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

Cablegram UN716 NEW YORK, 2 August 1947, 12.06 a.m.


Security 421.

Our 713. [1] Following is brief summary of complicated manoeuvring today [2] which preceded passage of Resolution.

1. When Council met, Van Kleffens announced that the Netherlands Government had accepted the United States offer of mediation made yesterday. [3] The United Kingdom, supported by France and Belgium, argued that this made further action by the Council unnecessary and that all the Council need do was to note that negotiations were in progress. This was a plausible argument but we were successful in keeping attention on main issue of immediate call to both parties to cease hostilities.

2. The United States fortunately did not support the United Kingdom but after consultation with us submitted amended Resolution [4] which, while making no specific reference to Articles 39 and 40, preserved the operative part of our draft and was the basis of the final Resolution. After ensuring that this was acceptable to our main supporters we indicated that we would accept it.

3. At this stage Gromyko launched into long attack on the Netherlands policy in Indonesia which not only wasted time but was on entirely different lines from our attempts to get decision without prejudice to merits of case. At the same time he antagonized the United States by claiming that the United States offer of mediation had been an attempt to circumvent the United Nations. Finally he insisted on the immediate withdrawal of Netherlands troops to original position.

4. We next had to face an attempt to stall by postponing discussion to a night session, so that the Council could devote the afternoon to Greece. This trap was successfully avoided. Even the United States, which was most concerned to get back to the Greek case, agreed that decision on Indonesia must not be postponed.

5. During luncheon adjournment Van Kleffens in concert with the United Kingdom and France informed other delegations that he was in touch with The Hague and might be in a position later in the afternoon to announce that the Netherlands were prepared to order cessation of hostilities. When the Council re-assembled he appealed for an adjournment of two hours to enable him to get instructions. He did not, however, state publicly what his reasons were.

6. We interpreted this as a futile stalling manoeuvre and an attempt to confuse the issue. We insisted that debate proceed, pointing out that there would probably be time for the Netherlands to receive instructions before vote was taken. Adjournment motion by France and the United Kingdom, supported by the United States was defeated.

7. At this point Parodi came forward with the suggestion that the Council should make a mere appeal to the parties on humanitarian grounds to stop fighting, reserving the question of the Council's jurisdiction for determination by the International Court. This suggestion was immediately welcomed by Belgium and the United Kingdom, and United States, who hope[d] in this way to secure unanimous agreement, agreed to add to the preamble of their amendment the following:

'. . . and without in any way deciding the juridical question concerning the

competence of the Security Council in this regard.'

Van Kleffens welcomed the French proposal.

8. We felt this would weaken the Resolution and it was clear that the U.S.S.R., Poland and Syria would not accept it. We, therefore, opposed it strongly and as Van Kleffens had no statement to make we called for a vote on the Resolution paragraph by paragraph.

9. As indicated in our 713, Resolution was carried eight to nothing. The French formula, supported by the United Kingdom, United States, Belgium, France and Brazil was defeated.

10. The Soviet had also submitted their proposal as addition to Resolution in the following form:

'The Security Council considers it necessary that the troops of both sides Netherlands and Indonesian Republic-should be immediately withdrawn to their previous positions which they occupied before the beginning of military operations.'

India and Poland supported strongly. The United States opposed taking decision. We felt that to advance proposal in your 416 [5] might prevent decision being taken on the main issue and therefore argued that decision could not be taken until position when hostilities ceased was known. We indicated that we would abstain without prejudice to substance later. Similar declarations were made by Syria and Colombia and amendment was lost two to nothing with nine abstentions.

1 Document 224.

2 1 August.

3 See Document 222, note 6.

4 The text of the amended draft resolution is given in United Nations, Security Council Official Records, Second Year, 172nd and 173rd Meetings, 1 August 1947, p.1658.

5 Document 221.

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