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

Cablegram UN445 NEW YORK, 16 September 1946, 9.53 p.m.


Security 166.

(1) Friday's meeting of Council was postponed. Today Van Kleffens agreed with United Kingdom, United States, Australia and Brazil that Ukraine had failed to substantiate the charges. [1] He deplored Manuilsky's tactics in alleging that blocs were being organised against the Soviet and in attributing sinister motives to members who desired only friendly relations with the Ukraine.

He regretted that such remarks seemed designed to instil into the Ukrainian people the now-familiar persecution complex.

(2) Van Kleffens also said that the public could only conclude from discussion of the Greek question that the Council was being used by some members as a forum for promotion of national policies and ideologies. It was the Council's duty to prevent this malpractice and he suggested that members might consider the desirability of setting up a Committee of three as soon as any complaint was presented to decide whether the complaint was well- founded.

(3) He concluded by suggesting that the Council communicate to the Greek and Albanian Governments the hope that they would do their utmost to put an end to frontier incidents. Other Governments in relations with Greece and Albania might also endeavour to prevail upon them to this end.

(4) Australia repeated the views previously telegraphed by you that the Council should never allow its machinery to be set in motion for frivolous or vexatious reasons and that matters brought before the Council should be brought in good faith. The Australian Government did not believe that the present complaint was brought in good faith and therefore now formally moved that the Council pass to next item on the Agenda.

(5) Because other members were troubled by charges about border incidents and had some doubts whether or not investigation of these incidents should not be undertaken, we then went on to point out- (A) No member could consider that the Greek question was so urgent that the Council must act irrespective of principles of its own functioning;

(B) As the Ukrainian complaint related to a situation and not a dispute, possibilities of action by the Council were limited. In addition the Council should act most carefully lest through its actions it transformed a situation into a dispute;

(C) The Ukraine had charged Greece and the United Kingdom with acts contrary to the Charter. These charges had been unsubstantiated. It would therefore be unjust for the Council to take any action which might appear to uphold these charges;

(D) It was doubtful whether any Council action at the present time regarding border incidents would serve the purpose of pacific settlement or discharge responsibility of the Council. These incidents were merely one phase of the situation in the Balkans and concentration of attention upon them might impede broader consideration of the whole Balkan problem which is now being discussed in Paris. [2]

(6) We concluded by suggesting that Greece and Albania might seek a peaceful means to conciliate their differences and approved the Netherlands suggestion that other Governments might endeavour to prevail upon them. The Australian Government deplored the drift of the debate at times into seeming opposition between one group of members and another as the Council was not constituted to serve as a forum where conflicts of power should be resolved but a quasi- judicial organ for adjustment of particular disputes and situations. Each matter brought before it should be decided on its merits without introducing extraneous considerations.

(7) Gromyko then read the resolution he had lodged during Van Kleffens' speech and which was still being translated. This recited that the Council found- (A) Frontier incidents provoked by Greek Monarchists and aimed at armed conflict between Greece and Albania had recently been increasing;

(B) Minority persecution in Greece was straining relations with neighbouring states;

(C) Propaganda of Greek Monarchists was threatening to complicate the Balkan situation;

(D) Greek Monarchists were trying to exploit the results of false plebiscite and the presence of British troops.

(8) The resolution continued that the situation under Article 34 [3] was thereby created and the Council should resolve- (A) To act in accordance with Article 2(4) to stop provocative activities of Greek Monarchists on the Frontier;

(B) To call upon Greece to end agitation regarding the state of war which is said to exist with Albania;

(C) To cease persecution of minorities;

(D) To retain the situation on the Agenda while Greece fails to carry out the recommendations of the Council.

(9) After Manuilsky had criticised Van Kleffens' suggestion regarding the constitution of Committee to make preliminary examination of complaints as violation of Article 35, the Council adjourned until tomorrow.

(10) We intend tomorrow to press our proposed resolution. We have temporarily persuaded France and Mexico to withhold any proposal for investigation of border incidents but are not certain we can hold them especially as United States, whose support we have been nursing carefully, now wishes to say something for the sake of the record about border incidents and possible investigation and thus may revive the idea. Gromyko assumes Presidency tomorrow and although his own resolution seems certain to be rejected ultimately he may try to divide his opponents on issue of investigation.

1 See Document 104.

2 i.e. at the Paris Peace Conference.

3 i.e. a situation 'likely to endanger the maintenance of international peace and security'.

[AA:A1067, E46/1/6]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013

Category: International relations

Topic: History