123 Beasley to Evatt

Cablegram PC49 PARIS, 17 September 1946, 7.26 p.m.


Your 202. [1]

I have carefully noted and weighed in the light of present circumstances here, the objections to the South African amendment put forward in your telegram and naturally in accordance with what is your evident view the Delegation will continue to press the case for the Australian amendment. [2] At the same time I hope you will appreciate that contrary to the suggestion in paragraph 2 of the telegram we have been under no sort of pressure on this question as the rest of the British Commonwealth Group and in fact all other Delegations are fully aware that we can command no support for our proposal and are therefore little concerned whether we urge this point of view or not.

Since my earlier telegram PC.44 [3] we have had further talks here on the subject. The most important point emerging from these is that the chance of even a simple majority in favour of a satisfactory colonial settlement would on present showing be precarious if question was in the ultimate stage referred to the 21 Conference States as proposed by us. The United Kingdom claims to have gone into this aspect thoroughly and is satisfied that the risk of an adverse vote would be a great deal less in the United Nations Assembly than it would be in the Meeting of the 21.

With regard to your reference to New Zealand we have worked intensively on the New Zealand Delegation but as you will recall from the meetings of the British Commonwealth Group which you attended earlier in the Conference and also from the British Commonwealth Meetings in London, New Zealand policy has been firm and consistent throughout in favour of maximum reference to the United Nations of the Colonial question as well as others. Frankly I see no prospect at all of altering this attitude at Paris end.

While not going so far as to say that continued insistence on our amendment would prejudice chances of a satisfactory colonial settlement I think we might well be subject to justifiable criticism if we pushed to the extreme a proposal which deals frankly with procedure rather than substance. As there would in that event be probably only our own vote in favour of the amendment, I bear in mind also the comment expressed by you in our telephone conversation last week to the effect that too long a succession of votes in which Australia is in a minority of one would have damaging results for the general effectiveness of our work at the Conference and in fact on the standing which we at present have at the Conference.

For the above reasons I feel no doubt that if you yourself were handling this question in the light of the circumstances here as we know them, you would use some discretion and flexibility in the extent to which we should push our amendment. I feel myself that such discretion might extend in the event to ultimate support of the South African proposal in general. This would give us an opportunity both of fully presenting for the record our own point of view and possibly of shaping the South African amendment to harmonise more with our own proposal particularly in the sense of making more precise consultation with the Governments of the States which contributed to the liberation of North Africa.

In the absence of further advice we will of course continue to follow the lines of your 202 but I felt personally it was my duty to indicate the circumstances obtaining at this end.

1 Document 117.

1 See Document 112, note 3.

3 See Document 117, note 3.

[AA:A1067, E46/38/14]