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

Cablegram UN784 NEW YORK, 23 August 1947, 2.24 p.m.


Security 460.


Reference our Security 455. [1]

1. Following on requests from President that Australia should confer with China and Poland with a view to reaching agreement over the Australian resolution and the Chinese and Polish amendments we worked hard on this right up to meeting 22nd August to produce following text to cover immediate problem of appointment of Commission of Security Council to report and observe the 'cease fire' orders. Omitting preamble text is as follows-

'The Security Council (a) notes with satisfaction that steps taken by the parties to comply with the resolution of 1st August, 1947, (b) notes with satisfaction the statement by the Netherlands Government issued on 11th August, in which it affirms its intention to organize a sovereign, democratic United States of Indonesia in accordance with the purpose of Linggadjati Agreement, (c) notes that the Netherlands Government intends immediately to request the career Consuls stationed in Batavia jointly to report on the present situation in the Republic of Indonesia, (d) notes that the Government of the Republic of Indonesia has requested appointment by the Security Council of a Commission of observers, (e) requests the Governments members of the Council who have career consular representatives in Batavia to instruct them to prepare jointly for the information and guidance of the Security Council reports on the situation in the Republic of Indonesia following resolution of the Council of 1st August, 1947, such reports to cover the observance of the 'cease fire' orders and the conditions prevailing under military occupation or from which armed forces now in occupation may be withdrawn by agreement between the parties, (f) requests the Governments of the Netherlands and of the Republic of Indonesia to grant to the representatives referred to in paragraph (e) all facilities necessary for the effective fulfilment of their mission, (g) resolved to consider the matter further should situation require.' [2]

However, during Council meeting Poland retracted and expressed opposition to text. Soviet Union also strongly disagreed on ground that it followed closely the Netherlands proposal.

2. As to the proposal for the appointment of an Arbitration Commission China would not agree to the appointment of any arbitrators while Poland insisted that the Council should name the arbitrators whether or not they were satisfactory to either party.

Our text is as follows which we are submitting as a separate resolution.

'The Security Council requests the Governments of the Netherlands and of the Republic of Indonesia to submit all matters in dispute between them to arbitration by a Commission consisting of one arbitrator selected by the Government of the Republic of Indonesia, one by the Government of the Netherlands, and one by the Security Council.'

3. Following on this the United States submitted the following text-

'The Security Council resolves to tender its good offices to the parties in order to assist in the Pacific Settlement of their dispute in accordance with paragraph (b) of the resolution of the Council of 1st August 1947. The Council expresses its readiness, if the parties so request, to assist in the settlement through a Committee of the Council consisting of three members of the Council, each party [selecting one] [3] and the third to be designated by the two [so selected].'

During the course of the meeting the United States indicated that they would support any proposal for submitting the question of the competency of the Security Council to deal with the situation in Indonesia to the International Court of Justice. The Belgian immediately circulated the following draft resolution that the Security Council, having been seized by the Governments of Australia and India of the situation in Indonesia-

'Considering that the Government of the Netherlands in invoking Article II, paragraph 7 of the Charter, contests the competence of the Security Council to deal with the question of which it has thus been seized;

Considering the debates which have been taking place on this subject in the Security Council;

Requests the International Court of Justice, under Article 96 [4] of the Charter, to give it, as soon as possible, an advisory opinion of whether the Security Council is competent to deal with the aforementioned question.

The Secretary-General is instructed to place the documentation submitted to the Security Council regarding the question and the records of the meetings devoted to it at the disposal of the International Court of Justice.'

This new resolution which will hopelessly confuse matters at this stage was clearly introduced by arrangements between United States, United Kingdom, Belgium and Holland.

4. You will appreciate therefore that the discussion during the day became very complicated. It commenced with an emotional bitter attack by Van Kleffens both on the Indonesian Government and personally on members of the Security Council. He also raised the question of the jurisdiction afresh. The President foolishly made the remark that the question of the jurisdiction of the Council had [not] been [decided]. [5] He also said he would consider any proposal to admit representatives of [East] Indonesia and Borneo despite fact that resolution for latter to be admitted had already been defeated. Belgians submitted another proposal to this effect which was again defeated only Belgium, United States, United Kingdom and France voting for it.

5. Confusion and delay is due almost entirely to attitude of United States which varies from day to day and is unpredictable.

Brazil shifts accordingly and China also tends to follow U.S.

France, Belgium and U.K. form a bloc at one extreme and U.S.S.R.

and Poland at the other. Our only consistent supporters are Syria and Colombia.

1 This cablegram dealt with the Greek question. The reference intended was presumably to Document 294 or Document 295.

2 The full text of the Australian-Chinese draft resolution (with paragraphs numbered 1-7) is given in United Nations, Security Council Official Records, Second Year, No.82, 192nd and 193rd Meetings, 22 August 1947, pp.2173-4.

3 A sign here indicates 'mutilated'. The words in square brackets in this paragraph have been inserted from the copy on file AA:A3300/2, 441.

4 Under Article 96 of the United Nations Charter, the Security Council or the General Assembly may request the International Court of Justice to give an advisory opinion on any legal question.

5 The cited copy incorrectly reads 'had been reached'.

[AA:A1838/274, 854/10/4/1]