465 Department of External Affairs to Australian Delegation, United Nations

Cablegram 174 CANBERRA, 20 March 1947, 9.30 p.m.


Trusteeship Japanese Mandated Islands.

1. Your UN.277. Following is statement you are to make at first opportunity when discussion resumes. Begins:

'Since the question of the future of Japanese mandates first arose in the Council, the Governments of the United Kingdom and Australia have desired to make certain that the proposal of the United States to assume strategic trusteeship of these islands is endorsed by the nations which made substantial contributions to victory over Japan.

2. On the merits of the question of disposing of the mandates the attitude of Australia has never been in doubt. Over and over again the Australian Minister for External Affairs has indicated that Australia supports the proposal to make the United States sole and exclusive trustee over these island territories which were gained at such sacrifice by the United States. [1] I want to make it clear at the outset that the Australian Government for its part has consistently supported and now warmly supports in the interest of peace and security the control and administration by the United States of the Japanese Mandated Islands and is in accord with the view that the United States should continue de facto administration.

3. The method of securing the United States objective which was proposed by Australia and the United Kingdom as most just and democratic was to approve the proposed agreement but to postpone its operation until the successful belligerent nations had met formally together for the making of a Peace Settlement with Japan.

4. This attitude was adopted both by Australia and the United Kingdom not for the purpose of delaying the question of disposing of the islands, but solely for the purpose of maintaining the vital principle that all terms of what may fairly be called 'the final settlement with Japan' should be approved, not by a few nations only, but by all nations who contributed to the overthrow of this enemy with substantial military forces. These nations included some who were not members of the Security Council.

5. The position has been materially altered since the proposal of Australia was supported by the United Kingdom. The Security Council has agreed to Australia's suggestion that the nations which fought against Japan shall be admitted to the Security Council itself for the purpose of stating their views on the United States trusteeship proposal. The result of this will be to extend the [Security] [2] Council for the time being into a small replica of the Conference of Nations which would be entitled, as a matter of justice and democratic right, to participate in the final settlement with Japan.

6. This being so, the Security Council is now in a position to be assured that it would be in accordance with the wishes of the belligerents against Japan that the proposal of the United States should, in principle, be given effect to.

7. For these reasons and in the interests of a unanimous decision, Australia and the United Kingdom have decided not to press the proposed Article 17.

8. Therefore, having regard to the Security Council's approval of Australia's desire to widen the representation of nations before this Council so as to include all the nations who contributed with military forces in the war against Japan, and also to the fact that the Council so enlarged and broadened will fully endorse the United States proposal, my instructions are to support it. The United Kingdom I understand takes the same view.' [3] Ends.

It should be possible not merely to obtain United Kingdom support but also to obtain their agreement to making this statement on their behalf as well as on behalf of Australia.

You should not support any amendments of the United States draft.

See our telegram 148.

1 The word 'allies' has been deleted after the words 'United States' in accordance with corrections forwarded on 21 March.

2 The word 'Trusteeship' has been altered to 'Security' in accordance with corrections forwarded on 21 March.

3 Hodgson delivered the substance of this statement to the Security Council on 28 March. He made the statement on behalf of the Australian Government, however, and made no reference to the United Kingdom.

[AA : A1838,333/4, ii]