46 Australian Delegation, United Nations, to Evatt

Cablegram United Nations 319 NEW YORK, 31 July 1946, 7.12 p.m.

Security 118.

1. The first meeting of the membership committee was held today.

[1] It was agreed that Chairmanship should rotate in the same order as the Security Council. Thus the Netherlands representative presides until 17th, when the Polish representative takes office.

2. The acting Secretary-General reported that formal applications for membership had been received in the following order. Albania, Mongolia (document S95) Afghanistan (document [S]98) Transjordan (document S101). Secretary-General had inquired whether Siamese letter of the 20th of May (document S73) should be regarded as a formal application and Siamese representative in New York had asked for postponement of submission of this letter to membership committee, until he received further instructions from Bangkok (document S114).

3. At the commencement of the committee's work, the Australian representative made it clear that Australia still believes the procedure adopted by the Security Council regarding admission of members was incorrect [2], and although we would assist in advancing the committee's work, our participation was not to be regarded as limiting our right to reopen the question of procedure if we should see fit. Australia would not regard the fact that an application had or had not been considered by the membership committee as excluding the application from consideration by the General Assembly.

4. The Chairman then called for general discussion on the work of the committee. The Australian representative gained general acceptance of his proposition that the committee's function was to make an objective examination of the facts in each case. In order to assist the Security Council to determine whether the application met the three requirements of the Charter, namely:

(a) Peace loving State (b) Readiness to accept obligations (c) Able and willing to carry out obligations.

Under (a) relevant facts would be not only the professions of the applicant, but also its actions during recent years. Under (b) the chief evidence would be the declaration made by the applicant State. Under (c) the committee had a difficult responsibility to determine such questions as whether or not the regime of the applicant State was in its origin and structure such as to give a reasonable certainty that it did and would continue to represent the peoples for whom it claimed to speak and that it had a reasonable expectation of stability.

5. Some difficulty was encountered when the Soviet representative proposed that applications should be taken in chronological order and that the committee should make a recommendation on each one before passing [to] the examination of the next on the list. The stubborness with which the Soviet held this proposal tended to confirm superstition [3] of other representatives that Soviet intends to force acceptance of Albania and Mongolia under the threat that they will block later applications, if their wish is not granted. The majority of the committee expressed the view that while the facts relating to each State might be examined in the order of application, no final report on any single State could be made until all cases had been considered, and the committee had gained experience regarding the way in which the criteria laid down in the Charter could be applied. After protracted discussion the committee simply decided to commence work by examining the facts relating to Albania.

6. There was further long discussion when France asked whether States not members of the Security Council, might be allowed to assist the committee. The majority of the committee, while recognising that the question of admitting a non-member to participation in the sense of Article 31, was a matter for the Security Council alone, considered it within the competence of the committee to receive information from non members, or if occasion arose, to request information from non members regarding any of the applications. The Soviet representative resisted this view and also refused to accept the suggestion that the matter might be referred to the Security Council to determine precise powers of the committee to receive information from non members. This issue was unresolved when the committee adjourned. All representatives clearly have in mind the submission likely to be made by Greece regarding Albania. [4] The Australian representative argued that the Security Council had given definite functions to the committee and it must be assumed that committee was vested with powers adequate to the performance of its functions.

7. The committee adjourned to Thursday afternoon.

1 i.e. the membership committee of the U.N. Security Council.

2 See Document 18.

3 Presumably 'superstition' should read 'suspicion' or 'supposition'.

4 On 13 February 1946 the Security Council had agreed to receive a letter from the Greek Minister for Foreign Affairs stating that admission of Albania to the United Nations especially affected the interests of Greece and asking that the Security Council invite Greece to participate in its discussions on this matter.

Consideration of the letter was deferred but the item was retained on the agenda.

[AA:A3195, 1946, 1.19308/9]