24 Hood to Evatt and Burton

Cablegram 123 LONDON, 27 March 1947, 6.10 p.m.

IMMEDIATE SECRET

Thank you for comments in your telegram No.75. Have discussed this general line of policy informally with certain members of the Commission and feel hopeful it can be followed through with success. It is certainly the best, if not the only chance of an agreed report.

2. Most of us are convinced on the urgency of submission of report and present time table represents maximum speed compatible with the need to finish all relevant evidence here and follow up certain points in Sofia and Belgrade. Have just returned to Salonika from strenuous two weeks journey in charge of an investigation team along Albanian and Yugoslav frontier into Albania itself and in Epirus. The party collected much useful evidence on frontier transgressions and also examined on the spot all minor questions of [1] Slavs, Macedonians [2] of Chanouriets [3] which have been alleged by Yugoslavia and Albania respectively as contributory cause of friction with Greece. As soon as travel time permits I hope to forward report on various aspects of general interest encountered on this journey. I am now about to leave Salonika with main commission for Sofia. Thereafter we spend three days in Belgrade and plan to reach Geneva by April 6th. It is generally expected that preparation of report will take from two to three weeks. Final chairmanship will possibly therefore be held by Australia. Meanwhile a municipal party in which Australian representative is Atyeo will examine the Bulgarian frontier incidents and join the main commission in Geneva.

3. The chief purpose of Sofia and Belgrade visits is to make contact if possible with the leading political personalities and in particular to elucidate Bulgarian and Yugoslav attitude question of Macedonian union which had figured much in evidence here. Yugoslavs and Bulgarians also desire to present long list of counter witnesses to Greek charges but these will have to be restricted to reasonable limit.

4. Reference paragraph 4 and 5 of your telegram, my impression is that Working Commission (U.S.S.R. is one exception) now definitely have in mind recommendation to Security Council for establishment of border commission representing United Nations to supervise the execution of agreements or disputes arising from commission work.

Long discussion took place last week on proposal from United Kingdom that, pending at least presentation of report to Security Council and possibly until a later day to be determined, the Commission should leave behind a small party of its members based on Salonika to serve as channel for continuous information to Commission and for the collection of any new evidence that might arise. At the final meeting of March 22nd I supported the proposal in view of suggestion in your telegram. The proposal was however withdrawn in the face of flat opposition from the Soviet delegate who maintained that such a step would prejudice conclusions of the Security Council and was beyond the competence of the Commission.

There was no possibility of unanimity and the only compromise suggested but not very warmly supported was reference to the Security Council for advice.

5. Reference final paragraph of your telegram, I am glad to state that Australian participation in the Commission so far has been recognised as most effective and useful and in this services of the two officers mentioned often under trying conditions have been invaluable.

1 A sign here indicates words lost in transmission.

2 A sign here indicates words lost in transmission.

3 The disputed territory of Chanuria (Cameria), joined to Albania under Axis occupation, had been reincorporated into Greece in November 1944.

[AA : A1838, 854/10/7, i]