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

Cablegram UN871 NEW YORK, 1 December 1946, 10.16 p.m.


Assembly 309.

1. Australia presented revised resolution on Veto [1] to a special meeting of the first Committee this afternoon and attempted to bring it to a vote. Although we had reason to expect the support for all except the second paragraph of our resolution from United Kingdom, United States, France and China, and were certain of support from a majority of the Committee we failed to obtain vote and meeting referred all resolutions to subcommittee for further examination.

2. The main reasons for this outcome were (a) Action of the Soviet in presenting the resolution contained in our immediately following telegram. [2]

(b) The conciliatory attitude of other permanent members who professed to see some similar conciliation on Soviet proposal and whose attitude on this and all other matters is of course subject to proceedings in Foreign Ministers' meetings which we understand are reaching critical stage.

(c) The manipulation by Manuilsky as Chairman who quickly picked up a suggestion by Denmark and Poland for reference to sub- committee and managed to put it before the meeting at the time of expected adjournment when members were becoming restless through working on Sunday.

3. Purpose of sub-committee which consists of five permanent members, Australia, Peru, Cuba, Philippines, Argentina, Poland, Denmark, India and Venezuela is supposed to be to reconcile various texts regardless of fact which we pointed out to meeting that Cuban, Australia[n] and Soviet resolutions all deal with different subjects. In debate regarding sub-committee however, chief reference was made to reconciling Soviet and Australian resolutions. While Soviet text was aptly described by Philippines as sonorous and empty, it is thought by some members to show willingness to reach common ground. Australia expressed opinion that while Australian resolution dealt with the particular problem and applied concrete views expressed during work of Committee, Soviet resolution was generally unrelated to Article 27. If it had been moved on the item dealing with the annual report of the Security Council, we ourselves would have had little difficulty in supporting it, but it was not in any way a proposal for amendment of our resolution.

4. During preceding debate United Kingdom reported failure of attempts by great powers to work out a code of conduct among themselves and after reciting United Kingdom detailed proposals on application of Veto announced that United Kingdom would in future follow them itself.

5. Vyshinsky made a long speech criticising United Kingdom proposals and asserting that only point that needed agreement was that five powers should maintain unanimity.

6. The United States spoke along very similar lines to Australia in insisting that methods of peaceful settlement in chapter six were intended to be carried out and that the Council should not be prevented by a single power from carrying them out. Connally announced support of Australian proposal except for second paragraph.

7. France spoke in favour of our general approach but China after describing our proposal as moderate and reasonable immediately swung into support of proposal for sub-committee which had just been made by Denmark.

8. Following China's lead majority of Committee took the same view, resolution in favour of appointment of sub-committee being adopted by thirty-three votes to eight. We will not try to maintain our text in sub-committee, membership of which is weighted against us.

1 See Document 253.

2 The Soviet draft resolution spoke of the necessity for the Security Council to 'take into account the experience of its work during the preceding period with a view to secure conditions which would be as favourable as possible to the adoption of agreed decisions', but stressed that the United Nations, while working to extend international co-operation, should avoid 'excessive regimentation and formalism in the activity of their bodies'.

[AA:A1838/2, 852/10/5, i]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013

Category: International relations

Topic: History