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

Cablegram UN456 NEW YORK, 20 September 1946, 10.11 p.m.


Security 172.

(1) At today's meeting of the Council the United States moved the resolution given in Security 171. [1]

(2) The Soviet opposed this resolution because- (A) Situations on Greek-Bulgarian and Greek-Yugoslav borders were not before the Council and Bulgaria and Yugoslavia had had no opportunity of presenting [their] views. Gromyko also made it apparent that he would oppose the Netherlands resolution [2] for this reason;

(B) The investigation Commission would normally be appointed when charges had been made and prima facie substantiated. Therefore to appoint the Commission proposed now would reflect adversely upon Bulgaria and Yugoslavia;

(C) Any investigation should start with foreign interference in Greece which was basis of aggressive policy of Greek Monarchists;

(D)Experience showed investigations tended to bury fundamental issues.

(3) The United States said they would be prepared to confine their resolution to the Greek-Albanian frontier to meet Soviet's position.

However as the Soviet opposition was more fundamental, they would maintain text as proposed.

(4) The Netherlands then deleted reference Yugoslavia and Bulgaria in their resolution. Nevertheless the Soviet pointed out this resolution as amended and United States resolution even if amended would still reflect upon Albania who was innocent.

(5) The Secretary-General had intervened to reserve his right of making enquiries in event of the United States resolution being defeated.

(6) The President queried necessity for Australian resolution. [3] In view of our contention that vexatious complaints should be struck off and to ensure that the matter would be definitely disposed of we maintained it.

(7) We agreed however to allow other resolutions to be put first as this gave us the best prospect of eventual success and, for reasons of domestic politics, the United States was very anxious to have its resolution voted even if rejected.

(8) We also took this opportunity of stating that we agreed in part with the Soviet's constitutional objections to Netherlands and United States resolutions. We considered it a dangerous precedent for the Council in course of its consideration of a complaint, to decide to undertake investigation involving other Governments than those originally concerned and who had not participated in discussion.

(9) The Soviet resolution [4] was then put to vote in parts, all parts being rejected by nine votes to two, Soviet and Poland comprising the minority.

(10) The Netherlands resolution was also rejected by six votes to three, Australia abstaining.

(11) Before the vote was taken on the United States resolution, France challenged the President's ruling that the veto would apply on the ground that subsidiary organisation under Article 29 was being established and this article formed part of the charter on procedure. In opposition to this view the United States quoted Sponsoring Powers' declaration. [5] Australia strongly supported France but on President's request France did not persist. We spoke mainly for the sake of the record as it was clear from the start that any challenge to ruling would fail.

(12) The United States resolution gained eight votes but was vetoed by the Soviet. Australia abstained.

(13) Poland moved that the Council keep the situation in Greece under observation and made plea for unanimous decision. We immediately opposed, insisted that our own resolution be voted.

Poland was defeated nine to two.

(14) By various means Gromyko as President endeavoured to avoid a vote on the Australian resolution but we maintained pressure and asked for clear and definite decision to remove item from Agenda as Ukrainian complaint was vexatious. Gromyko even contended that as motive behind resolution was substantial vote was subject to veto. We considered that veto only applied to what Council did and not to what its members thought. The act we proposed taking was clearly procedural. We maintained pressure through long debate.

Gromyko's last attempt was to give ruling that in view of previous votes there was no need to vote on the Australian resolution. We said we could accept this if he made it explicit that the sense of previous votes was that Council by a vote of nine to two had removed Ukranian item from the Agenda. Eventually we obtained such statement and the last wor[d] of the argument establishing clearly our point that the Council had deliberately rejected the Ukranian item. We then withdrew our resolution.

(15) Council will next meet on Monday to consider the Soviet request for statements regarding maintenance of troops in foreign countries.

1 The United States had proposed that the Security Council appoint a commission to investigate and report on incidents along the frontiers between Greece and Albania on the one hand, and Greece and Yugoslavia and Bulgaria on the other.

2 The Netherlands' proposal was for the Security Council to approach the governments of Greece, Yugoslavia, Albania and Bulgaria in the hope that they would do their utmost to put an end to frontier incidents.

3 See Document 119, paragraph 4.

4 See Document 119, paragraphs 7 and 8.

5 See Volume IX, Document 331, note 2.

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

Category: International relations

Topic: History