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

Cablegram UN76o NEW YORK, 21 November 1946, 12.24 p.m.


Assembly 212.

(1) Joint meeting of the First and Sixth Committees will be held to-day to consider the question of Indians in South Africa. India has submitted the following resolution-

'The General Assembly, having taken note of the application made by the Government of India regarding the treatment of Indians in the Union of South Africa and having considered the matter, is of the opinion that- (a) The Union Government's discriminatory treatment of Asiatics in general and Indians in particular on the grounds of their race constitutes a denial of human rights and fundamental freedom and is contrary to the Charter.

(b) The Union Government's policy in general and the enactment of the Asiatic land tenure and Indian representation in 1946 [1], in particular, have impaired friendly relations between the two member states, and unless a satisfactory settlement is arrived at immediately, these relations are likely to be further impaired.

The General Assembly, therefore, considers that the Union Government should revise their general policy and their legislative and administrative measures affecting Asiatics in South Africa, so as to bring them into conformity with the principles and purposes of the Charter and requests the Union Government to report at the next session of the General Assembly the action taken by them in this behalf.' [2]

1 The Asiatic Land Tenure and Indian Representation Act restricted Indian ownership and occupation to particular 'uncontrolled' areas of Natal and offered token political representation in place of land rights. The Act was condemned by the Natal Indian Congress, which then appealed to the Indian Govt and the United Nations.

2 On the following day, the Australian delegation was instructed to hold out for an investigation of the facts, and to withhold support from the Indian draft resolution because it pre-judged the facts.

[AA:A1838/2, 852/10/2, i]