203 Department of External Affairs to Australian Delegation, United Nations

Cablegram UNP5, CANBERRA, 22 September 1948, 3.20 p.m.

SECRET

TRUSTEESHIP : NEW GUINEA 1. Minister for External Territories[1] made statement in House 21st September regarding Trusteeship Council report on New Guinea. Statement reviews arguments advanced concerning administrative union with particular reference Australian representative's reply to points of criticism and objection raised by other representatives. It concludes by indicating that certain slight amendments are being made in legislation and that it is not being brought forward in House until after General Assembly debate. Changes are designed to make even clearer Australian Government's intention to preserve separate identity of trust Territory.

2. Statement also refers to Trusteeship Council's virtual endorsement of present Government's policy regarding development of welfare services for indigenous inhabitants particularly health, agricultural, and educational.

3. Following amendments are likely to be made in legislation:-

(a) inclusion of new section as suggested by United Kingdom regarding separate identity, (b) an amendment to ensure no overlap possible in provincial boundaries, (c) provision guaranteeing majority of nominated unofficial members in Legislative Council coming from Trust Territory, (d) amendment of section 73 concerning import duties to prohibit 'higher or lower duties' being imposed on goods from Australia.

4. Appreciate earliest advice any developments in Fourth Committee concerning report on New Guinea thus enabling consultation with Territories as discussions develop particularly in relation to possible effect on legislation and to question of reference to International Court of juridical aspects.

5. Text of Minister's statement in House being forwarded air mail.

[1] E.J. Ward.

[AA : A1838, 891/1/10, I]