191 Australian Delegation, United Nations, to Department of External Affairs
Cablegram Austdel 353 (extract), PARIS, 9 December 1948, 10.45 p.m.
1. Assembly today unanimously approved convention on genocide by 55 votes. There were three abste[ntion]s (including South Africa). A resolution referring question of an international judicial organ for the trial of genocide to the International Law Commission for study and directing its attention to the possibility of establishing a criminal chamber of the International Court of Justice was carried by 43 votes, against 6 with 3 abstentions and a third resolution recommending parties to the genocide convention to apply it to dependent territories was carried by 50 votes with 1 abstention.
2. During debate which extended over two sessions Australia made strong appeal for unanimous and speedy acceptance. Complimentary references were made by United States, Brazil and Iran to leading role Minister had played in securing acceptance of convention by present assembly. After final vote Minister made statement from chair which described the unanimous approval of the convention as an 'epoch making event' and urged all member states to sign and ratify convention as soon as possible. Convention will be open for signature on Saturday 11th December.