190 McIntyre to Burton

Minute CANBERRA, 12 March 1948


It does not seem to me that the attached telegram meets the position. [1]

2. It was announced in the press last week-end that the U.K., U.S., China, India, France and the Netherlands had recognised the Siamese Government. This indicated that all these Governments had formally acknowledged the Siamese Government's Note. Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland were expected to do so, and may have done so by now.

3. Our telegram suggests that the reason why we are not proposing to grant recognition is that the Siamese Government has made no mention in its Note of its intention to fulfil the conditions of membership of the United Nations. If this is the only test, it is open to the Siamese Government to give us an assurance along these lines in the expectation that we will then recognise it.

4. There is nothing in the United Nations Charter which requires the United Nations as a whole to take cognizance of changes of government in a member State. Membership of the United Nations is not membership of Governments but of States. The only way in which the United Nations can question the membership of a State once admitted to membership is by invoking Article 6, which provides that a member which 'has persistently violated the principles' of the Charter may be expelled by the Assembly on the recommendation of the Security Council. Any move to expel, say, Siam would clearly call for a submission of a formal resolution based on past acts and not on mere distrust of future intentions. In other words, the United Nations is not concerned with what Government is in power in one of its member States so long as the State continues to observe the principles of the Charter. There would clearly be no support for a complaint that Siam has not observed the Charter since she became a member of the United Nations.

5. It seems to me, therefore, that we have now made our position more untenable than it was before. We might as well decide to grant recognition now, after extracting from the Siamese a promise to observe the principles of the United Nations Charter if we consider this necessary, as wait until the Siamese themselves offer this assurance and thus remove our only stated objection to recognition.

1 Document 189.

[AA:A1838/283, 451/3/1/1, i]