134 Department of External Affairs to Hood and Burton

Cablegrams 41, 38 CANBERRA, 21 January 1949, 10.35 p.m.



1. We feel that the revised text of United States draft resolution [1] which is to be tabled today is open to the objections raised to the previous draft and in addition appears to adopt a weaker attitude on the following points...

(a). The cessation of guerilla warfare is specifically provided without any guarantee of a withdrawal.

(b). Recommendation on the return to Republican Administration is now limited to the areas held by the Republic under the Renville Agreement.

2. The Dutch have announced in the Security Council that they will not observe any order to withdraw. A resolution which fails to take account of this pronouncement would appear, therefore, to be inviting an attitude of non-compliance.

3. Our previous stress on progressive withdrawal to the point of freedom by the time of elections is not provided for specifically.

While commission is to recommend handing over of administration it is still obscure whether transfer will be a fictitious one in view of presence of occupying force. The reference in 4(b) to withdrawal is most oblique statement of conditions under which retention of troops is justifiable. Commission should presumably be empowered to recommend the states of withdrawal synchronised with transfer of administration. While the obscurities remain on this point the definite timetable in para 3. simply have effect of ensuring negotiation under Duress.

4. This latter point which was referred to in our 26 [2] may need reinforcing.

5. Paragraph 3 of resolution on visit of settlement is very weak.

6. The resolution should provide for resumption not only of Republican administration but equally important economic intercourse with rest of world and ending of the present blockade.

7. Despite above comments (paras. 1 to 6 inclusive) which were prepared departmentally by Tange, Dr. Evatt thinks general tenor of U.S. proposal marks a very substantial step forward and Australian attitude at Lake Success should be one which welcomes U.S. initiative and on that footing asks for clarification and improvement of its principles. Minister attaches great significance to the fact that the Commission will work by majority vote as Belgium has frequently been a stumbling block in the past.

In short Australia's presence on such a commission together with the U.S. would make a great deal of difference provided that frequent recourse were had by commission [to] Security Council in event of Dutch defiance o[r] evasion. The U.S. proposal is in principle a complete justification of Australia's policy remembering always that the will of the people in this area must ultimately prevail as the democratic system starts to work. In any public comment by Australian representative opportunity should be taken to emphasise Minister's views and his statement.

1 Document 124.

2 Document 100.

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