Cablegram UN964 NEW YORK, 9 December 1946, 10.27 p.m.
1. Indians in South Africa came to a vote in Plenary Session late
last night when resolution recommended by Committee One and
hitherto referred to by us as the French-Mexican resolution was
2. The amendment referred to in our Assembly 324  paragraph 2
was not moved by the United States and Sweden as anticipated but
South Africa itself proposed amendment to the effect that since
Assembly's jurisdiction was in doubt and the questions involved
were of a legal as well as of a factual nature the Court was
requested to give an advisory opinion of the question whether the
matters raised by India were essentially within the domestic
jurisdiction of South Africa. This received the support of the
United States, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Belgium and others
which argued that as doubt had been raised re jurisdiction it was
in accordance with the Charter and desirable in the interests of
both parties to refer the question to the Court.
3. The long and sometimes emotional debate was characterised by
many appeals to prejudice and attempts to deride those supporting
amendment as trying to sidetrack the issue. India also spoke
bitterly, Mrs. Pandit's target on this occasion being United
Kingdom rather than South Africa, and anti-British remarks usually
drew applause from her supporters. Soviet in supporting India also
used occasion for attack on West.
4. The Debate also underlined the claim made by many nations,
including the Soviet on this occasion, of the right of
intervention by General Assembly on any matter whenever the
Assembly for political reasons thought it desirable to do so. It
was asserted that an obligation in respect to racial
discrimination and human rights already existed in the Charter. If
the Assembly thought there was any breach of this obligation it
could intervene and in such a matter the Assembly itself was
competent to decide its own jurisdiction.
5. As voting shows, this issue has divided the Assembly on new
lines. Latin American countries were split and together with Arabs
joined a distinct Asiatic group with the Soviet Bloc intact and
reaping full advantage from the situation.
6. In accordance with the instructions in your UNY.461  and 465
 Australia did not speak and voted in favour, prior to taking
of the South African amendment and abstained on the Committee
resolution. New Zealand spoke in support of reference to the Court
and like all other Members of the British Commonwealth voted for
South African amendment and against Committee resolution.
7. Prior to taking of the vote, the President raised the question
whether a two-thirds majority was required under Article 48,
paragraph 2 of the Charter and this issue was finally settled by
Ad Hoc voting on this question alone, it being resolved by 29
votes against 24 that two thirds majority was necessary. Australia
voted with majority. Minority was composed mainly of Soviet and
the most active supporters of India.
8. South African amendment was rejected by 31 votes against 20
with 2 abstentions. Those voting for amendment were Argentina,
Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica, Denmark, Ecuador,
El Salvador, Greece, Luxemburg, Netherlands, New Zealand,
Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru, Sweden, South Africa, United Kingdom
and United States.
9. The Committee resolution was carried by 32 Votes to 15 with 7
abstentions. Those voting against the resolution were the same as
the supporters of the South African amendment except that
Australia, Brazil, Denmark, Ecuador and Sweden abstained. Bolivia
and Turkey abstained on both votes.