315 Australian Delegation, United Nations, to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram United Nations 204 NEW YORK, 18 June 1946, 12.12 a.m.


Security 101.

1. Cadogan opened discussion of the Spanish question in the Security Council this afternoon stating that the United Kingdom Government regarded the Franco Regime as the opposite of a Democratic regime and as a Regime of a police state. Also the United Kingdom Government did not doubt active collaboration of Franco during the war with the Axis powers. Regarding the Sub- Committee's report he doubted whether- (a) The Council could interfere in the internal affairs of a state unless it was proved that that state constituted a threat to peace, (b) the situation in Spain fell within chapter six of the charter.

If it were admitted that the situation in Spain fell within chapter six, it would be expected that action under chapter six would be recommended. However, the action recommended was one of enforcement measures set out in chapter seven.

2. For these reasons Cadogan would prefer the Council to remit the whole Spanish question to the General Assembly as the supreme body of the organisation without recommending any specific course of action. Cadogan also suggested that discussion in the Assembly might be assisted if the Council were to request an advisory opinion from the international court. He then moved the substitution of the following paragraph for the last paragraph of our resolution [1]-'It is hereby resolved that the Security Council adopts the three recommendations of the Sub-Committee set out above, subject to the deletion of paragraph (b) after the words "reports of [this] Sub-Committee" and the addition of the words "together with the minutes of the discussion of the case by the Security Council".' 3. Dr. Evatt then replied to Soviet criticisms of the Sub- Committee's recommendations and explained why in the view of members of the Sub-Committee the doubts expressed by the United Kingdom were not well founded. He pointed out that the Soviet and United Kingdom represented two extreme and opposite views, the latter considering the recommendations were too drastic, the former that they were not drastic enough.

4. Although he understood fully the desire for direct action, the Council could only invoke chapter 7 of the Charter and take more drastic action if it were proved that a threat of peace existed.

The Sub-Committee had found that this threat did not in fact exist. It was quite wrong to treat the case for direct action on a factual basis that was not true.

5. Dr. Evatt continued by stating that the position of Cadogan arose from a mistaken interpretation of [Charter. Correct interpretation of] [2] article 2(7) was that once the matter was proved to be not essentially of domestic jurisdiction, the principle of non-intervention no longer applied. Clearly this was the case when the facts indicated that a situation was one calculated or likely to endanger international peace. The exception to article 2(7) could not be allowed to govern this interpretation. In any event the declaration regarding Spain which had been made by the United Kingdom, United States and France in March [3] and the resolution of the General Assembly in London [4] both represented just as much an interference in internal affairs as the action recommended to the Council. Also it was not correct to assume that because a breach of diplomatic relations was mentioned as a direct sanction in chapter 7, the Council was precluded from recommending this step under chapter 6. It would be unwise for the Council to request advisory action on the Spanish question from the international court. This would probably mean months or years of delay which would only be justified by some over-riding necessity and this did not exist; the Council should not avoid decisions on issues before it but should take full opportunity of concluding the questions before it speedily and effectively.

6. The Minister concluded by deprecating in advance a possible veto by the Soviet. He stated that permanent members of the Council should exercise their rights democratically and bow to the will of the majority.

7. France expressed unqualified support for our resolution and Mexico supported it subject to similar reservations as that of Poland. The Council then adjourned until tomorrow.

8. Seven other members of the Council will probably vote for the resolution of the Sub-Committee while the Netherlands will abstain. It is certain that the United Kingdom amendment will be lost and in that case, judging from the tone of Cadogan's speech today, it seems he will not exercise the veto. His amendment was presented rather to protect the position at the Assembly than to defeat unanimous report of the Sub-Committee which will be supported by the United States. The result still depends upon the Soviet representative whose final attitude should he be isolated, is impossible to forecast though the veto is quite possible.

9. Dr. Evatt's statement this afternoon made the greatest impression. In addition his work as chairman of the Sub-Committee and in the Council was highly praised by the French representative. It is very largely due to his unremitting work that the Sub-Committee's resolution on this highly difficult issue has now gained the support of a clear majority of the Council and approval of a great majority of the public and press.

1 i.e. the sub-committee's recommendations (see Document 288, paragraph 5).

2 Words in square brackets have been inserted from the U.N.

Mission copy on file SFU: Evatt Collection, External Affairs- Original File (a).

3 See Document 198, note 5.

4 See Document 178, note 3.

[AA:A1066, E45/28/7]