162 Australian Government to Addison and Hodgson

Cablegrams 153, 520 CANBERRA, 2 April 1946


UNY 18 Your telegram D.293 Persia.

1. It is noted that instructions to United Kingdom representative on Security Council do not distinguish between 'dropping' and 'adjourning' the Persian question. Under these instructions it would appear that United Kingdom Government opposes any adjournment whatsoever until watertight guarantees are given- (a) that Soviet troops will be withdrawn unconditionally, and (b) Persian integrity and independence will be fully respected.

2. Australia has from the outset of the present meetings of the Security Council taken the view that under certain circumstances a reasonable adjournment could be granted and that this might, in the long run, prove to be wisest course if a long-term solution of the difficulties in Persia is to be achieved.

3. In accordance with instructions, the Australian representative on the Security Council voted in favour of the Persian question being placed on the agenda. On 27th March, he moved that consideration of this item be postponed until such time as the Iranian Government has submitted a written statement with documents, when the Council could again consider the request of the Soviet delegate for postponement until 10th April -it being understood that in the meantime the item remained on the agenda and that the parties would not take action to alter the existing position or prejudice the settlement. On the following day the Chairman rejected the suggestion of the Polish representative that this Australian proposal should be considered first by the Security Council. The Soviet proposal for an adjournment until 10th April was thereupon put to the Council and when it failed to secure the necessary support, the Soviet representative left the meeting.

4. In our opinion the Chairman's ruling was unfortunate as we are of opinion that a quick decision on the Persian issue is less important than a long-term solution based upon a full investigation of the facts in accordance with an orderly method of procedure. Our view of course would be different if an adjournment were used by either party to gain some special advantage. it was for this reason that the Australian representative on the Security Council was instructed before the opening of the Council's proceedings that it should be a condition of any adjournment granted that 'the Soviet Union should be asked to give an undertaking not to take unilateral action to alter the existing position to the prejudice of Iran.' 5. As the situation now stands, both the Soviet Union and Iran have been asked to report on the existing status of the negotiations between the two governments, and in particular on the question whether the reported withdrawal of Soviet troops is 'conditioned upon the conclusion of agreements between the two Governments on other subjects. 'The action to be taken by the Council when it next meets will partly depend upon the reports which it receives. In our view, however, it may be undesirable for the Council to reach some final decision at its next meeting, as it is unlikely that it will then be in possession of all the facts. It has been the general view of Australia, expressed both in London and New York, that all matters brought before the Security Council should be fully investigated [and] that if necessary, a committee should be set up to investigate the facts.

6. We have every desire to maintain the prestige of the Security Council and ensure respect for treaties and we are also conscious of the need to avoid if at all possible a serious rift between the Soviet Union and other members of the United Nations. We feel, therefore, that provided guarantees can be obtained to ensure that any postponement is not being used to the advantage of the party requesting postponement, the adoption of an orderly procedure for examining the dispute, including reasonable postponement for preparation and answering of charges, may be desirable.

7. It is reported in the press that the United Kingdom and United States may be disposed to drop the matter if it is found that Soviet troops are in fact being withdrawn. We would be entirely opposed to such a course, which would treat the jurisdiction of the Security Council as being controllable by the interests of one or more powers. In our view, when the Security Council becomes seized of a dispute Council should deal with it fully before disposing of it.

[AA:A1838 T189, 854/10/2, i]