407 Throssell to Shann

Minute CANBERRA, 7 November 1947


The Security Council has three times ordered a cessation of hostilities in Indonesia: On 1st August, the Security Council called upon the parties 'to cease hostilities forthwith'; on 25th August, 'to adhere strictly to the recommendation of the Security Council of 1st August, 1947'; on 1st November 'to cease any activities or incitement to activities which contravene that resolution'.

Djokjakarta Radio reported on 6th November that seven Dutch aircraft attacked Bandjarnegora on 4th November, killing 7 civilians, and wounding 4. Hilversum Radio is reported to have admitted that 'drastic measures' were taken against Bandjarnegora in retaliation for the explosion of a land mine said to have been fired by the Republican Army Command in that township.

Irrespective of the responsibility for these actions, they show a clear contempt for the Security Council's thrice repeated instructions. The Security Council cannot afford to show itself powerless in a more or less minor instance of unlawful warfare, if it is ever to wield the slightest authority in dealing with more serious breaches of the peace.

The alternatives are to ignore the violations of its instructions which are in effect made under Article 40, and res[ign] [1] itself to the impotence of the League Council, or to enforce its decisions now.

Moreover, as initiator of the Council's action, Australia will have shown itself incapable of maintaining its standards if this challenge to the authority of the United Nations does not receive a strong reply from our representatives.

I suggest that the Australian representative might move that in view of the continued violation of the ceasefire, [a] Committee be instructed immediately to draw up plans for enforcement measures under Article 41 within a specified time.

[Telegram attached.] [2]

1 Text in square brackets was amended or added by hand.

2 Addressed to the Australian Delegation at the United Nations, the draft cablegram contained the points made in Throssell's minute together with the observation that while a proposal for the establishment of a Security Council committee to prepare plans for enforcement measures would probably encounter strong opposition, it was felt that even if rejected such a proposal would demonstrate Australia's support for the United Nations and that it could go 'a long way to reduce the impression that the cease fire can be ignored with impunity'. Shann forwarded Throssell's minute to McIntyre on 7 November with the comment that he not only supported Throssell's contentions, he had indeed suggested them.

Throssell's proposal for the establishment of a Security Council committee was not accepted and the draft cablegram was not sent, but a cablegram was dispatched at Burton's direction to Kirby (Document 408).

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