16 Australian Delegation, United Nations, to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram UN1164 NEW YORK, 25 November 1947, 11.53 a.m.

SECRET

Assembly 179.

Minister yesterday introduced amendment to Sub-Committee One plan concerning holy places, religious buildings and sites.

2. Plan previously stated that no taxation shall be levied in respect of any holy place, religious building or site which was exempt from taxation on the date of creation of state.

3. Amendment which was added to above and was carried unanimously states 'No change in the incidence of such taxation shall be made which would either discriminate between the owners or occupiers of holy places, religious buildings or sites or would place such owners or occupiers in a position less favourable in relation to the general incidence of taxation than existed at the time of the adoption of the Assembly's recommendations'.

4. The amendment thus guarantees freedom from discriminatory taxation for Christian churches in both States and also in the City of Jerusalem.

5. Cardinal Spellman and other churchmen had requested Australia to take the initiative because the Minister was Chairman.

You will notice that whereas majority plan secures international control of Holy City of Jerusalem including Bethlehem-the minority Arab plan (defeated 29 to 12) largely left Christian as well as Jewish religious interests under sole control of Arabian majority.

[AA : A1838, TS852/20/2, i]