256 Department of External Affairs to Australian Delegation, United Nations

Cablegram [UNY]417 CANBERRA, 28 November 1946


Your UN.796. [1]

1. Minister and Department, at great personal strain during Parliamentary Session, have done everything possible to keep the Delegation promptly and fully instructed. In many cases, which, if necessary, can be listed, instructions have not been carried out and in some action has been taken in conflict with them. In several other cases the Delegation has sent counter proposals and has acted on these instead of basic instructions. In many other cases instructions have been asked for on matters of settled and well known policy.

2. In the case under reference, not only has Australian initiative been lost, but the important matter of disarmament to which we were drawing attention has been allowed to be side-tracked into discussion of one aspect of the general problem. Moving the Australian resolution at the time of approval by the Minister was in no way incompatible with U.S. and U.K. support. In fact, we instructed you to support the U.K. proposal for discussing both matters together [2] and it was open to you therefore to support an amendment to the Australian resolution.

3. We note that five days elapsed between the time you stated you were preparing a draft and the time you sent it to us, and now another four days have elapsed between the time of approval by the Minister and your advice that the resolution was not proposed.

During this time one of the most vital issues of the Assembly has passed from the initiative of a small power acting on principle to certain great powers who are individually concerned mostly with an immediate political problem which is only one aspect of the general problem.

4. Please ascertain and advise immediately intentions of United Kingdom and United States in this matter and if there seems likely that no agreement can be arrived at on the question of troops, you should, in consultation with United Kingdom, United States, Canada and New Zealand, put forward the Australian amendment to the Soviet proposals.

1 Document 249.

2 See Document 244, note 2.

[AA:A3196, 1946, 0.22428]