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

Cablegram UN751 NEW YORK, 12 August 1947, 10.47 p.m.


Security 444.


1. In the Council this afternoon, we presented the resolution as contained in our 747 [1] with the following modifications made after consultations with other Delegations this morning.

(A) Telescoping the second and third preambles.

(B) Paragraph two-omit 'with approval'.

(C) Omit paragraph 3.

(D) Amend to read, 'resolves to establish a Commission consisting of representatives of......... who will report direct to the Security Council on the situation in the Republic of Indonesia following the resolution of the Council of 1st August, 1947'. [2]

2. In introducing the resolution, we stressed that the urgent problem was that effective procedure for settlement should be worked out as soon as possible. While appreciating the United States action Australia considered good offices insufficient and had therefore offered to act jointly with the United States in the capacity of mediator and arbitrator. The Indonesian Government had also taken the view that good offices would not lead to quick settlement and had accepted our offer. Meanwhile press reports of armed clashes were still being received and it was essential that the Council should send a Commission to Indonesia to report on the situation pending arbitration.

3. At this stage, Poland moved that Sjahrir who had just arrived should be invited to participate. This touched off a prolonged debate on the status of the Republic. Netherlands, United Kingdom, France and Belgium again argued that invitation under Article 32 [3] could only be issued to fully sovereign states which had been given de jure recognition. At the same time they again denied the Council's jurisdiction and even the validity of resolution of 1st August. We pointed out that neither we nor any other Member of the Council had asserted that the Republic was fully sovereign. The question was whether it was a 'state' within the meaning of Article 32. Replying to Van Kleffens' argument that the Indonesians were Netherlands Nationals under the Netherlands crown, we drew attention to the position of the British Dominions and the Soviet Republics. We also cited the cases of India and the Philippines who had been original signatories of the Charter although in the latter case independence had been promised only for July 1946. Similar statements were made by U.S.S.R., Poland and Colombia. United States reserved the position on the juridical question but considered that an invitation should be issued if not under Article 32, at least under Rule of Procedure 39 (invitations to Secretariat and other persons to supply information). [4]

4. The resolution to admit the Indonesians was passed as a procedural question by 8 to 3 (United Kingdom, France and Belgium). Van Kleffens requested that a similar invitation be issued to Governments of East Indonesia and Borneo. This will be considered at the next meeting together with renewed documented request by the Philippines.

5. The statement Sjahrir has prepared while rather long and containing a great deal of historical material seems quite satisfactory except it still asks for a Security Council Commission of Arbitration of three Members. This will conflict with our statement based on your advice that Sjarifoeddin had accepted the Australian proposal. [5] Anything you can do to ensure that Sjahrir receives instructions from his Government on this point would be appreciated. The Council meets again on Thursday to consider the Australian resolution and hear Sjahrir.

6. Your 464 and 467. [6] The United States Delegation here could add nothing to the State Department information in Austemba 1081 and 1088. [7] We understand that a broadcast this evening reports that the Indonesians have rejected the United States conception of 'good offices' as conveyed by Foote. [8]

1 Document 277.

2 The full text of the modified Australian draft resolution is given in United Nations, Security, Council Official Records, Second Year, No.74, 180th and 181st Meetings, 12 August 1947, pp.1917-18.

3 See Document 193, note 5.

4 Rule 39 read as follows: 'The Security Council may invite members of the Secretariat or other persons, whom it considers competent for the purpose, to supply it with information or to give other assistance in examining matters within its competence.' 5 See Document 270.

6 Dispatched on 12 August to the Embassy in Washington and repeated to the Delegation at the United Nations, these cablegrams sought information on Foote's meeting with the Indonesian leadership in Djokjakarta.

7 Dispatched on 12 August in reply to the cablegrams referred to in note 6, these cablegrams reported that Foote had been instructed to explain that the United States' offer of 'good offices' meant 'merely that the parties would get together to endeavour to work out a settlement' and that the Department of State was awaiting a reply.

8 The Government of the Republic did not in fact reply until 17 August (see Document 290).

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