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

Cablegram UN397 NEW YORK, 30 August 1946, 1.15 a.m.


Security 151.

1. In two sessions lasting from 10.30 a.m. until nearly 10 p.m.

Council today recommended Afghanistan, Sweden and Iceland for admission. Albania and Mongolia were vetoed by United Kingdom and United States while Transjordan, Ireland and Portugal were vetoed by Soviet.

2. Early in morning meeting Council agreed to defer voting until discussion on all applicants had been complete. Each country was discussed in turn mainly along lines followed in Membership Committee. Soviet stated that it was unable to support Transjordan because it did not have normal diplomatic relations with Soviet.

Australia immediately asked on what foundation this objection rested. Charter defined conditions for admission and diplomatic relations with Soviet was not one of these conditions.

3. Netherlands, United States, Egypt, France, United Kingdom supported our view with growing emphasis and accordingly Australia made second and stronger statement asserting that question concerned whole procedure of admission and conditions of membership. Soviet as permanent member had power to reject any applicant and apparently proposed to do so on grounds not contained in Charter. [1] entitled to some explanation. Council members including Soviet had been charged with precise duties in regard to admission and exercised this responsibility on behalf of whole organisation. Precise conditions had been laid down for admission and meaning of Article 4 was that membership was open to any state who satisfied these conditions. Soviet proposed to exclude applicants for reasons of its own invention.

4. China introduced side issue by asking whether permanent members could abstain from voting and thus avoid veto but eventually discussion returned to our main point. Netherlands suggested perhaps advisory opinion of court might be sought on whether a permanent member could veto an application from a state which fulfilled requirements of Article 4 but later dropped suggestion.

5. Soviet refused to explain its position merely stating that its declaration was clear and there was nothing to add.

6. Brazil supported our view and further and stronger statements were made by United States.

Action appeared possible and having obtained clear support for our view from majority of Council we concluded with statement that if the Security Council were to make a report to General Assembly indicating that applications had been rejected for reasons completely outside Charter, General Assembly might be expected to examine case most closely. Netherlands also reserved right to raise issue in Assembly.

7. Soviet made similar objections to Ireland and Portugal. In latter case there was Soviet-American brush, Johnson recalling Potsdam Declaration on Neutrals and declaring that Soviet having accepted Charter must comply with Charter.

8. When time came to vote Mexico reviewed United States proposal of yesterday for admitting all applicants en bloc and United States made new proposal that no action be taken at present on Albania and Mongolia. Soviet opposed both proposals. After long argument on order of submission of resolutions it was agreed to submit Mexico first. United Kingdom and Australia both restated their objections to admission of members en bloc. Soviet said it would veto and eventually after wasting nearly two hours Mexico withdrew proposal.

9. On United States proposal to postpone action on Albania, Soviet argued that postponement was itself action as it was tantamount to a decision not [to] admit applicant. Long argument followed on whether proposal was substantial or procedural matter. Chairman following lead in London when consideration of Albanian application was deferred, declared it was procedural and action under Rule 30 [2] to which Netherlands drew attention invited Soviet to challenge his ruling. Soviet tried to introduce separate motion to decide whether question was procedural or substantial but Netherlands and Australia held to Rule 30 and Chairman put question accordingly. Five members including United States and Australia voted to uphold ruling and United Kingdom, China, France and Soviet against three first-mentioned taking honest view that postponing action was in this case equivalent to action.

10. Chairman then yielded after long argument with Soviet and ruled that his own previous ruling had NOT been upheld.

Netherlands and Australia quoted Rule 30 against this view and Chairman then said that he would give new ruling namely that his interpretation of the vote cast was that the question was held to be one of substance and invited members to challenge this ruling.

As United States now deserted us we had no hope of successful challenge and Australia and Netherlands contented themselves with statements disagreeing with Chairman's interpretation of vote.

11. As anticipated, United States proposal for postponement which had only been introduced in the hope that United States might avoid voting against Albania was rejected by Soviet veto.

12. Series of votes on each applicant was then taken which results indicated in paragraph 1 above. At commencement Australia made statement along lines of last section of our reservation to Committee's report and we abstained from votes on applicants.

1 A sign here apparently indicates 'words omitted'.

2 Rule 30 of the Provisional Rules of Procedure of the Security Council provided that, if a representative raised a point of order, the President was immediately to state his ruling; if challenged, the President was to submit his ruling to the Security Council for immediate decision, the ruling to stand unless overruled.

[AA:A1838/2, 517/2/1, i]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013

Category: International relations

Topic: History