501 Pritchett to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram 323 BATAVIA, 30 December 1948, 11.55 p.m.


Following Security Council's resolution [1] of December 28th, the Consular Commission met this afternoon.

2. Tsiang, the Chairman felt that there was nothing could be done by the Commission which could not be done more effectively by the Good Offices Committee. However, the Belgian and French members argued that the Council must fully have considered the position of the Commission, and its latest resolution was a direct request to the Commission which could not be ignored. Other members also, while agreeing with Tsiang, felt that since all of their Governments had voted in favour they were obliged to try and implement the resolution. They were accordingly not prepared to consider the arguments (a) that in view of practical difficulties involved in observing any cease-fire orders when there were no demarcation lines and the lack of facilities i.e. aircraft, jeeps, military observers, with which Commission might conduct a thorough investigation; and (b) that even were these difficulties resolved the Good Offices Committee with its detailed register and experienced staff could more effectively provide the Council with the required information. The French argued that military observers were only on loan from the Commission and could be withdrawn at any time. The British member and I argued that this would mean interference with the Committee and any question of using the Committee's facilities should be a matter for the Security Council. On the question of whether the Dutch would allow the Commission the freedom to investigate now denied the Committee, the French by his assurance that this matter would be so, indicated that he had private advice from the Dutch.

3. It was finally decided that Tsiang should confer with the Chairman of the Committee concerning duplication of the function between the two bodies and the position regarding the Committee's facilities and that he should ask the Dutch whether they would permit such facilities to be used freely by the Commission.

4. A cable was sent to the Security Council reporting that the Commission was investigating means of complying with the Council resolution and stating assumption that the composition of the Commission, Australia, Belgium, China, France, United Kingdom and the United States of America was in accordance with the intention of the resolution. This point was included because, at the beginning of the meeting, the Belgian and French members had queried the position of Australia and Belgium in the next year when neither would be members of the Security Council and so possibly not entitled to Commission membership in the terms of the resolution of August 25th, 1943. [2]

me to act on the Commission. If so it will be urgently necessary for another Consular Officer to be posted here as recommended.

[AA : A1838, 854/10/4/3, ii]

1 See Documents 481 and 489.

2 Presumably a reference to the Security Council resolution of 25 August 1947. See Documents 277, 281 and 301 in Volume XI.

[5.] I should be glad of your instructions as to whether you wish