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

Cablegram UN559 NEW YORK, 25 October 1946,10.47 P.M.


Assembly 41.

(1) In General Committee this morning Vyshinsky proposed that the Committee report against inclusion in Agenda of Australian proposal on Article 27 (Item 32 of the Provisional List) [1] and Cuban proposals to amend Charter (Items 1 and 9 of the Supplementary List). Australia and Cuba were invited to participate in the meeting.

(2) Shawcross said that while the United Kingdom was likely to oppose any move to amend Charter General Committee should not recommend deletion of the item.

(3) Australia, speaking strictly on procedural aspects having regard to the limited functions of General Committee stated Item 32 had been submitted in accordance with the rules of procedure and its subject was within the scope of Assembly functions. The first objection by Vyshinsky had been that amendment of the Charter was proposed. While we did not recognise this objection and quoted Article 108 to show expectation that proposals for amendment would appear on the Assembly Agenda, we drew attention to the actual terms of the Minister's proposal. The second objection by Vyshinsky was that discussion of the item was against the interests of the organisation. We replied this was a matter of opinion. Other Members believed it was definitely in the interests of the Organisation to discuss the item. This difference of opinion was really an argument in favour of admitting the item to the Agenda.

(4) In subsequent debate the Soviet was supported only by the Ukraine. Incidental remarks showed that the United States and China had misgivings about veto and that the debate might be useful in moderating use of veto but would not consider amendment of the Charter so early in the Organisation's life.

(5) Vyshinsky eventually withdrew opposition but in doing so questioned Australian and Cuban aims. Australia replied expressing appreciation of co-operation but insisting that fellow members must respect the opinions and motives of each other. In bringing forward the proposal, Australia also had a genuine concern for the interests of the Organisation.

(6) Austin (United States) proposed that the Australian and Cuban items be the subject of a general debate before reference to Committees but as soon as Shawcross and Spaak supported procedure of rules 109 and 110 [2], immediately withdrew. Australia supported the proposal along lines of your instructions and indicated that the general subject of Committee procedure could still be discussed in Plenary Session on receiving the report from the General Committee on Agenda and reference of items to the Committee.

(7) Vyshinsky also opposed admission of the South African proposal on South-West Africa (Item 2 of Supplementary List) and the Canadian proposal (Item 7) but eventually withdrew opposition.

1 See Document 172, note 4.

2 Rules 109 and 110 stated, respectively, that final decisions on items on the agenda were not to be taken by the General Assembly until it had received the report of a committee on these items, and that discussion of a report of a Main Committee in plenary session of the General Assembly was to take place if at least one- third of the members of the Committee considered such a discussion necessary.

[AA:A1067, UN46/GA/10/5]