186 Embassy in Paris to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram Austdel 299, PARIS, 28 November 1948, 11 p.m.


Human Rights.

1. Soviet Union, Yugoslavia and Denmark put forward separate proposals to include in the Declaration an Article dealing with the rights of minorities. Soviet Union made most strenuous efforts to secure approval of the following text.

'All persons irrespective of whether they belong to the racial, national or religious minority or majority of the population have the right to their own ethnic or national culture to establish their own schools and receive teaching in their native tongue and to use that tongue in the press, at public meetings, in the courts and in other official premises'.

2. In view of general Australian policy of assimilation of immigrants we join Latin American countries in opposing vigorously the inclusion of any such article. We were successful in our opposition but had to accept the text of a draft resolution referring the abovementioned three proposals to the Sub-Commission on the Prevention of Discrimination and the Protection of Minorities for study and possible action. Text of Resolution includes however the following useful recital.

'Considering that it is difficult to adopt a uniform solution of this complex and delicate question (i.e. minorities) which has special aspects in each state in which it arises'.

[AA : A1838, 856/13, V]