27 Department of External Affairs to Australian Delegation, United Nations

Cablegram 430 CANBERRA, 5 August 1947


Your UN719. Greece.

On the basis of the finding in [Part]A of the proposals of the Balkans Commission, and the subsequent investigations of the Sub- Commission [1], we are convinced that the situation in the Balkans constitutes a threat to the peace within the terms of Article 39.

Australia is therefore obliged to support action by the Security Council under Chapter VII.

2. However there is no indication from the reports of the Sub- Commission that there is any danger of outright war between Greece and Albania, Bulgaria and Yugoslavia. Evidence of the participation of an 'International Brigade' in the incidents of July 12-13th, and subsequently, are described as unconvincing.

Moreover the Security Council can only concern itself with the internal strife in Greece in so far as the insurgents are armed and supported by Greece's neighbours.

3. It is therefore our impression that the most vital issue in the Greek case is that the Security Council should function effectively.

4. It would be disastrous to the prestige of the United Nations if the Security Council should now fail to act, or if its decisions should be reduced to futility by the veto, in a situation where the political interests of the permanent members are affected. The suggestion of proposals fore-doomed to Soviet veto can therefore only do the greatest harm to the United Nations.

5. In this situation, the only possibility of effective action is on the basis of agreement with the Soviet Union. You should therefore discuss the above points with the representative of the U.S.S.R. pointing out that Gromyko has himself cited 284 frontier violations and that a threat to the peace is self-evident. We would therefore be interested in the reactions of the U.S.S.R. to proposals for provisional measures under Article 40 providing for the cessation of hostile acts by all parties and the attachment of an officer of a neutral State to frontier posts on both sides of the border whose functions would be to report on the observance of the Security Council's decisions while direct negotiation between the parties proceeds.

6. If the Soviet do not agree to this approach we would be glad to learn how the Soviet consider the present situation can be remedied.

7. Glad of your urgent comment before proceeding along these lines. If you agree you should act immediately after discussions with U.S. and U.K. representatives.

1 The Security Council decided on 18 April that each member of the Balkans Commission should contribute personnel to a 'subsidiary group' of the Commission. This group would be based at Salonika and would investigate border incidents and report to the Commission. Australia was represented by T.G. Glasheen.

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