4 Australian Government to Addison

Cablegram 68 CANBERRA, 17 March 1947, 5.40 p.m.

IMMEDIATE

Your D.227. Palestine The proposal for the establishment by the Secretary-General of an ad hoc Committee on Palestine, while it might appear to be a time saving device, raises several difficulties. We consider it would be bad tactics and be a great blow to British prestige.

2. The Charter confers no power on the Secretary-General to summon such a committee as proposed by the United Kingdom. The scope of the Secretary-General's powers is clearly set out in Chapter XV of the Charter. Accordingly, if a committee were formed in the manner suggested its status could be challenged at the General Assembly.

In addition, the United Kingdom scheme provides no machinery for determining the proposed Committee's terms of reference, powers, composition and procedure, particularly to whom and how it makes its report and recommendations.

3. We believe that if the matter is to go to the Assembly, the Assembly itself should appoint a fact-finding committee to take evidence from all interested parties, organisations and individuals and to report back while the Assembly is in session.

On the basis of the report the General Assembly could then make a decision.

4. The only alternative to this would be to place matter before Security Council under Article 35 which could report to Assembly when a course of action had been decided upon.

[AA: A1838, TS852/19/1]