151 Hood to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram 206 LONDON, 28 March 1946, 5.45 p.m.


Mandates. Your telegram 139 to Dominions Office. [1]

1. Dominions Office meeting today discussed the question of line to be followed at Geneva in the light of replies from all the Dominions. There was some initial explanation of the South African attitude. The South African representative said that, as Smuts had now undertaken to submit case for the incorporation of South-West Africa to the next General Assembly, he preferred that nothing should be done at Geneva which would alter or affect the status quo. South Africa was, therefore, in favour of not raising the question at Geneva. If Australia and New Zealand felt it desirable to make declarations covering their intentions in the transitional period these should not be incorporated in the form of a resolution and should not commit anyone else.

2. New Zealand attitude as expressed in telegram received in London the same time as your 139 was that some more definite action was called for, than that proposed by the United Kingdom.

New Zealand Government would regret any resolution at Geneva of an indefinite character and considered that it would be better for all concerned if any formal action at Geneva were such as would indicate support of members of the League of the trusteeship system and their approval of the existing mandates. Questioned as to the intention of this telegram the New Zealand representative said that evidently his Government had not seen the Australian reply before sending it and he thought it possible that the New Zealand attitude might in the event be modified to conform more nearly to the Australian view.

3. Mr. Beasley emphasised that the important question was that of tactics. It was inevitable that queries would be addressed to the mandatory powers and it would be wise to [secure] [2] the initiative by putting forward a general resolution as well as leaving it to the mandatory powers to make declarations as from themselves if they so wished. He pointed out that a resolution would make it unnecessary for South Africa for example to put forward a declaration if it wished to avoid doing so.

4. The Secretary of State said that he had formed the conclusion that the Australian proposal was the best and recommended its acceptance. This seemed also the general sense of the meeting and it was agreed that the other Governments would be consulted at once with a view to getting all to agree to the course of action proposed in your telegram 139.

1 Document 147.

2 Corrected from London copy on file AA:A3317, 299/46, i.

[AA:A1067, UN46/1T/1/1]