108 Australian Delegation, United Nations, to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram Austdel 369, PARIS, 15 December 1948, 12.30 a.m.

IMMEDIATE PRIORITY RESTRICTED

Balkan Talks.

1. Minister tonight issued following press statement.

'The conciliation Committee working to secure a system of mediation between Albania, Greece, Bulgaria and Yugoslavia has made very substantial progress and a draft agreement had been prepared after many points had been accepted by all parties. However, an outstanding question upon which agreement had not been reached was the formal request made that Greece should agree to treat the existing boundaries between Albania and Greece as definitive. As a matter of practice the actual existing boundaries between them were recognized de facto and it was obvious that no party would seek to alter them contrary to the principles and purposes of the charter.

I desire to express my thanks to the representatives of all four countries for their co-operation with the committee of conciliation and to all my colleagues on the committee for their valuable help. I am confident that the work we have begun and almost succeeded in completing will be completed. The work of the committee will go on formally at Lake Success when the Assembly meets for the resumption of its business and in the meantime the good offices of the Secretary-General and myself will be available to all four parties.' 2. Draft agreement which was on the point of signature two weeks ago is summarised in following telegram. Although conciliation move originally prejudiced by United States, United Kingdom pressure to push through 4 power resolution in plenary session before talks could produce useful results considerable progress had been made as draft agreement shows. Lately however, attitudes have stiffened main stumbling block being Greek reluctance to relinquish claims to Northern Epirus and to declare non-existent state of war with Albania and Northern solidarity in refusing to sign.

3. Collection of all relevant documents following air bag.

[AA : A1838, 852/10/6/1, I]