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

Cablegram UN409 NEW YORK, 4 September 1946, 9.26 p.m.


Security 156.

1. Security Council to-day decided to postpone discussion on admission to the agenda of the Russian statement regarding foreign troops in members' territory [1] and proceeded immediately to examine the Ukrainian complaint on Greece. [2]

2. Greece and Ukraine were invited to participate under Article 31. [3]

3. Manuilsky, who was immediately called on by the President, occupied the whole three-hour session with a statement supporting the complaint. The main points were- (a) He recalled statements to the Council in London by Bevin regarding the withdrawal of troops, declared the position was now worse and promises not observed.

(b) He alleged that Greece had been turned into a monarchy through long-continued efforts of former collaborators with Germany, supported by British troops.

(c) Greek trade unions had been dissolved.

(d) Greek democrats and republicans tortured and killed.

(e) Slav minorities murdered.

(f) Special courts created and, as a result, leaders of the resistance movement had been shot and known collaborationists were free and honoured.

(g) Electoral lists used in the September plebiscite were corrupt.

The result of the plebiscite was the culmination of intervention over a long period by the British and had been planned by them.

The plebiscite also constituted preparation for aggression by the Greek Government particularly military operations against Albania.

(h) Various frontier incidents provoked by Greece against Albania.

4. The general effect of the statement was to build up a picture of a Fascist country bent on aggression and the dismemberment of Albania. The British were represented as real villains and were charged with interference in Greek domestic affairs, both political and economic, and with violation of Article 2(7) of the Charter. [4] The only evidence submitted was one photograph showing a British officer in company with fierce looking characters whom Manuilsky described as Greek scalphunters and some newspaper cuttings but localities, dates and details were given regarding several alleged frontier incidents.

5. The Council adjourned to 10.30 tomorrow when the Greek and United Kingdom representatives will speak in rebuttal.

6. Your instructions in UNY.201 now require us to insist on a full and impartial inquiry. Up to date we feel that no prima facie case of the existence of a situation endangering peace has been made and statements have been so vague that if a proposal were made for an investigation committee it would be difficult to tell the committee exactly what to investigate. In view of the wildness of the charges, Cadogan, with whom Hasluck is in close touch, is anxious to make an early statement in rebuttal and his instructions are to speak strongly. It may be that after the Greek and British statement, the Council may be prepared to dismiss the complaint. Johnson would [5] go along with such a move and even rebuke Ukraine if the Ukrainian case is not better substantiated.

In these circumstances we would like discretion to decide in the light of circumstances after Cadogan's statement whether our interests can be served by dropping the item from the agenda or whether to seek investigation.

7. If we should seek investigation we would propose, subject to your further instructions, to point to the limits of the Council's interests under Article 34 and isolate for examination only those matters which fairly could be considered as likely to lead to international friction or give rise to a dispute. We are in close touch with Cadogan and Johnson.

1 On 29 August Gromyko had asked that the Security Council request all U.N. members to provide details of troops and bases in foreign territories, excluding ex-enemy territories, as of 1 August.

2 On 24 August the Ukrainian Govt had complained to the Security Council that the policies of the Greek Govt in the Balkans constituted a threat to peace.

3 Article 31 of the U.N. Charter allows any U.N. member not a member of the Security Council to participate, without vote, in Security Council discussions when the Security Council considers the interests of that member are specially affected.

4 Article 2(7) of the U.N. Charter bars U.N. intervention in matters 'essentially within the domestic jurisdiction' of any state except in the context of enforcement measures relating to threats to peace.

5 A sign here indicates 'word mutilated'.

[AA:A1067, E46/16/12]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013

Category: International relations

Topic: History