112 Burton to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram 53 NEW DELHI, 19 January 1949, 11.55 p.m.


1. Informal Meeting of the Heads of the Delegations and Observers was held to-day at the home of the Prime Minister to discuss the procedure.

2. To-morrow, Nehru will open the Conference and there will be short speeches from any who wish to speak. Romulo supported our move to avoid speeches, but Nehru was conscious of the fact that the public session required more than one speech.

3. It is clear that the Arab group will endeavour to use the conference for own ends by means of stressing the principles of the United Nations and implying that if they were applied there would be support for the Arabs in the Palestine question.

4. Nehru asked what delegation wished to speak at the opening and suggested alphabetical order. We managed to avoid this and the position is that at the opening any who wish to speak will inform Nehru. We have indicated that we do not wish to speak but if in the course of the session, it appears necessary to offset the Arabs, or in any other way give the Conference true perspective, we may wish to intervene. Even then, it is proposed to use the Minister's recent statements [1] and merely emphasize the purposes of the Conference and the willingness of the Government to consider its conclusion when reported by its officials attending the Conference.

5. When the Conference goes into secret session tomorrow afternoon, there will be no difficulty in keeping it on the rails.

Nehru, in the chair, will prevent irrelevant discussions. He is looking to us very much in all aspects of the Conference.

6. Neither the Dutch nor Indonesians will be invited to the Conference and always the endeavour will be made, according to Nehru to be objective.

7. Nehru clearly indicated that he would advocate some form of enforcement action by the Security Council if Council decisions were continually defied.

8. There will be no voting.

9. But I have indicated that they must consult their Governments before agreeing to any resolutions and this will avoid a difficulty we might have been up against as clearly we are not in a position to agree to any resolution without approval.

1 See notes 1 and 2 to Document 111.

[AA : A1838, 401/3/1/1, vi]