70 Evatt to Makin

Cablegram UND24 CANBERRA, 5 February 1946


Your 792. [1] Two Year Term.

I appreciate your problem on term of office but it is quite clear from journal [2] that rules were not approved prior to election and elections were not based on their acceptance. In fact rules will not be finally approved until next session. We were certainly not informed that election was to be held on basis now suggested and according to journal, page 51 [3], provisional rules of procedure were referred to committee for report within eight days only two days before election. The remarks made by the chairman immediately prior to election, quoted on page 62 [4], cannot be held to be interpreted as an acceptance of the provisional rules as a basis for election.

In the Charter, which is binding, the words one year and two year mean exactly what they say and Yugoslav interpretation is quite ridiculous.

It is quite plain that apparent decision not to hold April session is in conflict with Supplementary Rules (a), (b) and (c) and Supplementary Rule (s) can have no greater force in changed circumstances. A possible solution is to regard September Meeting as second part of the first regular session in obedience to Supplementary Rule (a) and (b) or as the first regular session the present meeting being regarded as organisational in character.

It should be made clear that we are not pressing for term of office greater than minimum stated in Charter, namely, two years or 24 months. Opposition to what you call 'lame duck' provision is difficult to understand. In fact though it is contrary to Rule 78 there are positive advantages in giving countries a few months warning of their membership of Security Council in order that they can make necessary arrangements for continuous representation. In these circumstances you should exhaust every reasonable method of assuring that the Charter is carried into effect.

I entirely disagree with your suggestion that the point is a technical one. It is simply an endeavour to have the Charter carried into effect.

1 Document 66.

2 i.e. the Journal of the General Assembly.

3 Journal of the General Assembly, First Session, No. 3, 12 January 1946.

4 Journal of the General Assembly, First Session, No. 4, 14 January 1946. The Chairman, P.-H. Spaak of Belgium, had commented that under supplementary Rule S 'the term of office of those members elected for one year would expire on the day of election in September 1946, while those members elected for a two-year term would expire on the day of election in September, 1947.'

[AA:A3196, 1946, 0.2401]