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

Cablegram 892 LONDON, 7 February 1946, 10.31 p.m.


Assembly 69.

International Court of justice.

On 6th February the Security Council and General Assembly met independently to elect judges of the International Court. The following 15 were elected-Hsu Mo (China), De Visscher (Belgium), Basdevant (France), Guerrero (El Salvador), Krylov (Soviet Union), McNair (United Kingdom), Fabela Alfaro, (Mexico), Hackworth (United States), Alvarez (Chile), Azevedo (Brazil), Badawi (Egypt), Read (Canada), Zoricic (Yugoslavia), Klaestad (Norway), Winiarski (Poland). Four ballots were necessary to complete the election.

Bailey received extensive support and for a time it appeared that he might be elected. On the first ballot in the Security Council 15 Candidates secured the necessary majority and their names were transmitted to the Assembly. The list transmitted included Bailey who together with Guerrero and Klaestad received six votes. In the Assembly 15 Candidates also received necessary majority in first ballot but only 13 of these names coincided with names transmitted by the Security Council. In the First Assembly ballot Bailey received 18 votes and only Klaestad (Norway21 Votes) and Winiarski (Poland-19 votes) were above him in list of Candidates who had not secured necessary 26 votes. [1]

The results of the second ballot in the Security Council were surprising and reasons for the result are not clear. As the Council had to make two more selections only Winiarski (Poland) received necessary majority obtaining 7 votes while Bailey's vote fell to 3. The Second ballot in Assembly resulted in no Candidate receiving the necessary majority, the first three candidates in the list being Winiarski (Poland-18), Klaestad (Norway-16) and Bailey (15).

In the third ballot in the Security Council, Klaestad received 8 votes and Bailey and 2 others received one vote each. In the Assembly the first three names were Klaestad (30), Winiarski (24), Bailey (15). Klaestad was then declared elected. In the final ballot in the Assembly Winiarski received 26 votes and Bailey was next on the list with 12. Procedural difficulties which had been argued at length in the Security Council eventually led the Council to hold a formal fourth ballot to correspond with the fourth ballot in the Assembly confirming the earlier ballot under which Winiarski received the necessary majority. The Security Council resolved that the certain procedure adopted during these elections should not be regarded as precedents and that the International Court should be asked for advisory opinion to clear up uncertainties for the future. [2]

Although Bailey just failed to be elected the result must be regarded as a high tribute to him. His name was not included in certain tickets which were run. Of the Great Powers, only China informed us specifically they would vote for Bailey although the United Kingdom also told us they thought that Read and Bailey were the strongest Dominion Candidates and left us with the impression they would do what they could to obtain the fifteenth seat for Bailey. We know that the United States gave no support while neither the Soviet Union nor France voted for him. In the Security Council we believe that on the first ballot Bailey received votes of China, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Mexico, Egypt and ourselves. in the Assembly Bailey would almost certainly have secured additional votes had not the Delegates been tied by various tickets. The most surprising result was the vote in favour of Poland in the second ballot of the Security Council and the failure of some of those who supported Bailey in Council on first ballot to maintain support in later ballots although he clearly had substantial chance of being elected.

1 Election required an absolute majority in the Council and the Assembly, each voting independently.

2 The problem was in essence the definition of 'meeting'. in the event, the General Assembly on 31 October referred the matter to its Sixth Committee, which drafted General Assembly Procedural Rule 99A providing that any meeting of the Assembly to elect members of the court should continue until the full number of members required had obtained an absolute majority, regardless of the number of ballots involved. This rule was adopted by the General Assembly on 19 November (Resolution 88(I)) and approved by the Security Council on 4 June 1947 (Resolution 26(1947)).

[AA:A3195, 1946, 1.3494]