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

Cablegram UN663 NEW YORK, 8 November 1946, 10.45 p.m.

(extracts)

MOST IMMEDIATE SECRET

Assembly 124.

Committee 3. Refugees.

1. General debate continued today with shorter and more constructive speeches. The following countries participated:

Poland, United States, Canada, Egypt, Brazil, Belgium and Australia.

[matter omitted]

7. The Australian Delegate limited his remarks to the primary question whether or not a case for specialised agency, as distinct from Commission of E.S.C., had been made out. He quoted the remarks of the Chairman of the Australian delegation in the Plenary Session regarding specialised agencies [1], and referred to public statements by the Secretary-General and some other delegations along the same lines. While admitting special interest in refugee problem of countries of origin, like U.S.S.R., Poland and Yugoslavia, and also of countries like United States and United Kingdom who might have to bear largest financial burdens, he stressed the responsibility of all United Nations gathered in General Assembly to scrutinize carefully all recommendations made by E.S.C. Australia had demonstrated its interest in relief problems and established its good faith- (a) Through its 2 contributions to U.N.R.R.A., and, (b) By reason of the 7,000 refugees admitted to Australia after the Evian Conference [2] and subsequent grant of 4,000 permits to relatives.

The Australian Delegation did not wish to minimize the importance or urgency of the problem but was raising for the Committee's consideration the practical question of the best method of solving it. No satisfactory proof had yet been given in the discussion that the only efficient way to deal with the problem was to set up a new, complicated and costly, specialised agency. The onus of proof lay upon those countries supporting creation of specialised agency. At present, therefore, the Australian Government must fully reserve its position in regard to membership of I.R.O. and obligations incidental thereto.

1 See Document 185.

2 See Document 52, note 2.

[AA:A1838/238, 861/1, ii]