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79 Legation in Paris to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram unnumbered PARIS, 21 August 1946, 1.20 p.m.


The following is the Text of Statement being released here today 3 p.m. Paris time. It should not be released in Australia. Please pass to the Prime Minister-Begins-

The Australian Delegation is putting forward a number of proposals for improving the Draft Peace Treaties. Some of these proposals are new and take the form of additions and others are amendments.

Our proposals stem solely from a desire to make all settlements just and therefore more enduring. They are in the main designed to bring the Draft Treaties more closely into conformity with those principles of International Relations that have already been introduced by the Governments who subscribed to the Atlantic Charter and are signatories of the United Nations Charter.

1. BOUNDARIES In all questions where boundaries are still in dispute, that is, where any Nation objects to the proposals contained in the Draft Treaties the Australian Delegation will suggest the setting up of Committees to investigate and report on the disputed clause or clauses. As yet the facts and documents which were placed before the Council of Foreign Ministers have not been made available to this Conference. In some cases the basis of the decisions taken has not been made clear and the Council's reasons for decisions should be obtained. In this way all the relevant documentations of the Council of Foreign Ministers will be made available.

These Committees should be asked to report facts so that subsequent recommendations by the Committee can, so far as possible, be based on the principles of the Atlantic Charter.

Countries bound by that Charter (including all the 21) agreed:

(1) Their countries should seek no aggrandisement, territorial or other;

(2) They desire to see no territorial changes that do not accord with the freely expressed wishes of the peoples concerned;

(3) They respect the right of all peoples to choose the form of Government in which they will live and they wish to see Sovereign rights and self-Government restored to those who have been forcibly deprived of it.

Decisions should also be based on the economic principles of the Atlantic Charter.

(4) They should endeavour, with due respect for their existing obligations, to further the enjoyment by all States, great or small, victors or vanquished, of access on equal terms to the trade and to the raw materials of the world which are needed for their economic prosperity.

(5) They desire to bring about the full collaboration between all Nations in the economic field with the object of securing for all improved labour standards, economic advancement and social security.

(6) After the final destruction of the Nazi tyranny they hope to see the establishment of a Peace which will afford to all Nations the means of control in safety within their boundaries and which will offer an assurance that all men in all lands may live out their lives in freedom from fear and want.

The United Nations Charter also contains principles which should be applied in the matter of boundaries and in fact reparations[.] Article 55 states, with a view to the creation of conditions of stability and wellbeing which are necessary for Peaceful and friendly relations among Nations, based on the respect for the principles of equal rights and selfdetermination of peoples, [that] the United Nations shall promote- (A) Higher standards of living, full employment and conditions of economic and social progress and development.

(B) The solution of International economic, social, health and related problems and International cultural and educational co- operation.

(C) Universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedom for [all] without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion.

2. ITALIAN COLONIES The question of the future disposal and administration of the Italian Colonies should in our view be determined, not by the Council of four acting alone and jointly (as contemplated in the Draft Treaty) but by a larger body including representatives of those countries which liberated these territories and earned a vital interest in them. Further, we have proposed that a Committee representing the four invited powers together with three others chosen by this Conference should make the joint decision in relation to the Italian Colonies.

Failing agreement within it or by this group of seven nations our suggestion is that the matter be referred, not to the Assembly of the United Nations, which will include many neutrals and ex-enemy states and also many non-belligerents, but [to a special meeting of the 21 Powers] [1] [which] can be arranged without difficulty during a meeting of the Assembly.

3. TRIESTE The Administration of Trieste is not a matter that can effectively be handled or supervised by the Security Council. Its decisions of substance can at any time be blocked by the exercise of the separate veto of the five permanent members. We have suggested therefore, that the four powers with three other belligerents elected by this Conference would be more appropriate for the functions of electing a Governor, receiving his reports and such matters. Nor is it at all satisfactory that the Treaties should purport to give to the Security Council the responsibility of assuring the independence and integrity of Trieste. The Security Council is not empowered to give so specific a guarantee. This being the case the assurance is misleading because it will give a false impression of special protection.

What are the alternatives in the case of Trieste? We would propose instead that all signatories to the Treaty with Italy undertake to refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of the free territory of Trieste; that is an undertaking parallel to that of Article 2 of the United Nations Charter. Such an undertaking of all the Signatories should be effectual and if in spite of that there was a Breach of Peace or a threat thereto, the Security Council jurisdiction might be invoked as in any other case of aggression or threat to Peace.

In our view that is a more satisfactory solution than the legal[ly] ineffective assurance contained in the Draft.

In respect of the actual delimitation of the Boundary line the Committee of the Four Powers and three other States elected by this Conference should we think take the place of the four Ambassadors who it is suggested in the Draft Treaty are to determine any question on which there is no agreement.

4. REPARATIONS AND RESTITUTION Reparations should in our opinion take into consideration:

(I) Actual proved losses suffered by all countries claiming reparations.

(II) The reasonable capacity to pay [of] all ex-enemy countries and, (III) The interest of all those of the United Nations who will be trading with ex-enemy countries.

In determining amounts to be paid account should be taken of equipment and goods removed from enemy territories since the Armistice. A reparations plan should, as far as possible, avoid the establishment of requisitioning all administrative machinery inside the ex-enemy countries and should interfere as little as possible with the gradual peacetime development of their economies. Further, instead of a further requisitioning of commodities we have suggested an annual payment to countries whose claims are upheld by a Reparations and Restitution Commission of a sum equivalent to a proportion of Italian exports, that proportion being determined by this same Commission after it has taken into account all the relevant facts already mentioned.

5. ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT OF EX-ENEMY STATES We have proposed that ex-enemy states should apply for membership of certain international organisations which have been brought into relationship with the United Nations, such as the food and agriculture organisation, the Health Organisation. If this is done signatories should support their application.

6. TRIBUNAL OF HUMAN RIGHTS The Australian Delegation will propose the establishment by the treaties of a special court of human rights. To this proposal might be attached great importance. The history of the Territorial adjustment made at the Conference of Versailles suggests that basic and essential rights and freedoms of the individual, who is so often the cipher in Territorial adjustments, should not hinge simply upon declarations made by the State. Such declarations standing alone are not sufficient to guarantee the inalienable rights of the individual and behind them it is essential that some sufficient sanction be established. That is why we have suggested the setting up by treaty of a European Court of human rights to implement the relevant clauses of the treaties. The court should have a status parallel to that of the International Court of Justice with jurisdiction to hear and determine, subject to reasonable conditions and safeguards against abuse of legal process, disputes concerning the enjoyment of human rights and all fundamental freedoms or any disputes as to citizenship resulting from the treaty provisions. In the draft treaties the declarations did not deal with minorities as such but with human beings and their rights as human beings. None the less the declarations would operate for the protection of minority groups because it is usually amongst members of such groups that oppression is likely to be exerted.

The power to invoke the jurisdiction of the proposed court would extend to individuals and to groups as well as to states and its judgment would be accepted by the parties to the treaties as enforceable not only against individuals and of groups but also against states and legal agencies. The jurisdiction of such an International tribunal might not be invoked frequently because its very existence would act as a strong deterrent against the non- observance of the declaration to be contained in the treaty.

We are deeply indebted to the United States for its initiative in relation to the inclusion of these formal declarations in the present treaties but the proposals should in our view be strong and reinforced in the manner proposed by the Australian amendment.

7. SURPLUS WAR EQUIPMENT The present draft provides that there will be limitations of armaments and supplies of war material in ex-enemy countries and that any surplus will be placed at the disposal of the four powers, presumably for distribution by them. In our view the question of disposing either by destruction or distribution of ex- enemy war material is not a matter for final determination by the four powers or even by this conference of 21 Nations. The United Nations Charter places an obligation on the Security Council, acting in conjunction with the Military Committee, to submit to members of the United Nations plans for the establishment of a system for the regulation of armaments. The stated objective is to promote the establishment and maintenance of security with the least diversion for armaments of the world's human and economic resources. The question of disposal of surplus war material should in our view fall within the broader question of a plan for the regulation of armaments.

Secondly, we propose that the matter be referred to the Security Council for immediate consideration and that meanwhile there be no distribution of surpluses.

8. REVISION OF TREATIES There is no provision in the present draft for treaty revision.

Some mistakes will certainly be made and serious grievances will easily multiply. We propose therefore a procedure analogous to that contained in the amended provision of the United Nations Charter. An executive of this conference consisting of the four powers with three other belligerents nominated by this conference should be empowered by a two thirds majority to call a meeting of countries at this conference to consider the revision of any portion of the treaty. If there has been no treaty revision at the end of five years a simple majority of this group should suffice to call a meeting to consider any proposals proposed. Revision however would be effective only when ratified by a two thirds majority of the nations at this conference including the four powers. The calling of such a meeting need present no difficulties as it could take place during a meeting of the Assembly of the United Nations.

9. PEACE TREATIES EXECUTIVE Throughout the draft treaties there are references to a large number of matters which will arise out of the treaty and to be dealt with by small groups of nations. For example, the future of the Italian Colonies, Boundaries Commission, Conciliation Commission and so on. In each case Australian amendments are suggested which are designed to include in these groups representatives of the conference at Paris. We have in several instances made the suggestion of the four major powers plus another three to be nominated by this conference. In one instance in particular there is an indisputable extension and that is in respect of Article 75 of the Italian treaty which names the Four Ambassadors at Rome the representatives of all Allied and Associated powers in the dealings with the Italian Government in all matters concerning the execution and interpretation of the present treaty. We seek the amendment of that article to include three other Governments represented at and elected by this conference at Paris.

The frequent reference to continuing bodies indicates a desirability of the establishing of a Peace Treaties Executive Council appointed by this conference. its duty would be to supervise the carrying out of these treaties and the calling of a conference of the 21 for the purpose of revision or for any other purpose arising out of the treaty. We are proposing a specific amendment to Article 75 but we should also refer to the right to introduce when the need becomes even more apparent a specific suggestion for a Peace Treaty Executive Council.

1 Inserted from the 'Report of the Australian Delegation to the Conference of Paris 29th July - 15th October, 1946'.

[AA:A1067, E46/38/14]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013

Category: International relations

Topic: History