67 Australian Delegation, United Nations, to Burton

Cablegram Austdel 333 (extracts), PARIS, 6 December 1948, 1 a.m.


COMMITTEE 1 PALESTINE Committee 1 consideration of Palestine ended December 4th. Final vote on United Kingdom resolution as amended was 25 - 21 with 9 abstentions, minority was composed mainly of Arab and Soviet bloc. This is clearly insufficient for two thirds majority and modifications designed to[1] Arab abstention and attraction of some Latin Americans (who mainly abstained) appears necessary.

Main modifications secured to original resolution namely:-

(A) Dropping of mediators report as a basis, and (B) Recognition of principle of direct negotiations at earliest possible date, made it logical for us to support resolution as a whole. Our position[2] would probably have led to defeat of resolution outright, the resultant position being presumably the indefinite continuation of the office of mediator with terms of reference laid down by the Special Assembly which are unsatisfactory as regard achieving a final settlement. It is certainly recognised by the United States and United Kingdom firstly that the nature of final resolution was largely due to us and secondly that steam rolling methods are not always successful. With more United States United Kingdom frankness both prior to and during the debate, it is possible that a resolution might have been devised which would have commanded a two thirds majority in the Committee.

The United Kingdom and the United States have regarded the preservation of a common front on this question as more important than the resolution itself. It was for this reason that the United States made amendments to the United Kingdom resolution and not to ours which was much closer to their view. The result was confusing to the Committee although United States United Kingdom motives are from their point of view understandable.

[matter omitted]

Apart from the unfortunate history of the matter prior to the debate the determination of the United Kingdom (and United States) not to accept o[u]r repeated suggestions for a Drafting Committee was in our view largely to blame for the inconclusive vote yesterday. Their reason against such a Sub Committee was dictated by fear that the United States would again switch their policy and the United Kingdom would thereby lose all support for their approach. As things turned out those parts of their resolution to which we objected were deleted and United Kingdom possibly lost much more by insisting on consideration in the full Committee.

[1] A gap in the text and a sign here indicates 'word mutilated'.

[2] Possibly the word 'opposition' was intended.

[AA : A1838, 852/10/11, I]