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

Cablegram UN957 NEW YORK, 8 December 1946, 10.05 p.m.


Assembly 376.

1. Committee One voted on Sunday morning on the Veto issue. Peru [1] and Soviet withdrew resolutions, latter associating itself with the Chinese resolution. [2]

2. Australia made a strong statement exposing methods followed from commencement of Committee and failure both of private talks of great powers and the sub-Committee and calling on the Committee to express its opinion clearly and firmly. Weak Chinese text was vague and meaningless.

3. China replied at length professing conciliation. The United Kingdom and United States briefly supported the Australian proposal except the second paragraph. Soviet supported China and after further brief debate vote was taken. There were twelve absentees, including Czechoslovakia, five small Latin Americans, South Africa and two Arabs. Main reasons were probably tiredness and confusion over meeting time.

4. The Chinese Resolution was defeated by 24 votes against 13 and five abstentions. Those supporting were Soviet Bloc, China, France, Scandinavians, Chile, Panama and Syria.

5. Australian resolution was voted by paragraphs. First paragraph was adopted by 26 votes to 7 and nine abstentions. Third and fourth by 27 to 6 and fifth by 27 to 5. Second was lost by 10 votes against 19 and 13 abstentions, the large number of abstentions being mainly our supporters who were influenced by a plea to let bygones be bygones. The Australian resolution as it now stands is given in our Assembly 377. [3] Cuban and Argentine [4] proposals were defeated by large majorities and this Australian resolution will be only one reported to Plenary Session.

6. Our supporters in voting, except in the second paragraph, were Afghanistan, Argentina, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Dominica, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Greece, Honduras, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States, Venezuela. Consistent opponents were Soviet Group plus either France or China according to paragraph under consideration.

After defeat of Chinese resolution Scandinavians and Chile abstained. China and France abstained when not voting against us.

Iran abstained throughout. India which had made a harmful speech before vote announced it would abstain on all votes but changed this line to vote against our second paragraph.

7. We are now working to attract abstentions and absentees to our resolution in Plenary Session.

1 The Peruvian draft resolution called on the permanent members of the Security Council to exercise more restraint in applying their right of veto, and recommended that they support juridical or pacific solutions based on concepts of international justice, morality and human rights as advocated in the U.N. Charter.

2 See Document 276, note 2.

3 Document 296.

4 The Argentinian proposal called on the Security Council to devise a comprehensive definition of what constituted 'procedural matters', and attempted to limit the voting rights of members 'parties' to disputes which 'the Council tries to settle by peaceful means'.

[AA:A1838/2, 852/10/5, i]