164 Department of External Affairs to Hodgson

Cablegram 523 CANBERRA, 3 April 1946



1. The situation at meeting of Council on 3rd April [1] will require very careful handling. You should keep in constant touch by telephone.

2. Your general aim should be to press for full enquiry into all facts affecting the disputes between Soviet Union and Persia, either by means of an investigation by the Council as a whole or by a Committee of which Australia is a member. During such an investigation documents should be called for and witnesses examined. No final decision of course should be taken by the Council until investigation is completed. investigation is essential whether Soviet Union or Persia (or both) is absent.

3. Telegrams show that there is a tendency for United Kingdom, United States and, perhaps Persia to concentrate exclusive attention upon the issue of a breach by Russia of the Tripartite Treaty. [2] It must also be remembered, however, that the Council was duly seized of the Persian matter before any question of breach of Treaty arose. The Treaty aspect is, of course, important and must be dealt with by the Council, but if a long-term and just solution of the Persian problem is to be reached, the Treaty question should be dealt with not in isolation but in conjunction with the question of general Soviet/Persian relationship.

4. If the Soviet representative does not attend the meeting on 3rd April the Council should be satisfied that due notice of meeting has been given to Soviet Union by Secretary General. Presumably Council would then proceed to hear report from Secretary General on result of his enquiries addressed to Soviet and Persian Governments. This report may bring out facts which may throw new light on situation and may suggest need for further questioning.

If Persian Ambassador gives supplementary report this would present further opportunity for questioning him and getting into evidence relevant reports between him and his government.

5. It would appear that United States might then move resolution requesting the Soviet to withdraw troops from Persia unconditionally. Soviet representative if present may conceivably argue there is no dispute and claim right to veto Council decision on this question. [3] While this attitude might be in accordance with four-Power claims at San Francisco, in our view as we stated at San Francisco [4] no such veto exists under the Charter.

Whether or not Soviet representative is present point will probably arise as to what countries are entitled to vote on United States resolution of kind suggested above. As you know it is our view that United States and United Kingdom are also parties to dispute [5], but it would not be appropriate for Australia to take lead in establishing that United Kingdom has no right to vote.

that Council passes a resolution which members of Council may not be prepared to implement. Such a situation would damage Council's prestige. It is far better to adopt a procedure enabling fullest examination of facts and findings on the facts duly made.

[7.] At present there is no justification whatever shown for non- withdrawal of troops, but finding on this should be made at end of investigation not before it begins.

[8.] You should discuss position frankly with delegates from all other Nations on Council.

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

1 That is, the meeting scheduled to consider information regarding the state of negotiations between the Soviet Union and Iran.

2 The Anglo-Soviet-Persian treaty of 29 January 1942 provided that the two Allied powers could maintain armed forces in Iran until six months after the complete cessation of hostilities against Germany. The deadline for withdrawal of forces was later formalised as 2 March 1946.

3 By arguing that the Iranian question did not constitute a 'dispute' as defined in Chapter VI of the U.N. Charter, the Soviet Union presumably planned to circumvent Article 27(3) of the Charter which stipulated that panics to disputes abstain from voting.

4 The Australian Delegation had argued at San Francisco that the veto should only apply to voting on enforcement action (Chapter VII of the Charter) and not to voting in relation to the pacific settlement of disputes (Chapter VI of the Charter).

5 See Document 156.

[6.] Everything possible should be done to avoid situation arising