Date range
Open the calendar popup.
Open the calendar popup.

91 Beasley to Chifley and Evatt

Cablegram PC22 [1] PARIS, 28 August 1946, 9.20 p.m.


My telegram PC20. [2] The following represents a summary of the position reached in various Commissions up to this morning. A daily cabled summary will be sent in future.

A. Political and Territorial Commission for Italy 1. First paragraph of the preamble was adopted unanimously.

Netherlands amendment to the first part of paragraph 2 was adopted by 11 votes to 9 to read-'whereas Italy under the Fascist regime became a party to the tripartite pact with Germany and Japan undertook a war of aggression and thereby provoked a state of war with all the Allied and associated powers etc.' 2. China moved an amendment on behalf of Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Netherlands and China to paragraph 3 which was unanimously adopted by the Commission. It reads-'whereas in consequence of the victories of the Allied forces, and with the assistance of the Democratic elements of the Italian people the Fascist regime in Italy was overthrown on 25th July, 1943, and Italy having surrendered unconditionally signed the terms of armistice on 3rd September and 29 [3] of the same year and'.

3. Netherlands amendment of the preamble 'whereas after the said armistice the said armed forces both of the Government and the Resistance Movement took an active part in the war against Germany etc.' was adopted (Yugoslavia abstaining).

4. The first major discussion was on Australian proposals on human rights. In the preamble the words-'conformity with the principles of justice' were added after the word 'which' in the fourth recital. Further consideration was deferred pending consideration Australian proposal 'new part 10. Court of Human Rights'.

Australian amendment for Fact Finding Commission on boundary questions was then discussed. This ended in Russia directly attacking Australia on time wasting and failure to accept considered conclusion of other bodies. I vigorously defended the right of Australia and other members to put forward amendments and to be given the facts.

Czechoslovak delegate was unanimously elected Rapporteur.

Australia presented case for amendment to third recital of preamble including (a) Reference to principles of justice and equity as basis of treaty and (b) Reference to fundamental rights on protection minorities.

On 27th August. First two portions of the Australian amendment to first recital of the preamble viz. insertion of the words- 'conforming to the principles of justice' after the words-'treaty of peace which . . .' were adopted.

The third part of the Australian amendments relating to human rights was reserved for consideration after the amendments to the articles affected has been considered.

Consideration was then given to articles of the treaty. There was no comment on article 1, which was passed. On article 2, the President explained that this article was common to the Roumanian and Hungarian treaties, and that it was proposed to hold a joint meeting of the two Commissions to hear the Hungarian proposals.

The Australian representative stated that in this case he would defer his proposals regarding examination by a Sub-Commission until the Hungarian case had been heard.

[C.] Political and Territorial Commi[ssion] for Finland Nothing further since report of last meeting.

D. Political and Territorial Commission for Hungary A communication was presented to this Commission from the Hungarian Government, but this was not accepted as amendment or discussed as no member was prepared to endorse it.

The Commission then considered the Australian amendment to the preamble. It discussed whether the Commission should proceed direct with this amendment or await decision of the international Secretariat. The Australian delegate informed the Commission that the Secretariat had been asked to refer such amendments to the General Commission which would consider them and make recommendations to various Commissions. This was strongly opposed by the Soviet delegation which referred to Article 1 paragraph 2 of the rules of procedure and by Ukraine and Yugoslavia. The adjournment was moved by South Africa before any decision was reached.

[E.] Political and Territorial Commi[ssion] for Bulgaria Jebb, United Kingdom, was elected Rapporteur. It was decided that the Bulgarian[s] should state the views of their Government in writing to the Commission. There was a discussion whether Greece and Yugoslavia should be called to the Commission to orally state their views on Bulgarian treaty.

Paragraphs 1, 2 and 3 of the preamble were adopted.

Military Commission. Discussions to date have been largely on procedure in the Commission and [not] as yet on specific treaty clauses.

[F.] Economic Commission for the Balkans and Finland Australian amendments on Roumanian reparations were discussed at length. We would have preferred to open on Italy but incidence of Commission meetings forced the above position. Any request of ours for deferment would have been rejected. Walker outlined the underlying reasons for our amendments and the principles on which we based them. In particular he stressed:

(a) Lack of factual information on which to base reparations.

(b) That while agreeing with the justice of reparations it was nevertheless necessary for payment to be assessed on some measurement of economic capacity.

(c) That assessment and control of reparations was a continuing matter which requires a continuing authority.

Molotov spoke for fifty minutes in very strong opposition of our proposals. His general line was (a) Failure to understand why a so distant country was taking the initiative in this matter which concerns mainly Russia and Roumania.

(b) That Russia had suffered very heavy losses directly inflicted by Roumanian forces and was entitled to directly collect reparations.

(c) That the proposal for payment in foreign exchange would throw Roumania into the pound/dollar net (he studiously avoided mentioning the provision in our draft for 'other currencies').

(d) That the interests of lasting and durable peace could not be served by the Australian amendment which would only defer settlement of reparations and provide an avenue for ex-enemy countries to avoid their reparations responsibilities.

(e) That the peace terms follow the armistice terms which had been confirmed by the C.F.V. [4] and should not be changed.

Ten members spoke out of fourteen on Commission. Of these U.S.S.R., Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, Ukraine, Byelo Russia, United States of America, France and United Kingdom were directly opposed to the Australian amendments although the last three expressed concern that U.S.S.R. had thought fit to attack Australia's rights and motives in bringing amendments forward.

We had only qualified support on the general principles from Greece and Canada.

It was obvious that if a vote were taken we would receive no support although there may have been one or two abstentions.

So as not to weaken our position in relation to other treaties which have been fully reserved we thought it necessary to withdraw amendment to article 22 of the Roumanian treaty. Our action on this was well received by our friends on the Commission, and we expect it to help on the Italian Commi[ssion] where the balance of representation is more favourable.

[G.] Economic Commission for Italy At the afternoon meeting on the 27th Walker outlined principles of Australian amendments and our reasons for advancing them.

Yugoslavia and Russia (Molotov) replied on much the same lines as their speeches on Roumanian discussion.

[AA:A1067, E46/38/14]

1 The file copy was numbered in error 'PCC22'.

2 Dispatched 23 August. It reported on elections to offices and progress in the commissions.

3 A sign here indicates 'as received'.

4 'C.F.V.' presumably should read 'C.F.M.' (Council of Foreign Ministers).

[B.] Roumania Political
Last Updated: 11 September 2013

Category: International relations

Topic: History