439 Notes of a Meeting of the Australian Delegation, Committee of Good Offices
Extract BATAVIA, 27 November 1947, 9.30 a.m.
Overall procedure: Various methods of procedure discussed. Judge Kirby suggested that as soon as discussions start , we get the parties to put their offers, and counter offers, in writing. And should there be set up an interpretation committee in case of dispute as to what was meant by an offer or a counter offer, or whether a refusal was a real refusal, and then also should we try to get in advance an arbitration committee? Once you get the parties to an agreement or so close as to three-fourths on a particular proposition, they could probably be graved into it. In talking with Mr. Scott (America), he said he thought that after a certain stage had been reached by the committee, and if it is thought wise by the committee and [if] it had the powers of interpretation as to what each party had agreed to, we could leave the matter then to an international committee to go ahead and bring the parties down to details.
Mr. Critchley considered that before anything is placed in detail in writing, there should be a general discussion, with each party separately, as to what it considers the general basic points. And then the committee could put forward a general scheme of general principles to each party to see if they can agree, and if they cannot, then an official statement in writing as to why could be put to the committee. Start on very general things first. We come down the center, and then it is a matter of pulling the parties together. We should try and take advantage of this procedure which they have
adopted themselves, of having informal talks in which they do not commit themselves, and on the basis of that we put forward suggestions and then get their reasons as to why they cannot agree to them. The only big stick we hold is public opinion. We have got to get on the official record why they cannot agree to our suggestions.