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

Cablegram UN978 NEW YORK, 10 December 1946, 8.38 p.m.


Assembly 393 Trusteeship. Fourth Committee.

1. At the fourth Committee on tenth December India, in view of adoption of relevant Soviet proposal on review of all agreements [1] withdrew the Indian proposal for a ten year period.

2. China introduced a proposal on non-discrimination (New Guinea Agreement) with the result reported by today's most immediate cable (Assembly 392 [2]). Was asking for non-discrimination not open door.

3. Australian reply referred to 'C' Mandate Status, change in obligations due to Charter, Australian acceptance of obligations and the fact that the agreement covers these therefore proposal unnecessary. The proposal deals with administration which is matter for administering authority and trusteeship council.

4. India, (without prior notice to us of intention to do so) exercised its option to move an addition to the New Guinea agreement of articles 9 and 9(A) of British agreements [3] with necessary drafting changes. Made three main points, viz:-

(A) Australian administration in New Guinea discriminatory;

(B) Australia had made no attempt to meet the wishes of the Sub- Committee;

(C) The Charter obligation should be made precise and concrete by specific undertakings written into agreement;

5. Australian reply:-

(A) Administration has been in the interests of inhabitants and has stood test of Permanent Mandates Commission supervision and loyalty in disaster of war;

(B) New article eight of New Guinea Agreement;

(C) Unnecessary to spell out Article 76(D) especially unreasonable to ask the Australian Government to consider incorporating so much complex detail.

6. India was supported by Cuba, China by Cuba (same speech) and Australia by United Kingdom and New Zealand.

7. The Indian Delegation badly fumbled its presentation (confusion amongst documents being the main cause but arrogant, inflammable personality of Menon contributing). A period of confusion, somewhat trying to the patience of the Committee, ensued. The Chairman resolved this by ruling the Indian proposal to be voted first. India defeated sixteen to eleven (eleven abstaining) and China by fifteen to fourteen (nine abstaining). The Soviet group abstained on both votes seemingly because stipulations of this kind belong essentially to the capitalist order. U.S.A. voted against the Indian proposal and abstained on the Chinese.

8. The Indian proposal for the handing over of Trust Territories and all assets to inhabitants on termination of agreements supported by Yugoslavia, opposed by Belgium on behalf of the Mandatories. Approved by nineteen to sixteen (two abstaining).

9. Indian proposal for naming dates by which territories should be declared self-governing or independent withdrawn after discussion showed impracticability of decision by the Assembly.

10. This completed full committee work on proposed modifications (except preamble).

11. The Committee then adopted the Rapporteur's report on the Philippine resolution [4] (see Sub-Committee two reports) subject to correction of French translation.

12. In discussion of the Rapporteur's report on treatment of information on non-self-governing territories, the French Delegation obtained inclusion of the French Government reservation to effect that parts of these resolutions were contrary to Charter and France reserved its position in relation to participating in any action taken under them. Under this reservation Governments of all States administering non-self-governing territories had associated themselves. This will also be mentioned in report.

1 The Soviet proposal, which imposed a time limit for review and modification of agreements, was carried at the full committee meeting of 9 December and conveyed in cablegram UN972, dispatched 10 December. The same cablegram also noted that 'Mandatories are not taking votes on individual 'amendments' seriously and will accept no changes as a result of them'.

2 Dispatched 10 December, it reported the defeat of the Chinese proposal 'for an additional clause in the New Guinea agreement spelling out Article 76(d) of the Charter'.

3 These articles concerned equal treatment for all members of the United Nations, particularly in regard to rights of residence and immigration.

4 See Document 301.

[AA:A1838/2, 852/13/4, ii]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013

Category: International relations

Topic: History