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107 Beasley to Evatt

Cablegram PC34 PARIS, 6 September 1946, 2.33 p.m.


Your telegram P.196. We have been steadily pushing the amendments [1] but so far have not obtained much support. As the discussions proceed and become more involved the fact finding idea is gaining more attention and the same development is slowly emerging in connection with reparations. As reparation claims against Italy now number 12, the whole question is becoming impracticable except on this basis.

2. All our amendments have been discussed with other members of the British Commonwealth but support is lacking. I have seen Bevin and whilst he admits much merit in many of our amendments it is clear that the British Delegation is not prepared at this stage to give full support. I summarise below some of the arguments on which this attitude is based in relation to 3 major amendments. We are doing our best here to meet these arguments but would be very glad of all the advice and suggestions you can send us.

3. Human rights. Although we have received no active support except some indications from New Zealand there is a good deal of sympathy of the motives of our amendment. The line taken in argument is that (a) The provision in the treaties is sufficiently explicit.

(b) The treaties are not the proper place to bring for-ward a proposal so far reaching as that of human rights.

(c) The problem of human rights applies to Allied countries as well as to enemy states.

4. The view expressed to me has been that it should be much more appropriate and there would be much more hope of success if the proposal were put forward at a later stage in the United Nations with a view to giving it universal application. We are not letting this view in any way interfere with our putting forward the proposal here but beyond the idea we have little hope of success at present. We will fully present the case before the legal commission to which question has been referred by the Political Commission in Finland.

5. The Treaty of Executive Council. [2] Although this amendment has not yet come up in my commission I understand that it is likely to meet with strong practical objections on the part of the United Kingdom and United States. Apparently both United Kingdom and United States had earlier considered the desirability of such a body but in view of experience of Foreign Ministers' Deputies meetings and in face of Soviet opposition decided to abandon it and to adopt instead a plan for submission of matters arising out of treaties to the relevant 4 powers' diplomatic representatives in the ex-enemy countries. Some objection in principle has also been expressed on the ground that rather than set up a new semi- permanent body of this kind it would be preferable that disputes arising out of treaties should be referred direct to the United Nations. Bevin has clearly indicated that the United Kingdom Government is anxious to avoid setting up additional bodies and is planning to centre international consultation in the United Nations. The British say we must make the United Nations work and thus avoid disputation in too many places because they feel according to Bevin that it suits Soviet Union to play one organisation off against another.

6. Treaty Revision. There is rather widespread opposition to this on the ground that treaties should be regarded as final and that parties to them should not be led to look forward to possibilities of revision. In the British Commonwealth group talks the view has been advanced that if frontiers following this conference remained in any state of uncertainty, the area would never settle down.

7. Monseigneur Egidic Vaghazy, Counsellor at Nunciature Paris, called Tuesday and stated that the Holy Father was pleased with the Australian delegation's work at the Peace Conference as they were the only delegation striving for highest principles of humanity and justice to oppressed people.

8. The observations of paragraphs 2 to 6 are forwarded for your comment. The delegation are working well and greatly enthusiastic with the work.

Kind regards to self and wife.

1 A summary of the Australian amendments is to be found in Document 79.

2 See Document 79, paragraph 9.

[AA:A1067, E46/38/14]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013

Category: International relations

Topic: History