161 Hodgson to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram [UN]692 NEW YORK, 24 July 1947, 10.47 p.m.


Security 411.

Your 389 [1] and 390. [2] INDONESIA.

1. Prior to receipt of these telegrams there was wide publicity given in the Press here and in England that either Australia or India would be likely to raise this matter in the Security Council. Statement made by Bevin during course of his speech in Commons yesterday [3] that he was doubtful whether the Security Council was right and proper place to effect solution of this question is widely supported here. Several Delegates in course of conversation concurred with this view and the United States Delegation expressed hope that Australia would not take action as indicated in press and radio reports, on the grounds that the present position in Council was so bad that only delay and frustration would result and that the case was obviously one where every effort should be made to bring about a settlement outside the Security Council. Johnson hoped that the United States Government would be consulted before any decision was made to take positive action. I repeat this was all before your telegrams were received.

2. As you know, we have consistently taken the view that as elected members of the Council, we act in a quasi-judicial character and give a decision only on ascertained facts.

Consequently, it might be preferable if the case were brought to the attention of the Security Council by a non-member such as India. In this respect, I am advised directly by the Arab League that it is in consultation with the Indian Representatives in the United States on this question.

3. There is a further practical consideration to be borne in mind.

As you know, the Council is at present meeting twice a day on the Greek question and great emphasis is placed by the United Kingdom and United States on reaching a speedy determination on the United States resolution and the creation of the semi-permanent commission. [4] I would think that these two members with outside support, would oppose any attempt to have this question given priority on the agenda, ostensibly on the grounds that action was being taken outside the Council as Bevin indicated and that such action would be more speedy and efficacious in the experience of the present dilatory methods of the Council and its investigation commissions.

4. These are only my preliminary observations and I appreciate that the matter is essentially a political decision but in arriving at that decision I feel you should know the international angle here. If the decision is that we raise the issue it can be fully justified in argument before the Council.

1 Document 147.

2 Dispatched on 24 July, it conveyed Evatt's view on reference of the Indonesian situation to the Security Council as expressed in Document 142.

3 See Document 141, note 3.

4 For a summary of the Security Council's consideration of the Greek question, see United Nations, Yearbook of the United Nations 1947-48, New York, 1949, pp.337-52.

[AA:A1838/274, 854/10/4, i]