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

Cablegram UN294, NEW YORK, 2 April 1948, 1.29 p.m.

SECRET

Palestine. Our 292.

1. Secretary-General has sent us formal notification that Special Assembly will open 11.00 a.m. Friday, 16th April.

2. Provisional agenda (apart from formal items such as election of President) will be 'further consideration of the position of the future Government of Palestine'.

3. Following is assessment of position as at close of yesterday's debate.

(a) United Kingdom still intends to terminate mandate 15th May and to evacuate Palestine 1st August. United States charge d'affaires London saw Bevin a few days ago and explained United States proposal but United Kingdom delegation say United States did not request United Kingdom to maintain forces (although he believes United States had hoped for this).

(b) United States plan supported by China is along lines of a trusteeship of all the United Nations with a Governor-General named in the trusteeship agreement and a constabulary recruited internationally as proposed for Jerusalem. Jerusalem Regime as part of partition plan would be deferred and under United States conception of truce Palestine Commission would suspend operations.

(c) U.S.S.R. and Ukraine consider truce does not affect duty of Commission to continue work on implementation of partition and that Security Council resolutions leave Assembly resolution in full force.

(d) Syria interprets truce as including political as well as military standstill and voted for it on that understanding.

(e) Canada and France who had previously insisted on having details of proposed trusteeship before calling of Assembly supported United States resolution in the hope that United States will make proposals which can form basis for recommendation to the Assembly when it meets.

(f) Main concern of Argentina and Colombia who abstained in Assembly and of Belgium who was never a convinced supporter of the plan is to reopen discussions with Arabs and Jews.

4. United States has invited other members of Security Council to attend informal meeting in United States offices, Monday, 5th April and may have some elaborate proposals to discuss. It is clear the United States will make a strenuous effort to line up support and will take advantage of Bogota Conference to line up Latin Americans. Pressure on Marshall plan countries may also be assumed. However, United States ideas are still fluid and United States delegation have informed us that they would welcome suggestions. Delegations not committed to support of United States are, we believe looking to Australia for a lead following Minister's statement. It seems likely, however, that if clear line which can attract independent delegations is not available many delegations will commit themselves to support of United States. Earliest possible indication of attitude Australian delegation will adopt in Special Assembly would be a positive factor in situation.

[AA : A1838, 852/20/2, V]