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November 20, 2020

Interview with Nabeela al-Milla

Nabeela al-Mulla is a former Kuwaiti diplomat. She served as a member of the Kuwait delegation to ACRS.

November 13, 1974

United Nations General Assembly Official Records, 29th Session : 2282nd Plenary Meeting, Agenda Item 108, 'Question of Palestine (continued)'

As other documents in this collection on Moroccan nationalists in 1947 and 1950 have exemplified, the United Nations was an important arena in decolonization struggles for Arabs, as it was for Asians and Africans as e.g. Alanna O’Malley’s The Diplomacy of Decolonisation: America, Britain, and the United Nations during the Congo crisis, 1960-1964 (2018) has shown. In this regard, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), which was founded in 1964 and taken over by the Fatah movement in 1969, was no exception.

To be sure, Palestinian organizations including Fatah and the PLO decried key UN actions. One was the UN Palestine partition plan of 1947; another was UN Security Council resolution 242 of November 1967. Calling upon Israel to withdraw “from territories occupied” during the Six-Day War in June and calling for the “acknowledgment of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area and their right to live in peace,” it did not mention Palestine or the Palestinians. Even so, the PLO sought to get access to the UN and UN recognition. A crucial landmark on this road was the address to the UN in New York in November 1974 by Yassir Arafat (1929-2004), a Fatah co-founder in 1959 and from 1969 PLO chairman.

Arafat did not speak at the Security Council, which was and is dominated by its five veto-carrying permanent members Britain, China, France, the United States, and the USSR/Russia. Rather, he addressed the UN General Assembly (UNGA), where from the 1960s Third World states were in the majority; his speech was the first time that the UNGA allowed a non-state representative to attend its plenary session. The UNGA invited the PLO after having decided, in September, to begin separate hearings on Palestine (rather than making Palestine part of general Middle Eastern hearings), and after the PLO was internationally recognized as the sole representative of the Palestinian people, a landmark accomplishment for the organization. The UNGA president who introduced Arafat, Abdelaziz Bouteflika (1937-2021), was the Foreign Minister of Algeria, which since its independence in 1962 had supported the Palestinian cause organizationally, militarily, and politically. Arafat spoke in Arabic; the below text is the official UN English translation. Arafat did not write the text all by himself; several PLO officials and Palestinians close to the PLO, including Edward Said, assisted, as Timothy Brennan has noted in Places of Mind: A Life of Edward Said (2021). Later in November 1974, the UNGA inter alia decided to give the PLO observer status and affirmed Palestinians’ right to self-determination.


Salim Khayyata, 'Oppressed Ethiopia, or The Start of The Final Fight Against Colonialism in the Period of its Downfall' (Excerpts)

Following a year-long buildup of tensions, Fascist Italy conquered Ethiopia between October 1935 and May 1936 in a brutal war that included the use of airplanes and chemical weapons. Its “success” came 40 years after Ethiopia had defeated Italian troops, making this ancient African center of Christianity a paragon of successful anti-imperialism. The war formed part of broader Fascist Italian aspirations in the Mediterranean and Africa, renewing Ancient Rome’s empire. European powers, including the French and British empires, and other countries condemned Italy’s attack, and at the League of Nations adopted some economic sanctions against Italy. After all, Ethiopia had become a League member in 1923. But those sanctions were feeble, exemplifying how inter-state power politics could bypass the League’s collective security engagements, doubly if an aggressed country was non-white. (In fact, France had signaled it would not react massively already before Italy’s attack.) Italy withdrew from the League and concluded separate deals with France and Britain, which above all wished to keep Italy content to deal with the emerging Nazi challenge of the post-World War I order in Germany and on the continent.

However, the war triggered massive protests around the world, most intensely by African and leftist organizations. It was the most serious proof to date of the threat posed by Europe’s extreme right-wing-ruled states, especially Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany. Arabs, too, commented extensively on this case, as Haggai Erlich’s Ethiopia and the Middle East (1994) has shown. People who like the Egyptian Yusuf Ahmad had Muslim sensitivities condemned Ethiopia for always having maltreated Muslims and opined that for them, Fascist rule would be preferable. Ahmad’s book, Al-Islam fi al-Habasha [Islam in Ethiopia] was financed by Italy and praised inter alia by Shakib Arslan (excerpts of a book of whose are included in this collection). Critique of Italy’s colonial war came mainly from liberal nationalists and leftists. Among the latter was Salim Khayyata.

The text printed here is a series of key excerpts from the introduction to his Arabic book Al-Habasha al-mazluma, aw fatihat akhar niza‘ li-l-isti‘mar fi dawr inhiyarihi [Oppressed Ethiopia, or The Start of The Final Fight Against Colonialism in the Period of its Downfall]. Born in 1909 in the United States to migrant parents, Khayyata returned with them to Tripoli, Lebanon, in 1922. He became a member of the Communist Party of Syria and Lebanon (CPSL). As noted in Tareq Ismael’s The Communist Movement in the Arab World (2011), the CPSL was founded in 1924, following French North Africa (1919), Egypt (1922), and Palestine (1923). A writer, Khayyata published inter alia in the leftist journals al-Duhur and al-Tali‘a, both of which he also edited for some time in the 1930s. (This collection’s document on the 1939 Anti-Fascist Congress in Beirut is from the latter journal.) Torture in a French prison in Lebanon early on in World War II left him very impaired mentally. He passed away in 1965.

March 19, 1956

Statement released by the Department of State (Press Release 115) commenting on a Chinese Communist Statement of March 4

The United States responds to a Chinese statement concerning the ambassadorial talks.

September 23, 1944

Prisoners of War in the Balkans

Harriman and Stalin discuss the Red Army's help evacuating American prisoners of war from Romania and their treatment by the Bulgarians.

August 12, 1944

PARAPHRASE OF Embassy’s telegram no. 2972

Harriman conveys the content of a conversation he had with Stanislaw Mikolajczyk about Soviet-Polish Relations and Polish politics during and after the war, focusing on the possibility of communism.

June 28, 1944

PARAPHRASE of telegram sent from Harriman to Roosevelt

Stalin and Harriman discuss the Normandy Invasion, military matters, and ally relations.

June 5, 1944

Djilas’s Conversations at Stalin’s Dacha

Milovan Djilas meets Stalin at his Dacha to discuss current affairs.

May 17, 1944

Professor Oscar Lange’s Report on his Meeting with Stalin, Submitted to President Roosevelt and Secretary of State Stettinius

Prof. Oscar Lange sends a briefing to the President and Secretary of State about his meeting with Stalin where they discussed Polish Politics.

July 11, 2011

Remarks With European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton After Their Meeting

Secretary of State Hilary Clinton and European Union High Representative Catherine Ashton summarize their talks on Syria, Libya, and the Kosovo-Serbia dialogue, among other subjects. They field several questions from reporters on these issues and other consultations between the United States and the European Union.