5 Addison to Australian Government

Cablegram 54 LONDON, 21 March 1947, 6.25 p.m.

SECRET

Your telegram 17th March No.68 repeated Wellington No.64.

Palestine.

We agree that the United Nations Charter does not specifically empower the Secretary-General to summon an ad hoc Committee of the type proposed but on the other hand there is nothing in Chapter XV which would specifically debar him from so doing. In fact although the Secretary-General has asked that this proposal should come officially from the United Kingdom Government, he originally suggested it himself, in conversation with the United Kingdom representative to United Nations as an alternative to summoning a special assembly to which he objected on the grounds of the expense.

2. We appreciate however the force of the arguments in your paragraph 2 about the possibility that the Committee's status might be challenged in the Assembly and you will see from my telegram D. No.268 that we are at present considering suggestions for overcoming this difficulty.

3. As regards your paragraph 3 we consider it essential that preparatory work should be done before the Assembly meets in September. It seems most unlikely that the Assembly would be able to reach any decision on Palestine this year if a fact-finding committee were not appointed until the Assembly had actually met and we are anxious to avoid recommendations on the Palestine question being postponed until the 1948 Assembly.

4. As regards your paragraph 4 objections to placing the Palestine question before the Security Council under Article 35 are that it would have to be submitted as a situation or dispute and it would moreover rest with the Security Council to decide whether the matter should be referred to the Assembly at all. It would in our view be applying too narrow a criterion to the Palestine question to treat it as a dispute or situation. Our object is that as the United Kingdom Government is in present circumstances no longer prepared to carry out the Mandate the United Nations should determine the future of the Mandate the interpretation to be placed on it and/or the date of its super-session by a Government of the people of Palestine. The most appropriate body to consider matter on these lines is clearly the General Assembly which could do so under Article 10 of the Charter.

[AA: A1068, M47/17/1/2]