84 Department of External Affairs to Eggleston

Cablegram 229 (extract) CANBERRA, 12 February 1946


Following is summary of main aspects of United Nations meeting since our 162:

Terms of office of Security Council In discussion of provisional rules of procedure in the Legal Committee of General Assembly, question arose whether members elected for two years would serve for full term or would be replaced at Assembly meeting in September 1947. Our Delegation was instructed to emphasise that Rule 1 [1] and Supplementary Rule S [2] read together would conflict with Article 23 of the Charter which specifies period non-permanent members will remain on Council. [3] It was also pointed out that the provisional rules of procedure were not adopted by Assembly prior to elections.

Committee finally adopted Egyptian proposal that Supplementary Rule S should be deleted and that Rule 78 should be replaced by the following rule 'the term of office of each member shall begin immediately upon election provided the seat to which such member has been elected is vacant, or if election takes place before the expiry of the term of office of a member previously elected, immediately it becomes vacant'. It seems likely that the Committee's recommendation will be adopted by the Assembly. [4]

[matter omitted]

1 Rule 1 stated that 'the General Assembly shall meet every year in regular session commencing on the first Tuesday after 2 September'.

2 See Document 60, paragraph 1.

3 That is, while Article 13 provided that three non-permanent members were to be chosen for one-year terms at the first election, designation of the September 1946 session as the next regular session would result in them serving only eight months (see also Documents 60 and 70).

4 In cablegram 948 of 10 February, the Australian delegation reported that the General Assembly had resolved (Resolution 29(I)) that the next session in September should be regarded as the second pact of the first regular session of the United Nations. On 13 February the General Assembly resolved that members elected for one-year terms would hold office for twelve months and elections for their successors would be held at the second pact of the first regular session of the General Assembly (Resolution 33(I)).

Members elected for two-year terms (including Australia) held office until 31 December 1947, and those for three-year terms until 31 December 1948.

[AA:A1066, P45/153/5]