443 Burton to Kirby

Cablegram 12 CANBERRA, 28 November 1947


Your 435. [1] There will be no difficulty about having Australia continue on the Committee beyond our term of appointment on the Security Council. A resolution will have been adopted in the Security Council.

2. The problem goes deeper than this, the real problem is how to ensure that when the report is referred to the Security Council that it will be dealt with in the way we wish. We are asking New York to raise the question of voting rights in such circumstances, maintaining that, in respect of the matter in which we are acting on behalf of the United Nations, we should retain voting rights even though no longer members of the Security Council. [2] However, it is extremely unlikely that we will be able to maintain this position.

3. The question is raised a month before expiration of our term on the Security Council which is, in itself, an indication that in the American view there will be no basis for agreement within that time. It would seem clear that the Dutch are playing for time so that, even though we continue on the Committee, we will have no means of seeing through Committee recommendations.

4. In these circumstances, and having in mind previous reports, there seems no alternative, but for a report to be submitted from the Committee to the Security Council immediately. There can be no objection to a minority report from even one Commissioner being submitted to the Council.

5. It is a difficult decision to make, and while I know you are encouraged to hope for success, experience would seem to dictate the policy based on expectation of failure rather than of success.

If there was some chance of backstopping the Committee in the Council, we could afford to be more optimistic but the new Council will have no one who will take the initiative or through whom we can work.

6. In all the circumstances outlined above, and others that have been mentioned in our communications, my firm recommendation to you would be to have the matter referred, by yourself if necessary, to the Security Council after no more than two or three days meeting on the ship. This would give us the best part of two weeks in which to prepare members for subsequent discussions in which we will have no effective part.

7. Of course, this is not our last weapon and, if we are out manoeuvred in respect of the Security Council, we will take full advantage of the newly created Little Assembly [3] to make the facts, as they appear to us, known to world public opinion at the time when the Security Council is coming to its decisions.

1 See Document 442 and note 1 thereto.

2 See Document 442.

3 The Interim Committee of the United Nations General Assembly was established by a resolution of the General Assembly on 13 November 1947. Known as the 'Little Assembly', the Committee was to function between the closing of the Second Session of the General Assembly and the opening of the next session, each member of the Assembly having the right to appoint one representative. The Committee was, inter alia, empowered to consider and report its conclusions to the General Assembly on any dispute or situation which had been proposed for inclusion in the agenda of the Assembly or brought before the Assembly by the Security Council, provided the Committee determined the matter to be both important and requiring preliminary study.

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