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

Cablegram UN999 NEW YORK, 12 December 1946

Assembly 405.

Trusteeship-Committee 4.

1. Fourth Committee Eleventh December adopted report of Rapporteur including supplementary report on preambles and states directly concerned (see Assembly 397).

2. Mandatories made statements intimating rejection of three amendments proposed by Committee and urging approval of agreements as revised in light of sub-committee discussion.

3. United Kingdom explained lengthy process of consultation and adjustment which their agreements had undergone since February, 1946, resulting in alterations in almost every article since first draft. They gave reasoned statement for rejection of each of the three amendments sponsored by Committee.

4. Belgium. P.M.C. [1] satisfied. People have kept their sense of local individuality. justification of 'integral part' e.g.

application of social legislation. Referring to proposal for review every ten years, pointed out Charter provides for revision (Article 79) and proposed amendment adds nothing and cannot alter Charter. Amendment to prevent trustee state requiring payment for property, installations, bases etc. on termination. Inhabitants are protected by Article 84 against any contribution to bases, and on other hand public works, investment etc. would be discouraged if payment prohibited and this therefore not in interests of inhabitants.

5. France claimed she had always preserved individuality of the people. Supported Belgian view on revision. France does not claim sovereignty. Commented on present air of suspicion in U.N.

contrasted with satisfaction of P.M.C. Offer to place under trusteeship calls for confidence, undertakings to cooperate with Trusteeship Council and to promote political development. Naggiar then introduced an African deputy of French Chambre des Deputes who spoke as a member of French Delegation. He said trust agreements had been submitted to and endoresed by population of Cameroons who were fully satisfied.

6. Australia. All proposals put forward throughout had been carefully considered, particularly effect on administration and attainment of objectives especially advancement of inhabitants.

Three proposed amendments would be disadvantageous to interests of inhabitants. No claim to sovereignty. Ten year renewal inappropriate for any territory, especially New Guinea, after wartime dislocation and in view of nature of territory and people.

Instability injurious to the long range planning needed.

Administration has always been directed to interests of inhabitants. Australia has never made a penny out of its administration. Emphasis on terms of Charter and supervision of Trusteeship Council.

7. New Zealand. Ten year revision especially inappropriate in view of desire of Samoans for early self-government. Repudiated suggestion that inhabitants might be asked to repay funds expended freely by N.Z. in Samoa. Never any suggestion of Samoans having any other nationality than their own. Defence power inherent in administration. New Zealand anxious however to cooperate fully with Security Council.

8. Brief speeches of explanation of vote by individual delegations followed before vote, chiefly by delegations which during consideration of individual proposals had voted consistently against mandatories but which now were willing to support agreements as a whole in order to bring trusteeship system into operation.

9. Egypt and later all Arab states made identical declaration of claim to be states directly concerned in any future agreement bringing under trusteeship any Arab territory now under mandate or any other territory comprising substantial Arab communities.

10. Mexico stressed importance of keeping inhabitants informed of rights (e.g. petition). Supervision by Trusteeship Council relied on.

11. Guatemala supported any proposal for raising standards of dependent peoples. Urgent to put system into operation and give peoples protection and advantages of principles. Asked mandataries to keep principles underlying amendments in mind and hoped they would before long be incorporated in the agreements.

12. Denmark would have wished to delete 'integral part' and still thought deletion would have caused [us] [2] substantial difficulties. Provision for revision would also have improved agreements. Establishment of system paramount need and would support all present agreements.

13. Iraq referred to steady support in subcommittee and committee for certain principles, e.g. temporary nature of trusteeship, deletion of integral part, consent of Security Council to establishment of bases and provision for the freedoms. Would vote in favour on clear understanding of adherence to principles supported as above. Reserved right to press for inclusion of these in any new or altered agreement. Saudi Arabia, Syria and Lebanon made Arab reservation.

14. Chile was only Latin American dissentient and spoke with some intensity. Latin American delegations received bad impression from debates on South West Africa and Indians in South Africa. As mandatory powers are continuing, let them take responsibility.

Prestige of United Nations would suffer less from failure to set up trusteeship system than it would from carrying responsibility for trust territories under present agreements.

15. U.S.A. (Dulles) gave emphatic support to all eight agreements, not because they were perfect but because this is a decisive moment at which U.N. must consolidate efforts of past as condition of advance for future. He traced history of United States share in establishment of trusteeship system and emphasised consultations in private throughout 1946 with mandatory states.

16. India (Krishna Menon) spoke vehemently against adoption of any agreements. Not one delegation had spoken with enthusiasm or even with approval of agreements submitted. He did not believe that rejection of these agreements would have entailed loss of trusteeship system. In one case Assembly should not accept agreements which in basic respects contravened Charter (bases).

Mandatory states were the colonial powers of history and were out to make trust territories block-houses on path of empire.

17. U.S.S.R. (Stein) put on record Soviet proposals directed towards making agreements satisfactory in principle. History would show that it was mandatories who alone were responsible for retaining texts in almost their original form thus nullifying utility of Assembly discussion. U.K. had not accepted any real change except at instance of U.S.A.

18. Philippines which has played an assertive part when present would give support to agreements for the reason and only for the reason that it was a means of establishing the trusteeship system.

19. China has consistently maintained that mantle of League has fallen on U.N. and that failure to set up trusteeship system would cause an embarrassing lacuna. Doesn't regard agreements as perfect and hopes that in time administering authorities will find it possible to incorporate changes suggested to them. But not now so drastically at variance with Charter as to justify rejection.

20. Norway, Peru, Brazil and Venezuela supported, latter with compliment to Mexico.

21. Uruguay. Basic consideration the interests of inhabitants which required establishment of Trusteeship Council. He had been unable to find contradictions between texts and Charter. Of 230 amendments only three which passed Committee 4 had been rejected by mandatories. Firmly hoped that Trusteeship Council would develop desired principles.

22. Czechoslovakia voting against because Assembly should regard seriously Soviet declaration that Article 79 not observed.

Byelorussia supported Soviet.

23. Canada in useful speech well after Soviet went on record as contradicting main Soviet theses: (1) agreements were in accordance with Charter. On other hand Soviet defence principles would actually leave trust territories defenseless; (2) though form of agreements did not make it plain, satisfied Article 79 had been complied with. No definition had been worked out but U.S.

formula was satisfactory. Indian claim re Tanganyika was neither withdrawn nor voted on, and he knew of no other claim. Mandatories had done their best between first and second parts of session to find solution.

24. On vote all agreements approved by thirty-five to eight, abstentions nil, absentees eleven. This implies good prospect of two-thirds vote in favour in Plenary. [1] Result a tribute to realism of many delegations but also to good organising, chiefly of Latin American states by U.K. and U.S.A.

1 The Permanent Mandates Commission of the League of Nations.

2 A handwritten note here has corrected the word in square brackets to 'no'.

3 Cablegram UN1018, dispatched 14 December, reported that all eight agreements, including that on New Guinea, were approved by the General Assembly on 13 December. A last-minute Soviet draft resolution urging the rejection of all agreements as contrary to the Charter was defeated.

[AA:A4311, BOX 481]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013

Category: International relations

Topic: History