169 Beasley to Evatt

Letter PARIS, 18 October 1946

I am forwarding under cover of this letter, concluding accounts of the work of the principal Commissions up to the resumption of the Plenary Sessions of the Paris Conference. The final report on the work of the delegation and the Conference as a whole will follow in due course. [1]

When I forwarded my last report, the Political Commissions on Italy and Hungary, the two Economic Commissions and the Military Commission had not completed their work and it has only been at the expense of long and strenuous sessions, in one case extending to twenty-eight hours on end, that this has been done in time to permit the Plenary Conference to consider each treaty as a whole.

In addition to the accounts of the voting in each Commission report, I attach a table giving a complete analysis of the voting on the various Australian amendments. [2] The numbering of this is as given in the original table which I also attach for convenience of reference.

The last week before the resumption of the Plenary Sessions saw a renewed struggle on questions of procedure. This centred in the International Secretariat, where an attempt was made by the Soviet delegation to replace the rules decided upon at the beginning of the Conference by even less liberal regulations designed, so far as one could see, to limit the Plenary Conference's compliance to voting on the recommended clauses of the reports forwarded by the various commissions.

It was disappointing to see how little opposition was offered to this campaign by the other delegations and I think we can claim reasonable credit for taking the lead in rallying the Secretariat to the view that any regulations it drafted must be only interpretative, in no way superseding the existing rules of procedure. It was finally decided that the Plenary Conference would meet on 5th October to discuss procedure for the concluding sessions and that the Secretariat would offer as a guide to this meeting a set of rules, the more important of which were that the treaties would be discussed in the order of Italy, Roumania, Bulgaria, Hungary, Finland, that the Commissions' reports should be board in the order of political military and economic and that each delegation would be allowed only 30 minutes to speak on each treaty, after which voting would take place without further discussion.

The Plenary Session adopted these rules of procedure. As a result of two Australian suggestions, it was agreed that they in no way superseded the existing rules, and that at the end of the Conference the final set of recommendations would be submitted to the Plenary Conference for approval before submission by the Secretary-General to the Council of Foreign Ministers.

General discussion opened in the Plenary Conference with the Italian Treaty on 6th October. The statement which I made on behalf of our own delegation is attached hereto. [3] I am convinced from my discussions with representatives of other delegations, as well as from reports reaching me from the press and public, that it was received with sympathy and interest, and that it was regarded as a full and practical review of the Conference and of the relation which its achievements and its practice bear to settlement in other parts of the world. We intended this statement to serve in a sense as a valedictory address, in which we hoped to emphasise the value and purpose of our amendments and to place them in perspective in the light of the whole work of the Conference. I referred particularly in this to our proposal for treaty revision and concluded by moving an amendment in this sense. On the actual vote we managed to obtain six votes in support with three abstentions.

In view of the earlier reception of the same proposal in the Commissions, this was a not inconsiderable result.


1 'Report of the Australian Delegation to the Conference of Paris 29th July - 15th October, 1946.' On file AA:A2910 T1, 412/25/25.

2 On file AA:A1067, P146/11/20.

3 On file AA:A1067, E46/38/30.

[AA:A1067, P146/11/20]