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

Cablegram United Nations 210 NEW YORK, 18 June 1946, 9.32 p.m.


Security 102.

1. At the Council meeting this afternoon the United States representative reiterated support for the resolution of the sub- committee [1] but announced he would have supported the United Kingdom amendment [2] if it had been proposed earlier. In the circumstances he would abstain from voting on the amendment.

However, he [did not] [3] agree entirely with the United Kingdom representative that the Council was deterred by article 2(7) of the charter from taking action recommended by the sub-committee.

2. The Netherlands representative after stating he would support the United Kingdom amendment, pointed out that even if both the committee resolution and amendment were defeated there was an obligation under article 24(3) of the charter which would mean that the question must come before the Assembly.

3. The Soviet representative disagreed with the Australian statement that the taking of action under article 41 of the charter initiated a chain of events which would lead automatically to military operations if less drastic steps proved unsuccessful.

Articles 41 and 42 provided various sanctions for employment in any one of the three circumstances set out in article 39 and according to whether there was a threat to peace, breach of peace or act of aggression the appropriate measure could be selected. He also argued against reference, [of] the question to the General Assembly and stressed the primary responsibility of the Council.

Reference of the matters to the Assembly would be avoidance of duty and would demonstrate inability of the Council to take decision.

4. The Polish representative made a long speech justifying his position and saying that if the sub-committee's resolution were not adopted he would ask for a vote on his original resolution calling for breach of diplomatic relations. [4]

5. Replying to the Soviet representative, Dr. Evatt, who made a final speech, said that the main differences in the Council were not over interpretation of the charter but over the conclusions to be drawn from evidence. The committee had found no threat to peace under article 39 and additional evidence would need to be adduced to prove existence of a threat before direct action could be taken. Dr. Evatt also argued that adoption of the resolution did involve action by the Security Council in the discharge of its responsibility. It was the Council not the Assembly which was asked to endorse the declaration by the United Kingdom, United States and France. [5]

6. After again referring to the terms of the declaration and saying that no criticism of its terms had been made in the Council he pointedly suggested that if any member of the Council prevented the endorsement of the declaration there would be a most marked effect on opinion in Spain. This statement by Dr. Evatt was an allusion to remarks made by Gromyko to the effect that the British attitude had led to rejoicing in Madrid and also was a broad hint to Gromyko of the results if he exercised the veto.

7. The United Kingdom amendment was put to a vote and rejected, only the Netherlands supporting it. A separate vote was then taken on the sub-committee's three recommendations. The Soviet voted against all three recommendations the first of which gained ten votes, and the second and third nine votes, the Netherlands abstaining in both these cases. Finally a vote was taken on the resolution as a whole. Nine votes were cast in favour, the Soviet voting in opposition and the Netherlands abstaining. The chairman announced that as a permanent member had not voted for the resolution it was not carried.

8. As forecast the United Kingdom representative after his amendment was lost supported the sub-committee's resolution. He explained that in view of the overwhelming majority in favour of the resolution he would not withhold his vote which was necessary for its success. However, he reserved a right to raise the whole juridical issue at the Assembly and stated that he did not regard his support of the resolution as committing the United Kingdom to any particular course of action.

9. Finally, the Polish representative endeavoured to have a vote taken on his original resolution of 17th April calling for a breach of diplomatic relations. Australia opposed any snap decision on this resolution and the Council then adjourned until Monday. If the Polish resolution is put to a vote it is certain it will be defeated.

1 See Document 288, paragraph 5.

2 See Document 315.

3 Words in square brackets have been inserted from the U.N.

Mission copy on file SFU : Evatt Collection, External Affairs- Original File (a).

4 See Document 198, note 1.

5 See Document 198, note 5.

[AA:A3195, 1946, 1015763/52]