunningham”). 1p. 4to. Jerusalem, June 14, 1947. On High Commissioner for Palestine stationery with a blue embossed royal coat of arms. To EMIL SANDSTRÖM (1886-1962), Swedish lawyer, international mediator and chairman of the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine (UNSCOP).

 

I have the honour to extend to you, Sir, as Chairman of the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine, on your arrival in this country today, and to the other representatives of the eleven Nations of which the Committee is constituted a very cordial welcome to the Holy Land and to express the sincere hope that your stay here will be a pleasant and fruitful one. I also desire to give you my personal assurance that the full services of the Government of Palestine and its servants will be freely at your disposal at all times to render to you such assistance as you may require in the performance of the heavy and responsible task with which you have been entrusted by the General Assembly of the United Nations. I have the honour to be, Sir, Your obedient servant…”

 

Palestine had been part of the Ottoman Empire since the 15th century but, in December 1917, the British captured Jerusalem during their Sinai and Palestine Campaign, gaining northern Palestine the following year. After the war and a period of military occupation, the League of Nations established the British Mandate for Palestine in 1923. A veteran of World War I, Cunningham had commanded numerous British infantry operations on the Second World War’s African Front, securing a number of victories. For his successes he was knighted, promoted to the rank of general and, after the war, he was appointed high commissioner of Palestine in 1945.

 

In 1947, the United Nations created the Special Committee on Palestine (UNSCOP). Comprised of 11 neutral nations, the committee was charged, at the suggestion of the British government, with making recommendations on the future of Palestine. Sandström, a judge in the Hague’s Permanent Court of Arbitration, was chosen to chair the body. Amidst charges of bias from Arab groups, the committee arrived in Palestine on June 16, 1947, two days after our letter, and spent several weeks touring the country and meeting with Jewish representatives. Afterward, they flew to Lebanon where they met with Arab League representatives before touring German and Austrian displaced persons camps. In September, the committee submitted its report to the General Assembly recommending the termination of the British Mandate and creation of independent Arab and Jewish states and laying out a transition to be overseen by the United Nations. Resolution 181 was adopted by the UN on November 29, 1947, setting a 1948 deadline for the withdrawal of the United Kingdom and the establishment of the state of Israel. The resolution, however, lacked Arab support and instigated the Palestine War or War of Independence, which began the day after the resolution was signed and lasted until March 1949.

 

Cunningham’s tenure as high commissioner ended with the establishment of Israel on May 14, 1948.  

 

Accompanied by a copy of The Political History of Palestine Under British Administration, aMemorandum by His Britannic Majesty’s Government presented in 1947 to the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine Published at Jerusalem 1947. Letter is folded with staple holes in the upper left corner and docketed in the upper margin. In fine condition.

 

 

Item #19886


This autograph will be auctioned live on May 23, 2018. For more information and to place your bid click the "BID NOW!" button above.
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