33 Hodgson to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram UN759 NEW YORK, 14 August 1947, 10.46 p.m.


Your 478. Greece.

Your telegram gravely perturbs me and I would like confirmation from Minister that contents are in accordance with his views.

Underlying thesis seems opposed to everything we have previously advanced.

Commission of investigation set up at our instigation under Article 34 was to report on causes and factors responsible for existing situation. Our representative with eight others reached certain conclusions and eight, with France abstaining, apportioned guilt. We consistently supported report of Commission, but in initial United States resolution and in our latest before Council, we refrained from condemning any party.

To that extent instructions are very clear and definite.

However, had I been forced into making statement this morning, along lines indicated, as I may well have done, I would have been placed in position of having to refrain from supporting new United States resolution based on actual findings of Commission. They obviously expect a seven majority vote including ours.

Subsequently in telegram 479 YOU indicated I should support United States resolution, but linked it up with reciprocity over Indonesian issue.

I find myself therefore in an almost impossible position. It so happened that all morning was spent on long statement by Gromyko which gave reasons why he had rejected United States resolution, emphasising how whole of guilt rested on Greece.

You state Security Council should avoid discussion on determination of guilt when Soviet and Polish delegates along with Albanian, Bulgarian and Yugoslavia have emphasised for one year that Greece, and Greece alone is the guilty party.

This is naturally refuted by some delegates who rel[y] on report of Commission.

We must be realistic as to what actually happens, however much we desire alternative methods. [1]

Gromyko in course of his statement spent about ten minutes only on Australian and United States resolution now before Council. As to Australian he said it was quite unacceptable as it was entirely unsuitable not taking account of the guilty party.

This afternoon Gromyko, requested an interview with me and obviously upset spoke for the first time freely and frankly to me.

He said he had reported to Moscow that our intentions were sincere to find some settlement but he did not think they were if we persisted into forcing our unacceptable resolution to a vote which he would have to veto and he used word veto.

He said he realised United States resolution was provocatively designed to force a veto and he accepted it as such but could not understand why we also were forcing our resolution also to a vote.

He indicated he had heard from Moscow on Watt's representation.

I told him o[f] our genuine intentions, that we had never consulted United States and United Kingdom as to our new approach, and that we had at least hoped he would abstain. The main objection he seemed to have was that the appointment of observers which had nothing like the authority and powers of the original commission, or subsidiary group and he had vetoed neither of these proposals originally. His only response was that they objected entirely to resolution being brought under Chapter VII with its implications of guilt to the three northern neighbours when it was clear Greece was wholly to blame supported by United States.

I said I would report the conversation to Canberra who would decide whether our resolution should be withdrawn or what alternative action should be suggested.

His own opinion was that in view of the deadlock the best thing was to do nothing. I indicated to him that whatever we did he must accept the fact that this Council would never pass any resolution condemning Greece wholly for the existing situation.

Next meeting on this question is Tuesday next.

1. In Cablegram 486 of 18 August, the Department admitted that the Minister, Dr Evatt, tended to agree with Hodgson.

[AA : A1068, E47/16/4/1/, ii]