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Digital Archive International History Declassified

March 28, 1952


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    Report on the President of the Higher Arab Commission's visit to Beirut to discuss Palestinian refugees in Lebanon.
    "His Eminence Haj Amin al-Husseini's [Amīn al-Ḥusaynī] Visit, and the Real Reason behind his Mission in Beirut," March 28, 1952, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Emir Farid Chehab Collection, GB165-0384, Box 8, File 26G/8, Middle East Centre Archive, St Antony’s College, Oxford.
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Beirut, 28/3/1952

Subject: His Eminence Haj Amin al-Husseini's visit, and the real reason behind his mission in Beirut

His Eminence Sheikh Amin al-Husseini (Amīn al-Husseinī), President of the Higher Arab Commission, arrived in Beirut on Monday the 24th of this month, while on his way to Egypt from Karachi where he chaired the Islamic Conference. And because his visit coincided with that of HE Chief Sillo and his companions to Beirut, he stayed away from public view until the morning of Tuesday 25th. His stopover in Beirut was not planned; his flight from Pakistan to Egypt stops anyway in Beirut, so he seized the opportunity to stay for a while.

His Eminence met in Beirut with senior officials then asked the Director of the Higher Commission in Lebanon, Mr Emil al-Ghoury (Imīl al-Ghurī), to invite one or two representatives from each refugee camp and group in the country, so that he can address them on a number of issues. This took time because these representatives were still arriving at the Higher Commission’s office – facing Karakol Hobeich - until 11.30 a.m. Wednesday 26th, and the last meeting with them was at 1 p.m. the next day, after which al-Husseini left by plane for Cairo.

He said to the representatives word for word: 'The Higher Arab Commission no longer holds effective power, the Palestinian cause and its fallout are now in the hands of the Arab countries which are now working with the Arab League to find a solution to the problem. I spoke to senior officials and was dearly told that Lebanon cannot accept more refugees on account of the small size of its territory and of the fact that many of its citizens go abroad in search of a better life. In spite of that, officials said that the refugees were welcome to stay until the Arab countries agree on a solution for their cause. I pleaded with them not to put pressure on the refugees to leave Lebanon and was reassured on this matter; they also assured me of their sympathy and support for the refugees.' His Eminence then asked refugee representatives to be steadfast and patient and gave them several example saying: 'Look at how Germany was occupied […] and France, many regions in Europe were occupied, but in the end the occupiers left and the land was reclaimed by its owners. There will soon come a day when you also will be able to go home.' He urged the representatives to inform the refugees that working for UNRWA, or for any other organisation, does not conflict with their aspirations and yearning to return to their country, or reflect in a negative way on them or their national cause. They therefore have to accept this kind of work wholeheartedly because it is bound to relieve somewhat their situation.

To fully update himself on these matters, His Eminence then heard from members of the Commission about the general situation of the refugees in Lebanon and their treatment by UNRWA.


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