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

Cablegram UN896 NEW YORK, 4 December 1946, 4.18 a.m.


Assembly 329.


1. Rapid development of sub-committee work tonight 3rd December, necessitated initiative along the lines approved in your U.N.Y.440. [1] In the absence of the Ambassador, who was visiting the President in Washington in connection with the Air Agreement

report on proposed modifications both in conformity with your U.N.Y.437 [3], paragraph 3 of which was fully observed.

2. The statement was made in the Ambassador's name. Declaration of policy (your U.N.Y.437) was not made but may be useful in full committee or plenary.

3. Main points of statement were as follows- (a) Conception underlying form in which Australian agreement was drawn and the earnest wish of the Government to see Trusteeship system function.

(b) Record of achievements of administration.

(c) The effect of war in placing additional burdens on administering authority.

(d) Part played by Australia at San Francisco in writing trusteeship chapters of the Charter.

(e) Significance given by us to international opinion generally and in sub-committee as representing United Nations. Hence desire to show sincerity in meeting the wish of sub-committee as far as possible.

(f) Emphasis laid on fact that undertakings set out in new article not only already covered in Australian Agreement but had been and are being practised in fact by administration.

(g) In conformity consistent view Australian Government that agreements should be concise proposals of delegations included in single article, Bailey stated that the text of the new article, when approved by sub-committee, must be considered by Australian Government and if accepted, will be included as part of final text submitted for United Nations approval.

4. Main points of supplementary report were that text originally submitted fulfils Charter requirements, that history of Administration shows [Australia has in fact] [4] pursued policies recommended in proposed modifications, that Australia has often urged respect for international opinion and now demonstrates sincerity, that 5 main points appeared to have subcommittee approval and these were comprehended in a single additional article, text of which appended to report (see 7 below), that mere repetition of Charter was avoided and undertakings made in a form appropriate to New Guinea, and that additional article was subject to approval of the Australian Government.

5. The Soviet, while observing that at first glance the additional article seems to cover the principle of the proposals, wanted time to consider wording. As this seemed to express the feeling of the sub-committee including the Chairman, we indicated agreement. The meeting adjourned shortly afterward. We anticipate general acceptance but some pressure in relation to specific undertakings not included. These will be resisted strongly and resistance can now be more widely supported.

6. Preliminary reaction was favourable. Belgium and United States (Gerig) privately made friendly comments after the statement. New Zealand were informed generally before the statement was made and were pleased. A press observer remarked on the value of the Australian gesture not merely in Trusteeship field but as an example of the sincerity of Australia in urging more give and take in wide United Nations issues, e.g., Big Five in relation to veto.

In addition, it was typical of Australian leadership in international affairs.

10. [5] The text of the additional article submitted for approval of subcommittee subject to final acceptance by the Australian Government follows:-


Article 8. The administering authority undertakes that in the discharge of its obligations under Article 3 of this agreement- (i) It will co-operate with the Trusteeship [Council in the discharge] of all the Council's functions under Articles 87 and 88 of the Charter, (ii) It will, in accordance with its established policy, (a) Take into consideration the customs and usages of the inhabitants of New Guinea and respect the rights and safeguard the interests both present and future of the indigenous inhabitants of the territory, and, in particular, ensure that no rights over native land in favour of any person not an indigenous inhabitant of New Guinea may be created or transferred except with the consent of the competent public authority, (b) Promote, as may be appropriate to the circumstances of the territory, the educational and cultural advancement of the inhabitants, (c) Assure to the inhabitants of the territory, as may be appropriate to the particular circumstances of the territory and its peoples, a progressively increasing share in the administrative and other services of the territory, (d) Guarantee to the inhabitants of the territory, subject only to the requirements of public order, freedom of speech, of the press, of assembly and of petition, freedom of conscience and worship and freedom of religious teaching. Ends. [6]

11. Our immediately following telegram gives details sub-committee meetings on 3rd December. [7]

[AA:A1838/2, 852/13/4, ii]

1 Document 272.

2 Makin signed the Australian-U.S. Air Transport Agreement in Washington on 3 December. See Volume VIII, Document 396.

3 Document 270.

4 The words in square brackets have been inserted from the New York copy in AA:A4311, BOX 481.

5 A sign at the end of the cablegram indicates 'paragraphs are as received'. Paragraph 10 should have been numbered as 7 and paragraph 11 as 8.

6 In cablegram 451, dispatched 5 December, the External Affairs Dept conveyed its approval of the new article on the assumption that 'no other changes in the original draft are being considered and that no change of any significance at all will be made in the new clause'. In cablegram 457, dispatched 6 December, Bailey was informed that the 'full text would still be subject to approval of Government and Parliament after Assembly agreement'.

7 Cablegram UN897 (Assembly 330), dispatched 4 December, conveyed both the U.S. Govt's decision to withdraw certain articles proposed for the New Guinea agreement on the grounds that they were relevant really only to the African mandated territories, and the text of the revised Chinese proposal for equality of treatment.

[2], Bailey made a prepared statement and lodged a supplementary
Last Updated: 11 September 2013

Category: International relations

Topic: History