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

Cablegram UN837 NEW YORK, 29 November 946, 12.54 a.m.


Assembly 279.

1. The main debate on Indians in South Africa concluded today but the joint Committee adjourned without taking vote.

2. The United Kingdom and Swedish proposals were replaced by following joint United States, United Kingdom and Swedish proposal to which South Africa subsequently adhered. Begins.

The General Assembly, having taken note of the application made by the Government of India regarding the treatment of Indians in the Union of South Africa and having considered the matter, is of opinion that, since the jurisdiction of the organisation to deal with the matter is denied, and since the questions involved are consequently of a legal as well as of a factual nature, a decision based on authoritatively declared juridical foundations is the one most likely to promote realization of these purposes of the Charter to the fulfilment of which all members of the organisation are pledged as well as to secure a lasting and mutually acceptable solution of the complaints which have been made.

The Assembly therefore resolves that . . . the International Court of Justice is requested to give an advisory opinion on the question whether the matters referred to in the Indian application are under Article 2, paragraph 7, of the Charter, essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of the Union. Ends.

3. China proposed the following amendment. Begins.

Whether a small sub-committee, including the Delegation for India and the Union of South Africa, be appointed by the Committee to study the various proposals before the Committee, and to submit a draft resolution suggesting a basis for resumption of negotiations by the two parties concerned for a satisfactory settlement of the case. Ends.

4. Australia supported China. Later, on suggestion of Colombia, China accepted new text excluding references to India and South Africa this leaving function of proposed sub-committee solely to suggest a draft resolution looking to settlement of case. One factor which influenced our support of China was prospect that none of the present resolutions will obtain more than a bare majority thus leading to further contest on racialism in Assembly where two thirds majority is necessary.

[AA:A1838/2, 852/10/2, i]