Lausanne Conference (1949)

views updated May 29 2018


united nationssponsored international conference to resolve the arabisraeli conflict.

The United Nations Conciliation Commission for Palestine (UNCCP) was created by UN General Assembly Resolution 194 (III) of December 1948 with the lofty goal of mediating among the warring parties after the ArabIsrael War of 1948. The UNCCP's first major initiative in this direction was to hold a conference in Lausanne, Switzerland, from 27 April to 12 September 1949, at which it hoped to bridge the differences among Arabs and Israelis.

Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon, and Syria sent delegations; Iraq refused. Various delegations claiming to represent Palestinian refugees were also present. Among these were the Arab Higher Committee and the General Refugee Congress, represented by Muhammad Nimr al-Hawwari and Aziz Shehadeh. Other Palestinians representing large landowners like Shukri al-Taji al-Faruqi and Saʿid Baydas arrived later to work with al-Hawwari.

The conferees never met in a general session. Rather, the UNCCP held separate meetings with the Arabs and Israelis over many months. Informal meetings were held, but the formal procedures produced little. One document that emerged was the Lausanne Protocol that dealt with territorial and boundary issues. Almost immediately after signing it, the warring parties sparred over its implementation.

The conference discussed other issues as well, especially relating to Palestinian refugees. Israel offered to repatriate 100,000 of them in the context of a final settlement. The refugees' abandoned property also emerged as a major issue. In June 1949 the UNCCP created its first subcommittee, the Technical Committee, to investigate practical ways of resolving refugee issues. The conference also produced the United Nations Economic Survey Mission for the Middle East (the Clapp Mission), established by the UNCCP in late August to explore economic solutions to the refugee problem.


Caplan, Neil. The Lausanne Conference, 1949: A Case Study in Middle East Peacemaking. Tel Aviv: Tel Aviv University, 1993.

Fischbach, Michael R. Records of Dispossession: Palestinian Refugee Property and the Arab-Israeli Conflict. New York: Columbia University Press, 2003.

michael r. fischbach

Lausanne conference

views updated May 23 2018

Lausanne conference, November 1922–July 1923. The conference was held to negotiate a treaty with Turkey to replace the unratified and disputed treaty of Sèvres (1920) imposed following the First World War. Turkey renounced all claims to territories of the former Ottoman empire occupied by non-Turks but recovered eastern Thrace in Europe. Freedom of navigation in the Straits was assured and the demilitarized zones of the Dardanelles confirmed. The question of minorities was resolved by an exchange of populations. Over 1 million Christian Greeks were expelled from Turkey and 350,000 Muslim Turks returned from Greece. The Lausanne treaty was signed on 24 July 1923.

Richard A. Smith

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