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AFSC Foreign Service Executive Committee Minutes, 1948

Photo: Archives / AFSC

These minutes cover a committee meeting held on November 17, 1948 in Philadelphia to address the “Invitation of the United Nations to administer relief to Palestine.” The meeting opened with the reading of a memo by staff member Colin Bell, which laid out the political downsides and the possibility of a public failure, yet still recommends taking the assignment.

Bell’s memo then enumerates 19 points that must be negotiated for AFSC to move forward. These include: 

  • Aim to have a force of 20 workers in the field by January 1, 1949 who would stay until August , providing “emergency relief without any discrimination except that of human need.”
  • The agreement must include reassurance that a solution to vital problem of resettlement is being vigorously pursued.
  • Neutrality is assured to all parties and the all-volunteer staff will have Quaker (not U.S.) passports.
  • U.N. funds will cover all expenses inside and outside of Palestine.

The adopted Minute states, “We have a deep sense of inadequacy, particularly with respect to providing qualified workers, but after extended discussion we are not able in clear conscience to decline to serve.”

Created Date 
Feb 10, 2016

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