287 Hodgson to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram UN763 NEW YORK, 15 August 1947, 9.41 p.m.


Security 451.


1. After today's debate position is confused and uncertain but not unsatisfactory to our point of view. Netherlands opened with long emotional statement challenging jurisdiction and competence anew of Security Council, making extravagant assertions about incompetence and corruption of [a] Japanese inspired Government without positive proof and alleging they were violating the cease fire orders. Van Kleffens made following declaration and two proposals:

(a) That the Netherlands Government affirms its intention [to] organise a sovereign democratic state of Indonesia in accordance with purpose of Linggadjati agreement.

(b) That it intends immediately to request resident Consular Officers and career representatives at Batavia to observe the execution of the cease fire order and the general state of peace and order in the Republic of Indonesia.

(c) That it intends to establish a Commission of investigation with three members to be selected by agreement between the Netherlands Government and the Republic. [1] You will note that action contemplated is quite outside the jurisdiction of the Council.

2. The Polish Delegate spoke and submitted an amendment to our resolution. [2] He informed me prior to the meeting of its terms and as he was listed to speak like all others from last meeting I could hardly object as his reason which follows was generally in accordance with what we were so proposing.

'Resolves to establish a Commission of the Security Council consisting of......... who on behalf of the Security Council will act in the capacity of mediator and arbitrator between the Government of Netherlands and the Republic of Indonesia.'

3. Philippines made long statement mainly on competence and jurisdiction of Council, his main point being that as Australia had [brought] [3] dispute under Article 39 of Chapter VII no claim of domestic jurisdiction would be valid. He supported our resolution.

4. At this stage Belgium on point of order claimed that Council had no competence to consider the Australian resolution and this aspect should be settled immediately. A further wrangle started but we intervened on the ground that point of order could only refer to the wrong application of and specific reference to rules of procedure and therefore President should rule there was no point of order involved. He did this and his ruling was not challenged.

5. President announced at 6.20 that he ha[d] Soviet Union, United States, Australia, China, Indonesia and Belgium still on list.

United States proposed an adjournment and though we protested it was carried by nine votes to one (Australia).

6. At termination of meeting Belgium informed me he was submitting a resolution to effect that opinion should be sought of International Court as to whether Council had jurisdiction to hear case.

7. Van Kleffens, when I protested as I had already done publicly about stonewalling tactics adopted the last week and stated how imperative something further and positive should be done by Council, said his Government at any rate was going to continue to take action. This can only mean they propose to take unilateral action on lines mentioned in paragraph 1. This should be resisted and instructions sent to Ballard that this was not acceptable as matter was before Security Council with proposal for a Commission of five to observe and report on cease fire arrangements as well as proposal for three arbitrators. [4]

8. Generally attitude of United Kingdom, France, United States and Belgium is very unsatisfactory and they are exerting utmost pressure on Colombia, Brazil and China to come round to their point of view. Even China which supported our resolution yesterday so strongly now informs us of amendment to eliminate paragraph 3 of our resolution by a new paragraph noting the proposals advanced by Netherlands and resolving (a) That the measures of consular observation and the three member commission of investigation be accepted by the Council as steps in the right direction.

(b) That consular body at Batavia and the commission of investigation be requested to for-ward copies of their reports to the Council, and (c) That should a settlement of the dispute be unduly delayed the Council shall itself devise means to meet the situation.

9. Next meeting is probably Wednesday morning as we are forced by time schedule of rules of procedure to report on admission of new members. We are pressing for earlier meeting.

1 Specifically Van Kleffens proposed that the Netherlands and the Republic of Indonesia each designate one state and that the two states so designated be asked to appoint one other state considered to be 'completely impartial' which would send representatives to examine the situation in Indonesia.

2 i.e. the resolution submitted by Hodgson on 12 August (see Documents 277 and 281).

3 Corrected from copy on file AA:A3300/2, 441. The cited copy reads 'been out of'.

4 The proposal for the establishment of commissions of arbitration and observation contained in Document 280 had been canvassed privately (see Document 282). The Australian Delegation bad not, however, formally submitted a new draft resolution to the Security Council.

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