442 Department of External Affairs to Australian Delegation, United Nations

Cablegram 719 CANBERRA, 28 November 1947, 5.10 p.m.


Following received from Kirby [1]-Begins.

'The United States Delegation is cabling the State Department today [2] raising the question of the Committee's status when Australia goes off the Security Council at the end of next month.

The United States Delegation is suggesting a positive resolution prolonging if necessary the life of the present Committee after December 31st.' Ends.

2. We consider Australia's position doubtful in view of the fact that the resolution of August 25th specifies that the Committee shall consist of members of the Council. United States proposal seems best means of clarifying position. Please ask Minister at Washington to press matter with State Department and after consultation with Secretary-General, advise immediately whether it would be desirable for him to sponsor an appropriate resolution.

3. Dutch tactics seem to be to delay until Australia is off Security Council before there is a showdown. During the ensuing month there will be no progress unless Dutch realise we continue on Committee, but more important we continue to have a right at least to be heard in respect of this matter by the Security Council. Resolution should provide for this.

4. In point of fact question should be raised with the Secretary- General as to whether countries in our position should not have a vote on the Security Council. Charter did not contemplate such a situation and Article 31 [3] was meant to deal only with parties claiming an interest in the situation being discussed. There is no precedent, but Security Council might decide as a general rule that in the case where countries not party to a dispute are acting on behalf of the Security Council, that they have a vote when matter continues beyond their term of office.

5. This situation is likely to occur frequently and can therefore be approached as a general principle rather than from the point of view of our claim in this particular instance. However, first objective is to see we remain on Committee and can speak at Council. This should be secured before further objective is sought.

1 The text given in the following paragraph is that of cablegram 435 dispatched by Kirby on 26 November.

2 26 November.

3 Article 31 of the United Nations Charter provides that any member of the United Nations which is not a member of the Security Council may participate, without vote, in the discussion of any question brought before the Council whenever the Council considers that the interests of that member are specially affected.

[AA:A1838/274, 854/10/4/2, ii]