195 Press Statement

CANBERRA, 30 July 1947, [7 p.m.] [1]


The Prime Minister announced today that the Australian Government had instructed its representative on the Security Council to draw the attention of the Security Council to the situation in Indonesia under Article 39 of the United Nations Charter.

Australia takes this action ten days after hostilities commenced in Indonesia, because, in accordance with Article 33 of the Charter, the parties to any dispute are obliged first of all to seek a solution by negotiation or mediation. Strenuous attempts have been made, in consultation with other Governments, particularly the United Kingdom, United States, and India, to bring about a solution in this way. However, it is felt that further delay is not justified because of the loss of life being sustained.

The policy Australia has adopted in the past disputes has been to urge an investigation under Article 34 of the Charter before any decisions are reached. However, the situation in Indonesia differs from any previously brought before the Security Council.

Hostilities are being carried on. Investigation is not required to establish the crucial fact, and, before the Security Council determines further action, it is essential that hostilities cease.

For this reason, Australia has drawn the attention of the Security Council to the situation under Article 39 of the Charter and thereby gives power to the Security Council immediately to order the cessation of hostilities, and subsequently to take such further steps as are necessary to restore peace.

This is the first time in the history of the Security Council that this Article has been invoked, and it is the hope of the Government in taking this action that, not only will hostilities cease, but that the Security Council will prove its worth in dealing quickly and effectively with a situation of this kind.

In making this move, Australia still maintains the judicial attitude which it has always maintained in considering any situation before the Security Council. No attempt will be made to pre-judge the issue, and discussion of merits of the case will be avoided. The Australian representative will ask first that the necessary steps be taken to terminate hostilities, and, second, without discussing the merits of the situation, that both parties act upon Article 17 of the Linggadjati Agreement, which specifically provides that, in the event of disagreement between the two parties arising out of the Linggadjati Agreement, a third party will be asked to arbitrate, or, failing that, the matter should be referred to the Chief Justice of the International Court.

It will be seen, therefore, that, if the Australian proposal is given effect to without delay or debate on procedural issues, and if it is readily admitted by the Security Council that the situation is one within its jurisdiction, there should be good prospect of an immediate cessation of hostilities, and an immediate negotiation between the two parties with the assistance of a third party of their own choosing. Members of the Security Council should not therefore have to arbitrate or to pass judgment on the merits of the case.

Action along these lines can only be taken by the Security Council if the Republican Government, not being a member of the United Nations, undertakes to observe the obligations and duties of the United Nations Charter, and in particular undertakes to observe Article 25 which obliges members to carry out the decisions of the Security Council.

The Prime Minister added that this action by Australia has been taken after close consultations between him [and] the Minister for External Affairs, and also after the closest consultation with the Governments of the United Kingdom, New Zealand and India.

1 Although scheduled for release at 4 p.m., the statement was in fact not distributed to the press until 7 p.m.

[AA:A1838/274, 854/10/4, i]