128 Evatt to Beasley

Cablegram P206 CANBERRA, 20 September 1946

MOST IMMEDIATE

ITALIAN COLONIES

I have read your telegram P.C.49 [1] and appreciate your difficulties. In the circumstances I am prepared to allow you and Hodgson alone discretion in the matter. This means you will take all the points mentioned in my previous telegrams [2] and express yourselves with the greatest strength in support of Smuts' recent criticism of the Big Power agreement to adhere rigidly to proposals made when we were not represented. While protesting against the decision made you would accept it, declaring that a similar position will never be recognised by Australia in relation to the Pacific where our interests are absolutely vital. In these circumstances you can give reluctant support to the South African proposal, saying it does not go nearly far enough.

I am looking to you both for a very strong speech pointing out the dangers involved in the assumption by four powers, two of [who]m never fought to any extent against Italy, of a right to settle these great matters.

I have little confidence in the United Nations Assembly as an ultimate forum, but it cannot be much worse than the Paris Conference, which has been set up to rubber-stamp decisions reached behind the back of the other nations who did the fighting.

[3]

1 Document 123.

2 See especially Document 117.

3 'The Big Four' were unable to agree on a permanent solution, and the matter was referred to the U.N. General Assembly in 1948.

Tripolitania and Cyrenaica (with the Fezzan) became the single independent sovereign state of Libya in 1951; Somaliland was administered by Italy under U.N. trusteeship from 1950 until its union with British Somaliland as the independent Republic of Somalia in 1960; and Eritrea became an autonomous unit within the federation of Ethiopia under the Ethiopian Crown in 1952, and was fully integrated with Ethiopia in 1962 when the federation became a unitary state.

[AA:A3196, 1946, 0.18219]