Date range
Open the calendar popup.
Open the calendar popup.

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

Cablegram UN845 NEW YORK, 29 November 1946, 6.53 p.m.


Assembly 287.

Trusteeship-sub-committee 1.

1. Reference paragraphs 8 and 9 of Assembly 258-procedure for subcommittee consideration of remaining texts. All proposals for modifications of African texts were lodged 6 p.m. 28th.

Mandatories are to lodge brief written reports of these proposals by 11 a.m. Saturday local time at the latest. The sub-committee has requested Australia to adopt the same procedure.

2. It has now become impossible to proceed with the remaining agreements on the present lines. Most of the objections have already been raised and discussed in relation to Western Samoa which has thus served as a kind of test case for all.

3. The sub-committee has suggested that the administering authorities should clarify proposals for modifications as either (a) acceptable without discussion, (b) acceptable in principle but not in the form proposed, (c) unnecessary and involving no change in substance, or as trivial in character, (d) unacceptable under any conditions.

In order to save time, the proposals accepted by the state submitting agreement and the proposals already discussed in relation to the New Zealand agreement would not be further discussed. There will thus be no further formal second readings.

4. We attended on the night of 28th an informal meeting with other mandatories for a first round-up of the proposals that had just been received. All agreed to maintain the firm stand they have taken during the New Zealand second reading. The result will be an uncompromising and very negative set of reports. Virtually all proposals for changes in substance will be declared either unacceptable or unnecessary. This bothers France more than the others but unless they get different instructions the French will not, we think, break the common front. As an indication that proposals for change have been given consideration in good faith Britain, France and Belgium will accept several useful corrections and drafting improvements but this will not amount to more than two or three alterations on each case.

5. The eventual outcome is still uncertain. The Soviet group maintains strictest reserve about possible action to assert their claim to veto as a state directly concerned. India has formally asserted its right regarding Tanganyika. We think it possible that the matter will be taken to the floor of the plenary meeting of the Assembly and that with determined support of the United States all eight agreements will be approved.

6. The Australian text will not need [to] have a separate second reading but will be considered along with other remaining texts.

The time at which the Chairman of the delegation can best make a statement on Government administrative record and policy in New Guinea as authorised in UNY414 will have to be arranged in the light of changing circumstances. We are arranging to secure a good press for it.

7. Our difficulties in preventing discrimination against the Australian text because of its differences from the others will be in subcommittee and in committee rather than in Assembly.

8. The time for receiving proposals having now expired, no new demands can be made upon us.

9. Subject to further instructions, we will report to the Secretariat at 11 a.m. Saturday that all proposed modifications (set out in Assembly 225) are either unacceptable or unnecessary with the exception of those mentioned in the two following paragraphs giving a brief exposition of our reasons where not covered but already taken during our own first reading or the New Zealand second reading.

10. In view of paragraph 8 we think no harm could be done by accepting the United States proposal for small verbal changes in Article 5 which in Dulles' [1] and undisputed view would leave the substance unaffected.

11. Additional articles are proposed (in form similar to that adopted in the New Zealand text) by U.S.A., Iraq, U.S.S.R. and China, regarding political institutions, freedom of worship and missionary activity, freedom of expression and assembly, education and land laws (Iraq does not propose this). There are also proposals from U.S.A. regarding participation in regional commissions, co-operation with the Trusteeship Council and settlement of disputes, also along the New Zealand lines. China proposed inclusion of an article along the New Zealand lines regarding social abuses. Remaining additional articles proposed are plainly unacceptable.

12. All these seem innocuous and could be accepted without undertaking additional obligations not already covered by the Charter and by the existing text. To accept them would certainly assist in rallying support especially from Arab and Latin American states. But having regard to the principles we have successfully asserted we do not suggest that all should be adopted.

13. Bailey understands Minister's views would be expressed rejecting as unnecessary the proposals which involve mere paraphrase of the Charter (e.g., political development, fundamental freedoms) while accepting in principle and subject to later formulation in a single article those proposals which represent merely an undertaking to continue existing administrative policy (e.g., land laws, education, and religious freedom). The latter should be along lines not of the mandate nor New Zealand clause but to the United States own proposal for the Japanese Islands omitting reference to migration. [2]

14. It would be along the lines of the Government's policy to add a clause on co-operation with the Trusteeship Council. This would please the whole committee especially China, and is in any event already implied. Regional Commissions, we think, better kept distinct from United Nations. Invite your special consideration of this.

15. Please advise urgently whether we may act along the lines of paragraphs 13 and 14. We shall in any case forward to-night a draft article for consideration by the Minister.

1 A sign here indicates 'mutilated'.

2 Article 6(2) of the U.S. draft agreement provided for the protection of 'inhabitants against the loss of their lands and resources', Article 6(4) for the promotion of 'the educational advancements of the inhabitants', and Article 7 for 'freedom of conscience, of worship, and of religious teaching' as well as for 'freedom of migration and movement'.

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

Category: International relations

Topic: History