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251 Makin to Evatt

Cablegram UN803 NEW YORK, 26 November 1946, 4.20 a.m.


Assembly 246.

TRUSTEESHIP. Your UNY.404. [1]

1. Your instruction counter-attack. The best opportunity will be opening of the Second Reading of Australian Agreement this week.

2. The First Reading, despite strong and detailed exposition of principles of our agreement and Australian policy towards dependent peoples showed that it would be difficult to line up necessary majorities in Sub-Committee and Assembly for the present text unless a more favourable psychological reception could be ensured. Apart from Asiatic attack on migration and Soviet on defence [2] (on which there can be no compromise) the main criticism of the Australian text is based not on constitutional grounds but on the fact that it does not contain assurances concerning the promotion of the welfare and advancement of the people of New Guinea. We have made a convincing case that the draft satisfies the Charter but those who are concerned to attack it are greatly assisted by the general public opinion that a trust agreement should contain a Bill of Rights spelling out charter provisions.

3. The past week's experience convinces us that the best chance of present text being accepted without modification would be the publication by Government of important declaration of legislative and administrative policy for New Guinea. This, as nothing else, would bring home to the general public and to Assembly delegations the progressive and advanced character of our policy in New Guinea.

4. I suggest that as Chairman of the Delegation I be authorised to make at the outset of the second reading in the name of the government and entirely separated from the agreement such a declaration of policy, the implementation of which would be carried out in consultation with the Trusteeship Council. Such a statement could be used at almost every turn in debate. We would propose that it be incorporated in full in the rapporteur's report and in the report of the Fourth Committee to Assembly. A suggested draft of such a declaration follows in a separate telegram. [3]

5. Simultaneous release in Australia and here would be most effective arrangement.

6. This course might well enable us while preserving the present draft as a constitutional document to satisfy the strong desire of several delegations, including those like Netherlands and Mexico which hold the balance in sub-committees between mandatory and [c]ritical powers, for guarantees concerning native rights and welfare. The counter-attack would also change the psychological atmosphere and would be in accordance with the principle of respect for international opinion in colonial matters which Australia has urged at San Francisco and elsewhere.

7. Glad of urgent advice. [4]

1 Document 245.

2 China and India sought a right of admission to, and residence in, New Guinea for nationals of U.N. members; the Soviet Union sought a Security Council role with respect to bases and armed forces in the territory.

3 The proposed declaration affirmed Australia's commitment to the articles of Chapters XII and XIII in the U.N. Charter, and to the principles of indigenous advancement listed in the New Zealand draft agreement for Western Samoa.

4 Evatt replied on 27 November that no Australian declaration was needed, and that the delegation should base its arguments on Australia's administrative record and announced policies.

[AA:A1838/1, 306/1/4]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013

Category: International relations

Topic: History