178 Department of External Affairs to Hodgson

Cablegram UNY26 CANBERRA, 9 April 1946


Your Security 28.

1. If Poland or any other country proposes that Spanish question should be placed on Agenda [1], your actions should be guided by the following principles:-

(a) If a member of United Nations, especially a member of the Security Council, claims that the situation in some country endangers the maintenance of international peace and security and brings matter to notice of Security Council, Council should agree to Place matter on Agenda. (Article 35(i)).

(b) Council should not agree to consider such matter ahead of other matters already on Agenda unless there is clearest proof that situation is such that urgent consideration by Council is required.

(c) When any such situation or dispute is brought before Council there should be full investigation of facts before Council makes decision. Article 34 empowers and by implication requires Council to make such an investigation.

(d) In case of Spain it will, no doubt, be claimed by some member of Council that situation in Spain is a matter of purely domestic concern and that under Article 2, paragraph 7 of Charter, Security Council has no jurisdiction. Prima facie this is so but there are instances (c.f. Hitler's regime) where a policy actively pursued domestically was also directed deliberately towards international friction so that it was not merely or essentially a matter of domestic concern. Therefore, preliminary investigation of facts is required before Council can decide whether or not matter is one which is 'essentially' within domestic jurisdiction of Spain. In this connection see paragraph 10 of our telegram U.N.Y.3 of 24th March. [2]

2. Spanish situation will require most careful handling in Security Council. While you should make clear that Australia supports the declaration regarding Spain made at the Potsdam Conference, namely that the present Spanish Government does not have qualifications necessary to justify membership of United Nations, and also General Assembly Resolution [on] Spain of 9th February, 1946 [3], it is essential that in supporting investigation of facts you should say nothing which would endanger Article 2, paragraph 7. Your line should be that some situations which may, prima facie, appear to be essentially of domestic concern, may yet, on investigation, be found to be matters with which it is proper for the Security Council to deal.

3. Your safe course is to indicate support for judicial attitude of impartial observer and as such, support procedure of investigation in which written cases will be lodged by Poland and later, by Spain. These investigations, after due notice, should be directed to three issues set out in Article 34 and Article 2, paragraph 7, viz., (i) Is the Spanish situation one essentially within the jurisdiction of Spain.

(ii) Is the situation in Spain one which might lead to international friction or dispute.

(iii) If the answer to (ii) is Yes, is continuance of situation likely to endanger maintenance of international peace?

1 The Australian Mission at the U.N. had reported on 6 April that Poland was expected to claim in the Security Council that the existence of the France Govt in Spain threatened international peace and security.

2 Comprising instructions to Hodgson on a statement he was to make in the Security Council on an Iranian complaint against the Soviet Union, this cable of 24 March noted that, while domestic jurisdiction must be respected, a fascist government could threaten international peace and security by virtue of its domestic policies and its relations with reactionary groups in other states.

3 In Resolution 32(I), sponsored by Panama, the General Assembly had associated itself with a Potsdam Conference agreement that 'in view of its origins, its nature, its record and its close association with the Aggressor States', Spain under the Franco Govt did not qualify for U.N. membership.

[AA:A3196, 1946, 0.6997/98]