62 Evatt to Makin

Cablegram UND19 CANBERRA, 31 January 1946


We are at a loss to know exactly what your telegram on Two Year Period [1] really means. The Charter is explicit on the point. The Elections have taken place, the Term of Office dates from the time of election and the fact that this means that some Countries may be on Councils with the certainty that they cannot hold office after the time subsequent is obvious and unavoidable. What you are in danger of acquiescing in is a tearing up of the express provisions of the Charter. This is not a matter for the Assembly but is purely a question of legal interpretation. Your reference to new elections is not understood. They have been duly held and must be given effect to according to the Charter the terms of which are mandatory.

I assume that the situation will be covered by ensuring that Second regular session is not held before January, 1947 and a Third regular session is not held before January, 1948. it is important to make sure of this. Bailey's judicial argument is so plainly right that I am surprised at the suggestion that it should be abandoned. I am afraid that other considerations have intervened which are quite irrelevant to Australia's interests.

The fact is that by no manner of juggling can the Charter be evaded and therefore I presume you will make sure without necessarily amending rule F [2] that holding of regular sessions is controlled as I suggest. It was always out understanding that the next session of the Assembly would be part of the first regular session and all that is necessary is to make sure that no second regular session takes place during the present year. An alternative is to regard the May session as the first regular session. The essential point is that the Charter must be obeyed and that if there is real dispute court must decide it and Bailey must appreciate position fully. I do not agree for a moment that our view can be fairly criticised and on the contrary lack of frankness and firmness now would be fatal.

1 Document 60.

2 Presumably this should read 'rule S'.

[AA:A3196, 1946, 0.2148]